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Some minor spoilers for Sacred Stone area in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Well, played some. Explored Sacred Stone. Met a couple of elementals and laughed that one wanted to start an artisanal soap company. Decided I wasn’t ready to fight the head of the place. So I went and killed evil bulbs and fought a couple of slavers and I just got to the main temple. So no real themes.

Well, I DID get themes, but prematurely. Cuz I found Jareth! You know, who Bairdotr is looking for? And there was talking! And themes! LOTS of themes! And then there was a fight that promptly destroyed me. Like, DESTROYED me. So there was a reload and me leaving and I’ll come back and get those themes in about three or four levels. That kind of destroyed.

We’ll talk. Later. Much later.

Feminina:

Well, you did more than we did, which was pretty much nothing.

Found Jareth, eh? We heard about him being there, but didn’t actually see him. We heard he’d been there and then gone off with…you know. Person.

We didn’t get in any fights in Sacred Stone either, just pretended to be Immaculates, and wandered, chatted, shopped. You know. Did you check out the prison? We felt bad about those people, but also not sure we could beat all the guards, so again…pretended, chatted. Went away. We’ll be back, prisoners! You’ll probably all be dead by then, but maybe not.

Butch:

Kind of you not to do anything. But is something wrong? It’s the weekend, man!

I don’t know person, or who he ran off with or anything. I stumbled across him, really. It was a “So what’s over here….hey who’s that guy oh it’s you” kind of deal. Totally random stumbling. I’m kinda surprised you didn’t.

I saw the prison, but it was behind a door that was don’t touch red, and there were dudes all over the place so I didn’t go through the door. I’ll go back. I’m sure I’ll have to at some point. The whole place had a “So…level 15 yet? No? Buh-bye” vibe.

Certainly the one fight I did get into ended very poorly. And quickly.

I’ll stick to this temple. I’m almost level 14. I’ll get there tonight. Maybe.

Those prisoners will be alive. It’s how games do. Everyone waits for the PC to do much of anything. If I was a prisoner, I’d be all “Hey, we’re cool. They won’t touch us until the PC shows up damn there she is. What? You’ll come back for us? No…that’s cool….we’re good….”

Feminina:

Nah, we’re good, it was just one thing and another. Mr. O’ had a parent party to go to, then the next night the kids weren’t sleepy, etc.

 

That’s funny that you could just stumble across Jareth. I felt like we poked around that town pretty thoroughly, but I guess not. We heard he’d left with the Conduit and we figured we’d need to find them both.

And don’t worry about the locked door to the prison–there’s another entrance, off on the side there, that isn’t locked. You can just stroll right in. Also, true that the prisoners will no doubt still be there when we get back. Which reminds me we’re now level 16, and could probably think about doing that.

Maybe we’ll find Jareth this time!

Butch:

Sorta like EVERY DAMN WEEKEND OF MINE not bitter. I only get Fridays in these days. That’s when I played. Not during an actual weekend.

 

You should have another kid just to get ALL the fun you can. Ha.

I should say Jareth is near the town, not in it. It’s a serious “Wonder what’s over here” thing. I’m sure if you’ve heard about him, it’s only a matter of time before the game gives you the info, so I won’t spoil yet. But he’s damn close! And findable! Just REALLY magpie.

Feminina:

DUDE! Brilliant thought! Another kid would make our lives complete!

Maybe we get lucky and it’s twins. Can you even imagine the joy!!!!???

No. You cannot. Neither can I. That is not going to happen. The house and two squabbling children is enough fun for us, honest.

Yeah, maybe the time is right for another visit to Sacred Stone. We’ve done…some things since then. Some things that maybe will provoke some more action there.

As soon as we’re done with whatever it is we were doing days ago when we played. Exploring someplace, as one does when a game is large.

It’s not even open world! It’s just huge.

Butch:

Dude, when we went in for Meatball’s first ultrasound, we both were like “Just tell us it’s only one.” The tech was all “Don’t you want to know its gender?” “No. Just tell us there’s only one.” “Or if its healthy?” “Who cares? How many are there?” “Or if-” “LOOK IS IT FUCKING TWINS?

You’ve finally wised up.

Maybe you should return to Sacred Stone. It sure felt like a place where shit was gonna go down at some point. Not just side quest shit, either.

And well…hmm…IS it open world? Yes, there’s a lot of herding in the sense of the game really trying to talk you out of going places, or putting lots of bad baddies places, but you can ignore all that (or fight through it if you’re good), or even go in wildly different directions without ignoring all that (as we have at multiple points). Usually, we’re in different places because you’re ahead of me, but we’ve done different stuff in different orders. I mean, yes, you can’t climb (or jump sideways up) every mountain or anything, but it sure does have a lot of freedom.

Feminina:

Yeah, dude…the first one, you’re like “enh, twins would be a lot of work, but whatever, not the end of the world.”

After that, it would be pretty much the end of the world. I sure had my fingers crossed for that ultrasound with Grigio. “Definitely just one? Whew!”

Hm. That is a good question. IS it open world?

My instinct is to read it as not, because of the often-narrow strips of accessible ground in between all the rocks and things, and because of all the places you can’t go until you can defeat thus and such or find the thingamabob, but you’re right, these are tricks that open worlds employ all the time to make sure you don’t get places too soon. And we do have the option to roam around a lot and do things in different order.

Hm. I suppose we’ll have to work out exactly how we define ‘open world.’ That’s good for some discussion. If we don’t get bored and wander off.

Butch:

Well, it sure as fuck isn’t open world now.

Got into the temple, met Mangoth, yadda yadda, killed dudes.

Looted the library. It takes forever to loot a library, have you noticed?

Got stuck on the button puzzle, then figured it out with the book.

But…

Met Mangoth AGAIN and now I’m facing five level 14 dudes and I’m level 13 and there’s no way around this.

Hmm.

Much thinking. Or turning down the difficulty.

This is NOT open world.

Feminina:

Ah–Mangoth. Yes. He summons a lot of things. That was a nasty fight. We survived it, but it wasn’t pretty.

So, perhaps not open world (although you can leave), but also not a very good example of a well-planned closed world, since in that case you wouldn’t be in this fight until you were 15th level yourself.

Butch:

Yup…I’m still 13. This is the problem.

Just tried again. Nope. Wolgraff, beast that he is, killed the fire guy and two of the void supplicants, but it wasn’t enough.

Feminina:

This is a serious problem. Good hustle by Wolgraff, though!

I think we managed mostly by summoning things, but it was a long, hard fight.

Sometimes all you can do is ‘flee’ and come back later. Unless you can’t stay alive long enough to flee, which is perhaps the most serious problem of all. We almost had that happen once. Valena has a low initiative, and everyone else fled before the monsters attacked, but they got to move before I did…I had to just stand there hoping to survive long enough to have a turn so I could run for it. Then was of course too close to flee, but happily was able to turn invisible, which allowed me to move a few steps away and activate ‘flee.’

Sometimes even escaping is a process!

Butch:

But then I’ll have to come all the way back! Flee takes you to the nearest waypoint and that’s FAR.

Nope. Difficulty slider it is.

But I have one more idea….

I still think Scarlett is nuts. I think “death” is being cured. Here’s a guy who thinks death is good, it’ll take us back to a normal time. He asks her to understand and join him. “Source” is medicine and she rejects it. And the immaculates? They’re in a library. Full of knowledge, that sun stuff. Trying to pull her out of eden.

If you saw the cutscenes I’ve seen…stuff. Happens.

By the way, did you meet the ghost librarian? From the “past?”

Feminina:

Oh yes. Met the librarian.

“I can’t be bothered with the details of who’s coming in here for what” or whatever.

Random side note: I kind of love the way stacks of books are always wobbling from side to side like blades of grass in the wind, but never fall over. That’s some careful stacking!

Your points about libraries and Eden and knowledge are intriguing. But it’s not just that “death is good”–there’s a whole storyline there about how the death of lesser creatures, specifically, are good in service to the greater cause. How does this idea of sacrificing others tie into the idea that the sacrificed have been cured?

Is it just the character’s spin on the fact that people are leaving the delusion? A way to feel important, that it’s all about her/him in the end? We could read it that way if we accept that the sacrifices are leading up to this obliteration of the (delusional) world, and if we assume that to the world’s creator, obliterating the world is very personal and is therefore ‘about her/him’.

Or perhaps it’s simply that the insane PC can only explain the attempts to cure her/him by calling them an evil cult, because what other reason could anyone have?

Butch:

Well, it also goes to your idea of everything being unstuck in time. But…

Shit, I REALLY wish you knew what I knew about the end of time!!!!

I think more the second thing you said. But also, I read that Source/conduit/etc are medicine/doctors. I’ve said before that the torture racks look like hospital beds. If you’re in hospital, doctors are removing people from the hospital by curing them, right? And, if in your weird delusion, you fear that (that is, “getting cured” ruining your “world,”) you may well see it that way. These “evil” people “removing” people from your “world” and saying it’s good. These doctors/nurses/learned ones who know the “truth” are bringing them to some place where things are “normal.”

Hold this thought until you meet…someone.

And as for “obliterating the world is very personal and wants it to be about him/her,” hold that thought. We’ll talk. Later.

Feminina:

Lalalala, I don’t know anything about the end of time! Dum-de-dum-dum-dum [cheerful whistling].

But yeah, your theory could work. I do still think there’s something about the idea that people disappearing from the world are being sacrificed, rather than simply killed.

I mean, a deluded person easily could see doctors as evil beings who just wandered around killing/snatching away people–other patients could disappear in a sinister-seeming way without this specific story explanation of sacrifice. Of being removed for some particular purpose.

So if this is all a delusion, then the deluded person is likely telling this specific, sacrifice-heavy story because it has some personal meaning.

Or you’re insane. We haven’t brought up that possibility recently, but I still think it’s quite plausible.

Butch:

Well, I can be right and crazy.

T SHIRT!!!

Do you or don’t you know something? Did you learn something? Some cutscenes, some letters perchance?

Well, the people BEING sacrificed don’t seem at all happy about it. This isn’t some society that is all “The highest thing I can do is sacrificing myself to the goddess! What a blessing to be chosen!” They think they’re just being killed. I just did the whole fight where they were all “They’ll bleed us like PIGS (emphasis mine)” and said “Please! I’m not READY TO DIE (again, emphasis mine)” so many times I almost was like “Bairdotr, static cloud those idiots so they shut up.” And READY to die is loaded, too. They don’t say “I don’t want to die.”

LALALALALA I know nothing. NOTHING!

LA!

Feminina:

Ooh, that IS a T shirt!

No, sorry, we actually don’t know anything about the end of time. We’ll go back soon! Or in about 7 months.

Butch:

I know so much!

And yet, only level 13 and getting whupped. It’s a trade off.

Feminina:

Trade offs. It is the nature of life and video games.

Butch:

Well, I got one more idea. Then it’s lowering the difficulty time.

Feminina:

I respect your determination to press forward. We’ve been much more inclined to just say “hell with it, we’ll see you later big tough dudes” and run off.

As has been demonstrated by the fact that you defeated Braccus and got through the mines before us, even though we reached them both first.

Running off. It’s what we do.

Butch:

Which is why I have a narrative that makes somewhat more sense. Your game has obviously given up.

“Oh, fuck it, they’re not gonna do chapters 2, 5, and 7 through 9. Better just skip to the part with the thing.”

Feminina:

Which is great, because I love the part with the thing!

Although one could also make the argument that the narrative is supposed to be kind of jumpy (especially if the PC is insane), and you’re forcing it to make linear sense by charging ahead in places where the game is kind of telling you “go away already, man, this is too hard!”

Perhaps in the end it’s OUR game that is thematically consistent, while yours has struggled all along to impose order on a story that fundamentally doesn’t make any sense.

That’s what I’m going with, anyway.

Butch:

You do that. You do that.

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