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The Triple Valley

Mac/Windows

 

Author: Iffy

Difficulty: 35 - 40

Version: 1.0.0

 

[composite=eyJ0aXRsZSI6IlRoZSBUcmlwbGUgVmFsbGV5IiwidGlkIjoiMTI5ODYiLCJ0YWdzIjpbImNvbWJhdCBoZWF2eSIsImRlc2lnbmVyLXNwZWNpZmljIHVuaXZlcnNlIl0sImJnYXNwIjp7IjUiOjAsIjQiOjAsIjMiOjIsIjIiOjEsIjEiOjF9fQ==]

Composite Score: 2.3/5.0

 

Best: 0.00% (0/4)

Good: 0.00% (0/4)

Average: 50.00% (2/4)

Substandard: 25.00% (1/4)

Poor: 25.00% (1/4)

[encouragenecro]

 

[/composite]

 

Keywords: Designer-Specific Universe, Combat Heavy

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium

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From Nioca on SV:

 

QUOTE

 

SUMMARY - A short scenario by Iffy. The Triple Valley's premise is simple; you're a band of adventurers in a metal rich valley looking for work. Unbeknownst to you, darker plots are in play. It's very combat heavy, it's design is a bit (pardon the term) iffy, plot isn't all that great, and it's got some minor errors. Still, it's a worthwhile play if you're into combat. Or if you're bored.

 

NOTABLE POINTS

* Combat heavy

* Hard combat

* Lackluster design

* Good combat

* Limited dialogue

* Easy to get lost

 

 

Enjoyment - 5

It's not bad. However, there were many moments where I got frustrated due to lack of direction. There wasn't much in the way of dialogue, and what there was isn't inspiring, so no breaks there. The combat, however, will put you through your paces, and it's generally well-designed whenever it comes to fights. Also, while it may seem good, having every town on the "Dark Side" completely dark (as in all light gets snuffed out instantly) quickly went from "Nice atmosphere" to "Oh no, not this total darkness crap again".

 

 

Plot - 3

This may well be the greatest plot to ever grace Blades. Seriously. Problem is, no one bothers to tell you what the plot is. Either they don't know what's going on (or won't talk to you), or they do know what's going on, but refuse to tell you. As a result, what propels you along in it is, "Do this because I said so". What is let on isn't impressive. It's another "Save the world from demon(ish) invasion", a fact it uses to poke some fun at itself.

 

The ending... it's supposed to be suspenseful or something. I wouldn't know, I still really didn't know what was going on. There's also a plot hole in the beginning (along with a missed chance to make the plot many times better) where the bad guy tries to assassinate the mayor. Later information winds up making this a confusing moment, since the assassin had no reason to attack the mayor. In short, don't play this scenario for the plot.

 

 

Combat - 7

This is the reason to play this scenario. The combat is very well done, if a little on the heavy side. It's also hard; fortunately, you'll discover fairly early on whether you're ready for this scenario. Oddly enough, difficulty actually decreases slightly as you proceed, putting the intial outdoor encounters in a tie for third-hardest fight in the scenario. The only fights harder are the Guardian in the hut and the final boss.

 

One thing of note is that Iffy was heavily favoring the Hunter script. What that means to you non-scripters is that, upon entering a town or dungeon, it was entirely possible for every enemy in the dungeon to bum rush you (assuming they had a path to you), even if you were on the other side of the dungeon. Additionally, he had a few cruel tricks up his sleeve. The Guardian fight under the hut was stunningly difficult. Why? Well, normally, you get to have every party member dogpile on a solo enemy like this, pouring all their firepower into it before it gets the chance to act. Not this time; it was placed just behind a secret door, so not only did it generally get first strike (assuming you weren't ready for it), but you had to duel it one-on-one. Oh, and it has a slowing touch that's nigh-insurmountable. Cue pain. The boss fight's actually a bit easier, since you can make preparations for it ahead of time (and assuming you have Radiant Shield to take the edge off). But it too is a doozy unless you end the fight quickly.

 

All in all, expect a challenge going in.

 

 

Design - 3

This is one area Iffy really needs to work on. The one actual town is mostly empty (under construction is no excuse!) and designed rather haphazardly. Dungeons are alright, but under the hut was definitely not one of the better things Blades has seen. A long corridor of traps is either boring or needlessly painful and infuriating, depending on your tool use. Dialog and dialogue alike tended to be clipped, functional, and bland. The conversation with the nutty wizard was perhaps the best dialogue in the scenario. It's also dotted with the occasional typo and spelling error ("Plateform"? Does that mean you turn into a plate?). Finally, profanity seemed to be thrown in at random. Mind, I'm not against a character going "Oh [censored]" when it's appropriate. However, it seemed the profanity here didn't have much of a reason (and it dulled the one time it was appropriate).

 

However, the real problem is this. At two different points in the scenario, the party can get lost. Not slightly turned around, or a little confused. Completely and totally lost. The first is Under the Hut again, where you find the crystal and the ladder comes back down. At which point you should... Well, obviously do something, but the scenario gives absolutely no clue as to where to go next. It's not a bug. Just no direction. Of any kind. Second time, you get the mission to head back to the dark realm. You got the orb, you're ready to kick arse... Well, except for the fact you don't know where that arse is. Again. This is a particularly nasty example, because it seems like a game-breaking glitch when you hit it. There's a portal in the town, yet it's not the one you're supposed to take back. Despite the fact you just got a key for it and can open the door to it. It's not obvious there's a different portal you're supposed to use, and it leaves one feeling like they just hit a brick wall.

 

There's also some cosmetic glitches and annoyances as well. Every time I loaded my party, it told me to read the readme. Done once at the beginning of the scenario, it's a good reminder. Done every single time the player reloads their party? Additionally, Iffy apparently put some debug calls in at some point and didn't take them out. Nothing horrendous, but still.

 

 

Graphics - 6

Nothing special here. The inverted terrain in the Dark Realm is nice, but there's not much in the way of graphics here. Scenery was passable, if somewhat blank. There's not much in the way of eye-candy or special effects. It doesn't look disagreeable at all, though.

 

 

Scripting - 6

There's a good bit of scripting in play here. Healer enemies, modifying spell lists for enemies, nothing overly fancy. But it definitely makes it stand out. Plus, there's a few cutscenes as well, though again, nothing fancy. I did have a slight problem with one encounter, which was an instant-kill node with little warning of what was coming. But there's not much to mention otherwise.

 

 

SCORE

Enjoyment - 5 * 0.2 = 1.0

Plot - 3 * 0.2 = 0.6

Combat - 7 * 0.2 = 1.4

Design - 3 * 0.15 = 0.45

Graphics - 6 * 0.15 = 0.90

Scripting - 6 * 0.1 = 0.6

Rounded Toward Enjoyment - +0.05

 

FINAL SCORE

----5.0----

 

Note by Tyranicus: The final number is then divided by 2 because the old rating system was out of 10, so we end up with 2.5, which rounds up to [rating]AVERAGE[/rating].

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From Smoo on SV:

 

The Triple Valley is an improvement over Muffins 'n' Hell. Unfortunately, that is not much of an achievement and the same problems that were present in MnH are still present in TTV. For one, town design is still a bit sloppy, as is outdoor design. The dialog - Ugh! - The dialog is not very good, but at least it is functional. What is worse is that the plot, I think, tries to make up for its nonsensical bits by being a bit silly. It does not work very well. Nonetheless, TTV does have its moments, although they are few and far in between. I liked the part where the player can choose to walk into an obvious trap and get promptly killed. I also liked what happened afterwards. "Wait! Can I throw these rocks at him?" turned out to be accurate.

 

I could complain about the plot, the wasted premise (moving from a "dark" world to normal world could have been really good), the characters or about the aesthetic quality some more, but I will first point out the biggest issue in TV: the gameplay. There is one friendly town, but there are no shops. There is an inn, but you cannot rest in it. You cannot get any priest or mage spell anywhere. Then there are the problems with the hostile dungeons; mainly that there is no loot, at all. You do not find any conveniently placed healing potions, new gear or indeed, ANYTHING! The player must make do with what they brought into the scenario and the fact that "the town isn't quite finished" is just covering up for laziness.

 

This said, it is not that the scenario has no merits. It does. The combat for one is challenging for the level range, though I must confess that I could not beat the boss fight even with a party ten levels above the level range. Then again, I did not have any mage or priest spells, so that could not have helped. Anyway, the problem with the boss fight (and some other fights) is that the player is marched into danger using a cut scene. This results in at least four Arcane Blows in the face. Ouch! Still, I did have some fun when the monsters came out of the woodwork to hunt me down in an early dungeon.

 

There are some problems with pacing and motives too. Basically you run blindly into a dark, twisted world of monsters because a deranged mayor told you so.

 

 

 

The premise does not really make sense either, unless the whole point of the villains plan was to sacrifice the player.

 

 

Then there is the part where the player is finally told something about what is going on in the valley. This consists of running back and forth between two towns in an unnecessary fashion. Then the player is handed an item and shoved off without any clear instructions. The villain's motives are never adequately explained either. In fact, the PCs blatantly ask him "What is your motive?"

 

After all this rambling, I have finally reached a verdict: Should you play The Triple Valley?

 

Yes. Once. This one is not a keeper, though.

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

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I actually thought this wasn't too bad of a first effort. Sure the combat is crazy-hard and the plot is weak, but there seems to be some atmosphere to it. That being said, I still feel that there are too many areas that need improvement. I will rate it [rating]Substandard[/rating], but it's close to average.

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Content: It's a shorter scenario, and even then there are sections that are glaringly incomplete. A huge chunk of the main town is empty. However, this fact is lampshaded, so maybe it's only fair to review this as a humour scenario. It's a pity though; I think this scenario could have been greatly improved by more content. More exploration of "the dark side" would have been great; you don't get enough of the "hunted" feel as is.

 

Story: I think that the central idea behind this scenario is solid. But like I said above, you don't explore it enough to give it justice. As for the characters, get ready for NPCs giving you quests "because I said so" and villains doing things "because I'm evil". Again, everything here is done tongue-in-cheek, so if that's your things, more power to you. To be fair, I've made a scenario that does the same thing, so who am I to judge?

 

Pacing: The action is kept somewhat consistent throughout most of the scenario. This is combat-heavy scenario, and you won't get a chance to rest often. This works well at some points, when you're trying to get from Point A to Point B in one outdoors section while avoiding as many wandering monsters as possible. The action lagged a bit at the end; you're going through a series of tunnels with no content (possibly there was some planned).

 

Combat: First off, a warning. Expect instant death nodes, and expect some fights in total blackness. I know there are people who like either or both, so it's a matter of taste. But save often. You'll be fighting one type of enemy for the most part, and it's pretty tough. Like I said earlier, you don't get very many opportunities to rest. Also, the main town doesn't have any shops. My spellcasters came into the scenario with several energy potions each, and I don't know if I could have gotten through some sections without them. Finally, some combats are pretty unbalanced. Especially the final one: if you trigger the encounter out of combat mode, your lead character will get nailed with beam attacks. Going from full HP + Enduring Barrier to dead before I could act wasn't fun, so I recommend entering combat mode before triggering the encounter. That said, once you survive the first round, the final fight was pretty fun.

 

Scripting: There were a few bugs I ran into. One town bordered water, and if you left it from the wrong side, your party can get stuck in the water. There's also a bit where you have to kill this NPC in town. Exit and re-enter, and he's alive and well. Finally, you get "Debug value: 0" printed repeatedly (in the town at least), and a popup whenever you load the game. These are easy to comment out, if you know what you're doing.

 

Aesthetics: No complaints here, other than the total darkness bits. There was a nice contrast between the two different "sides".

 

Overall: A few good ideas in here, but otherwise incomplete. [rating]POOR[/rating]

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