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Following my thread in the Bioware Social Network, I thought it might be a good idea to share my thoughts with you guys too:
I always felt that the reputation systems of the 2 previous games were incomplete and very simplified. However it is very easy to just stay in the group of those who complain without providing an alternative way and therefore I've put some thought on what I'd recommend instead. I apologize in advance in case a similar suggestion has been made in the past, which I'm unaware of.
- 1 -
The Dragon Age Origins reputation system was based on the Approval/Disapproval of your companions. The higher the approval, the more options were unlocked, such as personal quests, the companion revealed more secrets of himself/herself and romance was unlocked as well.
Yet it couldn't answer as to why a companion would approve in the same way for being respectful to him and if you chose to side with Harrowmont, for example, if we consider that the first is about a personal situation between you and him while the second is about choosing the next leader in the politics of Orzammar.
- 2 -
The Dragon Age II reputation system was based on the Friendliness/Rivalry of your companions. Here if you reached a certain amount, more options would be unlocked, much like the Origins, with the exception that it can happen not only when the companion would approve your actions.
Yet it couldn't answer as to why siding with Meredith would raise for example the friendliness of a companion. Does this mean the companion likes you more as a friend (or as a lover) if you sided with Meredith?
- 3 -
This is what brought me to the point that the companions' approval/disapproval of your actions should mostly be based on the decisions you take on general quests, while the friendliness/rivalry of your actions should mostly be based on the personal conversations you have with them and how you address a personal situation of him/her.
Which means that we need to combine both of the systems seen in the previous 2 games in order to reach the desired effect. Here is a sample image of what I mean. The credits go to my friend.
A two-dimensional system. The horizontal line is the disapproval/approval and the vertical is the friendliness/rivalry. The red curves in the 4 corners are the places where romances can be initiated or other important things.
Examples (using Isabela):
A)You pick a choice which doesn't support the freedom of mages -> Isabela disapproves -4
B)You make a humerous comment, which amuses Isabela -> Isabela friendliness +5
C)You refuse to give Isabela to the Arishok -> Isabela approves +2 and Isabela friendliness +7
From the example, you've noticed the plurality of different choices which all of them make a very interesting mix while still keeping things [b]simple[/b]. Eventually, when a companion reaches a high level of reputation of (Approval, Friendliness) or (Disapproval, Friendliness) or (Approval, Rivalry) or (Disapproval, Rivalry) then romance, personal quests and other things can be initiated. These levels would obviously vary from companion to companion.
The direct advantages generated by employing that system would be:
► More realistic
► More depth to the relationships. They will feel a lot more real and organic since they'd be more precise on the kind of the relation between the protagonist and the companion since we'd use 4 variants to determine it instead of 2 or 1.
► It will encourage replays by many players to see how the companions act.
► Based on the type of relationship, companion quests may be slightly different, even if the lead to the same result.
► And most importantly. All these things won't really make a big difference in the Dragon Age universe which means that the developers can add the so much needed variaty while also keeping the storyline in control.
That would be all. Thank you all for reading it. Please feel free to make questions, critique or support this suggestion.