So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

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So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:09 am

So I've heard the name of Bioware mentioned around here. (I'm not blind). ;) I also played DAO and NWN, and enjoyed them both. As for DA2 and DAI ... meh. Possibly it's because DAO is a tactical game where you need to control the entire party, pause, tell them what to do, use your potions/talents/spells etc ... whereas DA2 and DAI are simply "waves of enemies coming!!! KILL KILL KILL" and so on. Never mind.

Or maybe it's just that the later Dragon Age games don't have this spectaculous guy.



Anyway, here's the question: what Bioware games, earlier than DAO, are similar? (Please note that I'm aware of Mass Effect, but I'm not particularly interested in sci-fi). :|

I'm aware of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 (as well as Icewind Dale), but have not played them. I'm simply hesitant because, from what I've seen on Steam and GOG, these were "re-made" or "enhanced" by a company called Beamdog, who have a, "mixed" reputation. Some people like the re-makes, some people ... don't. :? What's your view?

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Tawmis » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:01 am

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:09 am
Anyway, here's the question: what Bioware games, earlier than DAO, are similar? (Please note that I'm aware of Mass Effect, but I'm not particularly interested in sci-fi). :|
I'm aware of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 (as well as Icewind Dale), but have not played them. I'm simply hesitant because, from what I've seen on Steam and GOG, these were "re-made" or "enhanced" by a company called Beamdog, who have a, "mixed" reputation. Some people like the re-makes, some people ... don't. :? What's your view?
Well. Beamdog is comprised of a BUNCH of Bioware people who broke off to get back to what they did before getting bought by EA.
This is why they're remaking/enhancing some of their existing games - like Neverwinter Nights. Because there's already a foundation to work off of. Probably to get some sales, bring money in, before venturing into developing a new game from the ground up.

So, by ruling out Mass Effect (especially 1 and 2), you're missing out on the closest thing you will ever get to Dragon Age: Origins.

Nothing else even comes close - except for Neverwinter Nights. But by comes close - I mean, an RPG, where you get XP, and level, and have the potential of gaining a chatty NPC to go with you. But nowhere near the caliber of what you see in DA:O (or ME1 and ME2).

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm

Oh! Fair enough. :) I just had no idea who Beamdog actually are. No problem, then. :)

As for an RPG where you get XP, level up, and have chatty NPCs to go with you ... aren't BG1/BG2/Icewind Dale etc. like that? :) I'm not sure if they're near the calibre of what you see in DA:O (or ME1 and ME2), but I've heard nothing but good things about them.

The only reason I'm wary of Mass Effect might be because I'd never played a sci-fi RPG. So I'm not sure what to expect. :? The first time (or couple of times) that I play an RPG, I like to take it slow, explore the world, understand more about it etc. It's easier for me to do that in a fantasy RPG, because the weapons aren't as lethal. Yes, an enemy might attack me with a sword, or I might get shot with an arrow, but it won't kill me right away like rifles, laser guns or plasma cannons. ;)

Is it possible to play Mass Effect that way (like a rogue in a fantasy RPG)? Or do I have to charge in, all guns blazing, and get shot to pieces? :| That's what happened when I tried to play games like Half-Life or TF2. So maybe FPSes aren't for me. ;)

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Tawmis » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:37 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
As for an RPG where you get XP, level up, and have chatty NPCs to go with you ... aren't BG1/BG2/Icewind Dale etc. like that? :)
They are - but they play more like Diablo, to me, than Dragon Age.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
I'm not sure if they're near the calibre of what you see in DA:O (or ME1 and ME2), but I've heard nothing but good things about them.
They are good games; just very different than DA/ME.

If you honestly want something similar to DA:O - then I'd recommend Pillars of Eternity. (I am pretty sure I've rambled about it a lot on here).
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
The only reason I'm wary of Mass Effect might be because I'd never played a sci-fi RPG. So I'm not sure what to expect. :? The first time (or couple of times) that I play an RPG, I like to take it slow, explore the world, understand more about it etc. It's easier for me to do that in a fantasy RPG, because the weapons aren't as lethal. Yes, an enemy might attack me with a sword, or I might get shot with an arrow, but it won't kill me right away like rifles, laser guns or plasma cannons. ;)
ME uses the same logic DA does. Technically, if someone hits you with a sword, they'd probably open your gut, cut your arm, etc. Dragon Age, you can get hit with a sword a bunch of times. ME uses the same logic - because laser guns and such - there's armor in ME that protects you just like there's armor in DA that protects you. (But I remember when I got the expansion - Return to Ostagar for DA:O - and I had the bug where I start naked - and had to fight naked). And despite not having anything but a loincloth on, I was getting hit by swords and arrows left and right and doing all right.

As for discovering the world - you can always lower the difficulty. I typically do anyway, when I get a new game, to learn the mechanics.

I am by far, more the fantasy type person. I love Star Wars and such, but other than the MMO - I really don't play many Star Wars games (even the flight sims, of X-WING, TIE FIGHTER, X-WING vs TIE FIGHTER, etc). I played Mass Effect because it was Bioware - and I figured I'd love it and I did. Same thing with Jade Empire - not normally super big into the Japanese lore and such - Jade Empire was so enjoyable, I began developing more of that type of lore into my own D&D world.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
Is it possible to play Mass Effect that way (like a rogue in a fantasy RPG)? Or do I have to charge in, all guns blazing, and get shot to pieces? :| That's what happened when I tried to play games like Half-Life or TF2. So maybe FPSes aren't for me. ;)
If you consider Dragon Age: Origins to be the same as Heretic - then, yes Mass Effect is like Half-Life.

If you don't, then Mass Effect is just a SciFi version of Dragon Age. :)

You can stealth - because there are different classes - but just like Dragon Age, there is going to be a lot of fighting - no matter the class.



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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by notbobsmith » Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:33 pm

Another excellent Bioware RPG is Knights of the Old Republic. It's essentially D&D with Force Powers instead of magic and light sabers instead of swords. The game console even shows the "dice rolls". I've always felt that KOTOR was a rough draft of the first Mass Effect. The game is structured similarly in that you visit a bunch of planets to find "the Piece of the Puzzle". You spend points on combat skills or tech/biotic abilities. A persuade/intimidate mechanic. Mass Effect 1 was much more recognizable as an RPG than its sequels.

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Tawmis » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:05 pm

notbobsmith wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:33 pm
Another excellent Bioware RPG is Knights of the Old Republic. It's essentially D&D with Force Powers instead of magic and light sabers instead of swords. The game console even shows the "dice rolls". I've always felt that KOTOR was a rough draft of the first Mass Effect. The game is structured similarly in that you visit a bunch of planets to find "the Piece of the Puzzle". You spend points on combat skills or tech/biotic abilities. A persuade/intimidate mechanic. Mass Effect 1 was much more recognizable as an RPG than its sequels.
True. I had also played KOTOR, and even KOTORII (which was picked up by Obsidian, who also did NWN2).

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by DeadPoolX » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:19 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
The only reason I'm wary of Mass Effect might be because I'd never played a sci-fi RPG. So I'm not sure what to expect. :? The first time (or couple of times) that I play an RPG, I like to take it slow, explore the world, understand more about it etc.
The only way to learn what to expect is to try a sci-fi RPG. Otherwise you're simply playing and replaying the same stuff and that's boring.

The ME games definitely have a world (many worlds, actually, and a few space stations, including a station that's practically a world itself) to explore.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
It's easier for me to do that in a fantasy RPG, because the weapons aren't as lethal. Yes, an enemy might attack me with a sword, or I might get shot with an arrow, but it won't kill me right away like rifles, laser guns or plasma cannons. ;)
None of what you said makes sense at all because you're attempting to apply real-world logic here when there is none (or at least, very little) in any RPG.

For instance, full plate armor makes you invulnerable to bladed weapons in real life and was extremely resistant to arrows and bolts. A well-made suit of plate was also very flexible and the weight was distributed all over the body (and weighed less than what most modern soldiers carry on their backs), so knights were very fast and agile. Contrast this with an RPG where any weapon can damage someone, regardless of what armor they're wearing, and most RPGs apply strength requirements and movement penalties to plate armor, incorrectly assuming it'll weigh you down to the point where you're slow to move and fight.

You're also forgetting magic in fantasy RPGs, which throw all realism out the door. When you can conjure creatures, lightning storms, and fiery tornadoes out of nowhere, your argument against energy weapons (which are actually more realistic in comparison) falls flat.

You also need to realize that the ME series is balanced for long-range weaponry. One shot won't kill you, even if one shot can (depending on the weapon) kill the enemy if they lack armor and shields/biotic barriers. You can also pause the game to issue orders to teammates and take your time to aim tech skills and biotic abilities at the enemy.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:25 pm
Is it possible to play Mass Effect that way (like a rogue in a fantasy RPG)? Or do I have to charge in, all guns blazing, and get shot to pieces? :| That's what happened when I tried to play games like Half-Life or TF2. So maybe FPSes aren't for me. ;)
Not really, no. The only class that allows you to effectively stealth yourself is the Infiltrator (Maia played this class) and in this case cloaking only lasts for a set number of seconds. You're not going to turn invisible and scout out large areas.

On the flipside, the Infiltrator class also gets bonuses to using sniper rifles as time literally slows down when you're looking through your rifle's scope. In ME2 and ME3 you'll acquire sniper rifles that can punch through armor and kill two or three enemies at once with one shot, provided you've lined up that shot correctly. Maia did this a lot.

That said... running into a room guns blazing is often a good way to get yourself killed. While you can't really be stealthy like a rogue (unless the mission calls for it, and some did in ME2), you can't be an idiot and step into a room full of enemies who're waiting to fire at the first thing that moves.

The ME series is also a cover-based third-person shooter/RPG, not a first-person shooter, like Half-Life and TF2. The differences between the two genres is immense, and most people who find FPS games overwhelming (or nauseating due to motion sickness) do quite well in TPS games.
notbobsmith wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:33 pm
Another excellent Bioware RPG is Knights of the Old Republic. It's essentially D&D with Force Powers instead of magic and light sabers instead of swords. The game console even shows the "dice rolls". I've always felt that KOTOR was a rough draft of the first Mass Effect. The game is structured similarly in that you visit a bunch of planets to find "the Piece of the Puzzle". You spend points on combat skills or tech/biotic abilities. A persuade/intimidate mechanic.
I don't think Rath has ever seen a Star Wars movie (as unbelievable as that may seem) and probably has no interest in the IP at all, so much of KoTOR's charm would be lost on him. Also, KoTOR is older than either ME1 or DAO, and it shows not just in its graphics, but its gameplay, storytelling, and black-and-white decision making. There's one Light Side/Dark Side choice in KoTOR that still pisses me off to this day (Maia has heard me rant about it for years) because the decisions available were so rigidly binary that the entire thing became stupid.
notbobsmith wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:33 pm
Mass Effect 1 was much more recognizable as an RPG than its sequels.
True, but it also had a very awkward combat system and a ton of BS involving the Mako. I honestly think that ME1 is the weakest in the series. ME2 and ME3 are a lot more fun and have better stories, characters, decisions, and far more varied missions. Unfortunately, ME1 is needed or those two games don't make much sense (plus, there are a couple of decisions in ME1 that drastically change ME2 and ME3).
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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:48 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:19 pm
For instance, full plate armor makes you invulnerable to bladed weapons in real life and was extremely resistant to arrows and bolts. A well-made suit of plate was also very flexible and the weight was distributed all over the body (and weighed less than what most modern soldiers carry on their backs), so knights were very fast and agile. Contrast this with an RPG where any weapon can damage someone, regardless of what armor they're wearing, and most RPGs apply strength requirements and movement penalties to plate armor, incorrectly assuming it'll weigh you down to the point where you're slow to move and fight.
Sure, I understand that. In fact, I'd heard that medieval knights trained in plate armour until they were able to swim in it, or vault into the saddle of a horse, while wearing it. That'd be impossible if it was as heavy as RPGs assume. ;)

Besides, if you train to wear armour for years (as knights did), wearing it becomes easier over time. Right?
DeadPoolX wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:19 pm
I don't think Rath has ever seen a Star Wars movie (as unbelievable as that may seem) and probably has no interest in the IP at all, so much of KoTOR's charm would be lost on him.
The last time I saw a Star Wars film in its entirety, I think, was back in 1984-5. IIRC, it was "Return of the Jedi" (on TV). I was very young at the time (maybe about 9 or 10?), so there were some things I found boring and many I didn't understand. So. ;)

I've seen a few scenes of SW here and there since then, but yeah, it didn't interest me.

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:41 am

You strike me as the kind of person to never give anything you don't have long-standing firsthand experience in a chance.

Don't get me wrong, I do this too. But I consider it a failing in myself. It limits you from having possible new wonderful experiences you'll never forget. For example, I have always refused to play Dragon Age. Or Final Fantasy. Actually, Mass Effect too. Because I don't like most RPG games at all (I prefer Skyrim to Morrowind to give a hopefully clearer idea). I'm going to have to play them one of these days though. I suggest just going out and trying new things with an open mind. :)

For instance, one does not simply not care for Star Wars...you've never experienced it properly. Coming in on the last film of a trilogy (the film itself of which wasn't even considered the best) without knowing any of the characters or any of the context of their motivations wouldn't be enough to grab anybody. So that was an unfair experience and you're robbing yourself. It's a lot harder to honestly go back and give something a fair shake after you've made your mind up about something. But I implore you to at least try it. With SOMETHING.
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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Tawmis » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:52 pm

MusicallyInspired wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:41 am
For instance, one does not simply not care for Star Wars...you've never experienced it properly. Coming in on the last film of a trilogy (the film itself of which wasn't even considered the best) without knowing any of the characters or any of the context of their motivations wouldn't be enough to grab anybody. So that was an unfair experience and you're robbing yourself.
Veer this off topic (not you, me - with what I am about to say) - to the above.
I can completely vouch for the above - as it happened with me. My best friend who I've known since the 4th grade (which was many, many, many, - well too many's to mention! - moons ago) - kept telling me how fun "Big Bang Theory" (the TV show) was. And my wife and I, every so often would try to watch an episode. And I didn't get into it. I get they were nerds - so something I should have connected with. But I never got into it. Then, one day - we decided to binge it from first season, first episode - and became hooked. Because we got a foundation for who these characters were and how they interacted with one another.

But that said, I fall into the same category of not giving things a shot. I would rather re-read Dragonlance, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, rather than read a new book. Several friends have told me about the Dresden Files series of books - and one of my D&D players even sent me one of the books. I've yet to read it.

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:36 pm

I've heard good things about Dresden but I just don't read lol. I did actually watch the short-lived TV series they made from it which was prematurely cancelled (kind of like Firefly). I was starting to enjoy it quite a bit. A shame it got pulled really.
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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by DeadPoolX » Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:37 pm

We all become more resistant to change and/or new experiences (to some degree) as we age. It's partly that broadening our horizons requires time (which is in short supply from about your mid-20s to your early 60s), but also because it requires effort. Often the amount of effort we wish to exert is tied to how much free time we have, in that people typically refrain from expending a great deal of energy on something new if they have limited time. They'd rather engage in some activity or watch something they know they enjoy.

Obviously, the downside to all of this is that we might be missing out on some great hobbies, movies, TV shows, etc.

For instance... in general, I despise the fantasy genre. Does that seem unfair? It is, especially because what I really dislike is D&D and Tolkien, not fantasy in and of itself. I enjoyed the Dragon Age series and I've liked other fantastical television series, like His Dark Materials or Game of Thrones.

However, the moment the fantasy genre is brought up, I have to make a huge effort to avoid lumping all fantasy in with one another. I still don't like as much fantasy as Maia, but I like more than I might have otherwise thought had I not given any fantasy games or TV shows a try.

Rath, my impression is that because lore is important to you and you're not a big sci-fi fan, your major concern in playing a sci-fi game series (like Mass Effect) is all the effort it'll take to learn an entirely new setting, rules, etc. With fantasy — which you have a lot of experience with — you know there are certain constants and similarities between each fantasy IP, so while they may all differ somewhat, they're nowhere near as foreign to you as science fiction.

I'd strongly suggest giving the Mass Effect series a try, especially now that the Legendary edition remake is around or will be soon. I'd also recommend you watch all the Star Wars movies (all of which are more "fantasy in space" rather than sci-fi), but make sure to watch them as they were released, not by episode number. In other words, watch A New Hope first, despite it being Episode 4, because it was released in 1977. If you watch the movies as they were released (and originally intended to view) you'll get the full effect, as opposed to watching them in series chronological order, starting with The Phantom Menace (Episode 1).
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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Tawmis » Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:55 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:37 pm
For instance... in general, I despise the fantasy genre. Does that seem unfair? It is, especially because what I really dislike is D&D and Tolkien, not fantasy in and of itself.
Exac-wait-what? :lol:
Tolkien - fine, some people can't get into what he did.
D&D, though?
I don't wanna veer this off topic, but I'd love to hear your thoughts in the D&D Thread.
DeadPoolX wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:37 pm
I still don't like as much fantasy as Maia
How is she anyway? And whose soul do we need to sacrifice to get her to swing by here? :lol:
DeadPoolX wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:37 pm
Rath, my impression is that because lore is important to you and you're not a big sci-fi fan, your major concern in playing a sci-fi game series (like Mass Effect) is all the effort it'll take to learn an entirely new setting, rules, etc. With fantasy — which you have a lot of experience with — you know there are certain constants and similarities between each fantasy IP, so while they may all differ somewhat, they're nowhere near as foreign to you as science fiction.
Mass Effect does a wonderful job creating lore and making it available. Similar to Dragon Age, or any game that's new - the lore of it is unknown. A good game gives you the lore in a way that it's not overwhelming - but breathes life into the game. DA did this. ME does this as well.

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:20 am

Fair enough. I'll definitely put Mass Effect on my list as the next game to try! :) Thank you to you all. :)

DPX, I think you're right: lore is important to me. If I'm interested enough in a game to play it, obviously I'd like to know more about it - and RPGs (either fantasy or sci-fi) take a good, long time to understand and master. ;)

I honestly don't remember, after Star Wars, of having watched another sci-fi film for a good while. It may be that "Alien" (which came out not long after SW?) put me off sci-fi for a long while, mainly because of the "chest burst" scene. :shock: The next sci-fi film I can remember was "Total Recall", which I enjoyed despite not really being "into" sci-fi. ;) After that ... I can't recall watching and enjoying a sci-fi film, except for a recent viewing of "Spaceballs" (which made me laugh out loud, and which probably ruined any chance that I'd enjoy SW!) :D

Oddly enough, I enjoyed "Space Quest" in spite of not knowing much (or just enough?) about SW or ST. But I've definitely read (and loved) some sci-fi books and short stories by some of the sci-fi giants, like Asimov and Heinlein. So, I guess, I'm not as "anti-sci-fi" as all that! ;)

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Re: So ... I'm just wondering. (Bioware question)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:00 am

All right, I've looked into ME games on Steam. The more I have, the more obstacles I find that EA's putting in my way. :?

- ME1 wants me to agree to the ME EULA (no probs) and "EA Play subscription" (which I need to pay every month to play a game? What's this about?)

- ME2 just wants me to agree to the ME2 EULA.

- ME2 "Digital Deluxe Edition" (whatever that is) also wants me to subscribe (and pay) "EA Play".

- ME3 "Digital Deluxe Edition", and ME: Andromeda "Deluxe Edition" ... both of these ask a lot.

1. Install EA DRM (i.e. Origin client).
2. Login to Origin client AND Steam
3. Link EA Account to Steam Account
4. Subscribe (and pay) to use EA Play, whatever that is.
5. And after all that, you can play the damn games. :P

Sigh. Isn't there a way to take any of this offline? :lol:

I'm not sure what "EA Play" is, or what the "Digital Deluxe Editions" of these games are. And I'm pretty sure, from what I've seen about DRM, that it generally allows the game company/companies to spy on you, bombard you with spam, and sell your details to whoever they want so they can do the same. (TL:DR? Not A Good Thing(TM)). ;)

So ... has EA now followed the Blizzard/WOW business model? i.e. "Pay us for the game -- and THEN pay us another (smaller) amount every month or you can't play your game! Take THAT, you so-and-so customer you!" :P

Sorry, that's just what it feels like, but I'm confused. Am I wrong?

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