Bioware's Dragon Age bits

Slowly but surely, information about Dragon Age is being revealed:

http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/dragon-age/514178p1.html

Some notable quotes:

This is a spiritual successor to all or our recent games," said BioWare cofounder Greg Zeschuk. "This melds the fun of party interaction from Baldur’s Gate, the community and multiplayer aspect of Neverwinter Nights and the tactical combat of Knights of the Old Republic.

Sounds promising, but not especially informative. But it’s early, so that’s to be expected.

Zeschuk said that the story and world is what should set the game apart from other traditional fantasy RPGs. “We plan on having the usual humor and grand settings of our previous games,”

In this space, I have complete faith in Bioware. Time and time again, they’ve shown that they know characters and story. Er, okay, the Neverwinter Nights official campaign might be the sole exception. But I think they had a different focus then. Let’s hope their focus is more encompassing this time around.

Dragon Age will also be based on an all-new engine and will ship with mod tools to let players create custom content.

My guess is that the mod tools will be more like Morrowind’s mod tools and less like those that came with Neverwinter Nights. In other words, they will probably not be as powerful, but at least they haven’t totally forgotten this feature.

But BioWare also said players can “participate in massive battles,” meaning the game’s tactical combat may be on a larger scale than most RPGs.

Not sure what to make of this. Half RPG, half RTS? I hope not.

What an odd thing to say. KOTOR’s combat wasn’t particularly tactical, or well good for that matter. You controlled multiple characters but it was kludgy to switch between them and the various skills, powers, and characters weren’t synergistic, complementary, or dependent beyond the most basic “powerup” case. There just weren’t any real tactics of note in KOTOR at all.

Their most tactical combat was the mage duels in BG2 and the large battles in BG2:ToB.

What an odd thing to say. KOTOR’s combat wasn’t particularly tactical, or well good for that matter. You controlled multiple characters but it was kludgy to switch between them and the various skills, powers, and characters weren’t synergistic, complementary, or dependent beyond the most basic “powerup” case. There just weren’t any real tactics of note in KOTOR at all.

Their most tactical combat was the mage duels in BG2 and the large battles in BG2:ToB.[/quote]
That is sort of out of context, if you read the whole thing you get the feeling he wanted to mention the strong points of each of their good/popular RPGs. Or, mention them at the very least.

I agree with you though, in that BG2 had more tactical combat than KOTOR or NWN. But I do think that the KOTOR combat was a big improvement over NWN and it was the first real-time combat in an RPG that made me feel like I had total control over my party, which is one the big draws of TB combat for me.

olaf

I still liked the real-time external, turn-based interal of the Infinity Engine (esp. BG2&ToB) games better than the Aurora and later engine games. The problem with 3D games trying to do isometric is always the camera being really annoying. The nice thing about 2D isometric is you don’t have to worry about not being able to see what you should, and not worry about stuff you shouldn’t be focusing too much on. Although 2D isometric games doing characters behind foreground 2D “objects” sometimes are wonky too. So maybe I’m just overlooking that…

I thought the action queue worked really well in KOTOR, better than the one in NWN for sure, and I dont think the Infinity engine allowed queuing at all. That is why I liked it. I always knew what my guys were doing and what they were going to do.

olaf

Yeah, the que was a nice feature. KOTOR’s combat just wasn’t as deep as BG’s could be. I agree it was basically a situation where whoever wrote the copy needed to work all the hits in to the blurb.

Yeah, the que was a nice feature. KOTOR’s combat just wasn’t as deep as BG’s could be. I agree it was basically a situation where whoever wrote the copy needed to work all the hits in to the blurb.

I don’t think it was meant to be as deep. KOTOR did a remarkable job of fitting in the quick, fluid combat you would expect from a Star Wars property into an RPG combat setting. I love the combat in the Infinity Engine games but I’m not sure it would have been the right choice for a Star Wars property.

Fallacy: Damning with faint praise.

Which is to say, thumb wrestling is better than NWN’s combat.

Come to think of it, thumb wrestling is probably better than KOTOR’s combat too.

The game basically looks like Bioware is trying to take the best of BG and NWN and combine them. It was basically a tech demo we saw. The game is party-based but you can let the AI control all but one character if you want, or you can control them all.

The massive battles thing is a bit unclear, but it was basically Bioware saying they wanted to get away from the culminating series of small fights that lead to a big boss fight at the bottom of a dungeon.

Fallacy: Damning with faint praise.[/quote]

Idiocy: Damning without knowing what the hell you’re talking about.

— Alan

I thought KotOR had one of the best combat systems I’ve ever seen in an RPG. I’d put it up there with some of my turn-based favorites, like Fallout.

The best combat I’ve seen in an RPG was in the otherwise worthless Temple of Elemental Evil.

But I like true tactical combat a bunch. KOTOR’s combat was cool with me, but it didn’t really have the depth to make me love it. I’ll learn, though, I don’t imagine turn based isometric combat has much of a future in PC RPGs.

ToEE had a horrible interface. I really hate those wheel selection scheme things (was also my one complaint about Torment and also towards NWN).

ToEE had a horrible interface. I really hate those wheel selection scheme things (was also my one complaint about Torment and also towards NWN).[/quote]
I dont like that radial crap either, but the combat itself was great. The most tactical CRPG combat I have ever seen, easily.

olaf

For the type of game they were doing, I thought KotOR’s combat worked great. A complex tactical system (especially a turn-based one) would have slowed things down and made for some dull lightsaber combat. I thought KotOR did a great job of balancing tactical combat and with an action feel–it wasn’t a reflex-oriented game, but it looked like one. But then it also had some depth with the different skills and such, and though it looked fast-paced, the actual control (especially with the action queuing) was far from frantic. Overall, a very well-balanced system.

I’m very interested to see how Jade Empire plays, because here again, it looks like they are trying really hard to tailor the game mechanics to the genre and flavor of the game.

I do like turn-based tactical combat, too. I agree that ToEE was very good–possibly the best D&D combat engine out there. I also like Fallout’s combat quite a bit.

From Gamespot:

[W]hile you’re running around and exploring, the game will default to a third-person perspective similar to KOTOR, but when combat occurs, gameplay will shift to an isometric, tactical view similar to Baldur’s Gate. Players will likely still have a free range of motion with the camera at all times, however. In combat, they’ll be able to pause at any time while managing the fight tactically, or zoom in for a KOTOR-style third-person perspective, directing any of the party members while allowing the optionally artificially intelligent party members to hold their own.

A rarely used option for that interface was to bind a key to the radial commands. Personally, I thought it was an elegant, non-obtrusive interface that simply worked well.

If the best feature of ToEE’s interface was rarely used then I can begin to see why some people didn’t like it.

They should have just used a drop down menu instead of the radial and instead of univeral hotkeying, done more of a quickslot thing by character.

Still…awesome combat engine. This thread has me wanting to play it again. They need to get off their asses and get that second patch out. Nine months is apparently not enough time to get two patches out for the buggiest RPG ever. Hmm.

According to a preview at Neverwinter Vault, they hired someone with a Ph.D. in linguistics to create the in-game languages. Pretty cool stuff.

As far as races goes, it sounds like they’re going to use at least some of the existing canon like elves and such. But they are going to add some of their own races as well. I don’t mind the elves, but it would be kinda cool if all their content were totally unique.

There’s quite a bit of other interesting stuff in this preview, so check it out!