Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 2: The Conversation Wheel

Xaositect

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If they actually put the effort into adding variance to the wheel, I wouldnt mind.

I agree with the idea that, wheel or written dialogue, its all just provided by the devs.

What I dont agree with is when the then lazy fucker devs go on a crusade to make the wheel dumber and dumber.

Were getting close enough to the point where they should simply colour code the wheel. In Mass Effect 2 for example youd have the left half grey for most of the game, and then the upper right blue, middle right grey, and the bottom left red. Now I dont give a shit if theyve added voice acting that further removes an area of control from the gamer for the sake of "teh sinnymattiks", youll get more options with written dialogue.

My advice would be to expand the wheel further, rather than turn it into a directional panel to alter a cutscene in three mildly different ways as to be almost completely ineffectual.

However, since that doesnt involve being cheaper, requiring less work and finally leading to a more dumbed down game, I cant see the dialogue wheel doing anything but continuing on this banal path where its hardly even player choice.

Ive said it before, if things carry on this way, even the aspect of "roleplaying" the apologists always leap to ("it r has teh dylogz! it r teh arr pee gee noobz!") will undeniably no longer be roleplaying.

It will be a movement on the joystick to select what minor, inconsequential shift in tone you want to make to the set in stone role the computer is playing out for you.
 

Bara_no_Hime

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chinangel said:
why all the hate on the conversation wheel? I think it's great! In Dragon Age 1 there were enough instances where I would say something and people would LITERALLY IGNORE IT!

that bothered me immensely, aren't I the protagonist? Shouldn't I have some kind of weight to throw around here? My advice or comments should at least be acknowledged by the NPC's. The only time they would look at me is when I'd say something outragous.
I agree - I really like how smoothly I can pick choices in Mass Effect compared to other games.

And really, even in old-school RPGs, your dialog had little impact on what happened next unless you chose a specific charm type option (which is now clearly noted in the wheel in glowing blue or red).

In Persona 4, I have, say, 3 options about what to say in a given dialog. One the character will like, one they won't and one they will be neutral about. It's EXACTLY the same as the dialog wheel, except it isn't in a wheel, and if my controller is being sticky I'm more likely to pick an option I don't want.

Personally, I wish more games had a dialog wheel. Looking forward to using it in DA 2.
 

Xaositect

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I have to admit, I saw this pic not long ago, and loved it.



I think its pretty relevant when you compare the two pics and see how much the "outdated" system destroys the fancy pants new voiced dialogue in terms of being faithful to roleplaying. One realises to push the selection to its limits, the other just plain limits it with the added bonus of not even allowing the player agency over the characters own voice in their head.

I could accept the tradeoff if the wheel led to something like a varied web, where directions on the wheel lead to completey different wheels taking conversations in different directions, but all the do is select if you want this part of the conversation to sound noble, snarky or bitchy/childish. Either way, the coversation is now a straight line rather than a series of branching directions. All you choose is if the straight line is blue, grey or red.
 

lucky_sharm

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Xaositect said:
I have to admit, I saw this pic not long ago, and loved it.



I think its pretty relevant when you compare the two pics and see how much the "outdated" system destroys the fancy pants new voiced dialogue in terms of being faithful to roleplaying. One realises to push the selection to its limits, the other just plain limits it with the added bonus of not even allowing the player agency over the characters own voice in their head.

I could accept the tradeoff if the wheel led to something like a varied web, where directions on the wheel lead to completey different wheels taking conversations in different directions, but all the do is select if you want this part of the conversation to sound noble, snarky or bitchy/childish. Either way, the coversation is now a straight line rather than a series of branching directions. All you choose is if the straight line is blue, grey or red.
There's a reason why choices and dialogue have become so limited nowadays now that games have voice acting in them. Back in old games where all the dialogue was just text you could probably make up dozens of scenarios and endings for quests. Now that voice acting is done for most games, they simply cannot afford to do all of that anymore. You just can't write 20 different dialogue options that all branch into different conversations and have your voice actors perform all of them and to do this for every NPC encounter that you have.

That picture, by the way, is incredibly overused and aggressively juvenile to boot.
 

ShakesZX

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lucky_sharm said:
There's a reason why choices and dialogue have become so limited nowadays now that games have voice acting in them. Back in old games where all the dialogue was just text you could probably make up dozens of scenarios and endings for quests. Now that voice acting is done for most games, they simply cannot afford to do all of that anymore. You just can't write 20 different dialogue options that all branch into different conversations and have your voice actors perform all of them and to do this for every NPC encounter that you have.
Too true. And if a game were to bring back those huge text boxes, there would be just as many people complaining that "the inflection of the voice actor is all wrong" or "there needs to be another choice for 'X'" as there are people complaining about the current system. If it's really that big of adeal to you, there is a simple answer: STOP BUYING BIOWARE RPGs. It's all but assured that they are going to keep making the same system with minor tweaks for all of their subsequent RPGs, the only way they'll really change is if they stop getting your money.
 

Wolfram23

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My only prior experience with the wheel was in ME1, and I thought it was good but didn't much care for that game. Now in DA2 I get another go with it and I have to say I like it quite a bit. I've found myself choosing dialog from all 3 options depending on the circumstance. I also like that for more... "real" choices, the icon changes although it's the same colour (green, purple, red). I also definitely like the left side investigation options if you want more.

I realise, of course, it's not as "true to RPG" roots as the oldschool style (see pic posted above) but I feel like if you want to play a "true role playing game" your only recourse has always been a live action Dungeons and Dragons style. Yes, there can be a lot of variables in a video game RPG but live action RPG is infinite. So long as we're constrained, I'd rather a smooth, streamlined system over a slow and bulky system.
 

Xaositect

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lucky_sharm said:
There's a reason why choices and dialogue have become so limited nowadays now that games have voice acting in them. Back in old games where all the dialogue was just text you could probably make up dozens of scenarios and endings for quests. Now that voice acting is done for most games, they simply cannot afford to do all of that anymore. You just can't write 20 different dialogue options that all branch into different conversations and have your voice actors perform all of them and to do this for every NPC encounter that you have.

That picture, by the way, is incredibly overused and aggressively juvenile to boot.
Yeah, Im aware that devs are too lazy and cheap nowadays, Ive already outlined it.

By the way, I dont think "the reason why we have less choice (limited dialogue options) is because we have less choice (voiced character forced on you)" is a very compelling defence for where the RPG genre is heading.

The computers play the role in the current Bioware game, you just select the mood of the character. Even calling them "role selecting games" is overdoing it, since thats more like the old CRPGs. Now the role is almost entirely provided already leaving you to simply select the mood swings in conversations, which are now little more than cutscenes anyway.

Yes, having a more web like collection of conversation wheels would be harder to do, but thats why people play RPGs. Because they are made up of more than just "point the reticle at the waves of enemies and fire". Or at least they used to be. The future of the RPG genre is apparantly a cover based TPS with the already mentioned "mood selector".
 

Mikeyfell

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chinangel said:
why all the hate on the conversation wheel? I think it's great! In Dragon Age 1 there were enough instances where I would say something and people would LITERALLY IGNORE IT!

that bothered me immensely, aren't I the protagonist? Shouldn't I have some kind of weight to throw around here? My advice or comments should at least be acknowledged by the NPC's. The only time they would look at me is when I'd say something outragous.
The problem with the Convo-wheel is that EVERY dialog option hast to fit into one of the slots.
Top for good
Middle for neutral * or funny in Dragon age 2 * or stupid in Mass Effect
Bottom for evil

In Dragon Age Origins the thought behind the option you picked was up to you. Especially because there wasn't voice over for the Warden, you got to choose the tone and inflection to.

for example the part in the Circle Tower where you meet the desire demon and the Templar.
Did you let her go because you're an evil bastard that want's to help demons?
Did you let her go because you were convinced that she was a good demon and thought she deserved a chance?
Did you kill her because she was toying with the Templar's emotions and that's not right?
Did you kill her because you don't want that Templar to be happy?

If that was reduced to a Convo-wheel and "Let her go" was the top option and you were being evil you'd kill her even if you wanted to let her go so she could continue being a demon.

Are you killing Blood Mages because the Chantry's right?
Are you killing them because they attacked you and don't deserve mercy?
Do you let them go because they can atone for their sins?
Do you let them go so they can reek havoc somewhere else?

How about the Dalish Elf mission?
Kill the wolves because you gave the elves your word?
Kill the wolves because the elves need help?
Kill the wolves because they're all filthy rapists?
Cure the wolves because they've suffered enough?
Cure the wolves because the Elven Keeper has been lying to you?
Cure the wolves because it's the happy middle ground?
Help the elves because you want skilled archers on your team?
Kill the elves because the wolves received an unjust punishment?
Kill the elves because the elves were jerks when you first arrived?
Kill the elves because Werewolves can kick more darkspawn ass?
and that's not even half the possible outcomes to that mission.

How would you put that into a convo-wheel?

cure the wolves on top?
Kill the wolves in the middle?
kill the elves on bottom?

Kill the wolves because they're rapists on top?
Kill the elves because they're liars in the middle?
Attack before the Lady of the Forest finishes telling her side of the story on the bottom?

the convo-wheel limits the paths you can take.

Mass Effect 2

Do you blow up the Heretics because fuck 'em?
Do you rewrite the Heretics because you want the Geth to owe you one?
Do you rewrite because the Heretics deserve a second chance?
Do you blow them up because it's kinder than taking away their free will? (I think blowing them up is the Paragon option but Bioware disagrees. Thus my Paragon Shepard gets Renegade points for doing what she thought was right.)

If that was presented like DA:O and "rewrite" and "destroy" were just two different options instead of a good choice and a bad choice it's more open to allow the player to think for them self instead of letting them take the easy way out and blindly pick the top option the whole time.

it's all up to you and your own feelings.
Dragon Age Origins is almost infinity re-playable. Dragon Age 2 (I suspect) will be less re-playable. But I haven't even finished it the first time yet.

TLDRConvo-wheels put a predetermined "Good" or "Evil" connotation attached to any of the decisions. With out them every thing you say is left up to you to interpret. Like a ROLE PLAYING GAME SHOULD BE!!
 

RedEyesBlackGamer

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Irridium said:
I like the old way because I like knowing exactly what my character is going to say. Rather then play "guess whats going to be said". Its just really, really annoying. However DA2 does the wheel much better then ME2. Thats for sure.

Also, it just makes "morally hard" choices simple by breaking your responses up into "Top = good, middle = neutral/just leave, down = bad". It would be better if they mixed up the choices so the top wasn't always the "good" choice.

Still, I wish more would do what The Witcher did. Have our option be exactly what Geralt will say, and have him speak it.

Bam, everyone wins. Bitchy fans like me don't have to guess what our character will say, and everyone else can hear their character speak. Add in DA2's "tone" feature that displays how you'll say something and put the symbol right in front of the lines, and you got yourself a perfect system.
This. Though I prefer DA:O's, DA2's greatly improves upon ME's by adding "tone" to your choices. I no longer randomly hit on people when I'm trying to be agreeable or friendly. Shepard, you don't have to flirt with anyone who happens to be of the opposite sex.
 

Veldaroth

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Xaositect said:
I have to admit, I saw this pic not long ago, and loved it.



I think its pretty relevant when you compare the two pics and see how much the "outdated" system destroys the fancy pants new voiced dialogue in terms of being faithful to roleplaying. One realises to push the selection to its limits, the other just plain limits it with the added bonus of not even allowing the player agency over the characters own voice in their head.

I could accept the tradeoff if the wheel led to something like a varied web, where directions on the wheel lead to completey different wheels taking conversations in different directions, but all the do is select if you want this part of the conversation to sound noble, snarky or bitchy/childish. Either way, the coversation is now a straight line rather than a series of branching directions. All you choose is if the straight line is blue, grey or red.
Love it! Also, I still feel like a lot of what my character says is ignored. I always loved playing Baldur's Gate because there were a ton of options and while they usually end up in the same place, at least you really felt like you were the main character. I like having a voiced character, but it definitely takes away some of the role playing potential and only having three personality types definitely makes it seem like they are their own person and certainly not you.
 

James Raynor

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Dexter111 said:
It worked well in Mass Effect 2... it also kinda fit there, but I'm often finding myself with a horrible lack of options and whenever I choose something it's more like a "conversation carousel"...

"Will he say something completely retarded/insensitive/contrary to what I wanted to actually say again?"


This. 1000 times this.


That's basically the problem I have with it, it's not ambigious enough it basically tells you how people will react to what you say and doesn't fully tell you what is about to come out of your mouth.
 

Googenstien

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Clearly the people ripping the wheel in DA2 have not played the game much, or have not done or read anything that's said on the wheel. Generally to start you have the 3 answer type and then get other "investigate" options and then get special responses based on class or how you question the person.

This has been done in RPGs forever.. Old days the text was just colored to show you the different response types.. blue was good, red was evil etc..but in the end it's the same result.
 

Freechoice

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James Raynor said:
Dexter111 said:
It worked well in Mass Effect 2... it also kinda fit there, but I'm often finding myself with a horrible lack of options and whenever I choose something it's more like a "conversation carousel"...

"Will he say something completely retarded/insensitive/contrary to what I wanted to actually say again?"


This. 1000 times this.


That's basically the problem I have with it, it's not ambigious enough it basically tells you how people will react to what you say and doesn't fully tell you what is about to come out of your mouth.
Such a system would be the most win thing since toast.

I say this with a cereal face because it limits your imagination. "That's not a good thing!" you might be saying. Well it is a good thing because it assigns a certain personality to reactions and you don't have to milk the VA's for all they're worth.

On a side note, Mark Meer can drop off the face of the Earth. He does such a terrible job and it's not even redeemable by moments of large ham like you'd find in hazards of the biological variety.

To get a truly perfect system within the confines of a wheel would require the writers to have imagined all possible circumstances and prod the VA's into saying it just right. However, to do that would require them to juice up the actors with the distilled awesome of Patrick Stewart, Martin Sheen and Paul Mercier.

This rant is part of a complete breakfast.
 

Shadesong

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Irridium said:
Still, I wish more would do what The Witcher did.

Have our option be exactly what Geralt will say, and have him speak it.
Bam, everyone wins. Bitchy fans like me don't have to guess what our character will say, and everyone else can hear their character speak. Add in DA2's "tone" feature that displays how you'll say something and put the symbol right in front of the lines, and you got yourself a perfect system.
See, this would be perfect in my opinion. The problem people seem to have with the conversation wheel is that the incredibly brief summary is often misleading as to what actually gets said*, and the problem people seem to have with the full text option is that sometimes the tone can't be read from what's written (A conversation with Morrigan springs to mind as an example of this). So surely a combination of written text with DA2's tone symbol would be ideal.

*Or that top=good, middle=neutral and bottom=evil, more response options wouldn't hurt.
 

Zechnophobe

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The conversation wheel is a mixed bag.

Mainly it comes from two conflicting ideals. One is the 'me' avatar. This means having complete control over a specific character, and BEING that person. The other is in the 'you' avatar. One that is complete and interesting without needing to be an extension of the player, just their will.

A voiced avatar has a personality that differs from the user, but one that is often deeper.

In my opinion, the flow of conversations is not as good with the wheel. The main reasons for these are a few:

1) The exact charting of the conversation is less dynamic. The NPC says things, you then get 3 ways to respond, or can ask for additional information. You cannot suddenly bring up a new topic, and this one MUST BE resolved in some way before going elsewhere.
2) Due to conversations being more linear, you don't have the feeling of being able to interrogate the world. You have voice acting for EVERYthing, but that means that any conversation you want to add, must be worth creating new voice for. Two sided conversations on the street? Only if you pay for more voice acting. Ultimately this limits the scope of the world.

On the other hand, the character is much more interesting. My Generally snarky Marian is an actual character in the story to me. I *like* her and enjoy chiding people about otherwise serious issues. And I get to do this, and understand her nature based on more than just the reaction of others to her.
 

chinangel

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Mikeyfell said:
chinangel said:
why all the hate on the conversation wheel? I think it's great! In Dragon Age 1 there were enough instances where I would say something and people would LITERALLY IGNORE IT!

that bothered me immensely, aren't I the protagonist? Shouldn't I have some kind of weight to throw around here? My advice or comments should at least be acknowledged by the NPC's. The only time they would look at me is when I'd say something outragous.
The problem with the Convo-wheel is that EVERY dialog option hast to fit into one of the slots.
Top for good
Middle for neutral * or funny in Dragon age 2 * or stupid in Mass Effect
Bottom for evil

In Dragon Age Origins the thought behind the option you picked was up to you. Especially because there wasn't voice over for the Warden, you got to choose the tone and inflection to.

for example the part in the Circle Tower where you meet the desire demon and the Templar.
Did you let her go because you're an evil bastard that want's to help demons?
Did you let her go because you were convinced that she was a good demon and thought she deserved a chance?
Did you kill her because she was toying with the Templar's emotions and that's not right?
Did you kill her because you don't want that Templar to be happy?

If that was reduced to a Convo-wheel and "Let her go" was the top option and you were being evil you'd kill her even if you wanted to let her go so she could continue being a demon.

Are you killing Blood Mages because the Chantry's right?
Are you killing them because they attacked you and don't deserve mercy?
Do you let them go because they can atone for their sins?
Do you let them go so they can reek havoc somewhere else?

How about the Dalish Elf mission?
Kill the wolves because you gave the elves your word?
Kill the wolves because the elves need help?
Kill the wolves because they're all filthy rapists?
Cure the wolves because they've suffered enough?
Cure the wolves because the Elven Keeper has been lying to you?
Cure the wolves because it's the happy middle ground?
Help the elves because you want skilled archers on your team?
Kill the elves because the wolves received an unjust punishment?
Kill the elves because the elves were jerks when you first arrived?
Kill the elves because Werewolves can kick more darkspawn ass?
and that's not even half the possible outcomes to that mission.

How would you put that into a convo-wheel?

cure the wolves on top?
Kill the wolves in the middle?
kill the elves on bottom?

Kill the wolves because they're rapists on top?
Kill the elves because they're liars in the middle?
Attack before the Lady of the Forest finishes telling her side of the story on the bottom?

the convo-wheel limits the paths you can take.

Mass Effect 2

Do you blow up the Heretics because fuck 'em?
Do you rewrite the Heretics because you want the Geth to owe you one?
Do you rewrite because the Heretics deserve a second chance?
Do you blow them up because it's kinder than taking away their free will? (I think blowing them up is the Paragon option but Bioware disagrees. Thus my Paragon Shepard gets Renegade points for doing what she thought was right.)

If that was presented like DA:O and "rewrite" and "destroy" were just two different options instead of a good choice and a bad choice it's more open to allow the player to think for them self instead of letting them take the easy way out and blindly pick the top option the whole time.

it's all up to you and your own feelings.
Dragon Age Origins is almost infinity re-playable. Dragon Age 2 (I suspect) will be less re-playable. But I haven't even finished it the first time yet.

TLDRConvo-wheels put a predetermined "Good" or "Evil" connotation attached to any of the decisions. With out them every thing you say is left up to you to interpret. Like a ROLE PLAYING GAME SHOULD BE!!
Okay fair enough, but at the same time I make this point:

Part of Role Playing is interacting with characters. In multiple dialogue (no convo wheel) people barely ever acknowledge you, and sometimes (like in dragon age 1) your speech and their response didn't always match up, leading to bizzare, disjointed conversations that takes you out of the game.

While it is nice to have multiple reasons for doing something, I don't see why that coulnd't be inserted into the wheel. The decision making without compromising the voiced dialogue and the actual interaction by the characters with your character.
 

wolf thing

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i like the idea, but its been implantted really badly. it make you choose not between what you want ot say but whether you want to be a dick or a nice guy.
 

Mikeyfell

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chinangel said:
Part of Role Playing is interacting with characters. In multiple dialogue (no convo wheel) people barely ever acknowledge you, and sometimes (like in dragon age 1) your speech and their response didn't always match up, leading to bizzare, disjointed conversations that takes you out of the game.

While it is nice to have multiple reasons for doing something, I don't see why that coulnd't be inserted into the wheel. The decision making without compromising the voiced dialogue and the actual interaction by the characters with your character.
I see what you mean. Multiple choices will result in the same response from NPC's and then you get the
"I want to ask you a question."
"Okay, ask away."
"there's nothing I want to ask."
"Alright, good day then."
thing

Having all the lines voiced over makes it a lot easier for the NPC voice actors to respond to every option, which is one of the best parts of ME2 and DA2.

To each his own, but those things don't bother me as much as the scripted good and bad responses.

A good compromise would be to have the voiced convo-wheel but pick the line you want to say from one of the slots and that opens another "attitude wheel" so you can pick the line and the connotation you want to put on it. [sub]I think Yhatzee talked about something like that in one of his Extra Punctuation columns. [/sub]

a Convo-wheel on the left stick and an attitude-wheel on the right stick so you could pick blow up the Heretics and paragon. it would be a hell of a strain on the script writers and the voice actors but it'd be worth it. now if only they could Mo-cap better.
 

KalosCast

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They're both rather inelegant solutions. The "Giant List" isn't all that great because most options have the same ending, and since there's no VA, there's no real gameplay reason to include all those options. It also completely murders any semblance of conversation flow when you get to sit there and mull over an nigh-infinite list of choices to cherry-pick the perfect answer... which is not how conversations work in reality. However, it also does allow for having more choices and better options for actual roleplaying, allowing you to custom-tailor exactly what flavor of mass-murdering prick you want to be.

The conversation wheel, or Alpha Protocols conversation "OH SHIT PICK SOMETHING FAST" allows for better flow and lets conversations feel like conversations. Though at the expense of a number of roleplaying options.

I think both work well for different tasks. Developers think so too, apparently.