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Avadon 2 First Impressions Thread! (no spoilers)

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On higher difficulties you do want some Endurance or else late-game bosses will sometimes kill characters in one hit, but yeah, you can easily skimp on it on Normal.

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A couple things that are bugging me recently.

 

Jeff loves to give villains Cutscene Power to the Max. Either they get a magic impenetrable shield, or you're told they're "too powerful", or they taunt you from behind a barrier, or whatever, but ultimately it means that you simply aren't allowed to do X at Y time, otherwise the story would break.

 

 

The bit with Silke was especially aggravating - I said she should die for her betrayal, and I was somewhat surprised to see the game turned her hostile - only for her to immediately run away, ignore all stun and movement-affecting abilities, suddenly develop a massive HP pool that made her unkillable.

 

 

Oh Avadon, why do you constantly dangle freedom over players' heads only to snatch it away with such painfully contrived and amateurish storytelling techniques?

 

I'm not saying Avadon 2 should let me do anything at any time, but if you are going to do any sort of storytelling that has a veneer of interactivity, don't constantly deny the player obvious courses of actions or provide magic plot protection to characters the player could otherwise easily defeat - if you can't figure out a way to advance the plot without having the bad guy cackle like a lunatic in the player's face and then teleport away, you probably need to rethink your story.

 

Anothere thing that is really leaving me annoyed is the way that the game doesn't let you complete quests until you are X level or until you have fulfilled some arbitrary requirements. At first I thought Avadon 2 would be better than the original this way, but it seems I was mistaken. There are very few quests you can complete before accepting them officially (a few "kill the baddie" quests are the only exception) and often the game lets you spend a half-hour completing a section only for it to block you with some barrier - now go accept the quest and hike all the way back, and now you're allowed to proceed.

 

This is rarely if ever justified, and borders on the absurd when you get stuff like paths in levels magically opening up out of nowhere and that sort of thing. I fully understand that supporting players completing quests before they're done requires slightly more work, but seriously, most of the time absolutely no attempt is made to justify this.

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The bit with Silke was especially aggravating - I said she should die for her betrayal, and I was somewhat surprised to see the game turned her hostile - only for her to immediately run away, ignore all stun and movement-affecting abilities, suddenly develop a massive HP pool that made her unkillable.

 

 

 

It actually is possible to kill her on that meeting with a little preparation, and you'll get another chance later on if she gets away.

 

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A couple things that are bugging me recently.

 

Jeff loves to give villains Cutscene Power to the Max. Either they get a magic impenetrable shield, or you're told they're "too powerful", or they taunt you from behind a barrier, or whatever, but ultimately it means that you simply aren't allowed to do X at Y time, otherwise the story would break.

 

 

The bit with Silke was especially aggravating - I said she should die for her betrayal, and I was somewhat surprised to see the game turned her hostile - only for her to immediately run away, ignore all stun and movement-affecting abilities, suddenly develop a massive HP pool that made her unkillable.

 

 

Oh Avadon, why do you constantly dangle freedom over players' heads only to snatch it away with such painfully contrived and amateurish storytelling techniques?

 

I'm not saying Avadon 2 should let me do anything at any time, but if you are going to do any sort of storytelling that has a veneer of interactivity, don't constantly deny the player obvious courses of actions or provide magic plot protection to characters the player could otherwise easily defeat - if you can't figure out a way to advance the plot without having the bad guy cackle like a lunatic in the player's face and then teleport away, you probably need to rethink your story.

 

Anothere thing that is really leaving me annoyed is the way that the game doesn't let you complete quests until you are X level or until you have fulfilled some arbitrary requirements. At first I thought Avadon 2 would be better than the original this way, but it seems I was mistaken. There are very few quests you can complete before accepting them officially (a few "kill the baddie" quests are the only exception) and often the game lets you spend a half-hour completing a section only for it to block you with some barrier - now go accept the quest and hike all the way back, and now you're allowed to proceed.

 

This is rarely if ever justified, and borders on the absurd when you get stuff like paths in levels magically opening up out of nowhere and that sort of thing. I fully understand that supporting players completing quests before they're done requires slightly more work, but seriously, most of the time absolutely no attempt is made to justify this.

 

 

Yeah. I didn't do the first Miranda fight, being blown about by the wind demon, until I was much higher level than you normally would be there, and it was incredibly lame to be told over and over that I couldn't hope to kill her while I was doing massive damage to her.

 

 

I'm not sure if it's that there's many more things about Avadon 2 that I really dislike when compared to previous Spiderweb games, or if I'm just more critical these days.

Edited by eaintree

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These gameplay choices seem to have become more common in Jeff's more recent titles, tying back to the fact that his more recent games - especially Avadon - are much more consciously linear than the early Exiles/Avernums. Because of this, it seems he's put a lot of effort into making sure the player has a fairly even level of challenge throughout the entire game by essentially "forcing" you into only attempting certain challenges at certain seemingly arbitrary points in the game; although a lot of gamers appreciate this "balance", one negative aspect of this is the lack of a sense of freedom you describe.

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Oh boy, a new irritation:

 

 

When you go to get Eye Laria's equipment and the Eye commanding the fort says they need it and it's staying there, Laria has no new conversational options when you return to her. Leaving you to realize that you just have to get the damn equipment after the fort commander has stated that Laria is being an irritating git, and you could've gotten it in the first place without going back to Avadon. This annoying little storytelling oversight in a quest that is about nothing whatsoever but bureaucratic Avadon functionaries being annoyed with each other really leads one to a feeling of, "wait, why am I playing this again?"

 

 

It's very nice, of course, to have a Forum on which we can air all our issues with the game. It's also nice to know that Jeff will almost certainly never bother to look at them.

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And the thing is -- it's the layer of irritation that's present in the game itself that gives rise to player irritation (amply demonstrated on the previous page of this thread). For instance, there are many byplay conversations that come up within your party in which your initial response options are essentially:

 

1. What do you want to do about that, what do you think should be done about that, etc.

 

2. Shut up.

 

In one town, if you click on the cows, the text box tells you: "the cow says 'moo'. So, you know, no surprises there." This isn't amusing snarkiness -- it's only amusing if it comes from a character, like Alcander, so you can identify with it. If it comes from the omniscient narration, it looks like the game designer is just annoyed with something, and I wonder why he's taking it out on me.

 

Ultimately I feel like Jeff is spending a lot of time trying to second-guess what players want, rather than focusing on the storytelling strengths that he does have.

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In one town, if you click on the cows, the text box tells you: "the cow says 'moo'. So, you know, no surprises there." This isn't amusing snarkiness -- it's only amusing if it comes from a character, like Alcander, so you can identify with it. If it comes from the omniscient narration, it looks like the game designer is just annoyed with something, and I wonder why he's taking it out on me.

 

I... think you're reading an awful lot into a throwaway joke there. If the game's frustrating you this much, maybe put it down for a few days and come back with fresh eyes?

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I... think you're reading an awful lot into a throwaway joke there. If the game's frustrating you this much, maybe put it down for a few days and come back with fresh eyes?

 

Keep in mind, the Jeff's been doing this since 1994 - that's almost 20 years of new cow jokes.

 

One way or another, he has earned the right to a little snark on this front.

 

... and yes, I too find the cow's amusing.

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Keep in mind, the Jeff's been doing this since 1994 - that's almost 20 years of new cow jokes.

 

One way or another, he has earned the right to a little snark on this front.

 

... and yes, I too find the cow's amusing.

 

It's a cow, man. I don't care; he can do what he wants. I'm just illustrating a larger point.

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My history with computer role playing games goes way back. My first game was Ultima III, and it was relatively new when I first played it on my Atari 800 (c. 1984), so I am definitely an old fart when it comes to these games. I have played through quite a bit of Avadon 2 now, so this isn't exactly a first impression, but I have found myself drawn into it to the point of neglecting the practical (i.e. boring) aspects of life for the last three days or so.

 

So far, I have never found a computer role playing game that I would consider truly perfect, but I have found many that are good enough to hold my interest. The Avadon series counts among them, and I find that Avadon 2 is one of the better ones. For me, a perfect game would have the following characteristics. First and foremost, it must have an interesting and original story line, featuring interesting situations and complex characters. Additionally, it should have plenty of places to explore, and monsters and combat that make the game interesting but not tedious - a delicate balance that few games achieve. I am an avid reader (and I have a degree in English), so my standards for plot and characterization are fairly high, and I think that computer games, as an art form, are capable of attaining the quality of the renowned classics of literature, film, visual arts, music, and other art forms, but so far, they rarely succeed. The Avadon series seems like it is trying for this - and it is coming closer than the other Spiderweb games I have played (i.e. the Avernum series, which I also enjoy). Secondary characteristics that hold my interest include good places to explore, entertaining monsters, unusual treasures to uncover, and fights that are not overly tedious and difficult. I like the occasional challenge in role playing game combat, but I am more interested in the story than combat tactics, so combat-heavy games tend to bore me after a while. I have always played Spiderweb games on the casual difficulty level so that I don't have to worry too much about the combat and can focus more on the story (although in some of the Avernum games, combat gets rather tedious and annoying for me even at this level). I'm not above using cheats when the combat starts to annoy me, but so far on Avadon 2, I haven't felt the need to use them. I am happy that these games provide various levels of difficulty to allow different players to enjoy these games according to their needs and desires.

 

The NPC party members are among the strengths of this game. I like role playing games with party members who are their own characters, and are not simply created by the player. Ultima IV pioneered this, and the party members who first appeared in that game were developed through subsequent games in that series, and by the time Ultima VI and VII came out, they were interesting and well developed. Avadon 1 and 2 are fine successors to that tradition. In Avadon 2, I especially find myself drawn to Khalida and Yannick, and I include one or both of them in most of my journeys. (I also like Alcander, but since my main character is a tinkermage, his abilities are somewhat redundant, so I haven't been using him a lot. With another class of main character, he would likely be a primary party member.) The Avernum series, in contrast, features a party in the style of Ultima III, a party created entirely by the player; its characters have no personality of their own and mainly serve to make combat more detailed, varied, and all too often tedious. In my opinion, the Avernum series could be improved greatly by having an Avadon-style party. Non-party characters are also interesting. Redbeard is a complex character who is developed well through the series so far, and Miranda also helps to hold my interest.

 

Perhaps the greatest strength I find in the Avadon series so far is the political complexity, with its associated moral ambiguity. Should I remain loyal to Avadon, should I rebel, or should I take an ambiguous middle path? What about loyalty to the party members? In the Ultima series, beginning with Ultima IV, the goal is to be virtuous. In the Avadon series, how can one be virtuous? Difficult moral choices are frequently presented, and the Avatar of the Ultima world is likely to be perplexed by the frequent choices that provide no clear paths of virtue. The power of Avadon helps to keep the peace and to keep order, but it is also corrupt, and it angers a lot of people. It monitors and fights the Corruption - a threat that could destroy the entire world - and it therefore works for the good of everybody, regardless of Pact membership. But it also subjugates people, both in the Pact and in the Farlands. Should the player be completely loyal to Avadon? Or work to destroy it? Or follow a muddled, middle path that attempts to check and reform Avadon's power without destroying it completely? Good cases can be made for any of these choices. In my first playthrough of Avadon 2, I'm trying to follow a middle path, generally putting loyalty to my companions above all else (as I did in Avadon 1), but I'm not entirely convinced that this is the best position, morally. (Those who have completed Khalida's quest will know what I mean.) This moral ambiguity is made personal; the scout at the beginning (Rainer, in my case, because I am playing a female main character) personifies this conflict as he reappears throughout the game. My desire to be loyal and helpful to him sometimes conflicts with my other goals, and I have to make hard choices whenever I meet him. I don't want to hurt him, but I'm not entirely convinced that his way is the right way. Issues like these are far more interesting to me that combat tactics, and these are what have drawn me to the Avadon series so far, just as they have to other role playing games that place a strong emphasis on the story.

 

The games in the Avadon series are, so far, more linear than I usually like, and I generally prefer open-world nonlinearity similar to the Avernum series, but since these games are so story driven, perhaps the linearity makes sense. I would, however, like to have the option to explore more places that have no bearing on quests or the main story line. Also, combat with weaker monsters can get tedious at times; whenever I encounter yet another group of ogres or animated bones, I wish for the option to use the simplistic automated combat system of Ultima VII or the "quick combat" option of Wizard's Crown. But it is nice to have the occasional enemy that requires some real thought and that cannot be defeated without full manual control (which Ultima VII does not offer), and Avadon 2, so far, has offered a few of these - not too many, but enough to make the game interesting for someone who likes to solve problems.

 

Continuity with Avadon 1 is a strong point. As in the Avernum series, maps of places that recur in the series are related; Avadon itself bears a strong resemblance to the Avadon of the first game. In contrast, Lord British's castle and the towns changed completely from one Ultima game to the next, and I never thought those changes made any sense. The interior of the fortress and its dungeons look precisely as one would expect after some time has passed since the end of Avadon 1. The place hasn't been torn down and rebuilt; it simply evolved, as did the towns throughout the Avernum series. Perhaps it is easier to make new games in a series if one can reuse and modify existing maps, but it makes sense to do so. As for the characters, some NPCs recur, and hopefully the party members of Avadon 1 will see some development in this game or the next. Perhaps more could have been done in this regard, but it is a minor nitpick.

 

I also like having a choice of genders for all of the character classes (since I almost always play a female character in role playing games), and the new tinkermage class is interesting. Of course, I had to try out the new class, and I have enjoyed building turrets for the tougher fights. I also like how different enemies may require different turrets; an enemy that can knock back characters or otherwise move them around can make healing pylons less effective and require a rethink of usual tinkermage tactics.

 

Overall, the strengths of this game outweigh the weaknesses, and I look forward to playing through the story to the end, and eventually replaying it with a different character class and different moral choices.

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Weird Heather, I found your post interesting and agree with many of your points. I started playing CRPGs 2-3 years before you with Wizardry 1. While I did play Ultima IV extensively and it had a much more detailed story than the wizardry series, I preferred the Wizardry series (and Bard's Tale and a few others) because I had six characters, not the one character plus henchmen that I had in Ultima. I like the detailed personalities of the NPCs in Avadon 2, and Khalida has become a goto character of mine, but I still choose the Avernum style where the four characters are mine and the personality is all in characters that I do not control. I would even enjoy a compromise where you have four PCs and then a pool of NPCs to travel with.

Paragraphs 4, 6, and 7 I really agree with, and was very glad to see the NPCs return. I would have liked to see how the characters from Avadon 1 are faring, but you cannot have everything.

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[[Note: Minor spoilers about Silke]

 

So I'm near the end, close enough to have seen the romance play out, and I found it kind of silly. Silke is barely in the game at all, so you have zero chance to get to know who she is as a character, yet she's supposedly in love with you? It seems kind of tacked on and pointless. If there was going to be a romance they should have had it with one of the main characters so the romance would be a bit more plausible--at least that way you could spend enough time with them that it would make sense why they like eachother. As it is, I just found Silke really annoying. She makes constant demands of you (in fact, she only ever shows up just to ask you to risk your life for something she needs), yet she also plays the love lorn innocent, which I just didn't buy. I wanted to kill her the moment she turned traitor. But I'm an achievement whore, so I kissed her just to get the achievement, but then I reloaded and raised the entire rebel base to the ground. I know the romance was there to try to add drama to the game and make you somewhat more conflicted, but it was so shallow and poorly developed that it actually had the opposite effect on me.

 

Which I think is a major difference in this game. In Avadon 1 the rebels were really sympathetic, to the point that I had a hard time not siding with them. But in A2 they are all pretty awful. And especially now that there's a great evil like the corruption in play, I find it really hard not siding with Avadon (or at least just the pact, anyway) just because there's no way the rebels are organized enough to keep the corruption at bay.

 

I still have the last 2 missions to complete, though, so maybe my alliances will change.

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@Weird HEather:

 

You really, really, need to the play the Geneforges if you haven't. I like the Avadons fine, but they don't do politics as well as the GEneforges. I think most of the problem involves the fact that Avadon's politics, at the end of the day, mostly boil down to disputes over land and political control. Which is all kind of boring and dry. Whereas all of Geneforge's political disputes are rooted in philosophical questions about freedom, consciousness, slavery, and eugenics, which makes its politics immediately engaging and interesting in a way that Avadon's politics never are. I've seen people have long interesting philosophical debates about the factions in the Geneforge games, yet people never seem to get all that passionate about Avadon's factions just because there's honestly not much there to get excited about.

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I think it was the moral complexity issue that really drew me into Avadon 1. Avadon 2 has it in spades - when my character has to make a decision that affects the storyline, it's often the case that none of the choices are particularly good. (Khalida's and Dedrick's quests come to mind.)

 

I also really like having NPCs as party members. I wish there were more chances to talk to them when they were in your party (as opposed to just waiting till they were back in Avadon, or having dialogue pop up at pre-ordained points as you're crossing the landscape), but that's just me wanting to deepen the bonds between my character and the other Hands. And as a girl gamer who plays both male and female characters, I love having options for female blademasters/shadowwalkers and male sorcerers/shamans!

 

I was a little surprised and disappointed by the mechanics of the tinkermage class, however. A (semi)wizard/sorcerer type that can't carry wands and can only cast spells to summon inanimate objects, that wasn't even mentioned in the first game? (Granted, in the first game we never went to Dharam and I don't recall any Dharamite NPCs, but still.) I do agree, however, that it's nice to have something outside of the usual RPG character montage to play around with, and I may yet develop a tinker character.

 

The biggest issue I've had so far was with Redbeard. Every playthrough of Avadon 1, my characters tried to kill him. I knew that wouldn't be canon for Avadon 2, but they felt they had no option but to try to replace him anyway. And yet, I was still disappointed to find him still alive and still Keeper. Then I got to thinking... hmm, those memory lapses and that tired demeanor... maybe he WAS dead and someone resurrected him, but the spell went awry or made it so his Chuck Norris potion was less effective?

 

I know, I know, flimsy rationalization, but it was the only explanation I could come up with that both made sense of his death in Avadon 1 (if one chose to play it that way) and his reappearance here.

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So, I've just started Avadon II (just got the first clues medal), and honestly, I think it's a step up from Avadon I (which I already liked quite a lot).

 

Good point #1: trash mobs. They are not as many as there used to be. Still slightly too much for my tast, but at least this time it's bearable. I can explore a map without stopping every five seconds.

Good point #2: the progression seems less "gamey". I really wasn't fond of the "Go to Wyrdlrym, unlock a new zone, do quests, go back to Avadon, go to the Kva, unlock a new zone do quest, go back to Avadon, rinse and repeat". I'm still in the contested lands, and I feel the history is not nearly as artificial as it was in Avadon I.

Good (and slightly less good) point #3: the new class is fun, albeit quite overpowered if you ask me. Turrets that can hit for 80 at level 10 means I've pretty much facerolled my way to victory in mob/boss fight I've encountered so far. I'm sure an optimized group with two tinker mages is the be way to finish the game in Torment.

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Nearing the endgame with a sorcerer rebel. Wishing I'd gone either blademaster or tinkermage because Khalida and Alcander feel a lot more useful than my other party members and it feels like I could probably do alright with just the two of them. Granted, I play on Normal so maybe there are some levels of tactics I'm missing but the Shadowwalker just feels less useful than Khalida and Dendrik is just awful. I like the other sorcerer but dual sorcerers seems pretty redundant.

 

My biggest objection is pretty picky: fighting big rats in Tawon after braving the Corruption. I've literally been to hell-on-Lynaeus and now I have to deal with rat trash mobs? Can Jeff put a moratorium on giant rats, just for a little while?

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Difficulty is quite high even on normal, battles against rats and wretches early are impossible with 2 chars and bit easier with 3 and doesn't get any easier due party is undermanned vs enemies (party has 3 (and maybe summon and tower but those damage early isn't that good) and enemies have 5+).

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My biggest objection is pretty picky: fighting big rats in Tawon after braving the Corruption. I've literally been to hell-on-Lynaeus and now I have to deal with rat trash mobs? Can Jeff put a moratorium on giant rats, just for a little while?

 

Rats, bats, spiders and wolves, please.

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Granted, I play on Normal so maybe there are some levels of tactics I'm missing but the Shadowwalker just feels less useful than Khalida and Dendrik is just awful.

 

I also play on Normal. In my experience, Yoshiria did little damage and died frequently at the beginning, but greatly outclassed Khalida in both damage and survivability by the end (both were Strength-oriented, with only a few points in Endurance).

 

I'm not sure what the deal is what Shamans. In both Avadons, it doesn't really matter that they can have very high HP - it's almost as though every enemy has a hidden bonus multiplier when attacking them, like nothing ever misses them and they take more damage than other characters with the same displayed armor and resistances. No wonder the folk of the Wyldrylm feel oppressed, if the laws of the universe are stacked against them! (More likely, it's a case of numbers lying, as they are wont to do.)

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Well, I have had some time to actually spend with Avadon 2, and here are some of my first thoughts:

 

-So far, the story is intriguing. Nice touch Silke, and the beggining as a mere "pact soldier". It adds a different perspective. I'm guessing things will escalate sortly, though.

 

-As always, battles are addictive and well planned (if not excessive in some parts). Little bosses and tough enemies posed a real threat even in normal; so far, I feel the game harder than the first one.

 

-Impressive artwork and cool little additions to overall graphics. Splendid music at the menu -It's a sad thing, as I said days ago, that the game has no OST. Also, I liked that the codex almost always brings some new info to it, even with older entries, that reflect events in Avadon 1.

 

-As much as I like the gameplay flow, I somewhat miss alternatives to battle, sometimes. Something like the Leadership in Geneforge. Or maybe puzzles.

 

-I was expecting some form of novelty for skill trees. I played as a Sorceress, and I was a bit disappointed to see the exact same skills again. Although, the not-so-thight dependant skills are very welcome, along with the tinkermage and the turrets/mines!

 

-And finally, not sure if I should post this here -maybe there is a thread for bugs and I haven't noticed it- but my Soreceress lets aout a man cry when she dies; it's... baffling.

 

Soooo, all in all, I'm loving the game ^_^

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Yeah, I realized today that one thing I really like about Avadon 2 is the game giving your character a little bit of backstory before s/he actually gets to the Black Fortress.

 

I'm also starting to revise my opinion of Alcander. He gets a little more fun as the game progresses. I'm now torn between wanting to sock him and wanting to laugh at his angry bluster.

 

...Then again, I did bring him along for the final Miranda fight.

Edited by springacres

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-Impressive artwork and cool little additions to overall graphics.

 

This is probably the first thing that I noticed about Avadon 2... after the gender option at character selection, that is. It's something that I noticed again and again as I visited the two other main regions. The temples in particular look good.

 

There is another thing that kinda stands out for me. This game seems to have more of that old Spiderweb humor than the previous game, or the Geneforge saga. Possibly more than recent Avernums, too, but I'm less certain of that. It's not quite as off-the-wall as, say, the quarreling farm animals in BoE's Valley of Dying Things, or G.I.F.T.S., but I actually laughed aloud once or twice.

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Rats, bats, spiders and wolves, please.

This. Avadon's monsters are just so underdeveloped and boring. At least bats and spiders make sense in Avernum, and the giant lizards are developed. All of the monsters in Geneforge were creations with unique histories (well, except for the increasing number of freaking worms. No more worms ever, please). But with the exception of the Wyldrylm wolves and the non-spider Corruption monsters, Avadon's monsters are just bland trash mobs. Even the humanoids are generic and bland; we learn a bit about wretch culture, but that's it.

 

Dikiyoba wouldn't mind trash mobs so much if they added to the story instead of delaying the progress of it.

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No, just no. No more trash mobs. Remember when I said

Good point #1: trash mobs. They are not as many as there used to be. Still slightly too much for my tast, but at least this time it's bearable. I can explore a map without stopping every five seconds.

 

Well, I was wrong. The amount of trash mobs was bearable. For a while. When they were easy to dispose of. That was until early level 10s.

No, I'm at level 25 or so. Every goddam pack of something-bats is such a pain. Any single trash takes me 3 rounds to kill. Named monsters? More like 10 or 15.

And I don't know what's worse: the fact that some monsters are so freaking lame that I spam left-click for 5 minutes, or the fact that some monsters are so powerful that I have to use potions to make my way through a bunch of rats, or am forced to take the shaman dude so I can survive more than 5 rounds.

I'm at the point where I'm considering skipping some optional quests altogether, just because I can't be arsed to spend litteraly one hour fighting trash and more trash.

 

Mind you, I'm playing on normal. And I think my team is pretty well optimized, and as high level as it could get given that I've explored everything and completed every quest so far. Still, in a couple hours, my average damage output has been halved, while it feels like the mobs' hitpoints have gotten a 200% boost. I'm all for tactical fights, and have to admit that (most) boss battles are pretty interesting. But the rest? Meh, I could do without.

 

The sad part is, I actually think all of those fights were added to artificially increase the game's lenght. Well, that wasn't needed. I'd rather read more stuff about Lynaeus than get bored by fighting wave after wave of trash. I'd even rather play a significantly shorter game. I couldn't care less if Avadon II lasted 25 hours instead of 40.

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So I finished and got all the achievements. I liked it overall. Here are my thoughts:

 

Pros:

 

-The writing and plot are improved, I think. The story gets underway right off the bat, unlike the first, which is nice. Plus I liked the corruption and the greater focus on the Pact as a seperate ruling body apart from Avadon.

 

-Seemed to have fewer trash mobs. The game seemed way bigger than Avadon 1, but I finished it on torment in half the time, which was nice.

 

-Most companion quests were well done. I miss Nathalie and the Shaman and Shadowwalker NPCs were kind of boring, but the others were pretty well done.

 

-I liked the cliffhanger ending as I think it sets the story up in an interesting way for Avadon 3 (i.e. it shifts things around in way that I think will make the next game be very different in set up from 1 and 2).

 

Cons:

 

-TOO EASY! I beat almost all of the challenge bosses on torment my first try, without using resurrections scrolls. Same with the Redbeard fight. I even managed the Dragon on torment (although it took me a few tries and a good portion of my stache of usables). I don't mind the main game being on the easier side, but I wish there were a few insanely hard optional challenge fights like in the original. As it is, apart from the Dragon, the hardest fight in the game was probably that tinkermage hideout one. Of course, I kind of hate to complain about this as I think Avadon 1 was one of the hardest spiderweb games out there, but a happy medium between the easiness of 2 and the uber-hardness of 1 would be nice for Avadon 3.

 

-The TInkermage is way too overpowered. I like the added level of strategy they add with the turrets, but they really need to be balanced in the next game. Either make turrets more fragile, or make their efficacy governed by a single main attribute (like str, dex, or int). My main character was a mage, so I only ever had 1 tinkermage in my party, but even then most fights were a cakewalk. I can't imagine how insanely easy it would be with a two tinkermage party.

 

-Kind of anti-climactic. I wish there was a boss of some sort if you stay loyal.

 

-I mentioned this earlier, but I think the politics of the game can be kind of dry. The Geneforge's political factions were immediately engaging because they all had very clear stances on various philosophical questions about personhood, eugenics, and slavery that were ethically/morally interesting in themselves. Avadon's factions are never that engaging, though, just because the moral and ethical stakes are never as clear. It's kind of a squabble over land/power, which is hard to get invested in and the various factions and their motivations can get confusing at times. Which honestly makes it hard to choose sides just because they all seem just as good as any other. It just doesn't have the moral/philosophical hook that Geneforge has (like, I felt passionately about which factions in Geneforge were right/wrong in a way that I don't with Avadon). I was never as involved in the game's plot as I was the GEneforges, which is a shame as I think the Avadon universe has potential.

 

-I don't mind the romance being there, but it felt underdeveloped. It was an interesting Biowarian experiment, but I think it would have worked better had the romance been with one of your companions, which would have given it more stakes as you would have known them more (especially if said companion decides to go the route SIlke went). But it's not a big deal given how easy it was to ignore.

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U da best Jeff, Mo and Co! Deepest thanks for continuing years of fun and sanity (LoL) filled hours! Sincerely, from Arctic Canada.

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Awesome game! Especially appreciated the presence of baths, seriously, I don't know why they left such an impression on me, maybe they added a nice dimension to the portrayal of life on Lynaeus. I haven't noticed as many baths in previous Spiderweb games. Maybe bathing is more of a Tawon thing and doesn't happen as much in places like Khemeria or the Kva. Anyhow I really enjoyed the parts in Serdica where you get to squeeze information out of the traders, I would have been really happy to do more of that. I loved the Corruption and the Tawon empire. Overall very beautiful scenery. I had a lot of fun in regards to battle, I thought the tinkermages & constructs were an awesome addition.

 

I really liked the end scenario in Avadon 1 starting when Griffin betrays you. Sneaking through the woods to avoid strong enemies is exciting, and the whole chain of events had a lot of momentum. I think Avadon 2 could have done with a couple parts with that sense of urgency and danger. But overall had a great time, and am looking forward to replaying, though I'd like to put that off for a few months.

 

If I had a wish it would be that you could play the whole game as a scout rather than a hand. In fact it might be fun to be an Eye who has scout skills (tracking, subterfuge), and does some battling along the way. But despite the similarity of being a hand again, it definitely felt like a fresh take on the corrupt Avadon world, a different enough story angle to make a really fun engaging game. I liked all the hard decisions and had a strong emotional reaction to some of them. Judging from what I see on the boards they upset other people too. Way to go Spiderweb!

 

Also: I can't wait for Crystal Souls!!! I really really really hope that's what's in the works next.

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More of a last impression than a first impression, seeing as I finished it, but this game is awesome! First Avadon was merely not bad, while this one is full of win. The action sequences in the main storyline are the best stuff Vogel has done since Dark Waters chapter of E2.

 

More nonspoiler bulletpoints about Av2 incoming:

-Yes, enough with the damn giant rats in RPGs and I definitely don't want any more in Avadon 3. I'm also sick of giant spiders but there's no possibility of Spiderweb Software releasing a game that doesn't have giant spiders in it, so I won't even bother to complain about it.

-The Corruption reminds me much of the Filth from Secret World. This is a good thing.

-Tinkermage is a great class (even a bit overpowered) but is a bit too out of the blue coming in from Avadon.

-I love the fact that "fighter" class keeps being just as awesome as "wizard" class in Avadon games. Too many neckbeardy old schoolers keep shoveling the old fighter=jock, wizard=geek, therefore wizard>>>>>>>fighter crap.

-The "romance" subplot is unobtrusive and can be avoided easily, which is great if you're tired of dumb romance crap in RPGs. It might actually even be good but I didn't attempt to find out. Also mad props to Vogel on not making the romance victim a party member.

-Companions are fine but inadequately characterized. Their quests are usually good enough, except for Dedrik (screw him). But there could've been a lot more interaction with them all around (no romance though, screw RPG party romance crap).

-Skill tree thing is cool and works well. Retrainer is also awesome, but he could've appeared earlier in game.

-Boss battles were greatest boss battles evar. EVAR! At least for all Spidweb games (haven't tried fighting optional medal bosses though).

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