Choice of the Vampire: The Fall of Memphis -- Customization requests


#1

As I’m finishing working through the outright bugs in FoM, the project turns to one of improvement and customization. (The first patch should finally be out tomorrow or Thursday, and then another bug-related patch the following week.)

You probably don’t remember, but there was a six month period of constant patching on CoV, as people contributed comments and ideas about how to better customize the game to their particular character, and as I added features to the story. (Separately, things will continue to develop as I begin work on St. Louis.)

As you play through it, please note moments where you would have like a different #option, or where you think your character would have responded differently, or where you think an NPC should have responded differently to your character.

If you can send me a screen-cap of the moment, even better. The more feedback I get, the more I can improve the game.

And, to refresh your memory, here’s a post I made after the initial release of Vampire 1: http://www.choiceofgames.com/2010/10/7-ways-that-your-feedback-has-improved-vampire/


#2

@CaledonianMafia1987 This is great. What other nasty/evil/callous things would you have liked to have been able to do in the game? Make sure to tell me specific moments when you would have liked to have had another #option.

Will look at that moment with the Pole-Bearers.


#3

Yea of course, its the "In 1875, The Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association invites Nathan Bedford Forrest to speak before their members; they are grateful for his efforts after the events in Gibson county. "

I choose “Forrest asked that I attend. All his old KKK buddies will be there.” While if i choose “Forrest asked that I attend. I must continue my observation of this dangerous organization, even if it now cloaks itself in new ways.” My Callousness drops to 93. The wording makes it seem like my character is against the KKK while the “Forrest asked that I attend. All his old KKK buddies will be there.” one doesn’t really say anything about my characters political views so why does the second option drop less callousness ?. I was also wondered why i cannot get 100 callousness, An example would be when i go to the house previously visited by “a gap-toothed Irishman and a priest from the Church of St. Brigid” My callousness is at 97, when i kill the child i expected it to go to 100 or 99 at least but instead my callousness remains at 97 ?. Bit long i know so thanks for your time.


#4

I’d like there to be choices, based on your stats, that you could make when you volunteer to acquire vessels for the election.

There should also be more initial choices when you start the letter-writing section, based on who you met during the election.


#5

Well, that’s very good support! I’ll take some notes, when I restart FoM.

I didn’t really feel like my LORE skill has been of any use yet. Maybe I’m mistaken. It would certainly be interesting to combine a LORE and CHARM or LORE and INTELLIGENCE skill check to impress some senator or just use a LORE check to get some additional information on a person or event (just by adding an additional page of information, if the skills are higher, than…). “Thanks to your knowledge about … you remember that …”

My character knows how to read and speaks English, French, Latin, Spanish and that doesn’t seem to matter. How about talking to certain senators in their mother language to get some positive feedback?

My main skills finishing part 1 are:
Charm 3
Intelligence 3
Willpower 3
Lore 3

This should be skills very useful for a political career. My hope is that these skills would make it easier to advance in the society and also to learn more about the conditions of vampires.

My interpretation:
Charm = Make them like you
Intelligence = Create ploys to play your oponents against each other
Willpower = leadership … will them to do this and that and don’t be affected by the powerful minds of old vampires
Lore = Know about the ways of the vampires and about important events and people.

In combination those skills could help to avoid fights.


#6

As @Rhodes mentioned I’d like to be able to capture the people for the events based on my skills. Like if I have high charm there’s the option to get them to follow you. My main MC is usually a German woman so id like to see an option where I could use my strength to either coerce them or knock them out into going with me. The Isleño maybe find creative people and draw them back on the premise of talking about the arts or a demonstration of their skills.


#7

I don’t know if this is a bug but when i play i act like an a**hole, making every evil choice, and yet my compassion keeps getting bigger. For example i had 97 Callousness and when i go to a KKK meeting it goes down to 88 ?? another example is when Dido feeds from the sick man, and i watch and learn my Callousness goes from 91 to 81. this doesn’t make any sense to me as “I watch and learn” is the only option available to me.


#8

@CaledonianMafia1987 You’re right about when Dido is feeding.

But I don’t see what you’re talking about, with regard to the KKK meeting. Can you be more specific?


#9

I would love it if that if you got a good combat stat you could spar with the Irish Woman, or if you are religious/not religous you could debate religion and philosophy with The Puritan one, and so on. It would really flesh out characters a bit.


#10

Thank you. Just a few suggestions that come to mind and one bug. The bug being in the “I want to review the events that led me to this point” where it says i abandoned West in the croft, when i saved him and left him later. When Carothers asks why i have joined the KKK i can give two responses.
The first one is (in my opinion) basically trying to control them, so i can have a dangerous organisation under my thumb, and the other is trying to take them down from within, how about an option where i agree with their ideals. Racists make good villains IMHO, another would be the “Do you usually feed upon the innocent?” when i talk to Chiara Santagostino, i think it would be good to give an explanation as to why my character feeds from children, perhaps a few options or silence ?.
Another example would be the letter sending. I wont go into that as there have been several posts on in in other CoTV threads but i think it could use some tinkering. And finally for Dido i was thinking maybe mocking her ?. Thanks for reading this, i dont mean to nitpick everything and i know you work hard on this. This is all just my humble opinion. Thanks


#11

I’d like to see more options for the shape shifting ability. I couldn’t find a use for it other than killing muskrats?


#12

@CaledonianMafia1987 It’s a matter of the percentage-based math that we use; stats can never go to 0 or 100. I’m honestly surprised you got all the way to 97.


#13

@CaledonianMafia1987
a) what would your explanation for feeding on children be?
b) Mocking Dido when/where/why?
c) what would you like to use the letter-writing sequence to achieve? What would you have wanted to write to someone?


#14

Shapeshifting must be expanded upon. I hate to be baited like this… Right after it said West could shapeshift into a werewolf, I knew there would be some sort of war between children of West (werewolves) and the other vampires. Yet, despite all that foreshadowing, you’re throwing shapeshifting around as an useless ability?

I’d also like to have level 4 stats used more. The charm level 4 stat was used, and the level 4 speed stat was used once to capture the wild vampire, but strength, intelligence and willpower level 4 didn’t seem to have any special effects.

As another thing, some stats are overpowered, namely charm and fighting. I think opportunities to use these stats should be lessened, because a character with level 4 charm and level 3 fighting basically bulldozes through everything you throw at it in both part 1 and 2.

There was also an inconsistency in how the stats were defined. In part 1, stealth was how capable you are at hunting. However, in part 2, how good you are at hunting becomes how charming or good at fighting you are.

Also, there should be more interesting checks for stat combos. What if I’m level 4 strength and Agility, and I get extremely angry? I could release the beast and cause chaos. That would be a day that the vampires all remember. There could even be something in the summary about that, how you killed 10 or more senators before they finally brought you down.

Another interesting combo would be stealth and perception, or stealth and agility. You could be informed of everything with max stealth-perception, and you could be absolutely uncatchable with max speed-stealth.

I’d also like a choice to just leave the gatherings to elect the senator in the middle of the caucus, because its so boring and it would be nice to see how the vampires react. Some could even try to stop you only to be thrown aside with fighting or strength.

It would also be fun to play a socially ignorant vampire who is very good at fighting. Imagine: Vote for me or else. You could even use stealth to assassinate the vampires who don’t vote for you.


#15

Shapeshifting vampires are not werewolves. There isn’t going to be a war between West-a-likes and other vampires.

Stealth is and always has been your ability to evade notice. This is obviously helpful for hunting, and it can have clear consequences for combat as well, if you’re able to get the drop on someone. The only real social implication it has is in cornering the guy who’s deliberately screwing up the election to demand answers.

Finally, even if you’re very good at fighting, threatening a roomful of other vampires to vote for you on pain of death is not a course of action which is likely to end well for you. Numbers matter.


#16

I’m pleased to hear FoM will be getting the same upgrade process as CoV; however, I must say that my issues with this installment are deeper than a few new dialogue options.

I should say at this point that I’ve not looked at the game code, so it may be that something I ask for is already possible - in which case, please accept my apology and feel free to point and laugh!

There are, to my eyes, three main threads to this episode. Unfortunately, we can only affect one of them, and then only at the very end.

Thread 1: The election of a Senator for Memphis. Never mind BECOMING senator, I am yet to find an ending in which a Senator is elected. My most successful game so far swung one vote, which was counteracted by the swing voter (Partridge I believe?)

One specific criticism I’d aim at this section is the letter writing campaign. Is my writing wrist so weak I require a month to pen each letter? I can understand being limited to one topic per letter (the need to include pleasantries combined with not mailing novels across America), but what prevents me mailing multiple Senators each month?

I can understand that actually becoming Senator may be a bridge too far at this point. I would consider this issue fixed if a) It was possible to bring the election to a decision and b) it was possible to run a successful enough campaign that you get noticed, perhaps acquiring a couple of votes.

Thread 2: The pursuit of Wilson. As best I’m aware, the very earliest point you can capture him is when he goes to your Haven? Any earlier effort is guaranteed to failure, leaving the choice between Wilson and the Senate as a no-brainer for second playthroughs. This is particularly annoying as he’s at least an important source of the yellow fever outbreaks, which contribute to the fall of Memphis.

Ideally, every chase should have at least a CHANCE to catch him. Maybe the first time you go after him, it requires a skill of 5; this requirement decreases by one, possibly switching skill, on each subsequent attempt. This allows players who make a dedicated attempt to chase him to ‘run him to ground’, while holding out the possibility of a player who plays to their strengths getting a lucky break.

Thread 3: The titular ‘Fall of Memphis’. Normally, the detailed historical setting is a big plus for me with this series. However, in this case, I think it shackles the plot. Memphis always fails, in exactly the same way, regardless of the players actions. The city will go bust whether the player ignores the issue entirely, or supports the city to the hilt. I bought every municipal bond going; I had the technology level to warn Apollo about the failure of the cedar blocks; I got Senator Ashmore to flex her influence to give the city more time with its creditors; and the city went bust in EXACTLY the same way as if I’d not tried.

I appreciate this is secret history not alternative history, but surely we should have some effect on events? I find it harder to propose a solution to this one, but essentially, I want some recognition that we’ve at least softened the blow. I know Apollo thanks you for keeping faith with the city, but you can get that while hanging on to a quarter of your bonds!

Ultimately, I’m a little disappointed with FoM. That said, I do recall the considerable improvements that CoV received, so I’m still hopeful!


#17

@Dominic. Remember that you have allies amongst these vampires.

Remember that West was always considered as the social outcast and now he is considered mad.

Finally, in part 1, there was a scene in the new Orleans where you get to increase yourstats rrandomly, sometime after you arrive. Originally, stealth’s stat increase said : You spent your time improving your ability to move amongst mortals without their notice, thebetter to hunt your prey.

That no longer exists in the new part 1, but still, recall.


#18

I’m sorry this is not really a customization in the sense of “#option” but I would like to mention something that it could definitely (for me at least) pass as an improvement, on the game “mechanics” if not on the game itself.

In particular, I’m referring to the vampire’s gallery. I already had hinted at it in another of my posts in another thread but I’ll be more thorough here.

I believe the vampire’s gallery is an important tool and quite vital to the game itself, because it allows the player to keep track of the characters he met and their main characteristics. In this way, the characters themselves would manage to leave their mark much more than now and thus become more alive. So I think that a better vampire’s gallery would improve the game experience of the player.
Like it is now, it’s a bit of a bummer: you are left in the dark for many vampires you make, vital information are not recorded, and so on.

To be more specific:

  • first of all, the gallery should contain the name of EVERY vampire you hear of from the VERY MOMENT you know of his existence. This goes for the main characters but also for the vampires that are mentioned and never met, as the dominus of the dominus.

  • the entry should contain: 1) the title, if any, and where they reside (if it’s not already obvious from the title, and once we possess that info); 2) offspring of, maker of (when we get those information, of course); 3) a physical description, when we meet them or if it is referred to us by a third person (I believe it happens very rarely if ever); 4) a behavioural description, if there’s something notable to mention and could help to characterize the vampire; 5) their standing on Stone’s revolution, once they’re known; 6) I’m unsure whether the shepherd/wolf position should be mentioned, perhaps it’s not that useful but could be nice and it’s characterizing; 7) other important information that could help (as the fact that a certain Quaestor hates Apollo or that little thing about Malloy’s sire, just to mention two examples).

I know this is done for some of them, but I think this scheme should be followed for every vampire. For the descriptions of 3) and 4), one phrase should be enough, also the infos of 7) should take just few words.

  • regarding mentioning the relationship between the vampire and our character, I understand that it’s quite pointless to write them down for everyone.
    I propose to do it as in CoV, tracking the relationship only for the characters you are most in contact with: the dominus; the quaestor of New Orleans (the one you spend time with); Jesse: Estefania: Samantha; Apollo; Dido. Eventually, Wilson if you’re his maker. Overstreet perhaps, I’m not sure. I don’t find other names worth it.

In order not to leave all the other vampires out, however, I propose that their relationship with you should be marked only if it overcomes a certain threshold, in one direction or the other. In this way there will be a clear track on the allies or the most spectacular rivalries of the character.

Related to this, also please change the summary at the end of the chapter: nothing is written on what happened in Memphis and all the new relationships you had (while we get a lot on Estefania that we haven’t met for the last 50 years!). This could seem a minor point but it contributes to the feeling of disappointment that at the end you lost your time in Memphis.


#19

Here two small suggestions for the game follow. They are not mind-blowing nor they change the game by adding more options, but they could improve the experience and the depth of the game.

SUGGESTION - characterization of the Senators/Quaestors
Fall of Memphis introduces packs of new NPCs. When this happens, there is always the risk that the player makes a bundle of all of them and becomes uninterested in getting acquainted with them because they are just a mass of undistinguished white noise.
Luckily the writing of FoM is good, but when I play I have the feeling this good writing doesn’t fully exploit its potential.
I’m saying that because I didn’t have this feeling in the first CoV; for example the meeting with governor Overstreet is masterful in the characterization of the various characters.

To make an example, at the very first reception, you just get a paragraph that more or less reads like that: “all the people are here. You see this guy dressed in this way speaking with this other guy, that lady with that hat chatting with two other people, that other lady standing alone” etc. etc. Of course, much more nicely put, but the short yet massive paragraph with just a series of names and indistinct behavior does not help the player to get stimulated to speak with this man instead of that lady. They are more or less the same!

Here some practical ideas that could improve the atmosphere.
First: you have the chance of knowing better a candidate or a senator in the scene before the reception (the feeding scene). Like it is now you have in the same block the description of the place, a short description of the person and immediately the choice whether you want to speak with him/her or not. Here I would start with just one text with the description of the place and the atmosphere, and that ends with the warning you see someone peculiar. I would put a “next” button and in the next page I would put a deeper description of the individual: his/her looks, how he behaves, something characteristic that stands out.
Here it could be good that the description depends on some skill test (the most classic would be perception to notice more details and get some info on the person before you actually speak with him; but perhaps other skills as Lore could help). Only at this point I would put the choice to speak with him or not.
In this way one or two vampires would be more flashed out (and it wouldn’t hurt that they recognize you the following evening, if you managed to raise your rapport with them).

In the big venues problems are bigger. However I would use the same trick of presenting a first page with just the description of the setting, and dedicate a second page to the characterization of the people, something like “you take your time to look around and watch the groups that gather to chat”…
Also here, giving more details according to some skill checks (virtually all the intellectual and social skills could be used in principle, but why not Stealth to remark the particularly sneaky way of moving/behaving of someone, or Fighting to notice that a senator must have had a military or warrior-like background from his posture? etc.) would be definitely a plus.

Another trick for the big venues could be to make one or two NPCs come late for some reason. First of all it would decrease the number of characters that need to be presented in block; secondly, an entrance always makes an effect!
Yet another trick, make the character be present at a heated discussion between two characters, that will stand out. Or in general, create small even insignificant events between the cycle of chats, that help to spice up the various characters.
I’m sure you can think of many different devices.

For the following meetings, it is always good if some of the NPCs whom the character has good relationship with (alternatives: the character presented himself during the cycle of letters between the first and the second caucus - and has good status perhaps? I guess it depends on the senator; or, the senator has some good reason to come and chat - I loved for example the intermezzo with the Puritan woman, it was a very good way to make her stand up) comes to chat. In addition to discuss about old issues, it could be an occasion to gather info on other NPCs (“see that? he is… and did this and that”).

OK, I made my point :slight_smile:

SUGGESTION - getting info on prerequisites
I’m not sure about this, but I still propose it because I think it could help.
In several occasions, I had the feeling the player does not have enough information to decide what to do and make a reasonable choice.
Example: when you volunteer to get the refreshments, it is not clear at all what you actually NEED, to do it, and if you could do it with your resources. Another example, when you ponder to become a candidate, you make your choice basically blindly - and I think this is also part of the frustration of some players. There are several of these cases.

I’m not saying you should get a hint for everything. But why not writing some directions depending on some skill check?
just to make an example, for the decision to candidate, a Charm/Status/Lore/Discretion/Compassion check (or checks, to give progressively more useful informations) could give something like “you ponder the situation. In order to succeed you need to have a good standing in vampire society and contacts amongst the other Senators, capacity to charm the senators and eventually to know some skeletons in the closet to eliminate the other candidates or “convince” a Senator to give his support.” and an Intelligence skill could add “If the previous vote concluded with a stalemate, it seems things are irky, perhaps the situation is more complicated than it appears.”, and so on. Just to give an idea.

I’m very aware this is dangerous because it could lead to “automatic” decisions (“here there’s written you need some charm, I have charm 3 so I’m sure I nail the test, this I choose this option”), so this is delicate. A way to give hints without giving away too much should be employed.
However, real people usually have a way to judge a situation before making a decision (at least with common sense, if they have it), and the mechanism I’m suggesting should simulate this process. It could be an interesting addition.


#20

It would be enjoyable to have more romance options, including the maker, and maybe being able to name other characters or just a nickname that the mc would have the option to use if they were lestat-brat-prince enough. also the animal transformation could be put to use as well as selecting what type of mind controlling suggestion to place into a victim and/or bothersome npc’s mind.