The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 13: Tyranny (Ending Soon!)

^That's interesting, LS. When I read your earlier post about restarting, I started to think about doing that myself. My character is much like Verse, and I'm thinking an attacking mage might be more interesting. And from reading all the posts, I get a sense that traditional roleplaying in this game is something that actually could be done quite well.

My vacation is over now, which I think will actually help to have more time to play. With everyone off from work and school, family responsibilities consumed quite a bit of free time. Movies and board games tend to go way down once everyone dials in to work.

Sundown wrote:

The timer is just for the first act (or at the very least, it’s not in the second act). And time only advances when you travel from location to location or rest. You’d have to do a lot of time wasting to run out. I think I only passed 2 or 3 days in that act.

This is good to know! The "pick everything up and talk to everyone" part of me was FREAKING OUT about that timer.

billt721 wrote:

A bit late to the party here, but I just saw this thread and I'm in. One of my goals for this year is to finish a game from at least one of these GWJ game clubs. Another is to give some backlog games a chance before buying something new, so this game fits in nicely. It also helps that this game is relatively short, given my limited gaming time these days.

The only thing I remember from my brief attempt at this game a year or two ago was that I hated my character. It'd help if I could remember why so that I could make different decisions this time, but I don't. Hopefully going through the character creation and intro stuff reminds me.

Welcome, billt! I hope you like your character better this time.

I just met The Ass Gang. Then I slapped a beast woman across the face.

strangederby wrote:

I just met The Ass Gang. Then I slapped a beast woman across the face.

Wait, wut? We playing the same game?

I messed up a little and had to backtrack several hours to side with the rebels, and it's interesting seeing the game from a fourth perspective; I've done the other three approaches (Disfavored, Scarlet Chorus, and solo). It amazes me how intricate the design has to be to support all those possible paths through the same areas. Of course the game is buggy, I can't even imagine how much state they have to be tracking at any given time.

I'll spoiler-tag this example, but it's really not much of a spoiler, just describing some of the different states Lethian's Crossing can be in when you first get there:

Spoiler:

If you went to Lethian's Crossing in the startup sequence, you can get back there freely, and I think the state of the town changes based on who you left in charge there, although I don't remember the options on that choice.

If you didn't go there, then the Bronze Brotherhood blocks your way getting in. If you're blocked and allied with the Disfavored, they just won't let you through, you have to come back later. You can't even get to Lethian's Crossing unless you either fight your way through or complete (I think) the other spire you have access to. I think it might be different if you're on the Chorus side, but I don't think I've tried that combination.

If, like me in this run, you're allied with the rebels, they tell you that you need to go to the town to scare up support, and in this specific case, the batsh*t crazy leader of the BB will let you through without complaint, although he refuses to have anything to do with joining your cause.

And that's just one area. The whole game is like this. Whole maps appear and disappear based on your starting choices. You can only get to some of the zones in any given game.

I don't think I've ever seen a game as intricately plotted. No matter what you choose, the world rearranges itself to suit, and you can't even see how wildly variable everything is until you play it again. I'm on my fourth playthrough and I'm still seeing new things, although the broad themes are similar.

Dragon Age 2 was similar in that respect, and I think one of the reasons it wasn't well-liked was because it wasn't obvious how much the game was changing to suit your specific Hawke. Playing through differently gave you a very different experience, but you couldn't see any of that until your second run, and the plot had enough problems that many people never ran through it twice.

Tyranny is doing that same thing, being extremely wide and respectful of your choices instead of extremely long, and I can't help but wonder if that's why it didn't sell very well.

^Great post, thanks for sharing. It's given me motivation to dig back in. I was getting whiffs of the variation depending on choice, and that's the major appeal of the game at the moment.

Malor wrote:

I can't even imagine how much state they have to be tracking at any given time.

It's got to be incredible, and perhaps one of the reasons why the game is as short as it is for an RPG. I programmed a simple choose-your-own-adventure text game last year and I was overwhelmed with state data after adding three different paths into the game. It's literally like designing a handful of separate games and packing them all into one experience, with the exception that they are all using the same assets.

Made a little bit more progress. Did the encounter for the Scarlet Chorus and failed to capture the intended target. I kind of whiffed that one hard, didn't explore enough dialog to understand what I was doing, so that's my fault. Now I have another side quest to do before a meeting with the Archons and, I assume, the start of the siege. We'll see how it goes.

I thought I was getting a handle on combat, but I'm finding it hard to keep Lantry alive. A solider one-shotted him with a thrown javelin at one point which was... distressing. I wish Barik's taunt had a much wider area of effect, and that managing aggro in general was a little easier. I haven't hit a wall yet, it just feels like each encounter is pretty messy and chaotic in a way I don't really care for.

But I'm still having fun with the experience, so I'll happily continue.

I’ve pushed through the end of Act 2, and through the incredibly short Act 3, and now I’m done with the game!

I feel like Tyranny is as at it’s best when dealing with navigating different factions. It’s why the Act 1 was such a good introduction, and why the route I was on didn’t feel as compelling as it could have. I’ll talk a bit about my route in spoilers, but the spoilers are light, so if people want to reference it when thinking about routes to choose while still in Act 1, they can.

Spoiler:

Since I was lone wolfing it, no one really trusted me. The Chorus and the Disfavored hated me of course, and I had to fight them just about every time I saw them. That makes sense. But most of the Tiersmen also still hated me since I was an agent of Kyros still, so with a few exceptions (the Beastwomen, mainly) everyone treated me with either fear or outright hostility, thus why I had to fight everyone most of the time, even if I didn’t really want to.

I can imagine playing as the Chorus or the Disfavored, and how you would be fighting the other faction and the Tiersmen at every turn still, but the experience would be more guided by the ‘values’ of the faction you’re with, which could make them interesting. Or if I had gone rebellion, I can imagine having to wrangle the Tiersmen into an alliance, or choosing between factions. If I’m right, that could actually be really interesting.

I don’t regret going lone wolf, since I really didn’t want to work with the Chorus or the Disfavored, and kicking the Chorus lieutenant off the top of the Spire was absolutely a cathartic moment. And it wasn't like I was planning on becoming so powerful an individual, it just sort of worked out that way. But narratively and character interaction wise, it felt a bit weak and I can’t help but imagine the other routes did it better.

And fortunately the fairly short length (around 30 hours) is a reasonable enough length that it could be replayed later. I did do most of the sidequests that came my way, although by the time I got to the DLC zone near the end of Act 2, I was running out of steam and skipped some of the missions it offered up.

Malor wrote:

I messed up a little and had to backtrack several hours to side with the rebels, and it's interesting seeing the game from a fourth perspective; I've done the other three approaches (Disfavored, Scarlet Chorus, and solo). It amazes me how intricate the design has to be to support all those possible paths through the same areas. Of course the game is buggy, I can't even imagine how much state they have to be tracking at any given time.

I'll spoiler-tag this example, but it's really not much of a spoiler, just describing some of the different states Lethian's Crossing can be in when you first get there:

Spoiler:

If you went to Lethian's Crossing in the startup sequence, you can get back there freely, and I think the state of the town changes based on who you left in charge there, although I don't remember the options on that choice.

If you didn't go there, then the Bronze Brotherhood blocks your way getting in. If you're blocked and allied with the Disfavored, they just won't let you through, you have to come back later. You can't even get to Lethian's Crossing unless you either fight your way through or complete (I think) the other spire you have access to. I think it might be different if you're on the Chorus side, but I don't think I've tried that combination.

If, like me in this run, you're allied with the rebels, they tell you that you need to go to the town to scare up support, and in this specific case, the batsh*t crazy leader of the BB will let you through without complaint, although he refuses to have anything to do with joining your cause.

And that's just one area. The whole game is like this. Whole maps appear and disappear based on your starting choices. You can only get to some of the zones in any given game.

I don't think I've ever seen a game as intricately plotted. No matter what you choose, the world rearranges itself to suit, and you can't even see how wildly variable everything is until you play it again. I'm on my fourth playthrough and I'm still seeing new things, although the broad themes are similar.

Dragon Age 2 was similar in that respect, and I think one of the reasons it wasn't well-liked was because it wasn't obvious how much the game was changing to suit your specific Hawke. Playing through differently gave you a very different experience, but you couldn't see any of that until your second run, and the plot had enough problems that many people never ran through it twice.

Tyranny is doing that same thing, being extremely wide and respectful of your choices instead of extremely long, and I can't help but wonder if that's why it didn't sell very well.

Dragon Age 2 is mostly in Hawke's responses to situations though, which contains the reactivity to a specific scene. Alpha Protocol is a closer comparison, but even that didn't straight up change levels based on your decisions, or just cut them off completely.

Woohoo! Congrats Sundown! Heck of a job!

And you're on a roll now. Two CRPG games in a row!

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Dragon Age 2 is mostly in Hawke's responses to situations though, which contains the reactivity to a specific scene. Alpha Protocol is a closer comparison, but even that didn't straight up change levels based on your decisions, or just cut them off completely.

As I remember, the game changes a lot based on what kind of Hawke you are. Each character remembers their interactions with you, and later encounters can change wildly based on earlier ones. The whole state of the game can shift fairly dramatically.

For instance, there's a leader of that really powerful faction that Sten was from in DA1. (I can't remember the name, it's been too long.) His presence in the city is very important. He's a huge influence on the lategame, and what that lategame looks like will vary based on how your conversations with him went.

It's nowhere near as wide as Tyranny is, but there's a lot more variance than you'd ever realize from a single run through. No matter what you choose, everything fits together, (well, except some stuff in the very endgame that was pretty stupid), but the paths can be quite different. The game flexes to suit your Hawke, but it does so with such skill that you have no idea it's even happening.

DA2 had a ton of problems, but that aspect of the game was done very well.

I'm going to have to bow out. I'm just not enjoying it and I feel like I'd rather be playing something else.

Finally fired this up and started a noble versed in Shock magic and unarmed combat. You can tell right from the start that your choices can have (literally) seismic consequences, as I burned the Vellum Library to the ground before finishing character creation I’m going to play this first run as a mainly honourable character who tries to remain relatively impartial but sides with the Disfavoured when all is said and done. I’ve just delivered the edict and like how the few things I’ve done so far have already started to make themselves felt. I’m telling both sides that I don’t have time for them re: the battle, but I’m pretty sure at this stage I’ll end up helping the chorus as they seem the most in need of it to get their job done. The system is utterly bewildering to me so far but I’m just kind of ignoring it and going along for the ride at the moment

My reputation precedes me.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/2Yd6MwM.png)

Well, earlier in the day, I wanted to play some Tyranny this evening. After today's events, I wasn't sure I had it in me. Then I thought, what the hell, let's punish some seditionists.

Of course, I'm not far enough in the game to actually do that yet. Instead, I had a respectful dialogue with Eb (know thy enemy, and maybe see if you can recruit her); went to the Scarlet Chorus camp, and recruited Landry. One more encounter, and I'll be back where I was, before I abandoned my first attempt.

I've pretty much made every decision the same way, except with a couple fewer insults at each of the factions. I tend to call out characters for disrespect toward each other, and not for the nonsense within their faction. A Fatebinder's gotta apply the law evenhandedly, after all.

Joining the playthrough using the free Epic version.

Playing the veteran difficulty, and yikes, it is challenging. I restarted an unarmed and a DW build because I hadn't appreciated it was so similar to the POE games. Now using a 2H/DW build so that I could build a hybrid offtank-melee DPS-mage Fatebinder.

Seeing the enemy rush my back line brought back memories. I cheesed some battles by having the sage literally kite a few enemies around the map. Then I got fed up and put the sage in heavier armour so the AI algorithm spread the aggro around so nobody was getting focus fired.

I also have some beef with the dialogue tree. Almost near the end of Chapter 1, a lot of those dialogue options were rendered meaningless by the storyline branching decision. It kind of reminded me of Wasteland 3 in that respect.

^Welcome, Bfgp! Wasteland 2 got like that a bit too. The quests really struggled in some places keeping track of everything.

DonD wrote:

I'm going to have to bow out. I'm just not enjoying it and I feel like I'd rather be playing something else.

No worries, DonD! Glad you gave it a shot!

LastSurprise wrote:

Well, earlier in the day, I wanted to play some Tyranny this evening. After today's events, I wasn't sure I had it in me. Then I thought, what the hell, let's punish some seditionists.

Yeah, I didn't make it that far, tonight. Got in some exercise to burn off stress, walked the dog to burn off more stress, ate a pile of ice cream to burn off more stress, then dove into the news again to build it all back up again. I should have just played Tyranny instead.

I've been stuck in the Abyss for ages. Can't find

Spoiler:

Reef-Talon.

I have all three torch keys but some doors still won't open.

-edit- never mind I looked it up.

Wandering around under the wound has been my least favourite part of this game

I'm proud of you Verse. You made the right decision.

So, started playing, and so far I'm enjoying the experience. However, I feel a little conflicted given that I seem to be enjoying playing the part of a rather bad person. I feel a little dirty. I should take a shower.

So, I’ve done some pretty terrible things and got to the end of the first dilemma. No-one really got out alive and it’s interesting how that affects your view of both the Chorus and the Disfavoured.... Having said that, the binary choice you have to make is a bit frustrating as Bfgp mentioned above. I am definitely enjoying it though, and it’s definitely well out of my comfort zone from a role playing perspective but I’m doing my best to play it straight. Still have absolutely no idea what’s going on in combat but I’ve only had to reload once so far so I’ll keep muddling through without worrying about it too much

DC Malleus wrote:

So, I’ve done some pretty terrible things and got to the end of the first dilemma. No-one really got out alive and it’s interesting how that affects your view of both the Chorus and the Disfavoured.... Having said that, the binary choice you have to make is a bit frustrating as Bfgp mentioned above. I am definitely enjoying it though, and it’s definitely well out of my comfort zone from a role playing perspective but I’m doing my best to play it straight. Still have absolutely no idea what’s going on in combat but I’ve only had to reload once so far so I’ll keep muddling through without worrying about it too much :)

Yeah, I feel like combat is being at a Star Trek convention except I've never seen an episode.

It was both hilarious and appalling when I sent Verse to disarm a trap, and while she was doing so, Lantry walked right in front of her, knocking them both out as the trap was triggered.

I find leveling up agonizing in a good way, as so many of the abilities and passives seem useful for just about all the characters.

I'm hitting level 5 and 6, and I think I'm nearing the end of the first act. Enjoying it a lot so far, even if combat is kind of messy. Haven't had any reloads or felt like I've hit a wall so far.

Just finished Act 1. Aligned with the Disfavored during my previous run through, so I've been having fun playing a capricious and selfish schemer.

Spoiler:

Ultimately betraying both factions, claiming Vendrien's Well for myself and kicking the Vendrien Guard Captain off the Spire personally was an absolutely delicious RP against my normal type. I usually find myself playing a plate wearing den mother (Cleric or Pally) in my fantasy games, so this has been really fun.

So now Barik is a brooding resentful plank. Lantry finds me fascinating and is fast running out of paper and ink. Verse is, and always has been, down for whatever. And Eb is a cowering bootlick just happy to be alive.

It's good to be the Fatebinder...

Spoiler:

I just crushed Eb’s skull as well, put an end to the whole ordeal >:)

I've been puttering around in Act II. Characters are all level 9 or 10.

I think my biggest problem with the game is that, at least for me, there's a significant disconnect between how the combat system presents itself and how it actually plays.

  • It presents itself as deep, nitty-gritty system with all sorts of stats: 6 attributes, over a dozen skills, 5 defense types, 3(?) physical damage types and separate armour checks for each, even more for magical damage and armour, etc etc etc. In theory, I suppose, you have to think about all these things for your characters.
  • At least for me, on normal, it plays very simplistically. My melee guys engage, my archer hits from range, and my mage does his thing and also heals. I use my abilities when they're off-cooldown and the largest tactical choice I ever make is which enemy to focus-fire first. I never change armour to adapt to a combat (magebane helm excluded :P), my characters only ever use a single weapon at a time, and I've probably used a non-healing-potion consumable once.

I can't help but make a comparison to Dragon Age (I, II, or Inq): the combat system is presented as several orders of magnitude simpler (there are what, 3 stats? It's been a while) but the combat itself feels nearly identical. Somehow I like DA more than Tyranny, though.

I think I agree with you so far, Math. With how combat has played out for me so far, I don't see the benefit to having three types of physical damage types. Combat is so imprecise that it's tough to get a good idea of what's actually important in an encounter. I suspect the reason some fights are easier than others has to do with those damage types and what armor everyone's wearing, but I don't really know. I do see there's a text log for combat, but I admit I'm not really keen to watch that closely when the fireworks are going off.

I'm doing a lot better in combat lately. Have 3 spires under control and party is between levels 15/16 as I only spend money on training and sigils (weapons are plentiful in this game).

In spite of my usual min-max urges, I deliberately geared and specced the party in a way that made it possible for mages to generally take a little pain so as to mitigate the risk of Barik being overwhelmed. That paid off nicely up until about level 12. Then I unlocked the AOE Sleep spell. It is ludicrous. Huge area of effect means you can usually put close to, if not all of, an encounter asleep while you exterminate the opfor one by one. Just watch out for your trigger happy AI casting AOE damage spells. Mages are so good, I dropped Verse in favour of taking Lantry and Eb along. Lantry is main healer with Eb support and DPS. She is easily worth Verse's position and giving her a leeching staff and had gravelight spells makes her self sustaining. Lantry uses the artifact staff that grants Distortion so he is far less squishy than before. He rarely gets wounded anymore.

I have switched out weapons occasionally in lower levels when accuracy was low and the opfor could absorb a lot of the corresponding damage. But now at my level Bfgp2H (yes that's what I named my Fatebinder) is regularly critting for 80-100 damage in spite of any resistances.

The enemy does the same thing to you which makes armor somewhat silly - what good is absorbing around 10 damage (armor benefits are lineal) when the opfor hits you for 60-80+ damage)? I've found it only makes a difference fighting opponents that do a lot of low damage hits which is not very many of them although some Bane monsters fall into this category.

Also, the writing is weird.

I go in offering to talk, I depart each map over masses of dead bodies. To advance a quest objective I end up killing everyone. Which incurs huge wrath. I've got practically mass wrath with every faction because of this.

Bfgp wrote:

Also, the writing is weird.

I go in offering to talk, I depart each map over masses of dead bodies. To advance a quest objective I end up killing everyone. Which incurs huge wrath. I've got practically mass wrath with every faction because of this.

That's basically what happened to me. What route are you on? (although I think I can guess)

Bfgp wrote:

The enemy does the same thing to you which makes armor somewhat silly - what good is absorbing around 10 damage (armor benefits are lineal) when the opfor hits you for 60-80+ damage)? I've found it only makes a difference fighting opponents that do a lot of low damage hits which is not very many of them although some Bane monsters fall into this category.

Yes, I've read in several places that building for armour is essentially a trap: dodge and parry are far more effective defenses.