There we go! Funny how all it takes is three or four hours to get through ToB with cheatkeys enabled even running a couple of new mods you wanna read all the text on. We'll make no more mention of those other mods, because...a lot of love obviously went into one of them and it did nnnot impress, which was disappointing, because Arath was so awesome all the way through. I stupidly completely failed to keep any kind of notes while playing, so this is going to be disjointed and incomplete, but there's way too little feedback on this forum, so I figure disjointed and incomplete is better than nothing!
1) Arath establishes his tone almost instantly, which is hardly rare for NPCs, but it's still always cool to see it pulled off. Alright, it took me two or three dialogue options to figure out his mood--wasn't sure if he really did like the slavers back there or what from his opening line--but his goof-with-a-manic-depressive-side style was pretty much consistent throughout.
2) I loved that the office in the slaver's...boat...place was recontextualized into something more meaningful than Yet Another Empty Room With Loot Containers. Packing boring spaces with meaning is economical and awesome and basically the whole goal of the modder.
3) Gah, the dialogue. That's a good gah. I kept waiting for the constant I'm-sort-of-brittley-vain-let's-break-up-our-serious-chats-with-remarks-about-my-hair thing to get annoying and it never did. Maybe just because that kind of ritual undercutting of one's own realtalk is such a common thing irl. It didn't feel obnoxiously cutesy for cutesynesses sake (AHEM LUXLEY FAMILY INTERJECTIONS), but like someone who really has trouble communicating in anything other than -japeries- as they'd say in the Seven Kingdoms you may break my legs for using that word now please do
4) The romance arc was super duper familiar. "Slutty boy bangs protagonist, denies emotional attachment, realizes all he really needed was love all along, has doubts, comes around in the end." There's nothing wrong with dipping into that particular tropey well (I mean, I still loved it), but it's good to be cognizant that you're using that kind of thing. Really, though, put alongside most other lilting, wounded-boy fan romances (I'll never get over the Icewind Dale 2 one in which the poor dude had to be a eunuch for some reason) and the damaged goods be-a-vessel-for-my-angst Bioware romances, it's still a change of pace. And the writing's good enough that it's hard to mind. Pers, I don't read (/play/watch/whatever) stories to be surprised by em, more to be charmed by their characters and dialogue.
5) So many interjections! Yes! More interjections please! Can 3.0 just be Arath inserting a comment on every single line of dialogue in the game? I'm sure he's muttering them under his breath anyway.
6) His post-Underdark quest was weeeird. There were quite a few typos (which like a pro I didn't write down so that they could actually be fixed) and a lot of really curt NPCs. I'm still not actually sure I completed it; I told the druidess and the official in the government district that I'd resolved the situation, but there was never a, y'know, closing statement from Arath, that I recall. It's possible I just missed some NPC who spent the remainder of his twilight years standing at the edge of the government district, hoping against hope I'd some day zone back in so he could deliver his message and continue the quest. That's Infinity Engine for you. I also don't remember the Grim Revelationne~ that the slaver in the mine revelated ever being mentioned again, which is weird, because it's the kind of thing I'd've expected Arath to agonize noisily at me about. Dunno! It all felt a little odd.
Why did I number these cause I just came back to another SoA thing: It would've been fun if he could challenge for High Druid status! I think the Bioware NPC druids can? But I checked and didn't see the option for him to do it.
7) Adrian had something to say about him! I assume that was the Adrian people's doing, not yours? It would've been even more fun if Adrian'd had more than the same one thing to say about him the entire game, but cross-mod noticement is always awesome.
8 ) oh my god ToB is boring this is in no way a comment on Arath's ToB content just the expansion itself man fite fite fite fite fite short dialogue fite fite fite setting change wow help me cheat keys control-Y control-Y control-J
9) CLUAConsole:AdvanceRealTime(99999999) is the best thing ever, why did I never know about it before. It did seem to break Arath a tiiiny bit in ToB, though: As I mentioned in the bug thread, I ART'd through as many dialogues as he'd give me as soon as we stepped into the pocket plane, and I got the one about his shade fake-mother's taunts long before ever going to visit her. I'd assumed it was something that'd happened back in Athkatla--that it was the mysterious conclusion to the slaver mine quest that I felt like I'd missed. I was a little worried this might've broken his sequence a bit, but it didn't; the lovetalks concluded right on time after the last PP trial (and an ART 9999999 because I have the patience of a mayfly).
10) His ToB arc is kind of a retread of what happens after you go slayerfied,, isn't it? "Arath says he can't do this, gets drunk, apologizes?" I get the function each of them serves independently, but it is a little weird for such similar ground to be walked twice. Or is it meant to be some kind of underlining of how -before- he was scared because he was dating a soulless monster, but -now- he's scared because of how many looOoooOOooves he has for you? I guess that sorta works. Also relevant is that someone who wasn't just bullet training his way through the games with cheatkeys might've needed that review more than I did, having just seen the Irenicus' Dungeon We're Breaking Up scene a bit before.
11) Derailed, reminded: Does Arath have a reaction to your boning Phaerie in Ust Natha if you're boning him? I did it just to see if he'd say anything, and he didn't immediately, but I was too terrified it'd fuck the romance over longer-term and so just instantly reloaded and begged eunuchhood. It seems like a good opportunity for him to be touch-fragile and vulnerable, kind of laugh it off while also making it clear that he's not actually okay with your going around fucking random drow, bringin all kind of drowseases into your marriagebed.
12) HIS ENDINGS. Oh my god, so I was never planning on keeping my Bhaal essence, did the stay mortal choice first. Liked the minor trolling in his epilogue that made it look like he and my Bhaalspawn were gonna break up then they just went off to be sexy queer adventuring lads together, as the heavens surely intended it should be. Then I went back and did the divinity option just to see, and HIS POOR QUIVERING LIP. You should get an alternate portrait made for his epilogue with red eyes, a a knitted brow and tears running down his cheeks. He was so helpless and superficial and immature and sad. I felt sufficiently terrible that I had to play the last two minutes of the game with the non-divinity ending again, because everyone knows...that...imaginary people remember your last interaction with them >>
Umm...that's all the bulletable things coming to mind at the moment! Overall, I loved him. Thought the dialogue was great, portrait was cute, character was lovable, sheer volume of presence of the boy in the game was mind-blowing. Once again the BG modding community shows off how it can breathe new life into a decade-old game I know like the back of my hand. The only sad thing is that I guess we'll never get a sequel! This makes me wanna go out and write a goofy gay NPC of my own. Maybe in Shadowrun Returns. Was this a solo project, or were there multiple people contributing dialogue and stuff? I feel like I saw some mention of some other forumite being partly responsible for his charm. If this really was just a one-man effort, then. Damn. That's a lot of love, and you should be goddamn proud, because the product is particularly fine. I mean, not that it wouldn't be as a collaboration, it's just particularly staggering flyin solo.
Edited by crawlkill, 17 June 2013 - 09:07 PM.