Topic: Ditch the Player Character (PC) already!

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  • #5023
    Avatar photoZinistar

    Honestly, I wish you could do away with the PC idea all together. I never even take it into account. Once I get my starting guys, one usually stands out above the rest and I imagine him being the “commander”. All story is from his point of view. Once an entourage mechanic is implemented there should be a Promotion mechanic. Insignia that you drag and drop onto your battle brothers that designates them as the “Commander”- The leadership role., “The Hand” – The second in command, “duelist”- your go to martial champion. All mortal and all kill-able, but with a sense of control and order. Depending on that characters background they would give different bonuses and trigger different events. Tell a unique story every time.

    Avatar photocuriousepic

    I agree with this, it seems strange that I’m some sort of disembodied commander, and when my last founding member dies or leaves, I don’t feel as connected to my band.

    Avatar phototbeaz161

    Yeah I also do not like the commander character. Mercenary companies are really handed down from one man to the next, you don’t really need a figurehead.

    It would be cool to have your most skilled, or perhaps brother with the most time serving the company act as your envoy in things like quests or on the world map. You could have it be voluntary so you select who is the current commander and they give a morale bonus to the people around them, but if they die in battle it is a big hit to morale.

    Avatar photothenewromance

    I like the “incorporeal commander” idea. It puts you in the shoes, not some random guy. XCOM did that, too, the old one and the new one, and I think it was well done. FTL as well, as another high-profile example.

    This could, of course, be complemented with an officer system, so that you do in fact have a “leader in the field”, one of your men. I don’t think those ideas are mutually exclusive, however. Also, if you think mercenary companies don’t need a figurehead, please go ahead and tell that to Mr da Vinci. ;)

    Avatar photoTallindor

    I too like the idea of me being a faceless, voiceless and nameless commander – as stated like in XCOM or by all means in DoW2. It helps me feel like a commander, an officer rather than one of the goons that do the fighting.

    Might I suggest different modes, one where the commander is incorporeal and one where the commander is on the field. Maybe you can choose to field yourself in a combat – if (s)he dies then the game is over but your men are at the same time less prone to run away. Maybe the commander could be more fleshed out, like that you could actually aquire levels and have traits and stuff and it would be less of the feeling that you is just in a cosmic netherplane somewhere.

    Avatar photoAlencon

    I have to disagree. I think a Player Character would make sense and add more of an RPG feel to the game.

    Avatar photoSpiritofTheWolfx

    I do not like the idea of being a nonexistent commander either. It made sense in X-Com (All of them) Because you would be watching the battle from your command center. In this game I would like a little sprite that I can customize (Hair , face ect.) and level up like a normal battle brother. Say have a normal mod that when your sprite gets ‘killed’ just knocks him unconscious. If you win the fight your character gets up. If you lose or retreat. You get captured, some of your gold taken away/you get left for dead and lose some gold. Excuse for only having some taken away is because of you stashing the majority somewhere before battle. Anyways. Depending on the outcome of the loss you will wake up do whatever outcome it was and have your three ‘companions’ back. Say you get left for dead. Villagers find you nurse you back to health and some decide to join you. In a ‘Ironman Mode’ you get knocked unconscious and your Brothers win you get up, wounded and requiring a lot of medical supplies. If you lose. One of multiple outcomes (Being left for dead and robbed, taken prisoner ect.) One of them would be character death and game over.

    If you didn’t want to go that route you could do something that involves the PC a little more like after the completion of a contract/do not take and causalities/anything commanderish the PC gains experience that the level ups he/she gets you can spend a perk point on a perk that, for an example, gives a party wide resolve boost. Or perks that help your party early battle, but taper to useless late battle or vise-versa. Make the PC more important then some nameless reference in written portions like this Like seriously. Why do I need someone to save me from assassins when I am a god-like being that can command troops from the heavens and I am seemingly omnipotent and ubiquitous on the battlefield?

    Avatar photoJegol

    I would rather have an identified and chosen “Leader” among the group than the incorporeal being. Being able to pass leader to leader would still have to be an option, and perhaps even “mentoring” people for roles would be interesting as long as it’s not super-necessary.

    Avatar photoRusBear

    I believe the “disembodied commander” brake the whole concept of the game. But I would very much like 3 things:
    1. The ability to customize the appearance of all three, or even be one of the founders of the group before the start of the company (it does not matter that the random can kill them in the first battle with the goblins)
    2. Have a start bonus of resolve that I could if I wanted to give one of these 3 primary characters – thereby defining his theory in the future commander (this is logical – always someone what will be the leader, or simply can not be a team of mercenaries – they just sort out or quarrel)
    3. The ability to customize the icon of my group of mercenaries on the world map

    Avatar photoDwarvenale

    I’d like an additional starting battle brother: myself. as SpiritoftheWolf said, it worked in XCOM because in XCOM you could be seeing the battle through like a UAV or something from your command room back at base, but that kind of tech doesn’t exist in this world. I feel that a real mercenary commander would be WITH his brothers, not floating above them completely detached from the triumphs or defeats of the battle. Like in Mount and Blade: Warband, you can give orders and crap but you can fight yourself, too, and you are encouraged to do so.

    If you are the medieval space captain commanding your men, how did you get like that? all my companions’ (well, i only have one left but thats not the point) were personal friends of mine, then how come i’m not down there bleeding with them, fighting alongside them, and dying with them? If they’re such close friends, why am I so physically detached from them in battle, but in cities and villages i’m walking alongside them?

    The current system kind of works, but if I had my own battle brother to project myself on to, then it would definitely enhance my in-game experience.

    Avatar photoOldGreyBeard

    I can see some real problems w/ an actual PC as opposed to the quasi-rpg of the Founders of the Band.

    First off, the POV would take the tactics completely out of the game. Once you finished setting up the starting line, you have no real input.

    Second, the AI now has to handle the individual action decisions of all the Brothers you can’t actual shout to.

    Third, you’d need a new courier class to send your orders to the brothers when past the 3rd of 4th hex from you.

    Now there’s the delay of actually giving the order to the brothers actually receiving it, plus a way of figuring the likelihood of that brother actually following the order.

    Medieval battles tended to get pretty chaotic. Many that would have been victories ended up defeats (and visa versa) because a sub-commander decided to ignore the orders received.

    This would add some level of realism, but it would complicate the game design past the breaking point. No, leave it as is. I have a hard enough time keeping my brothers alive from one job to the next!

    In a single player game, there's no such thing as cheating. It's merely "creative manipulation of the default settings"!

    Avatar photoSekata

    Not sure I agree with this. If anything, the only implication of the PC character’s presence is that there is a fourth founding member (incapacitated perhaps) who calls the shots. If I’m not mistaken, the flavor text for founding members never says that only the three founded the band, in fact the text explicitly mentions “you”, the PC. The PC presence solves the problem of continuity as well in the event that all founding members die and the band goes through a complete rotation, and gives a lens through which the entire event system stands. Would you prefer that they spend developing hours re-writing the rather newly developed event system to write out a character that is not even excluded by the logic of the game?

    Personally, the PC presence made me feel more immersed in the game when band members and elements of the world reacted to “My” decision. I get to be the old general in the chair that the gambler comes and plays dice with, or the guy the wildman convinces to do shrooms in the forest. Its the closest thing to a connection between me and the world. It also reinforces the idea that all of the lives of all of the brothers are on the shoulder of the single shot-caller, and every lost brother is the failing of a single person’s command. At any rate, the devs open these forums for feedback, but if the PC is important to design, its not going anywhere. If it’s not, then I’m sure they’ll put something more favorable for immersion and a degree of realism as both seem to be important to them. It seems that they’ve got a pretty coherent design document that they’re working on and its produced a damn good game so far.

    What would me a more effective alternative? Maybe a system that allows the player to designate a leader? I suppose it would avoid the need for a re-write on the event system, but it would also cause quite a few continuity issues. Do they make it so that only a founding member can be chosen as the first “pc”? How would that affect the chosen character’s flavor text? What if he dies and the player wants to choose a new commander that is not a founding member, but a founding member is still alive? Do you limit choices until all founding members are dead? If you choose the founding member, how does his flavor text change? If you can choose a non-founding member, how does the flavor text of the founding member change, since any new addition to the band couldn’t have possibly met the founding member before being recruited to the band?

    Re-writing for a “chosen” leader system adds a further complication just purely in the way the game is played. In the very beginning, all characters are pretty green and just as likely to get killed on day one as anyone else. Do you give a buff to the chosen brother to improve his survivability? Doing that runs the risk of making a single character feel “special” and i very much like the current feeling of a bunch of average mortals against a viscous world. What if you just take the plunge and make a special character class. Let assume you leave him like everyone else. Do we as players just keep transferring the game identity of “self” when we have a nasty series of battles and our chosen characters die repeatedly?

    I think my alternative might cause more problems than it would be worth dealing with. Then again, I’m biased and quite ok with the PC presence as it stands. What do you guys propose? Keep in mind that the devs are finite human beings working on a relatively small team and they also have to consider time, currently implemented systems, and things that have yet to be implemented when deciding where to spend development time. Some systems will be modular and rather easily changed, but others might require considerable time and resources.

    Consider the cost of a given suggestion.

    Avatar photoDwarvenale

    I don’t want the point of view to change, I like the current system of battle, its just that if I’m a commander of a mercenary company of battle brothers, if I am my men’s brother and they are mine, then why can’t there just be one more little character bust, the one that you are supposed to be? Combat should stay as it is, but I think you should have your avatar fighting with your men’s.

    If your PC dies, then you transfer command to your next-best dude, or one of your choosing (your “will” if you will) and have command shift from the original commander to a new one, taking up the burden since the founder died. You would still control him, and all your battle brothers as normal, but your starting character would be replaced by the new brother commander.

    An example:

    Commander Hadvar started a mercenary band with his buddies Aldemar, Jonas, and Hilmar the Wolf. In a battle with a much larger party of bandits, Hadvar died heroically, sacrificing his own life to save his men’s. Grieved by this loss, Aldemar, Hilmar and Jonas decided that Hilmar the Wolf, Hadvar’s closest friend in life, should succeed the brave commander.

    (Now you, the PC, shed the identity of Commander Hadvar, who is now quite dead, and assume the identity of Hilmar the Wolf in the text boxes that supply some of the RPG elements to the game)

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