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Spoilers and speculation for some main plot points in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

So….ok. Talked to the people…talked to their cat which was far more interesting…did you talk to the cat? Did you talk to the people ABOUT talking to cats?

Got into the trap house, and shit, you weren’t kidding about the trap house, were you?

Got through the trap house without dying too many times (fuck those disappearing mines), found the amulet and whatnot that I was there to find, couldn’t answer a chest’s question, though I think it has to do with a mirror that I couldn’t turn on, couldn’t get to a mirror that WAS on and wasted too much time on it before giving up, used the “chuck a pyramid through a barrier” trick to get to the study place with the portal, which may be cheating but I was pissed so fuck you game, turned the defenses off, called it a night.

THOUGHTS!

Did you talk to the cat? And the people about the cat? Cuz I have thoughts.

What did you make of the creepy assed take on the whole living brooms shit from Beauty and the Beast there? The sparkly stuff “doing work?” I mean, besides being creepy in that cute but creepy way this game does so well? Ghosts? People who are in the real world that delusional Scarlett refuses to see? Magically animated brooms? What? I think it’s one or both of the first two. But I’ll listen to thoughts.

I am, for the first time, getting a sense of “Ok, game, let’s move it along.” Not a huge, overwhelming I’m frustrated sense of it, but certainly a sense of it. Things, all of a sudden, are taking a long time to happen. Or so it feels. And I think I’ve hit on why: The attack on the end of time is a dumb mechanic. My story was moving along quite nicely. Met the trife, met the goddess thingy, had some cool cutscenes, things were HAPPENING man….and now they aren’t.

Now, if that was herding, fine. If there was some reason the game was all “Ok, stop this very important narrative and go do that other, very important, related narrative,” fine. But I can’t see where that was. Ok, you need tenebrium. That led to you Sacred Stone, and, what, Bairdotr’s quest? You didn’t get into the troll cave, but it certainly wasn’t a narrative moment. And then, what, we were supposed to go back and deal with the attack right then and didn’t? Or…what…do what we did? What?

It was like they ground the narrative to a halt, then told us to go forth and magpie for a long, long time. And that’s an odd reason to grind a narrative to a halt.

Now, I’m not THAT annoyed, because there’s still been themes and stuff to write about and all that, but I think whatever they were trying to do by slamming on the brakes at the end of time didn’t work. Cuz it either was a tremendous interruption, or a complete delay on ANYTHING happening in the narrative in your case.

Weird. But all the more reason for me to fix the problem.

Feminina:

Right? The cat! I tried to talk to the cat when we first went in there and it just “stared blankly” or whatever. And then later, there was a sort of ‘poof!’ and the cat answered when I talked to it. Something was possessing that cat, right? Watching those people and us? But I don’t know what or who.

And we did talk to the people about talking to cats, I think, but I don’t remember them saying anything that struck me as especially noteworthy. Something about Jinxika and how they remembered her and wasn’t it nice she was looking out for them, or something?

And dude, the traps in that trap house…yeah. We went in together initially, half of us died. Reloaded, sent one person in to poke around. Managed to make it up to the second floor, and eventually managed to NOT die in the disappearing mines (that were an illusion? except when they blew up on you?).

Talked to the chest, which didn’t like any of my answers. Got the simple-sounding “here’s how to disarm the security system” note, but damned if we could figure out how to get to the mirror it mentioned. Got the thing we came there for and booked it. Sorry, people…probably no one will come and kill you while we’re off doing other things? Good luck with that! Thanks for the info!

And yeah, I’m kind of with you about the attack on the end of time. As you say, it certainly in our case made for a long detour of collecting XP and completely avoiding the plot. And the only thing I can think is, maybe it is supposed to do exactly that: give you a lengthy period where you have to go do other things and gain some levels? Is it a sort of mid-game hinterlands, trying to buff you up a bit to make sure you’re strong enough for the endgame? I dunno, man.

Anyway, last night we went back to the end of time. Talked to Zixzax, went through another portal to the Hall of Secrets. Talked to Astarte (“how weak you are!”), looted a bunch of lab junk and sold it to the Keeper of Secrets or whatever she was called.

Read a couple of letters and a diary entry. Came back out, talked to ZixZax, got a cutscene about the two generals becoming the inhuman Guardians of the Godbox (hm…not maybe as much gravitas in that word as they wanted, or maybe it’s an intentional bit of goofiness). Opened a portal to the Air realm or whatever. A bunch of imps showed up. Some of them carrying huge healing potions to sell! But otherwise, merely annoying.

So that’s where we are. Whew.

Butch:

Hmm. I don’t know about staring blankly, but I talked to the cat, as one does, and it was all “Where am I? I was just TAKING A BATH (emphasis mine) and now I’m here….wait…you can hear me?” Cats don’t take baths. And this is the first animal I’ve talked to that seemed genuinely surprised that we could talk to it.

Hmm.

Ah. What she said was “How…I’ve never heard of anyone who can talk to animals before….” You remember a ways back when we were talking about how PCs can do stuff, use scrolls, etc, that it seems no one else can do? Well, no one ever questions the fact that YOU can do it. You’re the hero! A witcher! A source hunter! A whatever! We never see anyone saying “Wait…you can…what?” And DOUBTING it! There was an undertone of “Um….yeah….ok….” An undertone of (I’m gonna say it) “You talk to animals? You’re crazy.”

When have you ever had an NPC be all “What, spells? Bringing dudes back from the dead? Screwing hot sorceresses? Yeah, man. Whatevs.”

And this specifically about what some (real life) mentally ill people do.

Just sayin’.

I don’t know about the trap house! Cuz at first we all just charged in and died. So then Scarlett went all slow and stuff, disarmed a couple (I don’t think you can disarm illusions), and SHE was all “Oh, it’s just a mirage,” so I figured, “Ok, when you realize they’re not real you can charge ahead” and no, no you cannot. They blew up even invisible. I finally just let a couple explode, healed, and waited for the fire to burn out.

But what did you make of the brooms and shit? Weird.

But ah, Ok. No, you did not have to get to that particular mirror. The mirror it mentioned was the one you initially came through, that got you dead. The dining room table it mentioned was the dining room table there in the room.

How did I do this? Well, remember I said there was that whole “toss the pyramid through the barrier” trick I did? Well, in there resides the lever to turn everything off! Ha!

So do that, stand on the clicky plate that made everything explode, read spell. Go into basement. Get extremely powerful loot.

Except…Well, I just played some cuz I wanted to. Here’s my thing:

Went and told the guys the traps were off. Cat was still weird. They told me the password to the chest, which wasn’t an option until I did that. EXTREMELY good loot. Nothing that you HAVE to have, but DAMN I’m a tank now.

Then tried to help the undead trader who I learned is possessed by Cordelia. No luck.

Then said fuck it and went to try to turn off the end of time. Cruised through a bunch of immaculates (cuz I’m a tank), got gypped out of XP cuz I teleported a couple of them into lava before the fight started, and, turns out, you don’t even get XP for KILLING BADDIES if the FIGHT thing doesn’t come up first. Sigh.

And I’m about to go through some mirror and hopefully end the attack.

Which means it CAN’T be a “buff up for endgame” deal cuz it can’t BE the endgame cuz I haven’t resolved Hunter’s Edge, haven’t found Cassandra, and haven’t even BEEN to the phantom forest at all. Is it the endgame? Cuz that’s a lot to not do if it is.

But good. You’re catching up. Here’s the thing….when do you think Astarte is? Future? Past? Neither? And do you trust her? We haven’t had a good opinion of gods in this game.

Oh, and I’ll save you the trouble. The maps she has? At least the one I bought told me nothing I didn’t already know.

And yes, Godbox is pretty weak.

So now you know that “we” aren’t “we,” per se. We have other souls riding shotgun, right? We’re both Scarlett/Roderick AND guardian/guardian. Or are we? How do you read that?

The garden of Eden themeage is strong, no?

Those fucking imps. At least your attack is over. I had to fight through fireballs AND those fucking imps every time I went back to the shelter plane. It. Sucked.

But did you talk to the imps? They…hm.

Cuz yesterday or so, we were talking on those Watchers in the knight’s tomb. Those are the imps they’re looking for. I could have pointed the watchers to the shelter plane cuz I knew that.

But see, we also know that these imps made a deal, a deal that was kept, for ultimate knowledge of everything. They got all this knowledge. And they went insane. They’re all completely, totally bonkers.

Or are they? I can’t decide.

But certainly, these things that “know” everything sure act bonkers. Whatchu make of that?

Whew, indeed.

See? Not crazy.

Feminina:

Hm. I assumed the cat meant “I was licking myself.” You know, “I was having a bath, as I do…” lick lick. Which cats do all the time.

Also, I just talked to the clairvoyant ox last night (we were in Cyseal selling loot) and his friend said “hey, I’ve never had a two-legs address me directly before,” so other animals have expressed surprise that we talked to them, although it’s true that they mostly take it in stride.

So…hm. You could totally be right, the cat might not actually be a cat–it might be some other creature that was…turned into a cat and transported there at that moment for some reason? And couldn’t immediately speak so only stared blankly at me when I tried to talk to it when we first went in? Or was a cat but couldn’t talk when we first got there, and then was replaced with something that wasn’t a cat after we’d been there a while?

A bit convoluted, but stranger things have definitely happened.

I don’t think it’s clear that that’s the case, though. I think it might also be a normal cat that was temporarily possessed. Which is honestly just as weird, though less complicated (this is where we’ve come, that “possession of animal by party unknown” is the SIMPLE explanation) so either way, something is going on there.

Thanks for the tip about the barrier and the pyramid in the traphouse. We didn’t try throwing the pyramid! We’ll do it. Because loot.

Also we want to help the wizard’s poor friends/servants/whatever. They deserve a little safety.

Also, speaking of…something…I was interested to find a book last night that actually talks about the Seven and gives their names and explains what they were about. It’s interesting that we only learn that 15 plot unfoldings into the course of the game. The book obviously doesn’t provide evidence for our much-earlier speculation as to whether or not the gods ever actually existed, but it’s interesting that it’s taken this long to even find out what they were called and what they were supposed to be interested in. That’s a sign of a religion dwindled into rote utterances (“thank the seven!”), and/or of history so long forgotten it’s barely even myth anymore.

So the possible ‘right’ religion (if these gods were once real and present and it made sense to worship them) has faded into near-nothingness, while the new religion that people actually care about (the Conduit–who, let’s note, is actually real and present and arguably it makes some sense to follow her) is based around a solid plan to kill enough things to make the universe end. Hm. As usual in games, it’s an interesting take on faith.

As for the PCs and their dual souls, yeah, that was interesting as well. We both decided to play it as “this is great, I knew I was awesome, and it’s clear that we did wonderful things once and perhaps we will again!” Although the less cheerful “I don’t believe any of this/I don’t want someone else’s soul lurking in my body” take also seems legit.

Interestingly, it suggests that we weren’t quite right in reading this as “these PCs literally have no past and were created two minutes before the story begins for the purpose of containing these mysterious, special beings that we think we are.”

I mean, it could still be true, but the framing of us as having two souls — “your ordinary human one and this one belonging to the Guardian” or however it was phrased — suggests that we do HAVE human pasts, because we have an “ordinary human” component to us. Maybe we just really don’t like to talk about our pasts.

I mean, maybe we were created two minutes before the story started, but we were created with human souls as well as the Guardian souls, but if they were human souls with no past and no memories it seems a bit pointless to not just create a body to stick the Guardian in and have done. Hm.

As for the magically sweeping brooms, my thought was that there sure are a lot of them, so each one is apparently only responsible for a small area, which seems either inefficient or suggestive of an extremely strong concern with dust. “No speck may ever settle here!”

I hadn’t given it much thought in terms of whether the brooms actually represent ghosts or people the insane PCs refuse to see, I just figured “oh, enchanted brooms, this is the wizard’s house all right!” But there could certainly be more to it.

The imps…we talked to all the imps, I think. Could have missed one in the flurry, but we meant to talk to them all. And yes, they do seem a bit bonkers. In various ways, too, which is interesting. They don’t all share a delusion. Speaking to the “we’re all living in our own worlds here in this mental institution” part of your theory?

Man, we have a LOT to talk about all of a sudden. I probably missed something.

Butch:

Cat licking…Hmm. Possible. Yet more vague. They do like their vague.

Ooo! The ox!

Yeah, I didn’t make that connection then, because he was one of the first things I talked to, so no pattern.

He was weird, wasn’t he? Two rather trite carnival fortunes then…that.

I forget the details, though. What were they?

There were those two cows we helped out where one said that her husband never learned the human language, and all he could do was say MOO. So there’s odd mechanics of pet pal. So the animals learn our language but then are stunned when we use it with them? It’s interesting. But obviously a mechanic the game dearly wanted us to use.

I never had the cat stare. It gave me that dialog straight off.

This game likes its strange. Relishes it, really. It’s very good at creepy.

Those people do deserve some safety. They were helpful. Liked them.

I still don’t know how to get into the room with the active mirror. The pyramid trick, for some reason, didn’t work on that one. I tried. Lots.

GET OUT! A book about the gods? Where? I haven’t found that at all!

An interesting take indeed… For that matter, a polytheistic religion being replaced by one led by a very real person. Where have I heard THAT before?

And the second one…well…not sympathetic in this game.

I’m not sure that’s true that we do have an ordinary human past, because were that true, why aren’t “we” in the tapestry of time? The guardians are. We are not. We being Scarlett/Roderick.

Cuz I also think it’s clear (as this game gets) that when Araste is addressing “us” she’s talking about the guardians. I don’t think she’s registering Scarlett/Roderick one bit. Which begs the question: is ANYONE on the shelter plane really talking to Scarlett/Roderick? If not, then Scarlett/Roderick really are just vessels, ones with souls, but ones that popped up to house the guardians.

We shall see. I STILL know a little more than you do. Cuz I’m a cutscene ahead, still. One past the godbox one.

There were brooms, and a dishwasher, and something or other (a gardener?) shoveling outside. LOTS of thingies. Cuz also, what they were cleaning wasn’t there. Well, we don’t know that about the brooms, but the thing “washing dishes” was just rags and brushes miming washing over an empty washbin. They weren’t existing or working in the here and now. They were doing…something else. Or sometime else. Or they weren’t real at all.

The imps certainly do go with my theory. Cuz some were hallucinating, some were homicidal, some were incoherent. The “smart” ones. And they didn’t seem to have any connection to each other. They weren’t all talking about “we imps” or “where WE’RE from.” They were all in their own world. They LOOKED identical, but otherwise had nothing in common and didn’t acknowledge each other at all.

It’s also rather interesting that the NPC that’s, by FAR, the most bonkers is Jahan, and he’s the one designed to max out intelligence.

The imps/mental institution idea also is part of my “how to sequel” thing. All the really bonkers characters are from “somewhere else” that’s still part of the game world. The imps? Some other plane. Bairdotr? Some other part of Rivellon that Scarlett will never see/can’t really see. Jahan? He even refers to “my” Rivellon. Other delusions. Other places to have metaphor heavy games.

I’ve gone through this whole game thinking I missed something. Probably cuz I have.

And all this on a Friday!

Now do you see why I wanted you all up in the cutscenes/shelter plane? BLOGGAGE!

Feminina:

The oxen, let’s see…the predictions were “yes, you will have riches–you will gain your riches by bloody means” (uh…true!), and “I see you have faltered in love in the past–it will take a strong love to go forward in the future” or something. Definitely the bloody means, and the faltering in love in the past. Plus of course “death is the most difficult thing to predict…oh no…oh no…this reading is over!”

So…vague, but also plausible. I find the part about having a troubled romantic history pretty interesting. Maybe the generals were in love, but it didn’t work out? And that’s why one of them apparently disappeared and left the other to rule alone (even though they both also became immortal Guardians? Earlier, later, still in the future?). And you’re right, it’s not totally clear that the Guardians and the PCs are perceived as the same–as you say, Astarte definitely only ever addresses the Guardians–maybe we’re each somehow the mysterious reincarnation of two DIFFERENT people?

I just found the book about the gods last night, in the Hall of Secrets! Totally in there. I think it was just called “book,” though (another interesting touch–this information isn’t even important enough to be highlighted with a title), so maybe you overlooked it? Check your inventory. Read all the uninteresting looking books. it was all about how “so-and-so created the dwarves, and lived with them, so-and-so created the elves,” etc. There was a god for humans, dwarves, elves, orcs, imps, lizard people (have we even seen those?), and wizards. It noted that they aren’t strictly a species, but whomever (I can’t remember any of the names) liked them and paid special attention to them.

Possibly why they seem to live hundreds of years.

Butch:

Yeah, the ox didn’t give many details. But that was creepy, I thought. And he refuses to talk to you at all any more.

Reincarnation…I don’t think….well….hm….get another cutscene.

And I didn’t get we were the reincarnation. Scarlett/Roderick have their own souls, right? So this isn’t the guardians being back, and they’re us. They’re NOT us. Or they don’t appear to be fully us.

Gods. So, like polytheism, there’s god “of” stuff. Hmm. Man, I wish you had gotten Jahan. You want some spoilers on that front?

Ok, I shall check for that book. After I end the attack.

Feminina:

Yeah, go end the attack. Then look for books on gods.

I almost picked up Jahan last night while we were in Cyseal, except that I’m just starting to get to know Madora (as a character I can play) and decided not to. But I may well still do it, so no spoilers yet.

But yeah, gods of different groups, basically.

And OK, OK, we’ll get another cutscene. I mean, I didn’t plan to, but if you’re going to be all hinty…

Butch:

Not hinty, so much as…uh…hinting there may be themes. Which isn’t hinty. It may be hintING, but there’s a difference. I think.

Is there a bigassed fight before I can end the attack?

That I can’t deal with by transporting dudes into lava?

I found it funny that a couple times, I zapped a dude into lava when he was sitting around a campfire and his friends just kept talking. Once, I zapped two dudes into lava and the one remaining guy just kept bantering to no one at all.

Kevins have seen it all.

Feminina:

Ha! Kevins HAVE seen it all.

Or they’re actually insane and are chattering away in their own worlds. Hm.

Have you done the fight with those weird lava creatures? If not, there’s another little fight.

After that, there’s not necessarily another fight: at one point there are a couple of stairways, and one of them may lead to demons you might possibly fight, but if you ignore them and take the other one (straight ahead, I think) they will also ignore you, and then you can take care of business with the bloodstone.

And then you can just leave.

In summary, no, there’s not a lot of fighting. Unless you feel like fighting demons. In which case, knock yourself out. You have tenebrium weapons?

Butch:

That I do. Even better ones than the ones I picked up in sacred stone. Cuz did I mention MAD LOOT? Mad loot.

Mad. Loot.

As for Kevin in his own world, nah. I just don’t think this game anticipated my tactical genius. It certainly wasn’t ready to give me XP for it.

Um….no. No, no weird lava creatures. Nope.

Leaving is good.

Leaving MORE XP on the table.

At least I finally got to level 16.

Feminina:

Mad. Looooooooot. I’m so there.

You might want to have a go at the demons, then. Mad XP, no doubt. We didn’t have tenebrium yet when we met them, so we just ran off, and then avoided them the next time we came through.

But this could be your chance to catch up on all the XP you’ve been missing!

Butch:

I am pretty tanky now.

But, ironically, the hot armor is still the best I have. Seriously. And the hottest.

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