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...that this game will become a bit more interesting. I picked up this title because many sources said it is "different" and more "uniqe" than most RPGs. I do like the steampunk theme and atmosphere, but so far the game has been a textbook RPG. First stop: small backwater village. Ghost lady. Thieves asking for a toll to cross a bridge. Fight wolves and rats. Fetch a ring from the sewers. Fetch treasure from ancient elven ruins. Evil necromancers under a city. Fight undead etc.

The game is also very unbalanced when it comes to magic vs. technology, as many have noted it on this forum, but I can live with that. But my question is, will the game deviate from the RPG tropes listed above, or will it remain the same? I do not neccesarily think it is THAT bad of a game, it`s just that I sort of expected the game to be less cliched in it`s quests and themes.
Post edited November 16, 2012 by szablev
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szablev: But my question is, will the game deviate from the RPG tropes listed above, or will it remain the same? I do not neccesarily think it is THAT bad of a game, it`s just that I sort of expected the game to be less cliched in it`s quests and themes.
Yes, it will deviate from those RPG tropes. At least, the main plot will. It has lots of cool twists and turns that I didn't expect... it starts with standard fantasy fare and then changes things up as you get farther. I think the main plot is one of the best in any RPG I've played.

But the main way that Arcanum differs from other RPGs is the way it reacts to your choices. There are usually many different ways to solve every quest, and people's reactions and even the outcome of some major events will depend on what you do. A lot of this won't be evident on your first playthrough, but if you come back and try different characters who play differently and make different choices, you will really see how well the game adapts to the player. And I highly recommend trying out different characters; it's one of the best parts of the game.

One word of warning: it sounds like you're in Tarant at the moment. The next step in the main plot can be very aggravating. You should probably spend some time doing side quests (check out some other cities too) before tackling it, and when you do tackle it, try to be patient and persevere. It's probably the most annoying part of the game, but it's also the point when things start to get interesting.
Post edited November 16, 2012 by Waltorious
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Waltorious: Yes, it will deviate from those RPG tropes. At least, the main plot will. It has lots of cool twists and turns that I didn't expect... it starts with standard fantasy fare and then changes things up as you get farther. I think the main plot is one of the best in any RPG I've played.

But the main way that Arcanum differs from other RPGs is the way it reacts to your choices. There are usually many different ways to solve every quest, and people's reactions and even the outcome of some major events will depend on what you do. A lot of this won't be evident on your first playthrough, but if you come back and try different characters who play differently and make different choices, you will really see how well the game adapts to the player. And I highly recommend trying out different characters; it's one of the best parts of the game.

One word of warning: it sounds like you're in Tarant at the moment. The next step in the main plot can be very aggravating. You should probably spend some time doing side quests (check out some other cities too) before tackling it, and when you do tackle it, try to be patient and persevere. It's probably the most annoying part of the game, but it's also the point when things start to get interesting.
That is good to hear then. I do not feel the need to hurry up with the main plot, as I enjoy playing RPGs mostly for varied side quests and C&C (if there`s any), and I read that Arcanum was strong in these, however the side quests I picked up so far just seemed very generic. Guess I`ll just have to look for more.

Actually, I have already tried several characters to see which one would suit me best for a first playthrough, and I have settled for a halfling specialised in throwing, lockpicking, some tech, and just a little bit of diplomacy. ( I`ll try to focus on only a few of these though, so as not to get a jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none character, as these do not seem to survive too long in this game.)
I also tried playing with a black necro specialised mage, but I was dissapointed in the fact that while negotiating with the necromancers under Tarant my character did not have dialogue options which would reflect her obvious knowledge in the "darker arts", and had to act like she was not conversing with corpses on a daily basis. Fights were a cakewalk with her though.
To me the nercomancers under the city didn't appear evil at all... Arcanum is a lot about the conversations you have to, if your only playing it for the combat then you won't be that impressed i think.

Also as to "no xtra chat option as a necromancer", i have no idea what you were expecting, the schuyler family are buisnissmen first, it would make more sense to have a different option with haggle then with necromancy. Also there IS a different option with necromancy, that is kiling them all then brining their spirits back for question.
Post edited November 17, 2012 by tsgnurk
I was not expecting anything special, it was just rather awkward that even though my character was summoning undead minions and conversing with corpses suddenly she had to talk like she had no idea what necromancy was. I would not count this as a major flaw, but still.

Yes, I also had the impression based on reviews that Arcanum does put an emphasis on conversation options, however, my own experiences with the game so far proved that you can advance your character much quicker and better through combat, and most of the side quests so far always involved combat in some way as well. And making a diplomatic character and dumping all character points into persuasion/charisma/beauty just feels like an easy way to play, technically it is no different than making a buffed up half-ogre fighter and bludgeoning your way through the game. That is why, for the time being, I choose to stick with a character which has more varied skills, and therefore makes the gameplay a bit more interesting rather than just playing hack`n`slash or "pick the right dialogue option".

You could argue that the Schuylers are opportunistic businessmen rather than just plain evil for the sake of being evil, which would be true, but essentially they do not do anything which would really make them deviate from the fantasy necromancer trope. But this was not even the main point of my statement.

Anyway, just for the record: I do not find Arcanum a bad game (although not exceptionally great either, at least so far), it just simply did not meet my initial expectations in some areas, and was unsure whether I should invest more time in it, and wanted to see what fans of the game would answer to my question.
From my experience with the game, most dialogue options are dependant on your character's race, gender, aptitude, alignment, skill levels (apprentice/expert/master) and reputations. Of course they also change with quests you complete or even only take, without completion, if they are somehow connected with NPC you're talking to. And, obviously, some items may trigger new options in conversations.

In fact, the most unique thing about Arcanum is the steampunk universe, which is a very rare thing in cRPGs. Quests, plots are moretheless the same as in other games of the genre, with some steampunk-specific twists, of course.
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szablev: Yes, I also had the impression based on reviews that Arcanum does put an emphasis on conversation options, however, my own experiences with the game so far proved that you can advance your character much quicker and better through combat, and most of the side quests so far always involved combat in some way as well.
This is true. But the key thing is not to think in terms of advancing your character or merely overcoming the obstacles in your way, but in terms of the roleplaying options. As you mentioned before, the actual mechanics of the game are a bit unbalanced, but if you don't worry about that too much and give your character a specific personality and then act accordingly, you'll find that Arcanum is pretty good at adapting to that. You will occasionally be disappointed, like the example you give with the necromancers, but most of the time it's pretty good.

Also, As Kerebron mentioned, your choices will be dependent on your stats and skills. So sometimes it may seem like you don't have any other choices, but if you come back later with a new character you might find you have new options you didn't even realize were there before.
Thank you everyone for all the suggestions; I`ll stick with my thief/tech oriented character for the time being and see what I can get out of the game that way.
Actually, one of the things I enjoy about Arcanum is the way the story subverts some standard fantasy tropes. I won't give anything away, though. :)