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First impressions

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Hi all!

 

Yeyyy!

 

Finally! It's out! I've started playing right away.

: )

 

What strikes me at first play is, how much the society of Lynaeus in its austerity reminds me of the Geneforges.

 

Unfortunately key "J" doesn't open the Journal. That would be quite convenient. Especially, as other shortcuts have been installed.

And I can't help it. Some of the skill-trees remind me a weeeeee bit of DAO…

 

The graphics are quite nice. Related to Geneforge 5, but even much more appealing, without loosing the charm of the "board-game-style".

 

As some people have already reported, the text is a bit small…

 

Anyway. Right from the beginning a lot of options to change allegiances and challenge circumstances seem to advertise themselves. I am looking forward to getting deeper into the game.

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I agree with much of what you say. My only concern is that Jeff may have gone a bit too far in his simplification of the game system, making it way too easy for hard-core RPG players like myself. I'll reserve my judgment for after I've completed the game, though.

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Quote:
Unfortunately key "J" doesn't open the Journal. That would be quite convenient. Especially, as other shortcuts have been installed.
And I can't help it. Some of the skill-trees remind me a weeeeee bit of DAO…

I think that you can fix that in the preferences, Jeff was actually rather thorough about allowing keyboard shortcuts to be remapped. This is also a good thing since it makes it possible to eliminate his attempts to use the function keys which I can't believe got through beta testing (the default quicksave shortcut literally doesn't work on my keyboard due to trying to use the key zealously claimed by Exposé).

For myself, I only had time to play for a few minutes last night, but a few things already seem clear:
-I like the visual style. It looks unified and consistent as far as I've yet seen.
-I'm having real trouble (in the sense of annoyance) with the inability to use the keyboard for the primary activities in playing the game, namely walking and attacking. I can appreciate that other people want to use the mouse for these but I don't, particularly when nearly everything more minor in the game seems to still be set up to be pretty keyboard friendly.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
-I'm having real trouble (in the sense of annoyance) with the inability to use the keyboard for the primary activities in playing the game, namely walking and attacking. I can appreciate that other people want to use the mouse for these but I don't, particularly when nearly everything more minor in the game seems to still be set up to be pretty keyboard friendly.


+1

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
(the default quicksave shortcut literally doesn't work on my keyboard due to trying to use the key zealously claimed by Exposé).
You know that can be changed in System Preferences, right? Or just press the fn key along with F3.

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Seconded on the visual style. The graphics are obviously not tremendously advanced, but I find Avadon to be pretty in a way that Jeff's previous games haven't been. Especially the character portraits and a lot of the environment/terrain graphics.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
Seconded on the visual style. The graphics are obviously not tremendously advanced, but I find Avadon to be pretty in a way that Jeff's previous games haven't been. Especially the character portraits and a lot of the environment/terrain graphics.

 

I don't know what it is but the game does feel very polished. Just stuff like the Junk bag, makes the game flow smoothly. Not to mention I am am enamored with the way the game just tiles out to fit my gigantic iMac monitor.

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So far (at level 5) I am a bit bored with just choosing to pump one of the four main attributes. However I have not even really begun to comprehend the subtleties of the skill system, so I think that will give me enough strategy choice with leveling up to keep me satisfied at least in the core RPG regard.

 

I do like the feel although I'm more used to Avernum than Geneforge so the real-time aspect takes some getting used to.

 

Avadon itself is huge, as are the other areas. It took me awhile to get my bearings, and there was perhaps too much info to take in early on as opposed to fighting. In particular after spending a lot of time wandering around Avadon you leave and the next town is also a town. It might have been nice to put a mostly-fighting area in between.

 

But overall it seems pretty great, and of course I have already gladly paid the $25. Great work Jeff if you see this.

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The large areas were, for me, the biggest aesthetic change. It makes a huge difference to have regions that really feel regional, not just local, and towns that feel sufficiently townish while still having some wilderness on the same screen.

 

—Alorael, who never found much interest in the attribute point allocation. In earlier betas you got two points to distribute at will, but that was broken. With only one allocatable point he found himself always picking the same stat. Boring but functional. The skill points are where you make real decisions. And don't be afraid to experiment! Any mistake can be fixed with a quick cheat or, later, through a quick dialog.

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Originally Posted By: Celtic Minstrel
Originally Posted By: Niemand
(the default quicksave shortcut literally doesn't work on my keyboard due to trying to use the key zealously claimed by Exposé).
You know that can be changed in System Preferences, right? Or just press the fn key along with F3.

Nope, there is a bug, at least up through OS 10.6.5, and removing that key binding in System Preferences has no impact. tongue (Your suggestion with the Fn key would probably work, though.) However, part of my point was that the function keys in general are not things that individual applications should assume that they can use on Mac OS. At least Jeff has made it possible you change the mappings, though, so that the poor default choices can be replaced.

Additional nitpick: Avadon ignores Command-H.

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One thing I would like to see is a hot key to quickly send items to the junk bag. When half of your inventory is stuff you're going to sell, having to drag every item down to the bag is a little annoying.

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There is no longer a quick-key for "use-item".

 

This sucks because in Avernum I could type "u" to find all the hidden buttons.

 

 

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Is there a way to bring up a map of Lynaeus?

 

It would greatly help me to get everything straight if I could carry and use a map of the lands.

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I'd love to see the full map too.

 

The scene switching is a little annoying when entering larger buildings, but since it means bigger dungeons, I accept them as a feature.

 

However, it would be nice to have an easy way to tell which buildings have been explored. On the map, they stay dark.

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Yeah without a map I'm pretty lost on what's going on where.

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Originally Posted By: Erasmus
could someone check if the keypad "enter" works when closing messages?


Works for me.

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I'm finding that stackable items don't stack. For example, I have one bolt of cloth in the junk bag and I add two bolts of cloth. I expect one slot with three bolts. Nope. I have two slots occupied.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
Originally Posted By: Celtic Minstrel
Originally Posted By: Niemand
(the default quicksave shortcut literally doesn't work on my keyboard due to trying to use the key zealously claimed by Exposé).
You know that can be changed in System Preferences, right? Or just press the fn key along with F3.

Nope, there is a bug, at least up through OS 10.6.5, and removing that key binding in System Preferences has no impact. tongue (Your suggestion with the Fn key would probably work, though.) However, part of my point was that the function keys in general are not things that individual applications should assume that they can use on Mac OS. At least Jeff has made it possible you change the mappings, though, so that the poor default choices can be replaced.

Additional nitpick: Avadon ignores Command-H.


keyboard.png

That option works for me, at least in 10.6.6. Much more annoying than the lack of hiding with Command-H (You can still hide the app by right-clicking the Dock icon) is that it hides the Menu bar when in windowed mode.

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That's a different option than the one to which I was referring. It, or something equivalent would help, though.

 

EDIT: It works! I'm free of the horrible Exposé key. This does essentially nothing to address my original complaint about Jeff's key assignments, though, since this still only means that F3, F5, and F6 are free on my system.

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Originally Posted By: Niemand
That's a different option than the one to which I was referring. It, or something equivalent would help, though.

EDIT: It works! I'm free of the horrible Exposé key. This does essentially nothing to address my original complaint about Jeff's key assignments, though, since this still only means that F3, F5, and F6 are free on my system.

Why? If you disable the printed features on the keys, only F9-F12 are mapped to anything by default. I do agree that it is silly of Jeff to use the function keys, but with that box checked in System Preferences, you should have F1-F8 free for other purposes.

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Originally Posted By: Soul of Wit
I'm finding that stackable items don't stack. For example, I have one bolt of cloth in the junk bag and I add two bolts of cloth. I expect one slot with three bolts. Nope. I have two slots occupied.

That's only true of the junk bag, and since the bag is effectively bottomless and you're presumably using it for stuff you don't care about, what difference does it make?

—Alorael, who admits to occasionally using the junk bag as extra storage space. It's not ideal for that, especially when you forget that you left something important there and sell all your loot.

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Random question, not sure where else to put this:

 

Has anyone else had items randomly disappear from character inventories? I'm pretty that's happened to me.

 

When traveling between zones, playing in windowed mode, it looked like there was a black box with text (instructions about traveling between zones, no doubt) but the top portion of the text was cut off. On a related note, when traveling between zones, should I see only small portion of the map, or the whole worldmap?

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
Has anyone else had items randomly disappear from character inventories? I'm pretty that's happened to me.


I never had that happen to me, but I have mistakenly put items in the junk bag when I meant them to go to regular inventory.

Quote:
When traveling between zones, playing in windowed mode, it looked like there was a black box with text (instructions about traveling between zones, no doubt) but the top portion of the text was cut off. On a related note, when traveling between zones, should I see only small portion of the map, or the whole worldmap?

It depends upon your screen size and resolution. On a 14 inch screen parts of the screen gets truncated. Usually it's not the part with text.

When traveling between zones, you only get a small world map with zones for that section. You have to return to Avadon and use a portal to go to another region of zones. One of the screens when the game is loading a zone is the full world map.

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I third the request for using the keyboard to move my characters around, and second the request for a map of Lynaeus to be easily accessible. Perhaps put it in the codex early on? I haven't played for very long, so forgive me if it's already there.

 

Also, it would be super neat if you could click and hold the mouse to move your character. e.g., if you click and hold the mouse down to the right of center your character would keep moving to the right as long as there aren't any obstacles in the way. You might not want this enabled in combat mode. I don't think it would be terribly hard to program.

 

Great game so far Jeff!

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Wait, there's no keyboard movement at all?

 

+4

 

I bought into the click-and-pathfind mechanism in A4-A6, and liked it, but I'd still use keyboard movement from time to time, ESPECIALLY in combat. If this has really been removed, that will be a huge irritation.

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Waaaay to easy. I mean, I don't expect the first dungeon to be challenging, but when I resurrect instantly after battle and recover full health within twenty seconds on Hard there is no sense of challenge at all. Each specific encounter may be tough, but the overall progression lacks danger.

 

Other then that, fantastic atmosphere, great opening theme, great world so far.

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The Demo is tiny! I mean it has to be the smallest one is Spidweb history.

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I noticed this as well, but it gets harder. I'm also playing on hard, and I found enemies in the first couple areas could barely damage me. More specifically:

Click to reveal..
enemies in the Avadon dungeons and the first visit to Kva were pretty much all trivial, though Ohgroth (sp?) did burn through a few of my healing potions. Then I got to Khemeria, and enemies got a lot harder. Especially the spiders, which leads me to think Jeff's taken a certain TV Trope rather literally. They've been a pretty good difficulty through Khemeria and the second time in Kva, where I currently am.
I think it's fairer to say that Spiderweb games (and most games, really) have an early "kid gloves" section in which things are easy, and that this section is especially easy in Avadon. Unfortunately easy, and the transition to more standard difficulty feels a bit abrupt, but this all rates pretty low on the world-ending catastrophometer.

 

Other observations now that I've played through a bit more: I really like the big area maps. A lot of Jeff's previous games have felt a bit cramped, especially in areas that are supposed to be big and wide-open (and of course this was a common complaint about the A4-6 world maps); in Avadon so far they've felt just right (as has the temperature of the porridge). I also appreciate that Jeff included more info on game mechanics in the manual this time.

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the demo was noticably not "big and huge" this time. But I'm hoping that doesn't reflect on the length of the full game. As for it being too easy, that's exactly what I thought until I played just a little bit further and my characters started dying. Is it possible to

Click to reveal..
kill that blue dragon?

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Originally Posted By: Carington x2
Originally Posted By: Soul of Wit
I'm finding that stackable items don't stack. For example, I have one bolt of cloth in the junk bag and I add two bolts of cloth. I expect one slot with three bolts. Nope. I have two slots occupied.

That's only true of the junk bag, and since the bag is effectively bottomless and you're presumably using it for stuff you don't care about, what difference does it make?

—Alorael, who admits to occasionally using the junk bag as extra storage space. It's not ideal for that, especially when you forget that you left something important there and sell all your loot.

The junk bag is bottomless?! I just assumed that I had that tiny amount of room that I could see.

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I had to take a screen shot of the main map during one of the transitions to get a good look at it.

 

I am loving the huge spaces. The dungeons feel a lot less cramped. Thank Jeff for the big area maps (Tab key), otherwise, I'd be lost all the time.

 

Seems this game is less about finding all the artifacts strewn about the terrain and more about playing a very careful political game. There's a lot of different forces at work here.

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my first real complaint thus far: is there any way to enter a map from a different entrance? because if there is, I haven't figured out how to do it, and if there isn't, why not? It makes getting to certain places really annoying, almost like a downgrade from Geneforge.

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I haven't played Avadon yet, as I'm on Windows, but consider this a +5 for including keyboard movement. That has been one of my biggest complaints about recent spiderweb games.

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Originally Posted By: tehpineapple
my first real complaint thus far: is there any way to enter a map from a different entrance? because if there is, I haven't figured out how to do it, and if there isn't, why not? It makes getting to certain places really annoying, almost like a downgrade from Geneforge.


+1

Yes! When I enter a map, I always appear the same place, no what direction I came from. Unlike Geneforge.

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Originally Posted By: The Amaster
... great opening theme....


Ehh...it's a very small quibble, but I can't say the opening theme impressed me. After how cool I thought the opening themes of Nethergate: Resurrection and Avernum 6 were, Avadon's opening theme was pretty bland.


On a positive note: I LOVE being able to resolve a quest by refusing to kill someone! I previous games, just through talking I get assigned quests to kill this or that person; often when I meet the person I decide I don't really want to murder them, but there was no way to get rid of the quest. At least once so far I've a quest where I was able to resolve it by going back and saying I chose not to kill the target. I appreciate the option.

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to tehpineapple:

Is it possible to

Click to reveal..

kill that blue dragon?

Yes, but when depends upon your party and difficulty level.

 

Originally Posted By: Triumph
At least once so far I've a quest where I was able to resolve it by going back and saying I chose not to kill the target. I appreciate the option.

You should have lied and said you did. Haven't you learned that being a Hand means palm out and turned up to get the money. smile

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If you're talking about the quest I'm thinking of, then the best option is clearly to get the target to pay you to lie and say you killed her, which also gets you payment from the quest-giver.

 

Cue Schlock Mercenary-style "we got paid twice" happy dance.

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There is another quest later on when you can do the same. I was disappointed with the bribe size and wanted an option to negotiate. smile

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I was disappointed that I couldn't get a bribe to not kill her, then turn round and kill her.

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
Originally Posted By: tehpineapple
my first real complaint thus far: is there any way to enter a map from a different entrance? because if there is, I haven't figured out how to do it, and if there isn't, why not? It makes getting to certain places really annoying, almost like a downgrade from Geneforge.


+1

Yes! When I enter a map, I always appear the same place, no what direction I came from. Unlike Geneforge.


Yes I agree. This is annoying. There shouldn't be exits from an area if they don't go anywhere.

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Loving the game so far. The maps are huge, a great plus. Also, the separate housing is interesting, although fairly neutral to me. I like the idea, and it lets Jeff add even more space. Alas, my computer is just a tad slow.

 

I agree that it would be nice to enter a zone from any direction.

 

I don't mind the lack of keyboard movement. It would be nice in combat, but I never played Avernum, so it's not a big loss. I do, however, find myself screwing up my first round of combat by accidentally clicking somewhere before realizing combat has begun.

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Originally Posted By: Khoth
I was disappointed that I couldn't get a bribe to not kill her, then turn round and kill her.
Seriously. Double-double-agenting was one of the things that made G4 so much fun.

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Love how absolutely huge this game seems, but yeah, Geneforge style entry-selection is sorely desired.

 

Anyone know if it opens up a bit more later though? If I'm only able to access sections of the world map when I'm on a specific quest to them, that seems kind of lame.

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Count another one here who would really like to be able to use the keyboard to move around.

 

Is there some way to keep the screen centered on the character or at least have it move automatically in some way? I'm finding it really annoying to move the screen myself.

 

Liking virtually everything substantive about it so far, but I'm not very far.

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