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[PA Comic] Friday, September 26, 2014 - Aladdin’s Cave

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited September 2014 in The Penny Arcade Hub

image[PA Comic] Friday, September 26, 2014 - Aladdin’s Cave

Aladdin’s Cave

Aladdin’s Cave

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2014/09/26

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    RodjirRodjir Registered User regular
    lol

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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    The backlash to changing this has been pretty amusing to watch.

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    I like how the toon has armor fur too.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    Fleur de AlysFleur de Alys Biohacker Registered User regular
    The response to Tycho's newspost is a somewhat-confused "Err... yes."

    It's that ancient tradition dating back to video gaming's infancy, known as the bonus level.

    No, not the hidden levels where you get some extra story exposition and a weird challenge. I'm talking the ones that shower you with treasures, sometimes gleaned from a rush of easily-slain baddies. Much like this Aladdin's Cave.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    So help me understand what happened here, as someone who doesn't play Destiny. Is this sort of like what happened in the Lawstar game in The Trenches, where you had the "Fuckworld" glitch that let everybody get crazy rich and totally borked progression and the in-game economy?

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    InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    There was a cave or two on different planets that spawned enemies really quick that you could kill over and over for glimmer (useless ingame currency) and random item drops.

    Personally it seemed a really boring and short sighted way to get gear so I never did it.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote: »
    So help me understand what happened here, as someone who doesn't play Destiny. Is this sort of like what happened in the Lawstar game in The Trenches, where you had the "Fuckworld" glitch that let everybody get crazy rich and totally borked progression and the in-game economy?

    The abuse of the Cave of Wonders didn't truly impact everyone negatively. It just made it so people who were willing to stand in front of a cave (there were other caves like it) for hours on end, could get more lotto tickets for a shot at legendary or better gear. Progression in the game is stilted anyway. The other part of the hotfix (no more shards if you DE legendary event drops) did fix what kind of borked progression.

    Part of the reason why they did this was to beat the grind (rep grind + weekly currency cap makes turning to chance easier), and the confusion over the fact that because blue and purple engram drops only offered the chance of getting a blue or better drop. So you play normally, see a "YOU found a Legendary Engram" global and then get to the Cryptarch and it's a blue downgrade or something. That general sense of disappointment also drove a lot of people to do it. Other people just googled "how to level Destiny," saw "GET TO MAX WITH EASE" and figured it was the one true way.

    There probably are also some weird people out there that probably found that to be genuinely entertaining.


    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Wait.

    Wait.

    Back the fuck up.

    In-game currency is called "Glimmer"???

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    ReplicanttenReplicantten Registered User regular
    Destiny ?

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    JackdawGinJackdawGin Engineer New YorkRegistered User regular
    The Sauce wrote: »
    The response to Tycho's newspost is a somewhat-confused "Err... yes."

    It's that ancient tradition dating back to video gaming's infancy, known as the bonus level.

    No, not the hidden levels where you get some extra story exposition and a weird challenge. I'm talking the ones that shower you with treasures, sometimes gleaned from a rush of easily-slain baddies. Much like this Aladdin's Cave.


    You mean the cow level.

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    Soul SanctumSoul Sanctum Registered User regular
    My biggest offense to this comic is how Peter Dinklage's voice somehow seems to make Mike cry and shit himself.

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    DragkoniasDragkonias That Guy Who Does Stuff You Know, There. Registered User regular
    I don't think its the voice as much as the dialogue.

    And honestly, I agree. Not exactly what I would call grade-A material.

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    Soul SanctumSoul Sanctum Registered User regular
    I guess stating what things are in a game universe equates to bad dialogue these days? Hmmm.

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    DragkoniasDragkonias That Guy Who Does Stuff You Know, There. Registered User regular
    No. Bad dialogue equates to bad dialogue.

    I mean, hey, if you like all that exposition more power to you. Just saying I didn't care for it.

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    RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    I guess stating what things are in a game universe equates to bad dialogue these days? Hmmm.

    I know this isn't what you meant, and I can't vouch for or against (is it possible to vouch against something? hm) Destiny's dialogue. But in general, I would argue that having an in-game character tell you "what things are" is a terrible way to convey information. Having a voiceover do it is even worse. I realize that an MMO has a lot of setting information to communicate, but if you can't do it by demonstrating the various elements instead of telling about them, then your setting is probably too needlessly complicated. I'm looking at you, FFXIII.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    I guess stating what things are in a game universe equates to bad dialogue these days? Hmmm.

    You really have to imagine hearing it with Dinklage's delivery for the joke there to carry. Especially the "... - old, and dark." part.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    Soul SanctumSoul Sanctum Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    "Show, not tell." In a game usually leads to confusion, ambiguity, and debate. It is often more cumbersome than its worth. Especially in a game that is not primarily plot driven. I prefer exposition over none.

    Soul Sanctum on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    The joke is twofold. First, Dinklage's voice acting in the game is (from what I hear) terrible. Take his delivery of this line, for instance:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlOYatDYC40

    Like holy shit that's bad. Second, the writing is lame. Take this line, for instance:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlOYatDYC40

    Yes that's the same line as above. But I mean come on. The joke in the comic is that he calls it "an ancient darkness - old, and dark." That's like saying "a terrible odor - bad, and smelly." It's redundant, pointless, and redundant.

    So, if you imagine that pointless pablum repeated in Dinklage's uninterested monotone, you get the joke.

    Edit: lol just listen to this shit

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVKZ-YW3aLU

    Also

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STqqMSXXU8U

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    Soul SanctumSoul Sanctum Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    The joke in the comic is that he calls it "an ancient darkness - old, and dark." That's like saying "a terrible odor - bad, and smelly." It's redundant, pointless, and redundant.

    Nothing specifically akin to that is uttered in the game.

    Also the "He came from the moon." line was removed from the game before commercial release.
    So, if you imagine that pointless pablum repeated in Dinklage's uninterested monotone, you get the joke.

    How do you expect a computer's intonation to sound, exactly?

    Soul Sanctum on
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    Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    The joke in the comic is that he calls it "an ancient darkness - old, and dark." That's like saying "a terrible odor - bad, and smelly." It's redundant, pointless, and redundant.

    Nothing specifically akin to that is uttered in the game.

    Also the "He came from the moon." line was removed from the game before commercial release.
    So, if you imagine that pointless pablum repeated in Dinklage's uninterested monotone, you get the joke.

    How do you expect a computer's intonation to sound, exactly?
    He may be a "computer"*, but he tosses out the occasional human-like joke or sarcasm. "And there are things worse than that? Great." or "Why does every place we go to have to be so dark and scary?" (paraphrasing here). So he doesn't talk like Majel Barrett all the time. The inconsistency is part of why the character is so grating. He sometimes floats to wise-cracking sidekick and sometimes to Star Trek computer, but never really fills a good role and instead becomes an annoyance, especially since your character isn't a voiceless silent protagonist.

    The written dialogue is remarkably bad in this game. It's not just mediocre... it makes me cringe. The game's a lot of fun, though, in spite of this. It's hard to explain.

    * (the lore doesn't really say... they are called "Ghosts", and they may actually be the rent souls of past lives, who knows? The game has wizards.)

    8i1dt37buh2m.png
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    JackdawGinJackdawGin Engineer New YorkRegistered User regular
    I guess stating what things are in a game universe equates to bad dialogue these days? Hmmm.

    You really have to imagine hearing it with Dinklage's delivery for the joke there to carry. Especially the "... - old, and dark." part.

    Peter Dinklage has an incredible and expressive voice. But ever line in this game is delivered as if he's reading you the road signs during a long car trip.

    "Cawker City Kansas, home to the World's Largest Ball of Twine. Fascinating."

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    Soul SanctumSoul Sanctum Registered User regular
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    The inconsistency is part of why the character is so grating.

    I haven't really seen anyone complaining of inconsistency in the characterization, just stating that the voice acting is somehow objectively "bad" without being able to state why it is so.

    I've happened to find the voice acting and story passingly interesting, considering it's pretty much irrelevant in a game of this type.

    The dialogue has struck me as mostly matter-of-fact and only expressing what needs to be said with very small amounts of context and lore sprinkled about. These people are fighting a war for survival, not trying to be witty.

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    Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    The dialogue has struck me as mostly matter-of-fact and only expressing what needs to be said with very small amounts of context and lore sprinkled about. These people are fighting a war for survival, not trying to be witty.
    Except for the parts when the Ghost is trying to be witty. Which is why the character is inconsistent, and a partial reason of why the dialogue is bad. I JUST listed this in my previous post. It's usually a line by Dinklebot at the end of a mission or an unskippable cutscene. And it happens at least every other mission, in the short and disjointed story. I would have much preferred Nathan Fillion or Lance Reddick doing more narration or talking (both of them are voice actors in the game, and they do a decent job).

    The sad part is that the lore actually is pretty interesting. They have somehow managed to turn the extraordinary into the mundane through the shoddy delivery of the lore. The fact that the Grimoire cards do not appear anywhere in the game is criminal. There's no reason you should be forced to go to an external app for that information. At the very least, they should have an internal web browser link in the game to jump you to that page online.

    Hahnsoo1 on
    8i1dt37buh2m.png
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    The dialogue in the game is p bad.

    "I don't even have time to tell you why I don't have time to tell you."

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    The dialogue in the game is p bad.

    "I don't even have time to tell you why I don't have time to tell you."
    Don't point out how bad this line is! Then they might have to make it sound more rushed, as an excuse, so they'll have to change it to "I don't even have time to tell you why I don't have time to tell you why I don't have time to tell you."

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    Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    That wizard came from the moon.

    I died.

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    RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    "Show, not tell." In a game usually leads to confusion, ambiguity, and debate. It is often more cumbersome than its worth. Especially in a game that is not primarily plot driven. I prefer exposition over none.

    I can't really think of any instances where it led to confusion. I doubt anyone is really left wondering what the deal with Rapture is. And for most games considered to have bad narratives, the complaint is never, "I wish that game hadn't been so subtle with its story." It's usually that the narrative is overemphasized, which highlights its bad quality (previously mentioned FFXIII) or that it's simply not bothered with--games where people interested in story simply wonder why their character is doing what they are doing. It's not because the game tried to show us and should have just flat out said it. It's because the developers never decided what the background or motivation was at all--it's simply not in the game.

    If a game is not primarily plot driven, why should I have to hear this guy babbling over my gameplay all the time with poorly written stuff that isn't crucial to following what's going on?

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    ziddersroofurryziddersroofurry Registered User regular
    "That's no moon. It's a Wizard." would have worked waaay better.

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    it's like he's doing shatner

    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
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    Soul SanctumSoul Sanctum Registered User regular
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    Except for the parts when the Ghost is trying to be witty. Which is why the character is inconsistent, and a partial reason of why the dialogue is bad.

    I was referring to the other characters and voices in the game besides the Ghost, I said "people" I don't consider the ghost a person, but an AI construct. Yes, he does have a quip usually at the end of a mission or something, but I fail to see how that makes him inconsistent in that an AI can attempt humor and wit and fail.
    "Show, not tell." In a game usually leads to confusion, ambiguity, and debate. It is often more cumbersome than its worth. Especially in a game that is not primarily plot driven. I prefer exposition over none.

    I can't really think of any instances where it led to confusion.

    Bioshock Infinite begs to differ.
    And for most games considered to have bad narratives, the complaint is never, "I wish that game hadn't been so subtle with its story."

    Correct, that isn't the complaint, the complaint is usually "What the hell was that supposed to mean!", "Wait, that's it?" or "wtf?" Then they rush to the internet for a plot analysis or to rant about how stupid and nonsensical it was.

    Many times an exposition dump is better than muddled scenes or having to wander around and find inexplicable audio diaries.
    If a game is not primarily plot driven, why should I have to hear this guy babbling over my gameplay all the time with poorly written stuff that isn't crucial to following what's going on?

    I find it adds context, depth, and immersion to something that would otherwise be more bland.

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    DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    An exposition dump is bad storytelling. Always. There's always a way to add context, depth and immersion without needing a narrator telling you what things are and why you are there.

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    GDT1985GDT1985 Registered User regular
    I find the lore interesting, but the game has so far done a poor job explaining it. If they are going to put all of the story on collectible cards, there needs to be a way to access them in the game.

    Destiny started out as a fantasy game, so Bungie kept that theme when naming everything.(Even if they were about as generic as they could get)

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    Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    Bioshock Infinite begs to differ.

    Bioshock Infinite is a pretty incompetent game all around.
    It's not fault of the advice "show, don't tell" that the game is as bad as it is.

    If your plot is nonsensical and you have no idea what theme you're focusing on, there's no amount of vignettes and tour-de-force moments that'll save your story.
    Is your story about racism? A cool sci-fi conceit? A father-daughter thingamabob? Survival horror? Hell if know.

    How do you expect a computer's intonation to sound, exactly?

    Ordis from Warframe.
    Cortana from the Halo franchise.
    SHODAN from System Shock 2.
    Hal from Space Odyssey 9000.
    David from Prometheus.
    Data from Star Trek: TNG.

    AI's are a gold mine.
    Peter Dinklage should be able to do something with that. Especially when you're an AI intelligent enough to wistfully muse about how exciting and wonderful it must've been to see the dream of human colonization back when.

    You're really trying too hard to excuse how bad this is.

    Twenty Sided on
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    Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    On further thought, Peter Dinklage is killing the golden goose. The man has lost his mind.
    There just aren't a lot of seriously-written live action roles that require a man with dwarfism. Voice work gets around that.
    So he lands a role to sell the setting of a triple-A title as its narrator and shows that he just doesn't respect the work.

    Oy.

    Twenty Sided on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    I'm not sure if blaming Dinklage is necessarily the right way to think about it.* If I had to read the line "that wizard came from the moon" without any context I have no idea what kind of inflection I'd try to give it. A good director is responsible for getting good line reads out of actors and lots of companies treat their voice actors like a famous person slot machine that will just spit out golden reads if you pull the lever. Getting someone to say, with all seriousness, "that wizard came from the moon" is already a challenge and if you don't give them anything more to go on I think it's unreasonable to lay all or even most of the blame at the voice actor's feet.

    *And definitely framing it in terms of "you had your once chance to escape your crippling dwarfism and you fucked it up, you crazy person!" is pretty offensive.

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    GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    I don't think it's Peter's fault; the dude is a talented actor and is blessed with a really good voice. Rather, the problem with destiny seems to be that the dev team was given a dump truck full of money and were baffled at how to spend it given their complete lack of expierience with MMORPG design theory and this narciscistic idea that they could make a game with ten years of plot (about as long as WoW has been out) that people would wait for due to... what? Loyalty to bungie?

    I would have expected something like this from a start up studio.

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    RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    Whether it's the fault of the writers, directors, or the voice actor not taking the work seriously, it tends to be a trend that great actors do bad jobs in video games. Part of it may be that gamers and devs love theatrical actors, who are less likely to have respect for the material even if it is decent. Lots of these guys are still from a generation that sees video games as toys. So it stands to reason that a younger guy like Nathan Fillion is going to get more into it than someone like Dinklage or Patrick Stewart or whoever. Another reason why Ellen Mclain is so awesome--an opera singer who admits to not being a gamer originally but she put every ounce of effort into her work and it shows.

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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Whether it's the fault of the writers, directors, or the voice actor not taking the work seriously, it tends to be a trend that great actors do bad jobs in video games. Part of it may be that gamers and devs love theatrical actors, who are less likely to have respect for the material even if it is decent. Lots of these guys are still from a generation that sees video games as toys. So it stands to reason that a younger guy like Nathan Fillion is going to get more into it than someone like Dinklage or Patrick Stewart or whoever. Another reason why Ellen Mclain is so awesome--an opera singer who admits to not being a gamer originally but she put every ounce of effort into her work and it shows.

    Um, dude, Peter Dinklage is all of two years older than Nathan Fillion. One is 45, the other is 43.

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    DoctorEarsDoctorEars Registered User regular
    Personally I think the dialogue would work a lot better if there was another participant to bounce off it. The Guardian has dialogue in the few cutscenes there are, why can't he talk during gameplay. Having banter between the player character and the Ghost would help a lot, I think. Would add some personality to the exposition.

    Also, great comic.

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    RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Whether it's the fault of the writers, directors, or the voice actor not taking the work seriously, it tends to be a trend that great actors do bad jobs in video games. Part of it may be that gamers and devs love theatrical actors, who are less likely to have respect for the material even if it is decent. Lots of these guys are still from a generation that sees video games as toys. So it stands to reason that a younger guy like Nathan Fillion is going to get more into it than someone like Dinklage or Patrick Stewart or whoever. Another reason why Ellen Mclain is so awesome--an opera singer who admits to not being a gamer originally but she put every ounce of effort into her work and it shows.

    Um, dude, Peter Dinklage is all of two years older than Nathan Fillion. One is 45, the other is 43.

    Whoops. I stand corrected . :/ I admit I know very little about the career of Peter Dinklage. By his voice and the little I've seen of him, I got the impression he's more of a theatrical type guy. In retrospect, bringing up age was pretty irrelevant to my point.

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