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Waypoint |OT| video games...are good

spiritfox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,761
The early part of 2.x is rough and bad (much in the way that all of ARR to that point is rough and bad), but as it went on it became the point that I started to trust in what the game was doing in terms of storytelling. And I kind of want to get into (tagged) specifics, because everyone's been dancing around it. If you don't want to know the story, don't read.

The base Realm Reborn campaign is the most trite sort of chosen-one hero tale, a non-stop parade of fetch quests and chores that allows you to earn the trust of everyone you meet and bring the whole gang together so you can take on the Evil Empire and save the day. But after you have repelled the bad guys, the story continues, and everyone has to figure out how they're going to handle the peace. Though other threats and issues come up over the course of 2.x (which are paid off further down the road), the key question is what you and the three nations of the Eorzean Alliance are going to do with the momentum built up after everyone teamed up for this big military operation. And the world finally starts pushing back on you, because you and your friends fuck up bad.

You start spending more time with the main gang of heroes, the Scions, as they start to take the lead in organizing the unified front. Though the biggest, most pressing threats have been addressed, there are a number of persistent problems that need to be tackled. The Primal gods keep popping up and wreaking havoc, there are dark cloaked figures linked to their repeated summoning, there are stubborn neighbors in the north who won't join the Alliance and are fighting a war against dragons, and the Empire could come back at any time. The Scions decide the best way to handle these problems is to put together an organization under a unified banner that can help bring the might of all three nations of Eorzea to bear.

That's a wonderful thing, in theory. The problem is that the three nations all have their own shit to deal with, and only so many resources they can spend on things when they've just spent lives in a war, there's a persistent refugee crisis, and things still need rebuilding. So the Scions have to look elsewhere for funding and manpower. Fortunately, they find that through one of the trade guild leaders of the sultanate/oligarchy of Ul'dah, willing to contribute some of his fortune for the cause. All well and good, because who wouldn't want to pitch in fighting the good fight against chaos and bad things?

What the Scions fail to appreciate, to their great detriment at the end of this arc, is that these resources come at a cost. The more problems they try to tackle at once, the more they're stretched thin, the less they can supervise, the more they have to delegate to people more beholden to the man with the purse strings than the purity of the cause. And he's more interested in domestic power politics than creating some pie-in-the-sky utopia. You gradually begin to realize the plot unfurling in your midst, but it's too late to prevent what's coming. When it all comes to a head in a massive sequence of cutscenes at the end of the patch, the Scions are scattered to the winds, pariahs in the land they had saved.

This is not the greatest story itself, nor is its delivery without flaw. Heavensward is a significant step above it. But it worked very well for me when I played through it back in March this year for a few reasons.
- While you're drowning in dozens of quests, that multiplicity of plotlines gives you the sense of spinning all these different plates, showing how your group would be distracted from the fatal flaws in the organizational structure they built.
- You're spending more time with the Scions, who start to get some real development, establishing character arcs that will develop over the rest of the series.
- The world transitions from a straightforward place pitting good against evil to a complicated political map where factions with different interests jockey for power. As a result, unlike in ARR, you can't solve every problem by being the strongest, most special individual in the world.

Heavensward builds a lot on those last two things with its story. The character work is a huge step up from the base game, and its thousand-year war between a regimented theocracy and long-lived dragons rings truer because bringing about change is appropriately messy and complicated, though not impossible. Unlike ARR, it's actually excellent.

I felt a lot like Austin when I was blasting through the base game, unsure why I was playing so much content that was just bad. I'm not sure if it was "worth it" to make that journey, but having made it, there are actually green pastures on the other side of those mountains.
Congrats on getting quoted on the podcast lol.
 

FaulPern

Member
Dec 1, 2017
245
Switzerland
As a result, unlike in ARR, you can't solve every problem by being the strongest, most special individual in the world.
I guess this is why Stormblood didn't land as well for me as Heavensward since the twist is that
you aren't the strongest anymore again
A lot of their portrayal of fascism feels like Star Wars too, in that it's simplistic?

Anyway I can't wait for Lore Reasons on this game, all of the story discussion on this game is just "Shadowbringers is the best FF ever", "FF14 is about pOliTiCs", or the eternal "I don't have time to sit through 300 hours"
 

Mafro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,226
I'm glad Austin and Patrick completely shot down that annoying "why don't they just start a Patreon and do their own site" argument during the Deadspin discussion.
 

TheShampion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
666
When I hear Austin talk about how he just wants more systems in games, even if he isn't going to use them, I can hear the implicit meaning behind those words almost as clear as day, "MORE GAMES SHOULD BE LIKE FANTASY LIFE."

Which, to be fair, I can agree with as well.
 

citrusred

Member
Oct 28, 2017
849
Fantasy life wasn't as good as it shoudl have been. Level-5 is one of those developers where every time I conince myself I'll like their game and then get board a few hours after playing. I don't think I'd even like Dark Chronicle if I went back and played it today.
 

Hellsing321

Member
Oct 30, 2017
903
I’m glad Austin is starting to find things he enjoys in FFXIV. Where he’s at is also where I started to enjoy my time with it back when I started last March. The Crystal Tower raids are very fun though they are extremely easy since everyone is over geared for it nowadays and the Hildebrand quest are goofy fun and have some really fun boss fights in them.

There are some long slogs of bullshit still to come in the 2.X patch quests before Heavensward but around 2.4 when things start picking up.
 

ArjanN

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,017
I'm curious to hear more about Jedi Fallen Order beyond just "it doesn't control like Sekiro"
I know comparing everything to Dark Souls isn't even funny as a meme any more, but it really is pretty shamelessly Dark Souls-y.

When I hear Austin talk about how he just wants more systems in games, even if he isn't going to use them, I can hear the implicit meaning behind those words almost as clear as day, "MORE GAMES SHOULD BE LIKE FANTASY LIFE."

Which, to be fair, I can agree with as well.
That discussion cleared up a bit more for me why Austin isn't that into Outer Worlds, even though IMO it still seems a bit too much looking at it through the lens of what he wanted it to be instead of what it is.

it also kind of explains why he liked Fallout 4 as it's a sandbox with a lot of systems with enough freedom that someone like Austin can see the good bits even if he has to imagine most of them himself.
 

Sabas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,936
Spooky Patrick voice is spooky. Also I'd be curious to know what their podcasting setup is like. They generally sound pretty good and consistent.

As opposed to Three Moves Ahead where you get like a mix of varying quality and one that sounds like they're recording off the laptop mic on an old dell or whatever
 

GLAVONAK

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,628
I was very confused at first and thought it was a clip from a different episode with a guest they hadn’t had on before lol
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,776
I played like 40 hours of Fantasy Life and never got past the second or third big area and it was my GOTY

it’s the ultimate satisfyingly checking things off a list game, cause I was playing almost all the classes (everything except the other 3 of the 4 combat classes, I think I just did bows for combat) so I would make huge lists of stuff to get, cross it all off and come back to town, craft a ton of stuff cyclically, it ruled
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,043
By the way, rumblings at the Dragon Prince studio about being a really bad workplace for women, especially queer women. I know Dannika left a while ago, so the Waypoint connection is now tenuous, but yeesh nonetheless.
 

GLAVONAK

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,628
By the way, rumblings at the Dragon Prince studio about being a really bad workplace for women, especially queer women. I know Dannika left a while ago, so the Waypoint connection is now tenuous, but yeesh nonetheless.
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Sabas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,936
Yeah the stuff about Wonderstorm is fucked up. Glad she's enjoying her new job at webtoon though.
 

Brakke

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,400
I don’t really get Danika’s like... posture on this thing.


How is this not “public tweets” when she’s straight naming a guy in public? Leaving it all mysterious whether he’s a sex pest or a male chauvinist jerk doesn’t make this not a public accusation. Keeping the substantive complaint vague leaves a lot of room to speculate so...? What punch is she pulling?
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,043
Austin's outer worlds and fallout/ elder Scrolls talk is make me think about an elder Scrolls with like what I think is death strandings online connected community world? Like short of an mmo but something like a sense of community? Still he is really driving at something I am really missing with outer worlds even though I absolutely hated fallout 4
 

JimD

Member
Aug 17, 2018
149
I don’t really get Danika’s like... posture on this thing.


How is this not “public tweets” when she’s straight naming a guy in public? Leaving it all mysterious whether he’s a sex pest or a male chauvinist jerk doesn’t make this not a public accusation. Keeping the substantive complaint vague leaves a lot of room to speculate so...? What punch is she pulling?
I’m guessing it’s a lot harder to prove defamation based on a series of vague tweets than a specific accusation where the minutiae could be disputed. Like Ehasz could attack one aspect (“I wasn’t even in the office on X date.”) but would have a harder time with more general feelings (“No, I’m absolutely sure I’ve never shut down women when they speak up about the writing, or made the workplace feel unsafe.”)

My general impression is that Danika was saying she isn’t comfortable going public with a specific accusation, but she couldn’t let another person speak up publicly without posting in support, vague though it may be.
 

Dogpostsonly

Member
Oct 23, 2019
40
Thank god Austin has finally played a Stalker game. The first and third are some of my favourite games of all time and I love to hear smart critics like Rob and Austin talk about them.
 

bulbasort

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
162
I don’t really get Danika’s like... posture on this thing.


How is this not “public tweets” when she’s straight naming a guy in public? Leaving it all mysterious whether he’s a sex pest or a male chauvinist jerk doesn’t make this not a public accusation. Keeping the substantive complaint vague leaves a lot of room to speculate so...? What punch is she pulling?
One of the later tweets in the thread implies that at least part of the difference is replies vs timeline tweets.
 

Mafro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,226
Thank god Austin has finally played a Stalker game. The first and third are some of my favourite games of all time and I love to hear smart critics like Rob and Austin talk about them.
Would love a Waypoint 101 for it. Call of Pripyat is one of my favourite games ever.

Just noticed last night that Nick Breckon from Idle Thumbs started a playghtough of Shadow of Chernobyl so I'll be watching that later. It was actually Idle Thumbs that got me into the series when Chris Remo was playing it years ago during the podcast's first run. Just realised that game is 10 years old now.
 

Dogpostsonly

Member
Oct 23, 2019
40
Damn I forgot Nick is streaming these days, I should check that out.

I’d love a waypoint 101 but appreciate that’s probably not feasible these days. I’m just so glad someone like Austin who will really appreciate Stalker has finally had the chance to play.
 

maped

Member
Mar 7, 2018
94
That discussion cleared up a bit more for me why Austin isn't that into Outer Worlds, even though IMO it still seems a bit too much looking at it through the lens of what he wanted it to be instead of what it is.

it also kind of explains why he liked Fallout 4 as it's a sandbox with a lot of systems with enough freedom that someone like Austin can see the good bits even if he has to imagine most of them himself.
Yeah, from where I'm coming from as a big fan of Fallout 1&2, Outer Worlds is almost exactly what I wanted and expected. I've only got about 8 hours in the first area and haven't listened to the more spoilery WPR discussions, but pretty much everything I've seen and heard so far makes TOW seem like a straight up spiritual successor to the first two Fallouts. The quasi-open areas are just the POI's of the isometric games with the random encounters sprinkled in and the story and quest structure is pretty much identical with the emphasis on character spec and playing the character instead of roleplaying. The loot system in the game sucks and is needlessly complicated and elaborate, and from my point of view same goes for the combat system, but I guess they are something expected of these kind of games even if they don't really contribute anything to it. Personally I'd happily go back to the turn-based system of the old games and I think it gives the different character builds more chance differentiate, right now the combat is either so easy or on hard so bursty that it's basically just live or die without much tactical depth.
 

mnz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,785
Yeah, I never wanted The Outer Worlds to be like Fallout 4. I'm specifically playing it because it isn't. Too much talk of what the game isn't instead of talking about what is there. It's not like Obsidian ever pretended it would be anyway.

I also super disagree on Rob's take that stealth is generally the boring option, but I'm not entirely sure what he was actually trying to say there. It feels extremely risky when done right. It's the dealing with a lack of information that makes it so tense. Shooting everyone in a room doesn't quite give me the same suspense.
 

Patapuf

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,146
Yeah, i don't think OW is missing Fallout stuff. Rather, the systems it has need to be better. And ideally some of the writing too.

For me system driven open world games have this thin line where i love Stalker or Gothic but i dislike Bethesthas approach. Basically when you start to notice that a world is too big to be handcrafted, the lack of mechanical depth quickly starts to bother me.
 
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ReginaldXIV

Member
Nov 4, 2017
922
Minnesota
I've been having a hard time getting in to The Outer Worlds, and I think it's because: 1. I've been playing Disco Elysium before the game came out and 2. Supernova isn't actually hard and the added systems just make everything more tedious than me being nervous about dying or making the wrong choices.

Also Austin is getting to the point in FFXIV where it's a non-stop ride for 3 whole expansions.
 
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Mezentine

Mezentine

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,724
I think Rob sort of hit the nail on the head in describing why Outer Worlds just doesn't...look that interesting to me. There's a lot of stuff that looks like its in there because "this is what people want from an RPG", but I'm past the phase where just having those systems provides enough novelty for me. I've snuck into backdoors with a lockpicking check. A lot of them.

And while this isn't a standard that I expect many games, especially big budget ones, to be able to meet I'm increasingly interested in games that reject the idea that "a diegetically questionable amount of violent combat will form the backbone of gameplay". I'm really looking forward to digging into Disco Elysium after hearing that it has no real formal combat systems at all
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,043
I think Rob sort of hit the nail on the head in describing why Outer Worlds just doesn't...look that interesting to me. There's a lot of stuff that looks like its in there because "this is what people want from an RPG", but I'm past the phase where just having those systems provides enough novelty for me. I've snuck into backdoors with a lockpicking check. A lot of them.

And while this isn't a standard that I expect many games, especially big budget ones, to be able to meet I'm increasingly interested in games that reject the idea that "a diegetically questionable amount of violent combat will form the backbone of gameplay". I'm really looking forward to digging into Disco Elysium after hearing that it has no real formal combat systems at all
i was slightly annoyed that the first thing you do is kill some dudes and it's never, like, why are these people bandits, how does my character feel about waking up from a cryo pod and immediately just killing these dudes even though you're like a shop cashier or something. i mean i don't know if i think every RPG should be like 'are you a murderhobo?' but I kinda vaguely expected this one to be that way
 
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Mezentine

Mezentine

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,724
i was slightly annoyed that the first thing you do is kill some dudes and it's never, like, why are these people bandits, how does my character feel about waking up from a cryo pod and immediately just killing these dudes even though you're like a shop cashier or something. i mean i don't know if i think every RPG should be like 'are you a murderhobo?' but I kinda vaguely expected this one to be that way
Like its kind of a running joke how little the Bethesda Fallout games do to present a fictional sort of ecosystem that even remotely works, but Outer Worlds, at least based on THAT BIG CHOICE early on everyone keeps talking about, is a game that seems to have ideas about social and resource ecosystems on its mind, which makes the fact that the bandits are completely politically non-existent sound really frustrating
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,043
ESPECIALLY in a game that immediately presents you with one faction that is a group of 'legitimate' breakaways from the company town. What about these other breakaways from the company town? They attack you on sight tho so like whatever. Which I get from both a story and a gameplay perspective, but it's still... weirdly dissonant.
 

Pikachu

Traded his Bone Marrow for Pizza
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,263
Never quite understood the decision to leave Waypoint for the show with 12 FPS. I’m happy that her newest job is better.
 

KingKong

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,212
ESPECIALLY in a game that immediately presents you with one faction that is a group of 'legitimate' breakaways from the company town. What about these other breakaways from the company town? They attack you on sight tho so like whatever. Which I get from both a story and a gameplay perspective, but it's still... weirdly dissonant.
its the classic RPG problem of having you, a stranger, make grand decisions with barely any context. since they already have you travel back and forth they could have easily introduced the town and the problem, had you go to the ship to get more information and see other planets and then go back to make an informed decision.

but then again pretty much every game critic did nothing but talk about that first town and what they chose so I guess it worked
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,043
i think i've been playing/listening to too much tabletop now, i guess my expectations for quest structure stuff is rapidly outpacing what games can do (unless the character is already embedded in the world as someone with agency/desires?)

although that's maybe one of the reasons i like new vegas, because the setup isn't "you're just some dude I guess and you got roped into it" it's "you're some dude and you got roped into it because THIS DUDE FUCKIN' SHOT YOU IN THE HEAD, KILL THAT FUCKER"
 
Oct 27, 2017
633
Listening to the Waypoint podcast, where Rob talks about the metaphors in Death Stranding... he describes them as heavy handed but some of them are pretty well done. And then listening to the Beastcast where it seems like they either didn't pick up on these or they just disagree on them. It makes me realize the level of critque that comes from the Waypoint crew, and I'll say specifically Rob, is really good. Different strokes for different folks ofcourse, I really enjoyed the convo on the Beastcast, but it feels good to hear about the actual content of the games.
Can't speak to the Beastcast cause I've already forgotten that discussion haha, feels like a million years ago. But the Bombcast's coverage this week was excellent, and was probably the most I've enjoyed them discussing a game this year.
 

maped

Member
Mar 7, 2018
94
ESPECIALLY in a game that immediately presents you with one faction that is a group of 'legitimate' breakaways from the company town. What about these other breakaways from the company town? They attack you on sight tho so like whatever. Which I get from both a story and a gameplay perspective, but it's still... weirdly dissonant.
There are quests and conversations that give some light background on the marauders, but yeah, them just being the first hostiles out the gate is a bit boring.
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,969
Like its kind of a running joke how little the Bethesda Fallout games do to present a fictional sort of ecosystem that even remotely works, but Outer Worlds, at least based on THAT BIG CHOICE early on everyone keeps talking about, is a game that seems to have ideas about social and resource ecosystems on its mind, which makes the fact that the bandits are completely politically non-existent sound really frustrating
Yeah it sucks extra in a game that pretends to be about politics, specifically the ravages of capitalism. For marauders to be complete non-entities that the game never even once makes you question if murdering them all without a second thought is a complete failure of world-building.
 

Rez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,516
I keep trying to get into FATT, but I have such a hard time following a story in podcast form. I usually listen to them while driving, and if I miss something crucial it’s impossible to scrub back and figure out what it was.

it’s like a three hour barrage of the classic “shit, this game sounds awesome, I really hope they say the name of it again before moving on”