Thursday, March 30, 2006

Oblivion Stories (#1)

There's been quite a bit of talk about the "radiant A.I." of Oblivion. It's very clever, at times, and a very satisfying improvement from Morrowind, but it's still wonky on occasion. What these stories demonstrate is that there are times when the A.I. is absolutely, incredibly good, and there are times when it's relatively stupid. Overall, though, I think the effect is far more interesting than having everything scripted. And there have been truly funny, "great bad" moments that you guys have experienced.

First off, from Scott Ray:
I was in a goblin lair in complete sneak mode (very light boots and armor, LOADS of nightsight potions) - anyway, I get into the dungeon and run into a few goblins and whack them. Being the nut that I am, I have to loot EVERYTHING I come across. So I loot everything and then head up a very dark tunnel where I see some mushrooms. I have to harvest them, which makes me overburdened. I go thru my inventory and pick which stuff to drop. Upon dropping the gear, it hits the sloped floor and starts to roll downhill, making some racket. Luckily, I'm tucked away in the dark against the wall, as a Goblin Beserker heard the racket, and came running to investigate. He runs right by me and stops to look around, at which time, I sneak up behind him and land a 6x damage critical strike and then bust him with a cold blast spell and he dies. It was a simple event, but changed how I approached the dungeons. Also, the next time I came across a beserker, he whipped my ass in a straight up fight, so the critical strike was VERY important.

The other one was when I was out roaming around exploring...I found a herd of deer (3-4) that were running around the forest and hadn't spotted me, so I go into sneak mode and start to follow them trying to get to a point where I had a clean shot. Out of NOWHERE, one of them is blasted with a fireball and killed! Turns out there was a conjurer out there hunting deer, too. He killed two, then spotted me and came after me. He died. Anyway, I was completely shocked when the fireball lit up that deer--it was completely unexpected.

Next, from datter:
I am sneaking across a little bridge type thing underground and below me to my left I spot a Goblin shuffling along patrolling the area. His back is to me as he stops in a door. On my level on the opposite side of my bridge is a pile of logs, apparently part of a trap for anyone walking where the Goblin is one level below. Rather than shoot the Goblin right away I interact with the logpile dropping them onto the bridge below, completely smashing a section of it out in fact. This large log pile fell completely through the stone bridge not 30 feet behind the Goblin, and he didn't even flinch. He didn't look around to see what that horrendous noise was... he didn't even scratch his ass in contempt. He just stood there, so I shot him in the back with a steel arrow. I'm like that.

Second case in point, me in similar thief/sneak with a bow and arrow mode in some kind of bandit infested dungeon. In the distance of a large room I can clearly see two bandits. One near a fire, and another say 50ft away facing him. He walks back and forth a bit patrolling but is essentially in the same spot. For no real reason I opt to shoot the bandit near the fire first, and successfully dropped him with one shot. As it happened the other bandit was actually walking towards his buddy as the arrow lodged in the first ones throat, sending him sprawling across their little brokeback campsite. Now I don't know about you, but if I'm in a dungeon with my buddy and I see him take an arrow in the throat all of a sudden, I'm going to react (likely by crapping my pants). Our man in question however just stopped, turned and continued his preset patrol route. Satisfyingly enough I managed to off him a short time later with the same arrow I had just killed his friend with.

I find this sort of thing happens fairly often, perhaps because I'm sneaking and all... maybe if I was more of the Conan type and just ran in these gusy would raise an alarm and all come after me. As it is though, the more I'm feeling like all these guys are just placed here for me to shoot... which they are of course, but it shouldn't feel like they are.

From lpmiller of fame:
Last night I broke into this house trying to figure out this quest.

I got up to the balcony and saw I could leap over to the hotel balcony. So I did that and entered, but that set off the guard. Instead of going to jail or paying the fine, I decided to resist arrest. I ran out and leaped back over the balcony. He couldn't do that, so he ran down the street and started shooting at me with his bow. I'm sitting there holding off 3 guards from the balcony, and a stray shot from the guard hits this NPC. So she goes apeshit and starts wailing on the guards. I leapt down to help her out, and she gets hurt enough that she runs into the church. I ran after her, hoping to heal up a bit.

The guard ran in and immediately, the priests in there start chain casting at the guard. I'm standing behind a person, who ends up taking a couple of hits from a guard's bow and dies. As I loot her for keys and stuff, the whole town erupts and starts attacking guards all over the town. I ended up looting the bodies of a few guards, then I ran the hell out of town while the war went on. I made it to the main city, snuck in (the guards there were after me too) until I made it to the leader of the thieves guild. Through him, I paid off a few judges and was now considered free and clear. I went back to the town, and all any one was talking about was how they recently had an uprising against the guards.

I ended up quite rich, but the point is, damn, that was cool to see.

From DQ reader Steve:
I was screwing around and stole a horse. Another guard--on a horse--starts chasing me. Okay, Grand Theft Horse.

Amusing for a while. So I get off the horse, and so does the guy chasing me.

He comes after me but is attacked by wolves. He fights them off, and I just start running. Only to be attacked by... his horse.

And finally, a classic from DQ reader Bruce Hicks:
I go to an Inn and the proprietor wants me to clean out some nearby caves--a female Necromancer is causing problems. I climb up the hill to the nearby cave, enter it, and gradually work my way through, killing assorted baddies as I go. I finally come to the last big room and what do I find there? Not one, but two evil necromancers!

I have no idea which one is the Big Bad Chick so I just rush at one and chase him (as it turns out) around until he's dead. I spin around looking for the woman but can't quite find her. It's at this moment that I notice my health is getting fairly low. I decide to make a run for it and come back after I'm healed. She won't be going anywhere after all!

"She won't be going anywhere" .... except right on my friggin' ASS as I hightail it through the twists and turns of the cave. Bright blue bolts of electricity streak by me, lighting up the cave walls. I race through turn after turn and finally see the main exit up ahead. If I ... can ... just .. make it outside, I'll be safe...

I click on the exit and the load screen comes up. I heave a sigh of relief! Finally I'll get a chance to heal up before I go back in there. Whew...

I reappear outside the cave entrance and calmly start casting my healing spell. Hmmm ... what's that noise behind me?? I spin around and, holy shit, the Uber Bitch has followed me right out of the cave! WTF! That isn't supposed to happen in these games!!!

I glance wildly at my health bar. It's a mere sliver by now and I begin to resign myself to an early death. But wait! There is yet hope! Just down the hill from me I spy the Inn!! "A ha!" I say to myself -- "make a run for it!!" I speed down the hill, lightning bolts flying to the left and right of my madly zig-zagging form! I reach the side of the Inn, race around the corner towards the front and -- what the hell do I find blocking my path? Who put this HORSE here? Get out of my way, you stupid horse!!! As I circle frantically around the horse, a guard who has (apparently) been standing outside the door of the Inn, rushes by me in the other direction with some loud imprecation on his lips! I don't pause to listen but charge pell mell at the door of the Inn my hand slamming down on the space bar to enter --- finally -- the safety of the Inn.

Ahh, relief at last...

Inside the Inn I pause, with a half dozen startled locals gaping at me. I am scared out of my wits, but thrilled to have made it!

At that moment I hear the sounds of a wild battle outside. "Kill the bitch" I yell, rooting on the guard. "Give her what for!!" (Oh, if only I could see her get what's coming to her!) The yelling increases in volume and I sudden realize that --- OH ... MY ... GOD -- the Necromancer and the Guard are now INSIDE THE FRIGGIN' INN -- carrying on their battle!

Ok, here's the thing. I have absolutely no health left. If the bitch witch breathes on me I'm dead. I have no time to heal, no time to do anything -- but as half a dozen locals descend as one on the back of the evil Necromancer and with battlecries ringing in the air, despatch the hated enemy in 2 seconds flat! I stare in stunned disbelief. All of the sudden a message pops up on my screen congratulating me -- ME -- on killing the wicked Necromancer and thanking me for saving -- SAVING -- the poor people of the village!

Um .... okay ...

The crowd withdraws from the corner where the Necromancer was killed and I see her lifeless body slump to the floor, a single arrow protruding from her gut. I slowly turn to face the proprietor of the Inn. She is standing not three feet away, facing the scene of bloody carnage.

"So what's new" she quips cheerily, "killed that necromancer yet?"

Site Meter