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Kelandon

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That's one of the exciting parts about Avadon 2: there are so many ways that Jeff can go at this point.

 

Will he jump into the future a la A4 to A5? What state will the Pact and Avadon be in then? Will your Hand from Avadon 1 be mentioned like the mysterious "group of Aventurers" from Avernum's past? Will we see more of the Pact nations that didn't make it into Avadon 1? Will we see more of the Farlands that didn't make into Avadon 1 (*cough* the Corruption *cough*)? Will he add more Character Classes? Will we see female Shadowwalkers and male Sorcerers?

 

And so on and so on. Guess we'll have to wait until he starts up his "making of Avadon 2" blog entries sometime next year wink

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Well, I thought that I'd make a new topic for the second playthrough, but I think I won't.

 

In the second playthrough, I'm going whole hog on the "Kill Redbeard, save Avadon" method. Anything that involves defeating enemies or apparent enemies of Avadon, I do.

 

Still playing a blademaster, and I've been relying heavily on an archery-focused Sevilin and a direct-damage Nathalie. I boost all skills in the middle, and I've basically been laying on the same stats for each character: core blademaster Strength, Sevilin Dexterity, and Nathalie Intelligence.

 

What has been striking about this is how easy everything is. I'm playing on Hard, and only a handful of fights have required more than one reload. I just finished the Moritz'Kri killing, and the only fight in that entire sequence that required more than one reload was the final apprentice (who was going to fight me someday anyway, so I figured we may as well have it out now). I've barely used any items or abilities (abilities only in boss fights, and only in a few; items virtually never).

 

I'm wondering how long this is going to hold up. The party seems strong, but I don't know.

 

EDIT: Update. Titans were a joke. We'll see what Nathalie's personal quest looks like.

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Zhossa Mindtaker part 2 (on Nathalie's quest) I think is the perfect case in point for "the minions don't give any indication how hard the boss is going to be." I brought Jenell and Nathalie (in order to be able to hit lots of Zhossa images at once) and had not even the slightest bit of trouble until I got to the penultimate boss. That took two reloads, because I eventually had to sucker him away from the casters by sitting my blademaster next to him and send the casters out to hit the shield people from a distance.

 

Then, with Zhossa, I used a Resurrection scroll once just because the fight was so long (about 20 minutes) that I didn't want to have to reload. I have about 14 more left, so that should be plenty for the endgame.

 

But so far it's all seeming relatively straightforward. I'm nearly maxed out in levels (I think everybody's 26 at this point?), and things should get really interesting once I can battle frenzy everyone at will.

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Okay, I'm just short of the endgame and am trying to mop up some quests. Killing Zephyrine seems ridiculously impossible. The only discussion of it that I can find seems to suggest that the way to prevent the minions from healing themselves fully from near death in about two turns is to separate the dragon from the minions. I have to admit, I didn't try this, but even so, the fight seems next-to-impossible.

 

I think I'm going to let this go as "maybe something interesting to come back to someday" and go into the endgame.

 

If this is supposed to be the second-hardest fight, I'm not looking forward to fighting Redbeard. Had no trouble with Beloch, though; I think that I reloaded only once.

 

One thing that I didn't expect is that my uber-Dexterity Sevilin is now my primary damage-dealer. His bow shots are actually stronger than virtually any other form of damage I can deal, and he can do a lot of damage with some scarabs, too. Uber-Intelligence Nathalie is also doing a ridiculous amount of damage. My primary blademaster, though, seems underpowered. I cranked Strength, but maybe I don't have the right weapon equipped or something.

 

Oh well. Call of the Frenzy is as overpowered as I thought, just about. I'm kind of sad that it's mathematically impossible to get it beyond 6, though.

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Zephyrine is really the second hardest fight and should be possible with almost any party. I've always found the best way to do it is to concentrate on eliminating her minions and just keep her occupied with summons or a high health character that is very resistant to cold attacks (90% of her attacks).

 

High dexterity blademasters archery attacks are over powered and after his sharpshooter spray took out draining bat swarm in one shot on torment I never did anything else. Melee attacks are decent, but being able to destroy things from almost anywhere is better.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
I've always found the best way to do it is to concentrate on eliminating her minions and just keep her occupied with summons or a high health character that is very resistant to cold attacks (90% of her attacks).

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Final thoughts from the second playthrough. I ended up bailing on killing Zephyrine and Redbeard. I tried the Redbeard fight once, and the thing was, his pieces of himself that he flings out to the hidden rooms have a ton of health. It ended up being an extremely long and precarious but ultimately rather boring combat. This is pretty surprising, since I've never found that to be the case in any final Spidweb fight before. The run through Hawthorne's palace, the long fight against Garzahd, the desperate (and maybe a little confusing) battle with Rentar-Ihrno, not to mention the final boss battles in the GF series... these were all much more fun than trying to take out Redbeard. I'm not entirely sure why that is.

I suppose there's an entire topic dedicated to the Redbeard fight, and maybe I'll toss in some thoughts over there, but my initial reaction was that it had something to do with the actions you have to take in the combat. You end up sitting and repeating your actions a whole bunch of times (hit Redbeard as hard as you can, then when he becomes invulnerable, take down his creations, then hit Redbeard again) while struggling to negate what the opponent is doing (heal, cure mental effects, heal, cure mental effects) and working around seemingly pointless immunities (the creations are immune to energy, I think, which negates the shaman).

At any rate, the game was more fun the second time, as I expected, though I was a little disappointed at the Zephyrine and Redbeard fights. Both seemed quite hard but also quite dull, and I didn't have the heart to finish either. I had a better time following the plot, though, and I'm looking forward to Avadon 2, whenever it might come out.

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Here is my likes/dislikes after finishing game..

 

Interface

+ Overall user interface is very easy to use.

- Not being able to click on the TAB-map!!!!

- Would like more items to stack in inventory. Any generic item (i.e.doesn't have charges or special enhancemnet, etc.) should be able to stack. For example, 4X deep runestones, 4X steel shields, etc.

 

Skills

+ Overall liked orginality of the skills in the skill tree and scarabs.

+ I liked how you regained health and abilities after batttles.

- Even though it seemed you had alot of choices, it seemed like it boiled down to only two choices left-middle columns or middle-right columns.

- Skill tree worked well for blademaster / shadowalker, but seemed more contrived for sorceress / shaman. Compared to Avernum 6 and other rpgs, I kind of miss being able to build up a spellbook and learn spells.

- In some cases, it was not obvious which trait affect which skill. For example, I had no idea some of the shaman skills like earthshatter rely on DEX rather than INT until I read it here on this forum.

- Not intutive which trait affected scarab's power. If I understand it right, if my blademaster has dark bolt scarab, then the power is influenced by STR. It seems a little strange that the scarab was powered by a diffferent trait depending on your character class.

- Should not cost 2 points to get first level in a skill. This confused me for awhile until I figured it out. What is the point of this? All it does is slightly slow down how fast you get new skills. Should just be 1 pt = 1 level always for simplicity.

 

Combat

+ Turn-based combat worked well as usual for spiderweb games.

- some of the spell animations were too slow

 

Story

+ Overall story and writing was good. Favorite parts:

++ Black Fortress lower levels, including running into Redbeard in catacombs with tombs of the keepers -- creepy...

++ Zhoss Mindtaker first battle where you have to fight mind-controlled Kellem warriors.

++ Bandit lair in Beraza pits.

++ Nicodemus magic items

 

- Story seemed too linear to me. I enjoyed Avernum 6 non-linearity more. I didn't like how new areas only open up after story triggers.

 

- Alot of the companions were annoying. Natalie was annoying but interesting. Others were just annoying.

 

-! You could have had a short pre-chapter for each companion where you play as Natalie, Jenelle, etc., before starting as your main character. For example, you could play chapter as Sev when he goes on a mission and gets ambushed by Cahil.

 

- There was all this talk about all experienced Hands are out on missions, and hands are getting killed, etc., but this is all second hand. There was little first-hand evidence of this.

 

-! Story would have beens strengthened if you met some of the experienced hands early in the story, and then later found them dead, or you went on a mission with some of them and saw them get killed in an ambush, etc.

 

- Late in the story when the Duke says that Avadon is weak, etc., and that's why he joined Tawon Empire, the dialog is confusing. Apparently his peace overtures with his neighbors was a smoke screen, and he had already decided to ally with Tawon Empire, but his dialog said he was really trying for peace, and Tawon Empire was his backup plan. But then, why did he double-cross Shigaz and me even before he met with the peace envoys? I was half-expecting him to be possessed by some Tawon charm to explain his actions, but no.

 

- Plus, when the Duke said Avadon was weak and crumbling, I was like "Dude, haven't you been reading the news? Avadon [me] killed the ShadowBeast, trashed the Titan Keep, killed a crazy wizard, flattened Dhorl Stead/Oghrym’Tor, cleared out the pit and the bandits of your beraza woods, killed a dragon, and now I'm gonna beat your ***." Part of this goes back to earlier comment that there wasn't alot of firsthand evidence about how Avadon was crumbling.

 

-! The issue is that the story is linear with no branches until the very end. It would have been interesting if based on your actions in Beraza woods, you succeeded in furthering the peace and so the Duke commends you and keeps his dealings with Tawon Empire secret, or you failed in Beraza woods, and so the Duke sets up the ambush as it plays out as it does now. You could have had a branch without impacting the larger story. Black fortress could still have been attacked by assassin's from Tawon Empire at the end. Also in Avadon 2, the Duke could have still ended up aligned with Tawon Empire. But I guess if the Duke played nice, then that would have shortened the whole game by a several hours if you skipped the Beraza Deep Woods/Hand Gavin/Attacking the Castle. Or you could have still been allowed to meet Gavin and learned that the Duke was passing notes to Tawon, and then confronted the Duke about that.

 

- Pet Peeve: Monitor Shigaz waves off my healing, because he wants to die? That seemed forced. You should be able to heal him and let him join your party at least while you break out of the castle. For that matter, after you kill Lord Carstal, why can't I resurrect him, then haul his *** back to Avadon for questioning?

 

- The whole story arc about how Avadon can be cruel and maybe you should challenge Redbeard seemed kinda of forced, esp. since the alternative of the wayfarer/Tawon Empire seemed even worse. Since this was first game in a new world, I think it would have been better to not even allow you to fight Redbeard. Jeff could have saved that for a future game.

 

-! Instead of letting us fight Redbeard, we should have been able to fight that punk Zhethron.

 

- Pet Peeve - Why couldn't we explore the area around Black Fortress? I suppose there wouldn't be any monsters camped outside the fortress, so maybe nothing there, but I thought it funny that the only way to leave the Fortress was through the portals! I was expecting there to be a city built up around the fortress that you could explore, etc.

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Quote:
- Late in the story when the Duke says that Avadon is weak, etc., and that's why he joined Tawon Empire, the dialog is confusing. Apparently his peace overtures with his neighbors was a smoke screen, and he had already decided to ally with Tawon Empire, but his dialog said he was really trying for peace, and Tawon Empire was his backup plan. But then, why did he double-cross Shigaz and me even before he met with the peace envoys? I was half-expecting him to be possessed by some Tawon charm to explain his actions, but no.


Let me explain. The Tawon Empire actually was the Duke's back up plan. However, when the delegation from Holkland came, they only had a list of new demands, so in his frustration he sent them to their deaths in the Undercroft, along with Shigaz and eventually you. You only get hunted so he has someone to blame, as I believe a second party from Holkland comes.

Quote:
- Pet Peeve - Why couldn't we explore the area around Black Fortress? I suppose there wouldn't be any monsters camped outside the fortress, so maybe nothing there, but I thought it funny that the only way to leave the Fortress was through the portals! I was expecting there to be a city built up around the fortress that you could explore, etc.


It was my impression that the Black Fortress didn't have a city developed around it. It's a keep in the mountains, basically, with only a road leading up to it. That's what the loading screen image suggests, anyway.

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Originally Posted By: BetrayalAtKrondor

- Even though it seemed you had alot of choices, it seemed like it boiled down to only two choices left-middle columns or middle-right columns.

 

I agree with a lot of your criticisms, but not this one. There's actually more choice than may be apparent at first. Some classes, particularly the Shadowwalker, are arguably better served by ignoring the capstone skills entirely and building up lower-tier skills in all three columns. And even if most builds of a class end up looking pretty similar by level 30, there's a fair bit of leeway in what order you pick your abilities.

 

I'd say a bigger problem with the ability tree is that the Blademaster, Shadowwalker and Shaman are unavoidably dependent on having multiple attack stats to actually use all the abilities they have. Possibly this is intentional, but it ends up giving you the choice between having a few good abilities and a few useless abilities, or a lot of mediocre ones, which isn't an especially fun choice to have to make.

 

Quote:
- Not intutive which trait affected scarab's power. If I understand it right, if my blademaster has dark bolt scarab, then the power is influenced by STR. It seems a little strange that the scarab was powered by a diffferent trait depending on your character class.

 

All scarabs run off Dex for Blademasters and Shadowwalkers and Int for Shamans and Sorceresses. I'm okay with this: basing them on the same attack stat would force some classes to invest in an otherwise useless stat just for the sake of having useful scarab attacks. Although actually, I suppose it'd be justifiable to base their attack power on Endurance, given that they're said to feed off your life force -- and every class wants Endurance.

 

Quote:
- Plus, when the Duke said Avadon was weak and crumbling, I was like "Dude, haven't you been reading the news? Avadon [me] killed the ShadowBeast, trashed the Titan Keep, killed a crazy wizard, flattened Dhorl Stead/Oghrym’Tor, cleared out the pit and the bandits of your beraza woods, killed a dragon, and now I'm gonna beat your ***." Part of this goes back to earlier comment that there wasn't alot of firsthand evidence about how Avadon was crumbling.

 

On the other hand, note that you seem to be the only person in Avadon who's actually achieving anything noteworthy, and everyone in all the places you visit is complaining about all the problems they have that Avadon isn't fixing. If Avadon didn't have one implausibly competent dude constantly pulling its ass out of the fire throughout the course of the game, it'd be in a lot more trouble than it is.

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For that matter, after you kill Lord Carstal, why can't I resurrect him, then haul his *** back to Avadon for questioning?


As with a lot of games (and the occasional other fantasy work), it's pretty clear that "resurrection" doesn't actually mean raising a character from the dead, but rather reviving them from unconsciousness/near-death. Though I do think there should have been live-capture options for at least a few adversaries. It seems odd that even in the real world, which lacks things like magical paralysis, mind control, and so on, people can occasionally capture criminals and military enemies alive, but in Lynaeus this never seems to happen.

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Originally Posted By: Goldenking
Let me explain. The Tawon Empire actually was the Duke's back up plan. However, when the delegation from Holkland came, they only had a list of new demands, so in his frustration he sent them to their deaths in the Undercroft, along with Shigaz and eventually you. You only get hunted so he has someone to blame, as I believe a second party from Holkland comes.

That doesn't explain why the Duke was gathering supplies and otherwise preparing for war long before the envoys arrive.

Duke Gryfyn gets Dikiyoba's vote as worst leader in the game, although it's a close competition.

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Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
That doesn't explain why the Duke was gathering supplies and otherwise preparing for war long before the envoys arrive.

Duke Gryfyn gets Dikiyoba's vote as worst leader in the game, although it's a close competition.


Even for all of his work on his grand endeavor, I think the game made it seem that he knew that it was a long shot. Which is why he had a back up plan, like amassed strength and a looming alliance with the Tawon Empire, in place. In terms of realpolitik, it makes a lot more sense when you notice that the Holklandans are doing the same thing on their side of the border, under the supposedly loyal Honored Forge clan.

Castra'Arl, personally, gets my vote for worst leader. Not wanting to anger the Pact, and yet so blatantly giving unconditional support to Moritz'Kri without any checks or balances... But there are a lot of bad leaders, with perhaps the only exceptionally good one being Dheless.

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Castra'Arl was in the Farlands outside the Pact and he was just following conventional ways for his area. He was building up power and if Avadon hadn't found out about the Shadowbeast or as he put it he had another week, then Avadon would have been too busy to do anything against him. It was so close in timing in his failure.

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I'm with Dikiyoba on this one. Castra'Arl was playing with fire for sure, but he was at least acting in a way that would benefit his tribe if it worked. At least as far as he knew. Gryfyn's the opposite. He starts on the stronger side, with a real chance to do what he says he wants to do -and a pretty distorted sense of what's more and less important, insofar as it affects his people and their safety. He's like a rat who chews a hole in bottom of the ship, so it'll sink and he can desert it.

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The Duke stated it clear, when spared he would try again and again to ask around for a commitment against Avadon. So he did, as reported after the end of the game, as I spared him in one playthrough to know what might happen. He said he was no traitor and always have been loyal to his people, the same you could say about the Lord, except he did'nt care about his people but to his realm independance and personal power. Point is each main character in game have his/her reasons, that overall sound good when you look at things in their perspective. So it's not much a matter to decide who's right but it is your privilege to enforce your will and way of looking at things.

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You know, I agree that it would've been nice to get a little more first-hand evidence of Avadon's collapse. There are a lot of people talking about how bad it is, but other than at the very beginning and ending (both of which involve attacks on Avadon itself), there's not much feeling of chaos and unraveling.

 

And come to think of it, those were the two most exciting parts of the game! Many of the quests were, for dark fantasy (as Jeff calls it, above), not very dark. There was a little bit of muddy morality in the character quests (I think the majority opinion is that Sevilin and Shima went too far, at least), but that's two out of about fifteen. Most of the other quests were pretty morally defensible, and the main questions were, "Do I let the bad guy go at the end or not?" Or, equivalently, "Do I side with Avadon, no matter what, or not?"

 

It might have been interesting, from a dark fantasy point of view, to see quests go wrong more seriously. Early in the game, we might see Avadon's aim sweep wide and hit innocent people (instead of people who are clearly guilty of violence and marauding); the only time this even might've happened was the last quest into Dhorl Stead. Later in the game, we might face disasters: enter an area with an Avadon flag-bearing group (either at the head of a group of Hands or just a bunch of soldiers) and see most of the rest of them killed or captured. These would give a greater sense that it's not just MIranda orchestrating demonstrations of Avadon's guilt but that there is actually guilt here, and that Avadon's power is in fact being challenged in front of your face and not just somewhere far away from you.

 

The whole thing could've been a bit more vivid, I suppose. But it might've gotten too intense for Jeff's septuagenarian Eskimos, and that might've been the reason not to do it that way. But I do think, in terms of plotline, that I felt the most excitement in the endgame, and it would've been nice to have more like that.

 

Random other thought: I expected, after having 1 companion to clean the dungeons and 2 for the next quest, to have a varying number of companions throughout. This would have been interesting, partly because the Redbeard fight is the only fight in which you get all 4 of your companions together, and it would've been nice to have some practice before having to deal with the big man himself.

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Originally Posted By: Kelandon
And come to think of it, those were the two most exciting parts of the game! Many of the quests were, for dark fantasy (as Jeff calls it, above), not very dark. There was a little bit of muddy morality in the character quests (I think the majority opinion is that Sevilin and Shima went too far, at least), but that's two out of about fifteen. Most of the other quests were pretty morally defensible, and the main questions were, "Do I let the bad guy go at the end or not?" Or, equivalently, "Do I side with Avadon, no matter what, or not?"


Yeah, I can agree with this. Compared to, say, The Witcher, Avadon kind of falls flat in giving you hard choices. I think you're right in your guess that Jeff doesn't actually want his games to be that confronting; I wonder if he's also thinking of the significant number of players who complained that the later games in the Geneforge series seemed to offer no good options to choose from, only ones that were bad in different ways. Jeff strikes me as the sort of dude who doesn't really want to walk away from a game feeling shell-shocked, and wouldn't want his players to do so either.

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This was something I really liked about having the Avernum and Geneforge series running in parallel. If a gamer wanted to play the good guys, they could play Avernum, in which there were relatively few moral choices (except Avernum 5, and even then the choice was between relatively good and obvious, mustache-twirling evil). If a gamer wanted to make hard choices and play a partisan of one side among several, all of which had at least semi-plausible arguments for their way of doing things, they could play Geneforge.

 

@Kelandon: I agree that it would have been cool to see more firsthand evidence of Avadon's decline. It's a bit odd that Miranda gives you missions picked to undermine your commitment to Avadon, yet almost all of them end in efficient success. Efficient success at morally questionable goals, sometimes, but success nonetheless. It would have been cool to see a mission go seriously wrong in the way that things do in, say, the early stretches of G4.

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Actually, the game might be stronger if instead of a choice between bad alternatives you get a choice between two good but incompatible alternatives. Give players evidence that Avadon is crumbling and corrupt, but also evidence that it is, on the whole, interested in preserving peace and prosperity and that its methods have worked and might keep working. Give evidence of corruption, but also of effectiveness. And on the other side, don't just have "not Redbeard" and an Empire you never really meet. If there were opposition that seemed to have its act together and a plan for the future that made sense, it would be more of a choice.

 

Geneforge is all about making the best of bad alternatives. Avadon could be about choosing a path, and both could be correct!

 

—Alorael, who in fact would be fine with a game that shows more and more signs of Avadon being maligned but effective and basically well-intentioned if you side with Avadon and mounting evidence of Avadon being a corrupt regime bent on quashing real and preferable alternatives if you choose to oppose it. Multiple choice plots call for multiple choice reality!

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Indeed, Gryfyn did himself no favours with his convoluted explanations of his actions. Nathalie and Jenell went a bit soppy over him - I can only assume it was down to his youth and good looks. I had no difficulty deciding to kill him, and indeed it pretty much solidified my decision to support Redbeard and try afterwards to change his direction a bit in some areas.

 

[Alas, when I proposed that I be elevated to Heart, Redbeard rather scoffed at the idea... but at least I'm still a Hand in good standing. Perhaps now that he has acknowledged his complacency he will be more open to new ideas, though I suppose it's possible that he will decide to be more ruthless, as Klement might have, had he lived, elected for more spiders...]

 

All in all, great game, only the second Spiderweb game I have actually finished (first was G1, though I have played a lot of several). I don't like games that are too long. I played on Hard throughout with a shadowalker plus Jenell and Nathalie, and I found combat well-balanced and interesting. Levelling was balanced well, I hit 30 just after the endgame started. I tweaked some of my skills early on when I discovered the retrainer, but after that I decided not to do this again for RP reasons. It wasn't really an issue, your characters don't have to be perfect to be up to the job.

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Originally Posted By: Gerry Quinn
[Alas, when I proposed that I be elevated to Heart, Redbeard rather scoffed at the idea... but at least I'm still a Hand in good standing. Perhaps now that he has acknowledged his complacency he will be more open to new ideas, though I suppose it's possible that he will decide to be more ruthless, as Klement might have, had he lived, elected for more spiders...]


I still managed to get promoted to Heart despite doing all the Wayfarer's quests and standing and watching instead of helping Redbeard out in the ending sequence, so I'm not sure what the exact requirements are.

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I think you have to turn in the information about Dehless note and not attack Redbeard. I don't know if you have to kill Duke Gryfyn to become a Heart.

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Lilith @

 

Agree it is difficult say if the attempt to help Redbeard affects the decision about promotion, but I received the Hand and the Heart promotion in different playthroughs, also when I tried to help SW, then I changed my mind and joined RB).

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
I don't know if you have to kill Duke Gryfyn to become a Heart.


It seems that if you spare the Duke, you have to lie to Redbeard that you've killed him to become a Heart.

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Originally Posted By: Sade
Originally Posted By: Randomizer
I don't know if you have to kill Duke Gryfyn to become a Heart.


It seems that if you spare the Duke, you have to lie to Redbeard that you've killed him to become a Heart.


Man, that's gonna lead to an awkward moment when he finds out the truth.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
Originally Posted By: Sade
Originally Posted By: Randomizer
I don't know if you have to kill Duke Gryfyn to become a Heart.


It seems that if you spare the Duke, you have to lie to Redbeard that you've killed him to become a Heart.


Man, that's gonna lead to an awkward moment when he finds out the truth.


You can always blame it on some kind of spell that messed with your head or something.

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I would say my feelings on Avadon are really quite mixed.

 

Avadon on it's own as a Spiderweb product:

 

Story

 

I won't touch too much on the topic due to spoilers but good story as always, a new lore base to follow on and something 'fresh' to put on the table.

Progression

 

I really do dislike the very linear game play and overall lack of choice in a lot of events which seems like quite a step backwards in game design, perhaps you were wanting to appeal to a different consumer base but I think you went the wrong direction. I felt as if I was simply being pushed from spot to spot while being hand held.

 

Character development and advancement

The class system and overall restricted skill templates I am also a bit annoyed with, mainly because to me it feels as if you are trying to move yourself from the niche product that you have and into mainstream role playing games which are suffice to to say all the same in regards to this game play element.

 

I understand there is a character development issue involved here since you couldn't have a story element based around someone who is a Mage if you can simply make them a fighter, but it feels like you're trying to bump into the mainstream RPGclone with a different story status quo that's out there now.

 

I can't really say either way here as I can understand to a extent that the desire was there for characters to have their own story but at the same time I feel you should have stayed in your niche instead of trying to go mainstream where we already have enough clones.

 

Spells

 

Like another poster mentioned, I miss the free form collecting of spells, in fact I'll go so far as to say I prefer the older exile massive spell library collection but that's another topic altogether.

 

Overall

 

Avadon is something new and fresh in Spiderweb's IP but I really do feel you could have been more innovative if you wanted to move to another niche with this product or expand do something that the mainstream industry doesn't want to do. Instead Avadon feels fresh in terms of story but feels like a clone product of the mainstream video game industry in terms of game play and linear progression.

 

I do not wish to make you feel offended as a game designer or writer but I hope you welcome criticism to make your games better.

 

Personally though I hope you also leave the Avernum and Geneforge series as they are in these terms if you ever decide to make a sequel to them or once again remake them using a future engine I do not believe it would give justice to the franchises to move away from their roots.

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Originally Posted By: Drakemoore
I really do dislike the very linear game play and overall lack of choice in a lot of events which seems like quite a step backwards in game design, perhaps you were wanting to appeal to a different consumer base but I think you went the wrong direction. I felt as if I was simply being pushed from spot to spot while being hand held.

You know, this is an interesting aspect of Avadon. It was absolutely linear in terms of central plotline, and the quests didn't respond based on your prior actions (that is, you weren't put onto different quest paths based on your actions). In terms of being both linear and non-pathed, I think it might be just about unique among Spidweb games.

That is, in most of the Avernums, the game was not linear at all (you could complete quests and visit areas in just about any order you pleased). However, at least in the first trilogy and A4, the game was completely non-pathed (the quests were always the same).

On the other hand, in most of the Geneforges, the game was pathed (you could aid the Takers, the Awakened, whatever, and which side you chose affected nearly every aspect of the game). The game was generally linear (it was hard to do things out of order, though sometimes it was possible), though.

Nethergate was semi-linear, at most, and pathed (Romans or Celts).

Granted, I haven't played GF5 or A5/A6, but outside of those, Avadon railroads you more than any other Spidweb game by being both linear and non-pathed. It felt sort of odd at the time, and I couldn't articulate why, but I think this is it.

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A5/A6 were more linear than the first trilogy. There were main path quests that had to be finished to open the next area, but there were options on how to finish them that you don't have in Avadon. All the early games gave you choices in how you advanced that would affect the ending.

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Just got to the fight with Redbeard at the end, and like a previous poster I'm going to say I'm done. I think I could go in and get the loyal Hand ending, but I've been pretty much on the "kill Redbeard, that vile tyrant" side the whole game so don't think that would be very satisfying at this point. I've tried to kill him 4 times so far, for over an hour each, and in the end just die. I don't have the patience to keep trying, and I'm bummed that I won't have a more satisfying ending.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed the game. It seemed a lot shorter to me than the Avernum & Geneforge series games, and I suspect I missed some side quests that might have opened up other areas because I was hoping that I'd figure out a little about who people were and what the heck was going on before having to commit to treasonous acts.

 

One thing I loved about the previous series was how often I came to a point and thought the game was nearly over, and then opened up a whole new territory or chapter of gameplay - it was terrific and I loved how extensive the stories were. This game feels less complex, and I was a little disappointed in how quickly I reached the final battle.

 

I really liked a few of the changes with this game, though, including the ability to resurrect team members during combat, the self-healing after combat (I used to use cheat codes after so I wouldn't have to walk back to a town...) and the junk bag. Saves a lot of wasted time. I wasn't such a fan of the limited skill uses - it honestly makes the shaman character extremely limited, and that was my main character class. The introduction to new areas by NPCs took away the thrill of exploration, and I didn't love that; however, I did really like the way that prevented me from mucking up quests I hadn't received yet, so I'm not entirely upset about it. I was also disappointed by the fact that once you've found Shima, you pretty much have to do his quest right away or lose your chance and his allegiance.

 

Overall, a good story, some good updates, and I really hope to see a much more extensive Avadon 2!

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Originally Posted By: LauraB
and I suspect I missed some side quests that might have opened up other areas because I was hoping that I'd figure out a little about who people were and what the heck was going on before having to commit to treasonous acts.

Probably not (unless you refused to do your companions' quests or something). Avadon is pretty much the same regardless of whether you are diehard loyal, a traitor, or hover in the middle.

(And whichever route you take, you never end up learning much more than the name of the person behind all the attacks, which Dikiyoba was very disappointed by.)

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A4, A5, and A6 were all totally linear. A4 had multiple choke points -- the quests for them were not as involved as in A5 and A6, but they were just as present, and the geographic regions were just as locked away as in the later Geneforge games.

 

Actually this Geneforge/Avernum dichotomy is inaccurate, IMO -- it's really an issue of chronology:

 

Open-ended, non-pathed: A1, A2, A3

 

Open-ended, pathed: Nethergate, G1, G2

 

Linear, non-pathed: A4, Avadon

 

Linear, pathed: G3, G4, A5, G5, A6

 

I would also note that "pathed" is an extreme term for most of these. The vast majority of most Geneforge games is exactly the same no matter what your alignment is. In G3 and G4 you just got different options of how to handle each area's boss. Different people have different reactions to you, but 90% of the characters do not. In G2, G3, G4, G5, A5, and A6, endgame quests change, but all other quests are identical regardless of your "path". The term makes more sense for Nethergate, where entirely different towns and dungeons are loaded for Romans as for Celts, and every major quest has to be approached differently.

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Geneforge reputation system is more limiting in what quests you can get than Avernum/Exile ever was when it had it. Unless you careful adjust your reputation there will always be extreme Rebel/Shaper quests that you don't see. In some cases the quests are opposite in nature for certain places.

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The only thing that changed was whether or not someone would give you an official quest and a reward for doing it. Or in some cases, different person, different goal, different reward. But the areas and 99% of the game content was always the same.

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Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
The only thing that changed was whether or not someone would give you an official quest and a reward for doing it. Or in some cases, different person, different goal, different reward. But the areas and 99% of the game content was always the same.

But I have to say, as much as most of the encounters would be the same, the 1% difference had a fairly substantial impact on the feel of the plotline. In GF1, if I had sided with the Takers all the way, I would've felt as though the plot was quite different from how it felt when I stuck more or less loyal the whole way, even if most of the encounters worked out the same way.

In Avadon, on the other hand, you don't have a Nethergate/ASR/GF3 thing going on; things are literally the same no matter what. In fact, even the little things you say here and there make almost no difference to anyone ever. Redbeard tests you by asking you bunches of questions about hypotheticals; as far as I know, this matters not at all. The Wayfarer asks you tons of questions, too, but as far as I know, this has no impact on anything. At least in the early GF games, your answers to those questions determined which side you were on and how much certain people trusted you.

Likewise, even if A4 was more or less linear in terms of your quests and the plotline and so forth (I honestly don't remember, since I only played it once and never really thought about it again), it felt as though it had more ability at least to choose where you were going to explore and how. Since the areas weren't as forced as in Avadon, I still felt as though I was doing an A1-3 thing with my random wanderings, even if it was guided in actual fact. In Avadon, there's never any doubt where you're going or what's available to you.

Not that this is bad, mind you. It's a different feeling than you get in A1 or GF1, but it's not bad. Perhaps the wild unpredictability has something to do with the absolute linearity; your steps are very much laid out for you, but you can't really tell where anything is going, which keeps the element of exploration still present, even if you're not exploring new lands; you're exploring what will happen.

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I seem to recall that one of Jeff's design goals was to give the PC power with no real checks on how it was used. As far as that goal went, he succeeded, and it worked well enough as a premise for a game. Unfortunately, I think this theme needed a more heavy-handed display of the consequences of your actions beyond what existed in the game in order to really pull its weight storywise. It's not easy to make players feel bad about betraying imaginary people for imaginary money.

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Fair points Kel, and agreed Lilith. I think the ending needs to be part of the payoff. One of the reasons the Aodare path in G2 (Loyalist + kill Zakary, too) stands out so much in my mind is the great ending that resulted. Significant things happen that are directly the result of your actions, tied to them in very specific ways, and they are good for people. Many of the things you did in the game, includings things that seemed minor but were an ordeal to complete, are tied together and given real meaning. It makes completing the game feel like a genuine accomplishment.

 

Exile/Avernum 2 also did this, and to greater and lesser degrees, so did X3, Nethergate, and G1. So it is completely possible to combine this with moral ambiguity and multiple paths. In fact, I think these games did this much more successfully than the supposedly less-morally-ambiguous A4 and A6.

 

Avadon misses this, because the ending is deliberately left so vague. You can get some congratulations, but overall it's much like the ending of G4: appropriate for the story, but not necessarily the most satisfaction-inducing for the player.

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As I was writing the above, I thought of one more reaction that I had to Avadon generally, which came mostly from my first playthrough: this is the game that has brought me back to Spidweb. I think that A4 really lost me. As much as it was commercially successful and sort of fun to play, I guess, I felt that it was such a lackluster performance as compared to the first Avernum Trilogy and the first few GF games (and, frankly, I found GF3 mediocre as well) that I didn't really have a strong desire to continue on with the games. I heard that A5 and A6 were much better, and I heard that GF4 was much better, but after playing the first half of GF4 with a fairly poorly-chosen build, I gave up and skipped the next three Spidweb games.

 

But Avadon was good. It was really good. I've played it twice and kind of want to play it again, which puts it among my favorite Spidweb games. I think I'll go play A5 and A6 now, and if I have time, I'll see if I can finish GF4 and GF5. A4 lost me, but Avadon has brought me back into the fold, and I think I'm going to pay attention to Spidweb's output again, for the first time in several years.

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