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Is this game nothing but combat?


Walker White

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Okay, the plot in Exile III/Avernum III may not have been the greatest. But what was nice about it was that it had a lot more going for it other than combat. There were lots of riddles, puzzles, and gismos everywhere. Things you had to think about rather than hack your way through. This was a feature that I have always liked about Jeff's games, despite their primitive feel.

 

I have reached Blosk and as far as I can tell, this game is nothing but combat with "fetch-it" missions. Most of what you need to solve a problem flows naturally from searching the nearby chests after killing a boss. The only challenge is the combat strategy. No rays and mirrors. No conveyor belts. No single character rooms. No control panels. Nothing.

 

The combat certainly is more challenging than the previous AVs (but these have all been easier than the Exiles because the number of creatures to a room is capped an order of magnitude lower). However, I always felt the puzzles were what gave these games their distinctive feel. Am I alone on this?

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In a word, yes. I'm not a big fan of mechanical puzzles or riddles in FRPGs, since it's extremely hard to make them seem remotely realistic in context. There are only so many plausible scenarios where you should be faced by these things.

 

But there could certainly have been things to figure out, more realistic things. The engine would seemingly support stuff like places you have to figure out to go to from minimal hints, and can't reach without completing a sequence of actions that no-one would follow by chance.

 

There don't seem to be any things like that in A4. But there are a lot of good battles, and a lot of stuff to explore.

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what i dislike most about the unending fighting in a4 is that you dont walk around from city to city in outdoors-view and see a bunch of monsters roaming around, which you can fight or not, but you walk and walk and walk in the same damn view all the time and dont get 5 seconds peace until the next unnecessary little monsters pops out. i dont think its hard, only annoying.

very, very, very annoying.

actually, so far, i hate a4.

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Originally written by Student of Trinity:
In a word, yes. I'm not a big fan of mechanical puzzles or riddles in FRPGs, since it's extremely hard to make them seem remotely realistic in context. There are only so many plausible scenarios where you should be faced by these things.
It depends. It depends on whether you view fantasy RPGs as the legacy of Tolkien or the legacy of Vance. Gygax only got his races from Tolkien, and one or two character classes. Everything else in D&D and the early RPGs came from Vance's Dying Earth series. (Gygax is on record admitting this, to the point where he got explicit permission for several of the spells and magic items from Vance). And this type of stuff makes perfect sense in that context.
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But not all RPGs are based on D&D. Avernum borrows nothing from Tolkien or Vance. There are no elves and there is no Excellent Prismatic Spray.

 

Besides, both Tolkien and Vance were authors, not RPG designers. What makes a good book does not make a good game, and what makes a good game does not make a good book. RPGs can borrow elements, but not everything.

 

—Alorael, who also doesn't love puzzles. That said, A4 could stand to have one or two small ones. Maybe even some exploration that requires a moment of thought.

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Originally written by Jeff in "About Avernum 4":
I have ruthlessly pared away all of the stuff that caused busywork and confusion without adding fun. Needing cash to train and only being able to train in a few places. Gone. Identifying items. Gone. Expensive, difficult resurrection. Gone. First Aid and Alchemy skills that were perpetually worthless. Redesigned to actually work. And there are portals to travel instantly from town to town, though it takes a little time to find them.
Evidently this includes plot twists, puzzles, and basically everything but combat.

A4 felt very monotonous in a way that A1-3 never did. The combat had a lot of variety and was probably the best that Jeff's ever done, but there really wasn't anything else. Yes, I agree that the lack of puzzles was noticeable, but only in the context of the lack of everything else, too.
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Originally written by Kelandon:
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Originally written by Jeff in "About Avernum 4":
I have ruthlessly pared away all of the stuff that caused busywork and confusion without adding fun. Needing cash to train and only being able to train in a few places. Gone. Identifying items. Gone. Expensive, difficult resurrection. Gone. First Aid and Alchemy skills that were perpetually worthless. Redesigned to actually work. And there are portals to travel instantly from town to town, though it takes a little time to find them.
Evidently this includes plot twists, puzzles, and basically everything but combat.
Light. Gone.
3D Level view. Gone.
Editor. Gone.
Hidden Doors&Secrets. Gone.
Enemys selectable via letters. Gone.
...
frown
To many "Gone"s means also less Fun!
By the way, I liked the old training style, where I had to pay for it as well as the identifying items.
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Originally written by Abraxx:
Enemys selectable via letters. Gone.
On a related note, I really miss the Look command. It'd be nice to have a way of knowing if the monster I'm fighting is the sort that sprays acid when hit before I attack it.
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i agree with you, halfway...

i dislike that it's mostly combat in a4

i like that that isn't mirrors etc etc

what i want is mysterious plots, magical and mysterious(literaly and metaphorically)

so far there isn't much of a plot..

(off topic) what i would really like if you could go down where the sliths live, that would be awesome

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Originally written by Walker White:
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Originally written by Student of Trinity:
In a word, yes. I'm not a big fan of mechanical puzzles or riddles in FRPGs, since it's extremely hard to make them seem remotely realistic in context.
It depends. It depends on whether you view fantasy RPGs as the legacy of Tolkien or the legacy of Vance. And this type of stuff makes perfect sense in that context.
Senator, I knew Jack Vance. Well, at least I've read him. There are laser beams and possibly conveyer belts in his sci fi stories, but not on the Dying Earth.
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There are definitely gadgets in the Dying Earth books, though. Maybe they're magic gadgets, and maybe they're technological gadgets. Maybe they depend on the mysterious "mathematics" for their power. They're gadgets nonetheless.

 

—Alorael, who likes flying cars, intriguingly intricate libraries, and tentacular wizards who sleep for millenia. And extremely rose-colored lenses. And IOUN stones, which have a great deal of potential for use in even more fiendish object pushing puzzles.

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Hmmmm, I don't know. By now I just seem to get to the next bend and -oh yeah, surprise, another nephil. Unlimited arrows - so I shoot it without even getting any interesting spells or javelins out. Go to next bend, another stripy cat, lift bow, shoot.... It's just a bit repetitive.

 

Speaking of javelins. I loved having a kick-ass javelin thrower, but now he's clutching his newly aquired bow and refusing to let go of it, repeating "Butbutbut i don't have to carry the arrows!" I should never have gotten him one.

mad

 

It's not annoying enough to make me really mad, but I liked to be able to race to places by parking my thumb on the arrow key and watching my party speed across the landscape from above.

 

I guess I'm just not used to the navigation yet.

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Originally written by Laurana:
It's not annoying enough to make me really mad, but I liked to be able to race to places by parking my thumb on the arrow key and watching my party speed across the landscape from above.

I guess I'm just not used to the navigation yet.
You can still do that, can't you? I mean, keyboard navigation still works, though I suppose it may be slower than it used to be (Powerbooks are not conducive to using a keypad, and I just can't get used to the little arrow keys)>
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Originally written by arghhhhhhhhh:
i agree with you, halfway...
i dislike that it's mostly combat in a4
i like that that isn't mirrors etc etc
what i want is mysterious plots, magical and mysterious(literaly and metaphorically)
so far there isn't much of a plot..
(off topic) what i would really like if you could go down where the sliths live, that would be awesome
This coming from Mr. "I'm not really going to play the game, I just want a walkthrough." Give me a break. Quit trying to sound smart by saying "mysterious (literally and metaphorically)". Do you have any idea what that means? Or what you're saying? Ugh, just go away.
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Dude, that's awfully harsh. Give the guy a break... I think arghhhhhhh(etc.)hhh will get used to the boards soon.

 

And keypad navigation is still perfectly viable. It's just a lot easier for you to run into something, as there seems to be far more impassable terrain that isn't very noticeable (like those puny little stalagmites that you can't seem to walk on).

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Originally written by Kelandon:
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Originally written by Jeff in "About Avernum 4":
I have ruthlessly pared away all of the stuff that caused busywork and confusion without adding fun. Needing cash to train and only being able to train in a few places. Gone. Identifying items. Gone. Expensive, difficult resurrection. Gone. First Aid and Alchemy skills that were perpetually worthless. Redesigned to actually work. And there are portals to travel instantly from town to town, though it takes a little time to find them.
No money needed for training, no identification, no puzzles, portals instead of walking, no secret doors? It seems Jeff has dumbed down this game to its maximum. The whole reason for these things i thought was to bring in a bit of mysetry and provide a challenge.

1. It was great to charge for training because not only was it more realistic, but it gave you more of a reason to take rewards and jobs.
2. Identification of items gave you an extra choice. Something that is unidentified is a mystery, and whorth the excitement of finding out what it actually is. Without it how are you ever going to acidentally curse yourself, or be surprised to find you have a rare item? It's a part of the unexpected that comes out to surprise and interest you.
3. If you can just transport yourself everywhere by portals, you don't get half the fun of encounters, horses and battles etc. It's just too damn easy, and dull. They better be expensive to use once you find them.
4. Ressurection is something that should stay difficult. Sure it was annoying when someone in your party dies, but once again it provides a challenge. It makes you re-load or move on, but it brings variety into your game or alows you to do something in a smarter or better way.
5. Secret doors, i love them. They surprise you when you find them, sometimes they're obvious, but most people always go back to find them. How often have you gone back to a dungeon to find all the secret doors?

Granted, i haven't yet played the game. However the impression that i'm getting doesn't sound very good. It's as though Jeff's dumbed this one down and removed part of the mystery, and if all this game is just hacking down monster after monster, i'm probably better off chopping up some carrots for dinner instead.
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No money needed for training, no identification, no puzzles, portals instead of walking, no secret doors? It seems Jeff has dumbed down this game to its maximum. The whole reason for these things i thought was to bring in a bit of mysetry and provide a challenge.
Please explain to me how spending half an hour walking from town to town or bashing your head into every available wall is "challenging".

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1. It was great to charge for training because not only was it more realistic, but it gave you more of a reason to take rewards and jobs.
Don't worry; there will be plenty of things to spend your money on. (And many quest rewards don't come in the form of money anyway.)

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2. Identification of items gave you an extra choice. Something that is unidentified is a mystery, and whorth the excitement of finding out what it actually is. Without it how are you ever going to acidentally curse yourself, or be surprised to find you have a rare item? It's a part of the unexpected that comes out to surprise and interest you.
Save your game. Try the unidentified item on. If it's cursed, reload your saved game. If it's not cursed, wear it. Again, I don't see how this is exciting or challenging, and it's only "mysterious" for the few minutes before you take it back to town or cast a spell to get it identified.

And I don't see how finding a rare and valuable item is any less special just because you know what it is as soon as you find it.

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3. If you can just transport yourself everywhere by portals, you don't get half the fun of encounters, horses and battles etc. It's just too damn easy, and dull. They better be expensive to use once you find them.
See, my definition of "dull" includes having to fight endless random monster encounters, whereas yours apparently includes not having to fight endless random monster encounters. I'm not sure what's so fun about horses either. It seems we are at an impasse here. If you really don't like the portals, you don't have to use them.

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4. Ressurection is something that should stay difficult. Sure it was annoying when someone in your party dies, but once again it provides a challenge. It makes you re-load or move on, but it brings variety into your game or alows you to do something in a smarter or better way.
I'm not at all sure that things to which the solution is almost invariably "reload your saved game" significantly add to the game in any way. (Mind you, I usually tend to reload if a character dies even in A4. It's just no longer completely unreasonable to choose not to in some cases.)

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5. Secret doors, i love them. They surprise you when you find them, sometimes they're obvious, but most people always go back to find them. How often have you gone back to a dungeon to find all the secret doors?
So you end up bashing your head against every single wall in every single room by force of habit. Instead of pressing 8 for every step you take to the north in a corridor, you press 8134679. Again, I do not see how this is fun. But hey, maybe I'm just jaded after headbanging my way through literally hundreds of BoE scenarios full of secret doors for the sake of having secret doors.

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Granted, i haven't yet played the game. However the impression that i'm getting doesn't sound very good. It's as though Jeff's dumbed this one down and removed part of the mystery, and if all this game is just hacking down monster after monster, i'm probably better off chopping up some carrots for dinner instead.
The combat is of a much, much higher quality than in previous Avernum games. TM will probably gut me for making this comparison, but let's put it this way. Do you play BoE or BoA? If you liked TM's BoE/BoA scenarios, you'll probably like A4. If you didn't, well, you might not.
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Please explain to me how spending half an hour walking from town to town or bashing your head into every available wall is "challenging".
I agree, the repetetivness of such searching could wear down a man with head of steel. The idea of secret tunnels and hidden passages has always been an intrical part to the games. However, perhaps there could be a better way for them to be found, instead of "bashing your head into every availabe wall." What if the party's nature lore opened such passages?

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Save your game. Try the unidentified item on. If it's cursed, reload your saved game. If it's not cursed, wear it. Again, I don't see how this is exciting or challenging, and it's only "mysterious" for the few minutes before you take it back to town or cast a spell to get it identified.
And I don't see how finding a rare and valuable item is any less special just because you know what it is as soon as you find it.
I don't really agree. One of the things that made the games great was the mysterious nature of the world around your party. Imagine fighting your way through a massive 8 level dungeon, killing some demon lord on each level, finally reaching the lowest pit of hell, finding and tearing open a ancient warchest exposing an item of great power, and automaticaly the game labels it for you as the legendary "Xian underwear" which will never chafe and will spend hours talking to you and your xian skull. The point is, it becomes more realistic when you don't automaticaly know what everything is. Perhaps one of the special traits could be "Relic Historian," which granted the idenification of most items. Oh I wish that was in BoA! I'd make a scenario where u had to take ur relic histroian from his job a a proffesor, to go on a last crusade to find the holy grail, and kill nazi's.
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Originally written by Thuryl:
Please explain to me how spending half an hour walking from town to town or bashing your head into every available wall is "challenging".
By not walking, you miss alot of other things besides random monsters. Many people just skim through the easiest route to get to places in new areas and miss out on interesting events that they may otherwise not see unless they pass over the area a few times. It is more challenging and rewarding because it takes time. Not for everyone, evidently not for you, but i'm just stating a personal opinion here. Finding secret passages is challenging because you don't know where they are. The means of finding them is unfortunate, but finding them is enjoyable and it adds a sense of mystery as to where they will lead or what you will find in them.

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Save your game. Try the unidentified item on. If it's cursed, reload your saved game. If it's not cursed, wear it. Again, I don't see how this is exciting or challenging, and it's only "mysterious" for the few minutes before you take it back to town or cast a spell to get it identified.

And I don't see how finding a rare and valuable item is any less special just because you know what it is as soon as you find it.
It builds suspense. If you can't identify it on your own instantly you have to take it somewhere, and those few minutes are exciting. Sometimes you have no way of reaching a town and you have to make a choice to use an unidentified item or not and just see what happens. This makes items in my opinion more interesting and more challenging (when you have to take them to be identified.)

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See, my definition of "dull" includes having to fight endless random monster encounters, whereas yours apparently includes not having to fight endless random monster encounters. I'm not sure what's so fun about horses either. It seems we are at an impasse here. If you really don't like the portals, you don't have to use them.
Sounds pretty reasonable to me, i won't. But it seems to me in this game you need all the experience you can get from battles to improve your party. The portals do have their advantages though once you've passed places a billion times.

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I'm not at all sure that things to which the solution is almost invariably "reload your saved game" significantly add to the game in any way. (Mind you, I usually tend to reload if a character dies even in A4. It's just no longer completely unreasonable to choose not to in some cases.)
It often forces you to try a different option or take a smarter tactic. Part of the challenge i beleive is in trial and error. Besides, what importance is placed on death if they never die? Frustration of one of them dying is great. If they just go unconcious, it's like 'sure, who cares.'

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So you end up bashing your head against every single wall in every single room by force of habit. Again, I do not see how this is fun. But hey, maybe I'm just jaded after headbanging my way through literally hundreds of BoE scenarios full of secret doors for the sake of having secret doors.
Maybe after a while it becomes dull, but i'm sure i'm not the only one who found them at least a little interesting once upon a time. It's just a part of discovering a new place.

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The combat is of a much, much higher quality than in previous Avernum games. TM will probably gut me for making this comparison, but let's put it this way. Do you play BoE or BoA? If you liked TM's BoE/BoA scenarios, you'll probably like A4. If you didn't, well, you might not.
The combat is probably better, but at what expense? According to people's responses in this thread it seems it has replaced all else. Couldn't the extra challenge in battle have been placed in with difficulty settings instead?

Unfortunately i haven't played TM's scenarios so i can't really judge it by that. I'm not stubburn enough not to try A4, it could have much more going for it as far as i know, but it's taken out some of the elements that i personally loved such as identification, puzzles and secret doors and just repaced it with more combat. It's all about progress, moving onwards, but never stopping to smell the roses.
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Originally written by Cho Dan:
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Please explain to me how spending half an hour walking from town to town or bashing your head into every available wall is "challenging".
I agree, the repetetivness of such searching could wear down a man with head of steel. The idea of secret tunnels and hidden passages has always been an intrical part to the games. However, perhaps there could be a better way for them to be found, instead of "bashing your head into every availabe wall." What if the party's nature lore opened such passages?
There are a few secret passages in the game -- mostly, they require you to be told of their existence by someone in the game, and then walk near them, after which they open up for you.

There are also a few other semi-hidden things, which are basically found by watching the screen carefully for little details like mounds of dirt in the ground (which tend to have useful items buried in them -- and require a certain amount of Nature Lore to dig out) or bodies and chests lying in dark corners (which can be quite hard to see sometimes, and also tend to have useful items on/in them). It seems to me that actually requiring the player to look for things is a better representation of searching than charging full tilt into every available surface. :p
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(Apologies for the double post; I'm replying to two separate posts and want to keep them separate.)

 

Quote:
Originally written by Backwards impaired.:

Quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

Please explain to me how spending half an hour walking from town to town or bashing your head into every available wall is "challenging".

By not walking, you miss alot of other things besides random monsters. Many people just skim through the easiest route to get to places in new areas and miss out on interesting events that they may otherwise not see unless they pass over the area a few times. It is more challenging and rewarding because it takes time. Not for everyone, evidently not for you, but i'm just stating a personal opinion here. Finding secret passages is challenging because you don't know where they are. The means of finding them is unfortunate, but finding them is enjoyable and it adds a sense of mystery as to where they will lead or what you will find in them.

See, this is all well and good the first time you go somewhere (and in A4, you have to visit each town by foot at least once before you can teleport to it anyway). By the fifth time I walk along the same damned route, I'm already going to have found everything I'm ever going to find there. (In fact, I'm a pretty thorough explorer, so I usually find almost everything noteworthy the first time around, unless it's behind a locked door or barrier that I can't get through at the time. Speaking of locked doors and barriers, there are many of them in A4, so you often have to revisit the same places if you want to find everything. Teleportation makes this much easier.)

 

Quote:
The combat is probably better, but at what expense? According to people's responses in this thread it seems it has replaced all else. Couldn't the extra challenge in battle have been placed in with difficulty settings instead?
There are difficulty settings. But difficult boring combat is still boring combat; the only difference is the number of reloads/amount of level-building it takes. Interesting combat requires changes to more than just difficulty.

 

Quote:
Unfortunately i haven't played TM's scenarios so i can't really judge it by that. I'm not stubburn enough not to try A4, it could have much more going for it as far as i know, but it's taken out some of the elements that i personally loved such as identification, puzzles and secret doors and just repaced it with more combat. It's all about progress, moving onwards, but never stopping to smell the roses.
There's still plenty of exploration to be done. It's just that most of your exploration tends to involve killing stuff along the way. Come to think of it, were any of the other Avernum games particularly different in this regard? :p
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I miss wall-bashing a little bit, but not a lot. You still have to keep your eyes open, you just don't have to run into all the walls. As soon as you see the Honeycomb you'll see how even without passages a place can be a navigational nightmare.

 

Identification never excited me. In Avernum I always had enough item lore, or whatever the useful ability is called, to figure out what everything was upon picking it up. The only exceptions were cursed items and a few of the most powerful items, so I simply didn't use anything without knowing what it was. That's not really fun. The only point in which identification mattered was the Remote Cave, which has the sneaky unidentified cursed halberd in a place that seems like a likely spot for the Black Halberd.

 

You can travel by teleportation after you reach a place once, but you still have to get there, and you won't get far in Avernum without exploring. It's a convenience: if you need to go from Almaria to Formello and you've already exhaustively cleared everything in between, it's just no fun to have to walk through screens and screens of nothing interesting. That won't save you from having to walk the route first yourself, and it won't help when you need to find, say, the Sulfurous Flats.

 

—Alorael, who found that A4 was the only Avernum in whcih he actually continued to need money until the very end. You may not have to pay for training, but you will pay for training. A lot. And spells are very expensive. And there are some high-priced but exceptionally useful purchases to make. You may end the game with a few thousand coins, but it won't be like A3's 100,000 coin surplus.

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Bugger. I was always, and I do mean always, broke. There was always something to save up and pay for. Training. Spells. Equipment. Something. Anything.

 

It both pissed me off and kept me satisfied. On one hand, there is always something to work for and get, and on the other hand, you are always trying to scrounge a few coins, and being big famous adventurers, you should never be broke.

 

Bother.

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As much as this game is nothing but combat, I'm hoping that the reason for this is that it's a fairly new engine. I'm hoping that the capabilities of the engine expand with the next game or two, so that Jeff can say, "Okay, I've figured out good combat, so let's see if I can do some other goods things too."

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Ok, after reading all of the posts in this string, I agree with everybody in some way. (And before anyone says anything, I do happen to be one of those can't-get-through-a-BOA-scenario-without-asking-for-help kindof people, but I still love playing games). My favorite part about A4 so far, and I've only had the demo for a couple of days, is the 3D graphics they are great! I also like the new automap, inventory screen, the separate quests list, and the map of the country. What I miss is the "look" function, the "e" for end combat, and the outdoors view. It really bugs me that the outdoors view is the same as the town view now. I liked the sound that's usually played when you enter a town in the BOA and A1 games.

 

As for fighting, well - you do get more APs, and you actually see the weapons they're using in hand. However I'm starting to get annoyed with the walk 5 steps, fight a nephil, walk five steps, kill a few more nephils, walk five steps, etc....... Also, before, when you were in a town you had to actually begin a fight with the "combat" command, but in A4 no matter where you are, town or outdoors, the game automatically launches me into combat mode and I have to scroll the screen around to figure out where the enemies are, and sometimes I still can't see them.

 

As for the "quests" so far when I've completed them there really wasn't much satisfaction given. For instance - I had accepted the bring the note to Jenn in Grindstone quest, and when I finally

got to Grindstone (had to fight my way there through goblins, took forever), and finally found Jenn, there was no way for me to say: "Hey, I've got this letter for you", "hey thanks, here's your reward". There was nothing, all of a sudden that quest was no longer on my list. I dunno, it just didn't feel worth battling my way to Grindstone for that: granted there was other stuff to do in Grindstone, but still.

 

As for mysteries and puzzles, I'm not far enough into the game yet to miss them, but I probably will miss some of them. Granted, there were times in some of the BOA scenarios that I kept coming to the message board for help, but I'm sure I will miss the "Oh, ok!!!" - whether I was told the answer or I figured it out on my own.

 

Overall, I do like A4. It's got it's pros and cons. It's not my favorite (BOA will always be my fave) but it's a decent game. And speaking of which I'm going to get back to playing it! Either that or dive into another BOA scenario.

 

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!!!

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I miss town mode (and the sound) too.

 

Hit "f" to enter or leave combat mode.

 

Look at the text at the bottom of your window. It is where many encounter and quest-finishing messages appear. Hit "t" to see again any text which disappears before you saw it.

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I find the new "death" system a bit childish. I just want to draw the comparison to Pokemon, where your characters never die either, they just pass out. We're walking around a giant cave slaying lizard men with magic swords, not throwing balls filled with yellow rats at other yellow rats... its OK to actually die.

 

That is all.

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Well, you're right. And well, think about it. Resurrection is at least as ridiculous and unrealistic as multiple lives in a game. Resurrection creates little problems like...is anyone actually forever dead? You kill a lot of people in an Avernum game. If I can be resurrected over and over again, so could be anyone I killed. It makes death into nothing.

 

I suppose converting death into unconsciousness is Jeff's way of doing two things: making an annoying previous game factor less annoying (let's face it...most of us just reload instead of going to a healer, paying a bunch of money, and using a Balm of Life to resurrect a PC). The other is to make the game make more sense.

 

The bottom line is that any game is a slightly surreal construct of reality at best. Multiple "lives" have been with us since Space Invaders. I can't think of any way around this aspect of video games, or the game would be no fun.

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Not that I dislike the changes mind you, I just find the idea of hauling a passed-out nephil back to town somehow sillier than dragging his corpse back to be reanimated. Regarding the point "if I can be resurrected, can't any of the baddies I kill?" I refer back to the days of Exile when re-entering a dungeon got you swarmed with everything you just killed over and over again... ah, memories.

 

Also, I just realized this was the 1st time I have posted, even though I've been playing since I first escaped from the pit back in 96. I've even been reading these boards since I (quite happily) discovered my favorite games had been recreated a few years back. Keep up the good work Jeff!

 

(BTW, Synergy my signature is not a play on yours, I use it on all boards I post to. Great minds think alike maybe?)

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Originally written by Sicadastra:
(BTW, Synergy my signature is not a play on yours, I use it on all boards I post to. Great minds think alike maybe?)
Yes...that must be it. smile Good thing I didn't accuse you of plagiarism (or vice-versa), huh?

Dying, never dying, unconsciousness, resurrection....all ridiculous. I'd be truly interested to hear if anyone has come up with a better—and satisfying—game scenario to deal with "death"?
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Originally written by Synergy:
Dying, never dying, unconsciousness, resurrection....all ridiculous. I'd be truly interested to hear if anyone has come up with a better—and satisfying—game scenario to deal with "death"?
The way I see it, there are at least four internally consistent solutions to the problem of death:

1) Strict non-resurrection. Let characters die. Provide no source of resurrection. Jewel of Arabia: Dreamers is one example of an RPG which takes this route (if a character dies and you want them back, you just have to reload a saved game). Most roguelikes are another obvious example, although in that case you don't even have the advantage of being able to reload a saved game. This choice is harsh, but it's perhaps the most "realistic" option.

2) Non-resurrection with handwaving. Don't let player characters die; no matter how horribly wounded they are, they're just "unconscious". When you need a character to actually die, provide a good excuse for them to do so. The problem with this option is that it's the silliest.

3) Resurrection with handwaving. Let player characters die and be resurrected. Provide a good excuse for why important villains are allowed to die and stay dead; maybe resurrection is a boon granted only by good-aligned deities to great heroes. (Then all you have to do is explain what's so special about your level-1 party that makes the gods willing to resurrect them, assuming a party has access to a source of resurrection at that level.) The problem with this option is that it requires the greatest amount of handwaving.

4) Strict resurrection. Let all characters die and be resurrected -- heroes, villains, anyone rich enough to pay for the services of a sufficiently qualified healer. Probably not a desirable option unless you actually want to explore the consequences of this in the game world, since it's such a drastic change from the way the real world works.
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Originally be iluvhorses: the game automatically launches me into combat mode and I have to scroll the screen around to figure out where the enemies are, and sometimes I still can't see them.
I prefer running in one direction. Either you move towards the baddies so that you can see them, or you run away from them and can end combat.

Dikiyoba, who hates entering combat for minor foes that you can beat with one wack, which sometimes happened in G1, though maybe not A4.
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Originally written by iluvhorses:
Also, before, when you were in a town you had to actually begin a fight with the "combat" command, but in A4 no matter where you are, town or outdoors, the game automatically launches me into combat mode and I have to scroll the screen around to figure out where the enemies are, and sometimes I still can't see them.
I swear, this has been a bug since the beginning of beta testing... it happened first with a group of fungi in the Eastern Gallery (around that one ogre... Swamplouse?), and again in a field of pylons. The first time, there were no enemies in sight... anywhere. The second time, I think it happened because some friendly NPCs were fighting something nearby, but out my sight range (honestly, I don't know, but that's what Jeff said after I sent him a save file).

I definitely miss being able to enter combat mode willingly... though it led to some interesting abuses of spellcasting in A1-BoA, particularly with group haste. Still, in A4 it seems that the game will occasionally delay entering combat mode. I remember some shambler-type things over by Erika's Tower that almost never initiated combat mode unless you actually hit one. The same went for some Cauldron Icefingers in the Spiral Crypt (again, Jeff did not comment on this after I sent a save file).

EDIT: Missed a bracket in the quote tags...
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After reading all these posts I'm getting nostalgic for Exile....

I think the biggest thing that irritated me about Avernum when I first played it was that the enemies didn't respawn. I mean, how much sense does it make that after you kill some soldiers in an empire fort, leave, heal, wander around, do whatever and come back 5 days later, they didn't bother to reinforce the fort?

 

Plus there's no wandering critters in A4. In a time of such turmoil, I would imagine that every nasty nasty in the universe would come crawling out of its cave, yet I can walk freely anywhere once I've cleared the normal, dumb collections of bandit/chitrachs, etc.

 

And I have to say, while the combat has been "improved", it doesn't mean much, I don't think I've seen a dumber AI anywhere. (centipede was smarter)

It doesn't really make combat "harder" to allow the enemies to do massive damage and have tons of hp's, it just makes it take longer.

 

Part of what I liked about all of previous games was the story, I always found them interesting, they made me want to keep playing. I have to say, so far A4's story is predictable and boring.

 

No lights! No lights! Who wanders through a dungeon without light?!

 

And while I suppose technically it makes sense that a party that spends all their time bashing other peoples head's in wouldn't really want to spend time solving puzzles, it did, on occasion, break up the endless killing.

 

For secret doors, I do miss them, although, I don't miss hitting 14789632 all the time.

Perhaps they could be linked to intelligence (perception) and luck, because no one in their right mind would ram into wall after wall, looking for one that wasn't really a wall.

But if you could be allowed to "spot" them if you had a character with high int, tool use and luck, might make it more interesting.

 

Item ident/paying for training are personal choices, they both make more sense if your going for a more realistic approach, and I prefer them, but not having either of them does streamline the game somewhat.

 

Kelandon, I don't think it is a NEW game engine, it looks to me like they took the Geneforge engine (which I hate by the way, all three geneforges bored me to tears) and added some cave graphics. Which means there is no excuse for a game that is nothing but mindless bashing of heads...

 

I guess in the end it comes down to, do you like a more realistic world (need to id things, need to have people train you, monsters actually put more guards out after you killed the last set, etc.) or a more "newbie friendly" world.

I prefer realism. (but don't knock the portals, with no wandering monsters, it serves NO purpose to walk all over the damn place)

 

Oh yeah, and there is no good way to handle death. But "unconscious" party members is absurd. I get hit in the face with a greatsword followed by a blast of lightning, and I'm just "unconscious"?! You should be lucky to find the pieces of your dead character after that happens.

But perhaps you could incorperate multiple ideas, some things render you unconscious, and if you "wait" for a while you regain consciousness, some kill you, and you need your "good" god to revive you, (after all, you have been marked to save the world, or something) and some obliterate you (i.e. permanent death)

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like many people are saying that Jeff doesn't bother to listen to what people are saying, is that true? Becuase if it is, it's a good way to drive away a loyal base. I've played Spiderweb games since Exile I, but A4 might be the last one I play. Being as I am singularly underwhelmed by A4

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You have realism versus convenience in any game...to make a game completely "real" would make it quite unforgiving, overly complicated, and repetative.

 

I like not having wandering monsters respawn everywhere. Is it realistic, maybe not. Does it make for a less tedious play, definitely. Is this better? For me it is, my time is limited these days. I would prefer uncovering the next plot point rather than fight endless creatures I have already defeated. Not to say fighting them the first time wasn't fun, it was, but I don't need to fight them seventeen times.

 

As for light and ID, I like things being fairly auto on that. If it's dark, you assume you have a torch or some cheap unintrusive magical light. Not to say some areas would not be improved by darkness, they would, but casting light every few moves is mundane. ID items, I don't know, would be nice to have more rare things be unidentified, but otherwise, it's another layer.

 

Jeff does whatever he wants, his actions say little to please his base as he has an endless supply of hyperactive eight year olds and septugeranian eskimos to buy his games.

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Didn't A1 have a way for nature lore or whatever to find secret passages without bashing your head into the wall a dozen times?

 

I'm liking A4 alright so far (I've played a lot more of it since my last post), but I can definitely tell lots of things are missing, as we've all mentioned here. The whole job board thing - I'm not sure if I like that. And besides, they have nothing to do with each other. So far there's really no plot. The intro to the game mentioned about the goblin problem. So I weeded out the goblins in Fort Monastery, found the missing shipments - and that was all that had to do with goblins. So far the only kindof plot I've seen has to do with the dead dragon, motrax, who's lair I've finally found (and then I got butchered, of course) and the mark on the hand.

 

Everything else is kill this creature, go prove yourself at the stone circle (which took me about 5 tries to do, anyway, then I had to pay for the new spells that I "won'), take a letter to this person. Granted I'm still in the demo version (can't afford the full version yet)

 

And why is there no character editor for this game??? Is it because our characters don't actually "die". I do prefer the death as opposed to unconsious. I agree with Duality on that one.

 

I do like the automatic light, it helps.

 

Yeah, and I most definitely prefer the baddies to stay dead when I kill them. No respawning aloud - not a big fan of that. If I go into a cave, kill all them things in there, leave and then realize I was supposed to search for something in the corner of one of those caves, I don't want to have to weed my way through all them again - I'd leave the thing in there with them!!!

 

*i is right about the game can't be completely realistic - otherwise no one would want to play it because they'd always be dying with no hope of resurrection whatsoever. On the flip side it can't be completely unrealistic because it would be boring. That's one of the reasons I like BOA so much because it's right in between those two extremes. Perhaps if A4 had a more substantial plot, things might be a bit more interesting smile

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(Spoiler warning: Minor not-quite-spoiler in last paragraph.)

 

Thuryl, you made me very happy. Jewel of Arabia: Dreamers is one of my favorite games of all time. I've never liked resurrection, as it absolutely cheapens all the death in the plotline. Personally, I don't see how having essential members of your group die can constitute success, and part of the challenge of the game ought to be to keep everyone alive. Jewel of Arabia requires that for 2 of your 6 characters; I've seen one RPG require that for all of them (Arcana, on SNES).

 

Duality, I feel your nostalgia. The A4 engine is definitely new, though. And it does one thing for which it and Jeff deserve IMMENSE praise: the click-and-frameskip movement system. While I do miss hitting 978987978978 to go north really fast a little bit, this is a really wonderful innovation. (Now, if only the damn thing would turn off during combat! I'm sick of clicking on a square that it looks obvious to get to only to see my PC take a circuitous route, or needlessly step next to an enemy, in either case draining his AP and preventing him from attacking!)

 

The plot -is- extremely slow to get going. From what I've seen so far, I'm cautiously optimistic. I always wished that something more had been done with the Bon-Ihrno Prossis-Bok vs. Rentar-Ihrno Glantris-Bok dichotomy, and it looks like that might happen. After Ex/Av 3, though, my expectations aren't that high.

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