Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

For all Wasteland 2 discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

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Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Chestertonite » August 23rd, 2016, 6:00 am

Hello boys (and girls, if present)!

I finally bought ‘Wasteland 2: DC’ some weeks ago and I already done twenty hours of gameplay since, the irony stands in the fact two years ago I’ve made team with some italian guys to translate the text strings of the game into italian, but only now I could have found time to buy the game and… play it.

I am finding Wasteland 2 fairly interesting, it’s a good game. But, with its post-apocalyptic setting and ranger background story, there’s room for improvement.

This is just my two (euro) cent ;-) to improve the gameplay for its next chapter, Wasteland 3. My advices are based on my experience which falls back when I was fourteen and I started to play AD&D, and then, Baldur’s Gate 1, which was the first RPG title I experienced on pc. My first ‘Fallout experience’ would have followed only ten years after (lol, looks an atrocius thing to affirm). :P

But now, stop the chit-chatting and let’s get to the point.

---------------------------------

In what Wasteland 2 didn’t convince me fully

1. Dialogues.

I had the impression the Wasteland 2 dialogues are not that much. Although I translated 1000 text strings myself (which are nothing, and, in fact, we were a team of translators of ten people, at least, at the time) I found that, when it comes to words, many NPCS are simply too… plain and unnatural.

Perhaps it’s not because the amount of text present in the game. I think it’s because of the dialogue system, which focus on the exchange of data being based on hot-words. This is very useful if you are searching news on a specific subject – and in fact it’s wonderful made for exchanging informations. But, in a game, this seems a bit too much cold and… unforgiving.

When I speak to an NPC, although this is a topekan tribe leader, I have the sensation there’s really not that much to discuss about. There’s not a story to uncover, nor a mistery to being enlighted on. Forget the freedom offered by BG2 or ‘Plancescape: Torment’ when it came down to the words. I don’t like this new system of dialogue driven by thematics. I would rather have the old-school questions/answers system given by the PCS in form of choice #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, etc…

The skill based on the kiss-ass/smart-ass/brute talk (lol, I don’t even rememember its name, I only had chance to use that skill thrice in 20 hours of gameplay, and mind, I now have it at 7…) would be used more frequently and more convincingly.

There would be a real story to uncover, just like the titles I mentioned. I mean, you still have the idea of a scheme made by a ‘mad someone’ with the present dialogue system and narration (since the tenth hour of gameplay I knew there was a ‘malevolent someone’ posing a serious threat to the land) – but this is uncovered with no ‘zeniths’ during the dialogues. And I don’t think it’s because the acting it’s bad.

My only creeps/gloom/adrenhaline moments came with combats, as new location to investigate appeared on the map, and with the excellent storytelling of the Prison stage (really solid!). :D

Perhaps, though, I’m in a mistake. After all, Wasteland 1 wasn’t so focused on the dialogues.

Still, if the producers might focus on the quality textual content offered by title like as the one I wrote, the next chapter would be a formidable experience. Just like a wonderful novel which takes you and you can’t stop. Wasteland 3 deserves this. :)

Then, perhaps, it would be necessary to focus more on the scripts.

*a scream is heard*

…Scripters!!!




2. Ambiance description.

Tiki-ti tiki-ti tiki-ti, tiki-ti, tiki-ti tiki-ti. Really, the typing machine doesn’t seem capable of losing a single digit. The locations are thouroughfully detailed both by words and graphic candies.

In fact, there’s no need of so much descriptive text, especially everytime you go back to a single location (the fifth time I came back to the granny the feng shui joke wasn’t fun anymore; and no, in case you are asking I don’t want to kill her at all, I know I might find his husband somewhere in the desert. Except perhaps, for that time in which I unleashed on her a fury of 200 DMG points with a bazooka only to watch the effect it would have played on a single hp NPC…). :lol:

Really, the Unity engine plays its role splendidly. So much, I don’t need a descriptive text to inform the that one is perhaps the last one of the V-8 Interceptors. Or, that a doctors office has been heavily claimed by nature: I can see it, and see it in full details thanks to the graphic engine.

As the wise saying goes, ‘one picture has thousand words’ (in it). This is especially true when all the words keeps distracting you every time you enter in the same zone.




3. Map-wandering phases.

Some of the casual encounters takes place in identhical locations which limits the variety of the experience.

I am not saying the artists should now takes off their palettes and draw new complex structure anew… it’s a desert out there! Even simplicistic places would be sufficient, like sandy plains with some rocks or a rocky pass, to bring to the user the feeling of moving into a different environment as mother nature reclaimed it (and sometimes restored it: different oasis with different casual encounter in it would be realistic and enjoyable, giving that sense of danger or expectation). Real life shots offer the most interesting inspiration. :)

Moreover, different styles of environment, also means a major tactical approach to combat: if cactuses, rocks, passages, rivers, slopes, falls, gorges, etc. are in fact placed in different orders, they can be (and will be) used differently as the combat progresses. Fights in Wasteland 2 are marvellously done, and hardly static if the player has some initiative (tactical touch). This would be translated into an even more engaging fight. :mrgreen:




4. Crowdfunding reconnaissance.

I simply didn’t get how staring to a three-cat-brass statue might have given to my rangers more experience and skills. :|

Any ideas/justifications?

Seriously, I know this is the results of a crowd-funding process, but to the casual gamer, there’s no point to teleport him to the same map to show either a gargantuan TV color or some monoliths of sort which gives experience. Instead, I really appreciated the chance to behold and reflect on the word of Lao Tzu. This was credible, and the gift of the experience and skill justified. :)

Hence, It would be nice, if, in the next sequel, the rangers might encounter from time to time some ‘wisdom pearls’ from a long forgotten world, which would boost their ability according to their belief. Words which gives encouragement to build something anew – or to destroy it once and for all (Nietzsche anyone?).

The Rangers with different beliefs would not enjoy from this, of course. But the system might be played like this: Ranger Chestertonite is struck (not literally) by a marble bust of an old, forgotten thinker. A plaque reads: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up. – GKC”. He gains EXP and/or a skill point, and this important lesson is kept by a pen writing on the game map/area map.

This would be very realistic and of context.




5. Different gunshot sounds.

Because not all shotguns, machine guns or people grumblings are made equal! :D



… What do you think? Might these observations do something good to the next chapter gameplay? Might these be developed even better, according to your experience? Thanks. ;)


Take care.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Zombra » August 23rd, 2016, 9:51 am

Great post Chester, welcome to the forums.

1) Dialogue.
I am okay with how W2's dialogue shook out. I agree that the format makes conversations feel more like "infodumps" than necessary, and less mysterious. A greater sense of exclusion might help a lot ... if you click this word, that one goes away, or this NPC only has the patience to talk about three things before the conversation ends. There was some of this in W2 already, but more would be better. I loved the way social skills worked in the interface, and would enjoy seeing the system expanded to other skills as well (e.g. a high Computer skill might open a dialogue option about technology).

2) Text descriptions.
Disagree. I enjoyed them a lot in W2, both as an homage to W1 and in their own right. They are easy enough to ignore if you don't like them, but I would hate to see the ticker go away. Bring back the OCRA font though.

3) Map variety.
Would a procedural system for random encounters be overkill for a game of this type? Maybe, but I agree with you that it would go a long way and make these combats much more interesting.

Speaking of maps and random encounters, what I think really needs to be brought back are random encounters in "main" locations. You never "cleared" an area in Wasteland, you just got through as best you could, completed your objective, and then got out. Wasteland 2 was far too "safe" in comparison. Bring back random encounters and bring back heal over time.

4) Vetting crowdfunded content.
A lot of the stuff was very silly - but it's completely fine with me. Wasteland is goofy and does some fourth wall stuff. Not every setting needs to be gritty and realistic.

5) Sound.
There actually was some variety in gunshot sounds in W2. Of course more would be better, no argument here.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by IHaveHugeNick » August 23rd, 2016, 10:07 am

Wasteland without a ticker would be like frowning Mona Lisa. Thou shalt not spread such heresy upon the lands of the internet.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by kilobug » August 23rd, 2016, 11:24 am

My own grain of salt :

1. I mostly agree - it wasn't that bad, but I do like IE-like dialog system where you chose full sentences much more than the keyword-based dialog system.

2. I don't agree there, the text description were an awesome part of the game. Some people may be more image-based and others more text-based, but to me a well-crafted description triggers my imagination and carries information that a picture cannot. Of course, great picture + great text is the best, and WL2 was quite good on that.

3. I do agree that the random encounter maps are too repetitive, but I'm not sure if the effort required to fix it is worth spending, instead of adding a few more side-quests or an additional way to finish another quest or whatever.

4. No really opinion on that - I didn't pay attention to most of the crowdfunded content, the skills/XP bonus as a disguised exploration bonus.

5. I didn't notice anything special there, neither good or bad, to me the sound effects where good enough.

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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by IHaveHugeNick » August 23rd, 2016, 11:43 am

kilobug wrote:My own grain of salt :

1. I mostly agree - it wasn't that bad, but I do like IE-like dialog system where you chose full sentences much more than the keyword-based dialog system.
Nah, it was just plain bad. And the amount of localization problems it caused is almost indescribable.

The thing is though, I vaguely remember most people were happy when InXile set on using the keyword dialogue system. I was certainly pleased. It's only after the game came out when I started noticing how flawed it is. My memory of it was completely different than how it turned out to be.

Nostalgia can play nasty tricks on us sometimes.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Lucius » August 23rd, 2016, 4:41 pm

The keyword system was mostly just a list of topics to click through. I really hadn't thought about dialogue all that much, but I agree a lot of it felt like simply info dumps, not actual people having any kind of real conversation. The info dump stuff should have been in books, journals, ledgers, things of that nature.

I haven't played the DC to be honest, just never got around to it and have little interest in a second playthrough of that game, but I wouldn't be surprised if by the end, your list of things that aren't very convincing, hasn't grown thrice-fold.

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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by IHaveHugeNick » August 23rd, 2016, 6:09 pm

Lucius wrote:The keyword system was mostly just a list of topics to click through. I really hadn't thought about dialogue all that much, but I agree a lot of it felt like simply info dumps, not actual people having any kind of real conversation.
The writing itself was solid and not that infodumpy, but the way you interact with keyword system and the way it presents the text, would make even haikus feel like infodumps.

Mind you, I can see why it might have been hard for them to realize until it was too late. It just feels off, and they aint mind readers.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Brother None » August 24th, 2016, 8:56 am

Ooh, nice thread guys, thanks Chester! It's always interesting to come back to a game a bit later and see how perspectives change and what stands out, so reading this with interest.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Patient Roller » August 24th, 2016, 9:07 am

What I liked about the dialogue system in WL1 was that you had to type the keywords yourself. You needed to pay attention to the game to know what to talk to who about, and it made me feel sort of like a detective, drilling people about subjects I thought they might have something to say about. I think it would've sucked just as much as in WL2 if all the keywords were presented on a list. With that said, there weren't any in-depth dialogue trees in WL1; the keyword system really isn't the most conductive with that sort of thing.

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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Zombra » August 24th, 2016, 9:36 am

Lucius wrote:The info dump stuff should have been in books, journals, ledgers, things of that nature.
Strongly disagree. There were plenty of books in Wasteland 2 and I doubt I got around to reading more than half of them, whereas I was very engaged every time a character spoke. There's something about the immediacy of dialogue that holds my attention much better. Maybe it's just me.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Chestertonite » August 25th, 2016, 3:52 am

Thanks for the kind answers. :)


1. Dialogue: Um... It might be that the problem which brought to the 'hot-words dialogues style' was of a graphical nature. Perhaps the 'InXiles' did not want to have dialogue options to cover a major 'slice' of scenario around the PCs? I can see the 'hot-words dialogue system' in fact allows more room to the surrounding. Maybe this brought not to choose the classic BG-like dialogue style?

#IHaveHugeNick, you are saying it's nostalgia that's making the 'complete dialogue system' (à la BG) good or that the current W2 dialogue system is flawed, and that's all? It might be as well... Or, perhaps, the W2 dialogue system it's not that faulty, I don't know. I think I should firstly get back to Planescape Torment a bit to judge it properly. A game which I started and... never finished.( :o )

Me too, I can recall preferring the classic dialogue system. But, I repeat, I should get back to it, first.


#Patient Roller, you are right, I must admit this system gives to the players an unprecedent freedom of choice and a detective-like chance to do things on 'their way'.

But... at least, in my gameplay, I'm finding it a bit too much obscure.
It's probably because I haven't started playing pc games when the Ultima series was a must: games which required you to type the sentences to actually speak with NPCs (I think Wasteland 1 was much like this and hence the chance to type in things -- am I wrong?).

Still... for some younger generations (erm) of pc-players like me, querying for a specific answer might be a bit confusing.

It's probably because I'm not the brightest of the 'policemen'(Desert Rangers) out there, but I feel like I am losing something everytime, and I will never have THAT different choice in the future, having grown with the classic 'BG/Planescape' dialogue style.

Having said that, I agree with you that doing otherwise wouldn't pay homage to such an 'historical' way of playing pc games (Ultima docet, as said
before).

And...

...Moreover, I can guess that by deleting the chance for the players to type specific hot-words will surely translate into more work for the scripters, which would then have to fully write down the party sentences.



2. Ambiance description: If it's an homage to the original title, I agree it's good it stand there. Sorry for my naivete, I haven't played the original! :)



3. Wandering phases in map & random encounters in main locations: I completely agree with Zombra on the random encounters in main locations, this would be cool! If it's true that 'war, war never changes', then, the Wasteland shouldn't be an exception!

Perhaps a procedurally-automated system should be allowed for random encounters only. If these happens in ruined cities outskirts, there should
be burnt houses and such urban environments; if in the desert, cactuses and such. You think it might works without too much work and stand 'credible' at the same time? Maybe it could save precious time for the developers, so that the team might focus on the quests/wasteland stories.

I also would like to have less chance to be kept into low-level fights while wandering through the world map (but perhaps this is due to the fact I'm playing the game at the medium level of difficulty, a thing which might have changed had I choose a higher difficulty setting).

And, especially, I would love to be took into these fights more often (my Vulture's Cry at level 16 can never be stopped by any kind of wanderers, no matter if these are irradiated animals or a band of raiders - yes, I still have the quest-radsuits)... Let me feel on the edge, like it happens in any real dangerous (enticing I'd add) no-where! Still, there's the parameter of difficulty I chose which may have played a major role in this.



4. Crowdfunding content: I'm ok with the idea of meeting all kind of the strangest encounters possible between the dunes; also with the decision of giving xp and skill points to the PCs only by letting them behold some gigantic kittens made of brass, as long as there is at least a story/context behind this.

In my view (which might still be wrong, but comes at least from a dedicated reader and pc-player) the point isn't keeping a realistic approach to the shrines - Wasteland 2 it's a game, not a simulation, and plus, that 'shade of unkown' it's appreciable - the point it's keeping it credible. Just like a sci-fi film. Carnivorous black aliens in the space with the appearance of wannamingoes? Improbable, but possible, if well-written (and filmed).

#Brother None: it's good for everyone there's much meat in the oven! We won't let it burn, I promise. :-P


In one thing I think we all agree: having played just yesterday the part in which the monks put the group to the test (no spoilers here, phew) this experience of letting the player feel smart by his choices or positively challenged also if 'wrong turns' are taken should be kept, and powered up with the joy of discover, this against all this ever-growing utterly nonsensical genre of games based more on unlockable feats (read: player prowess) than the best thing possibly achievable in such market products: an enthralling story.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Brother None » August 25th, 2016, 8:03 am

The answer regarding the shrines is pretty straight-forward honestly: we didn't have a ton of experience with doing backer content in our games. We polled backers for their content but there was usually not much back and forth, and then we kinda ran with it and started placing stuff throughout the game. Some of that worked quite well (backer NPCs and items especially), some is probably a bit too noticeable. People who played Torment may quickly have realized we cleaned up the process quite a bit - more back and forth on if we feel the backer idea needs modifying for our game, I don't think you could really point to any of the backer content in Torment (the weird setting helps, of course).

We're constantly applying lessons as we continue to work on new projects, including things learned regarding backer content, so expect us to continue to improve on that.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Drool » August 26th, 2016, 12:54 pm

Brother None wrote:The answer regarding the shrines is pretty straight-forward honestly: we didn't have a ton of experience with doing backer content in our games. We polled backers for their content but there was usually not much back and forth, and then we kinda ran with it and started placing stuff throughout the game. Some of that worked quite well (backer NPCs and items especially), some is probably a bit too noticeable.
Some of it was good. The submarine shrine and the diner were both excellent; some of the best content. Giant television and game console? Not so hot. The shrine to some forum pissing contest? Possibly the worst thing in the game. Most of the statues were fine.

Backer content's always a rough line, but generally, if it's going to be in the main game, and going to be important to the main game (WL2 shrines are rather more important than the backer stuff in, say, Pillars of Eternity), it needs heavy editorial oversight.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Zombra » August 26th, 2016, 1:12 pm

Drool wrote:The shrine to some forum pissing contest? Possibly the worst thing in the game.
Haha, now you're making this into a personal grudge. The Codex area was perfectly good.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by IHaveHugeNick » August 26th, 2016, 10:21 pm

Chestertonite wrote: You are saying it's nostalgia that's making the 'complete dialogue system' (à la BG) good or that the current W2 dialogue system is flawed, and that's all? It might be as well... Or, perhaps, the W2 dialogue system it's not that faulty, I don't know. I think I should firstly get back to Planescape Torment a bit to judge it properly. A game which I started and... never finished.( :o )

Me too, I can recall preferring the classic dialogue system. But, I repeat, I should get back to it, first.
I'm guessing a lot of us thought W2's dialogue system is going to be good, based on using similar systems 10+ years earlier. That was the case with me, at least.

It's like replaying a classic game after two decades. You suddenly realize graphics weren't actually photorealistic and pixels are the size of Empire State Building. You can't always rely on your memories. :D
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Drool » August 27th, 2016, 12:30 pm

Zombra wrote:
Drool wrote:The shrine to some forum pissing contest? Possibly the worst thing in the game.
Haha, now you're making this into a personal grudge. The Codex area was perfectly good.
How? Look at it from an outsider's perspective. There's a keypad that you have no idea how to crack. So you look it up online. The code makes no damn sense, but you roll with it. It opens into a huge interior area with nothing in it except a couple terminals. The stuff on the terminals doesn't make a lick of sense, because it's nothing more than an obscure in-joke. Maybe it's freaking hilarious to Codex members, but to everyone else, it's nonsense.

I bet that diner's an inside joke or reference too. But it's good. It's actually enjoyable to people outside the joke because whoever was responsible put some effort into it. The Codex shrine is the Family Guy of referential humor.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Zombra » August 27th, 2016, 1:06 pm

Drool wrote:
Zombra wrote:The Codex area was perfectly good.
How? Look at it from an outsider's perspective.
Believe it or not, I am an outsider. I didn't (and still don't) know any of the story referenced on the terminals. Whatever people and events are being referenced there happened way before my time. If anything, I was annoyed that no one I knew was mentioned. I still enjoyed the "ghost ship" atmosphere and just getting down there to read about it. Maybe I enjoyed it a little more because I know what the website is ... that's it for my "insider perspective".
There's a keypad that you have no idea how to crack.
Bug. Computer Science works fine, but you have to use the hotkey menu instead of just right clicking it. Implementation error, not design error.
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by IHaveHugeNick » August 27th, 2016, 2:01 pm

Drool wrote:So you look it up online.
There go your oldschool credentials.

I didn't open it either
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Drool » August 27th, 2016, 3:20 pm

Zombra wrote:Maybe I enjoyed it a little more because I know what the website is ... that's it for my "insider perspective".
Yeah, but pretend you didn't know it was a Codex pissing match. Pretend you're part of the 99.999999% of the world that's never been to the Codex or part of the 99.999998% of the population who has never even heard of the Codex. Now look at that shrine. Nothing makes any sense. All you know is that this is an inside joke and you're not part of it. The worst kind of inside joke is the kind that insists upon itself without letting you have any idea what's going on.
IHaveHugeNick wrote:
Drool wrote:So you look it up online.
There go your oldschool credentials.
Not my fault I can't go check on Prodigy's games boards any more. I might have been able to ask on a BBS, but my computer doesn't actually have a modem any more. And god knows what numbers still work!
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Re: Something which didn't fully convinced me in the game. My two cents for Wasteland 3.

Post by Brother None » August 28th, 2016, 8:09 am

Drool wrote:Yeah, but pretend you didn't know it was a Codex pissing match. Pretend you're part of the 99.999999% of the world that's never been to the Codex or part of the 99.999998% of the population who has never even heard of the Codex. Now look at that shrine. Nothing makes any sense. All you know is that this is an inside joke and you're not part of it. The worst kind of inside joke is the kind that insists upon itself without letting you have any idea what's going on.
I'm not sure I fully agree. Ben Moise did a lot of this backer stuff with some input/help/feedback from me, I think the overall goal with that shrine was to have it very much so be inscrutable. In your opinion that's a bad thing, but in my opinion that just makes sense - it's a post-apocalyptic setting, there will be buildings from before the war whose story is lost or garbled, where you can find piecemeal information but not really make sense of it. Some places like the airplane graveyard and a lot of LA locations we detailed the history, and people still know, but it'd be doing the setting a disservice if that was true of everything. They *should* be lost bunkers, survivalist caches, weird buildings tucked away that don't necessarily make sense to you, because that's Wasteland.

I would think someone who has no context at all (as in, is not even aware we *have* backer content) will think "oh that's a weird little moment", maybe they'd like there to be more info on it, but again that's part of it. Not every story has to be complete.

That said, like I said, I do think the backer stuff is something we were still learning on, and that while the idea for this shrine was fine, the execution was not.
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