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Chessrook44

Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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Kelandon   

And that's my favorite twist in The Magic! Ethass, Silthokh, and Kass are all on the island, too. (Are they the only ones? Hmmmmmmmm.) And Ethass, at least, can tell you a little of what happened after you died. Love it!

 

I remember Lord Putidus being kind of a beast of a scenario — the combat was pretty hard, I think — but it's been probably at least a decade since I last played it, so I may be remembering an alpha or beta version rather than the release. It'll be interesting to see how it goes now. I pumped the thing out in a month after I finished Bahssikava. (A month is pretty fast, even for a relatively short scenario, at least for me. Or at least it was at the time.)

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17 hours ago, Kelandon said:

And that's my favorite twist in The Magic! Ethass, Silthokh, and Kass are all on the island, too. (Are they the only ones? Hmmmmmmmm.) And Ethass, at least, can tell you a little of what happened after you died. Love it!

 

I remember Lord Putidus being kind of a beast of a scenario — the combat was pretty hard, I think — but it's been probably at least a decade since I last played it, so I may be remembering an alpha or beta version rather than the release. It'll be interesting to see how it goes now. I pumped the thing out in a month after I finished Bahssikava. (A month is pretty fast, even for a relatively short scenario, at least for me. Or at least it was at the time.)

Are you perhaps implying that Richie's sister, your sister, is a reincarnated PHAEDRA?  Oh man, that would be SO TWISTED.

 

And as for Lord Putidus and hard combat?  HA!  Just look at the first episode.  We start things off REALLY pissing me off.

 

https://youtu.be/pL9A2SWIg04

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Kelandon   
8 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

Are you perhaps implying that Richie's sister, your sister, is a reincarnated PHAEDRA?  Oh man, that would be SO TWISTED.

Did you see the relevant dialogue with Katie? You didn't do it onscreen, so I thought you'd skipped it.

 

In relation to LP: one of the things that the early BoA community tried to do was design combat puzzles. These were combats that were intended to force you to use different tactics than you ordinarily would use. It seems like you try to brute force your way through combat puzzles, which doesn't work (because the combats are designed to make that approach not work), and then you get frustrated. Instead, you're supposed to change your tactics. You'll keep having this problem in BoA scenarios (especially mine and TM's) until you really absorb this lesson.

 

And yes, sometimes changing your tactics means using consumables! LP's total combat rewrite depends heavily on your using consumables, some of which are instantly replenishable (potions) and some of which come with many, many uses (pila, first aid kits) so that you can use them sparingly throughout the entire scenario. Those outdoor fights — which, yes, are much easier than I remember because apparently I remember an alpha version — are meant to introduce you to the total rewrite of the combat system. In this total rewrite, the consumables aren't just there to look at. They're there to be used!

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13 hours ago, Kelandon said:

And yes, sometimes changing your tactics means using consumables! LP's total combat rewrite depends heavily on your using consumables, some of which are instantly replenishable (potions) and some of which come with many, many uses (pila, first aid kits) so that you can use them sparingly throughout the entire scenario. Those outdoor fights — which, yes, are much easier than I remember because apparently I remember an alpha version — are meant to introduce you to the total rewrite of the combat system. In this total rewrite, the consumables aren't just there to look at. They're there to be used!

And used and used until you rely on them like a crutch and suddenly find yourself unable to use them because you've run out of them and cannot replenish them and are left facing a situation where you literally cannot continue without them and you are thus stuck with a point of endless frustration and rage.

 

Now I admit I have a problem with never using consumables, I'm one of "those" players, yes.  However the opposite situation, having to RELY on them, I feel is also not a good choice for the situation described above.  In addition, there were points in the scenario as I played it where it seemed like you were expected to be prepared for a fight before it even began, even if there was no hint of it about to happen outside of reloading.  The number of times I died on the first round when I barely did anything, if anything at all, should demonstrate this, and why that is a bad idea.  In my eyes, any combat should either be able to be beaten the first time you encounter it either without any warning, or with clear indication or hints of what you are going to experience, and the fact that it doesn't happen with your scenarios is part of what is so frustrating to me.

 

We visit the other town in this area, and everyone is quite clearly terrified of the man in charge.  Hmm, what is he doing...

 

https://youtu.be/TbrANzG2OFw

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8 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

any combat should either be able to be beaten the first time you encounter it either without any warning, or with clear indication or hints of what you are going to experience

 

This is definitely one theory of game design, but it isn't the only one.  This kind of goes along with the question of character management (stats, skills, items, etc.).  Some people think it's fun to try and manage those strategically, to optimize what their characters can do, and then to have combat that pushes them to think strategically or even creatively.  Other people would prefer to have those things "on the side" in limited portions, or perhaps not at all.

 

To me, this is close to a genre-level difference.  I know that if I were to play any FPS from the last 15 years, I would be pretty turned off by that particular depiction of violence.  But it would be silly for me to complain about it, because that's an intended part of that kind of game.  It's part and parcel of what it does.  I would conclude "this isn't really my thing" rather than "this way of doing things is a bad idea."

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Kelandon   

It seems like you have a really strong preference for always doing the same thing in every combat and getting through on the first try because, as you've said, you don't really like combat, so you just want to breeze through and not really pay attention to it. Most of my scenarios were designed for people who do like combat, for people who think that doing the same thing over and over again is boring. A combat puzzle is designed to force you to change your tactics, so usually the first try involves figuring out the parameters of the combat, the second try involves doing something new, and (if necessary) the third and subsequent tries involve refining your tactics. It's supposed to be more interesting, at least to people who like combat — which you don't, so it's not going to be a good fit for you.

 

Nonetheless, I've been trying to point out things to do differently because even if you don't like combat, you can make the combat easier by making better decisions, and I've interpreted what you've said as indicating that you want the combat to be easier. But I think I've misunderstood you; you don't want the combat to be easier. You want the combat to be beatable by doing the same things as you always do, which is a bit of a different thing. And when you're faced with a situation in which that doesn't work, you try again a few times and then make an incremental change and try again and again. And then make another incremental change and try again and again.

 

In other words, when faced with a situation in which breezing through is not an option, you have clearly expressed a preference for doing the same things over and over again and getting irritated rather than changing your tactics and getting through more easily. Anger is less of a problem for you than change is. And even when you get upset, minimal change is preferable to a more wholesale adjustment.

 

That's... not a preference that I would have anticipated. I can't imagine having this preference. I guess the difference is that, for me, anger is an extraordinarily unpleasant emotion, and I'll go to great lengths to avoid it. But I've watched hours and hours of this, and we've talked at some length, and I can't see how else to interpret your actions at this point: you genuinely would prefer to be angry than to change. You'll often say the thing that you're refusing to do, so it's clearly not that you don't know what to do (which is what I had been assuming to this point). Instead, it's that you prefer to do the things that you're doing, even when they cause you frustration. 

 

So... I guess I should stop making suggestions. I mean, you've presumably finished Lord Putidus by this point anyway, but even making general suggestions about how to approach BoA combat isn't helpful, since you would rather not take these suggestions.

 

And you have my apologies. I misunderstood you, and I've been on the wrong track this whole time. I've been trying to be helpful, but I clearly haven't been helpful.

 

I may or may not still point out when you say things that are wrong — e.g., I never thought to use the potions to prepare for outdoor combat and I still got through, even in the (much harder) alpha version, so I'm not assuming that you prepare for those fights — depending on how I feel. But I guess there's no reason for me to point out how to get through the combat more easily, because that isn't really what you want.

 

EDIT: Totally separately — LOL, I'd forgotten that LP takes place in Transylvania! For some reason, maybe because it uses Nethergate graphics, I had remembered it taking place in Britain. But definitely not — it takes place in the Roman province Dacia in about the second century A.D., and it's a vampire story. It's in Transylvania.

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ChowGuy   
2 hours ago, Logic Muzzle said:

To me, this is close to a genre-level difference.  I know that if I were to play any FPS from the last 15 years, I would be pretty turned off by that particular depiction of violence.  But it would be silly for me to complain about it, because that's an intended part of that kind of game.  It's part of parcel of what it does.  I would conclude "this isn't really my thing" rather than "this way of doing things is a bad idea."


I recall having much the same reaction the first time I encountered what would today be call a "CRPG" a few yaers back. I think it was a beta version of Ultima I, so about 79 or 80? I quickly realized what it was teaching the was "the way to get ahead in the world is to get a knife, go out and mug someone (it's OK as long as they look different from you), run back to town, fence the loot to buy a better weapon, and keep doing that until you can advance to breaking and entering. Real good moral lesson there.

 

I came from a pen-and-paper RP background with a heavier emphasis on character development, plus a side dose of Avalon Hill style strategy games, so I was not turned off by the violence per-se so much as the gratuitousness of it. There was no "Role Playing" at all that I could see, beyond the role of ruthless mercenary. Neither the I see the fascination with "leveling up" to be a better bully (much less with playing as an invincible "god-party.") I would much prefer to get through a scenario without having or even trying to "kill-em-all" then going out of my way to seek out trouble, but that as you say is a genre difference.

 

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Edgwyn   

Hopefully Ultima IV will be remembered as a classic for a long time.  That said, Wizardry I-III with their nothing but violence, pure dungeon crawling approach appealed to me more than Ultima I-IV did (though I spent a fair amount of time with Ultima II-IV).  In some ways the more developed walk around kill and steal from different locations bothers me more than the very basic, go kill everything that might move in the dungeon that the mad overlord created.  

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I grew up when Wizardry and Ultima series first started. All the games were pretty much grind your character up until you reached the final battle. If you wanted something else there were text games like Crowther and Wood's Adventure where you had some puzzles on how to get past certain areas. Might and Magic 1 and 2 made a slightly more role playing game of the grinding. But it was years before you got something like table top RPGs.

 

I never got to play Ultima IV so that's still on my list.

 

As a historical note, Ultima I used to require booting up on DOS 1.0 to play, so between having to get out the floppy disk for that and the grinding, I never got to the end.

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I feel like the "Genre-Level difference" comment may be the closest to the explanation to the frustration.  And I admit, sometimes some of the comments about how it was meant to be for those who play harder levels and focus on the combat and the like occasionally leaves me getting a feeling of it being like someone who plays a more common Hack-And-Slash on easy or normal suddenly being thrown into Dark Souls and raging about cheap deaths.  Tell me if I'm wrong.  Mind you I've never played Dark Souls for that very reason, only heard the stories of what it's like and such.

 

Now I will admit: Often, I would play a game on Easy difficulty first because I like seeing what the story and fights and everything is like before going through on harder difficulties later (if at all), although I have in more recent years worked on going through on more normal difficulties first instead.  And while I wouldn't say I HATE combat, I also don't necessarily LOVE it.  It's true, for me the draw of these games is the story, writing, environment, setting, and so forth.  Hell, look at the Spiderweb games and you'll see that that's what I praise them for.  But I also happen to like when there are some clever ways of working in a puzzle in combat when I feel it's done well: i.e. showing the issue, making the solution hinted at or shown, and not making the punishment for failure to adapt before it happens intense and immediate.

 

For me, constantly dying and reloading in a fight to try to figure out how to solve it over and over again just isn't fun, especially when you don't have time to see how the fight goes or develops.  First-turn-kills are a horrible idea in any RPG in my opinion, short of as a "You made a really obviously stupid decision" kind of thing, and seeing that show up in this scenario really frustrated me and put me off.

 

And just as a note since people are mentioning background... my first RPG was Neverwinter Nights, and I found myself raised on the Bioware RPGs.  That and Spiderweb were the chief ones I was raised on, so that's probably where my stance on games comes from as well.

 

Anyway, there's probably more I could say, but I don't have time to put it in this post now, so I'll just leave this next episode and peek back in later.

 

https://youtu.be/DW61Tls0lB8

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3 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

occasionally leaves me getting a feeling of it being like someone who plays a more common Hack-And-Slash on easy or normal suddenly being thrown into Dark Souls and raging about cheap deaths.

 

I think this is fair except for one thing: you weren't "suddenly thrown into" Dark Souls.  In this analogy, you chose to play Dark Souls.  (You also chose to broadcast your feelings about it to an audience, which is a step beyond just raging.)

 

3 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

But I also happen to like when there are some clever ways of working in a puzzle in combat when I feel it's done well: i.e. showing the issue, making the solution hinted at or shown, and not making the punishment for failure to adapt before it happens intense and immediate.

 

For me, constantly dying and reloading in a fight to try to figure out how to solve it over and over again just isn't fun, especially when you don't have time to see how the fight goes or develops.  First-turn-kills are a horrible idea in any RPG in my opinion, short of as a "You made a really obviously stupid decision" kind of thing, and seeing that show up in this scenario really frustrated me and put me off.

 

I think we (at least) have different definitions of "clever."  I don't see what's clever about having a puzzle solution thrust in your face.  It's not much of a puzzle then.

 

I am also baffled by the fact that you consider it a "punishment" if you don't succeed at a puzzle the first time you attempt it.  And having to reload is an "intense and immediate punishment"?  That's not a punishment, it's a chance to try something different and see how it goes!

 

What really confuses me though is your reaction to first-turn-kills, given your preference for story and theme.  Those can be a way of using mechanics to express and line up with story and theme.  They can be a way of showing the player: "Wow, this enemy is really as strong as people say.  I'm truly going to have to be clever to figure out a way to stop them.  And when I do, I really am going to feel like a hero, who's beaten impossible odds!"

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Kelandon   
6 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

For me, constantly dying and reloading in a fight to try to figure out how to solve it over and over again just isn't fun, especially when you don't have time to see how the fight goes or develops.

This is a turn-based game. You have all the time you want. You just need to stop after each move and observe what happens (e.g., look at the statuses on your PCs, read the text updates, etc.). You don't do that, and you're aware that you don't do that (we talked about it earlier in this thread), but you can hardly complain that you "don't have time" when you don't take the time that you have.

 

You don't have to rush through turns. You choose to rush through turns.

 

And let's be clear: in the most recent episode, you fought five bears (same as the hardest fight in the first episode), and you won easily on the first try. What was the difference? You used four pila and a few potions. So the fights aren't that hard; you're just making them hard by choosing not to employ winning strategies.

 

But hey, the first few outdoor fights are meant to introduce the new combat system, and it looks like it worked! You're resistant to change, but you changed — not quickly enough to avoid shouting at the screen in the first episode, but quickly enough to win the sidequest easily in the third. So what happened was basically what was supposed to happen, albeit a little more gradually than intended.

3 hours ago, Le grand peut-être said:

What really confuses me though is your reaction to first-turn-kills, given your preference for story and theme.  Those can be a way of using mechanics to express and line up with story and theme.  They can be a way of showing the player: "Wow, this enemy is really as strong as people say.  I'm truly going to have to be clever to figure out a way to stop them.  And when I do, I really am going to feel like a hero, who's beaten impossible odds!"

And that's very much the point in LP. It's a horror story, and the forces that you're up against are far beyond your powers. This is kind of a thing in my scenarios; in LP and NH, you're dramatically outmatched. NH plays it for comedy ("I'm SCARED of goblins"), but LP plays it for terror. That's also why there are outdoor wandering monsters (i.e., outdoor encounters that respawn); Ateria is just crawling with dangerous beasts.

 

There's a fairly low chance of first-turn kills in those outdoor combats. I think it's something like one-in-four or one-in-five, which really becomes a bother only when you reload and refight them a dozen times or more. But the reason the chance of a first-turn kill is there is to further the scene-setting, just like the early dialogue.

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Sudanna   

If the winning strategy of a game, or the way that it's trying to get you to play it(which may be different things), are ways that you do not enjoy playing that game, then that is a valid reason to dislike the game. I would just as often rather brute force a game to completion with the methods I actually enjoy using or naturally gravitate towards as adapt to whatever it's trying to get me to do. If it's trying to get me to do things I don't like and don't want, I am annoyed, and if it makes those methods the only viable means of completing it, I am resentful. That BoA is a game itself, with its own default game balance and strategies for success that players might reasonably expect to be broadly upheld across scenarios, surely doesn't help when someone comes in with a bright new rebalance for their scenario.
 

That you're having this problem with Kelandon's scenarios, which have long been held by many members of the forum to be particularly irritating, taxing, or unreasonably difficult to play through, is not surprising.

 

I like the different kinds of scenarios BoA has made. Don't be so flabbergasted that not everyone does or that not everyone wants to engage with them the way you want them to. "You're playing it wrong" is only a decent response if the person is actually more interested in "the right way to play" than they are in enjoying themselves.


Player deaths are widely recognized as a terrible way to communicate horror, by the way. Horror in particular is a genre very reliant on immersion, on the player regarding the characters' situation as stressful and dangerous and, somewhere in the back of their head, real. Characters dying and being made to reload instantly shatters any engagement of that kind. Oh, yeah, I can just reload. It's definitely not real. Now I just have to fight this same guy again. What's so scary, then? What have I got to lose? Dying a lot defuses tension, because something has to be real damn scary to still be scary the third time you see it. The fourth time. The fifth. Unless the dying is in-fiction and/or you've got something else to lose by doing so.

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9 hours ago, Le grand peut-être said:

I think this is fair except for one thing: you weren't "suddenly thrown into" Dark Souls.  In this analogy, you chose to play Dark Souls.  (You also chose to broadcast your feelings about it to an audience, which is a step beyond just raging.)

This is true, and I will grant you that.  Well, okay, maybe closer to going into Dark Souls without KNOWING it was Dark Souls levels of difficulty, but still... fair point.

 

9 hours ago, Le grand peut-être said:

I think we (at least) have different definitions of "clever."  I don't see what's clever about having a puzzle solution thrust in your face.  It's not much of a puzzle then.

 

I am also baffled by the fact that you consider it a "punishment" if you don't succeed at a puzzle the first time you attempt it.  And having to reload is an "intense and immediate punishment"?  That's not a punishment, it's a chance to try something different and see how it goes!

 

What really confuses me though is your reaction to first-turn-kills, given your preference for story and theme.  Those can be a way of using mechanics to express and line up with story and theme.  They can be a way of showing the player: "Wow, this enemy is really as strong as people say.  I'm truly going to have to be clever to figure out a way to stop them.  And when I do, I really am going to feel like a hero, who's beaten impossible odds!"

With regards to the first, I would like to make an emphasis on the difference between "Hints and Guidance", "Providing the outright solution" and "Saying absolutely nothing".  The first is what I like, and draws from my love of games like Myst and Obduction (The latter of which I actually did on my YouTube channel).  The second is what you are hinting at, that of a puzzle definitively telling you "YOU MUST DO THIS TO WIN."  The third is what I sometimes feel is what happens with Kelandon's puzzles, that of going "Okay this has happened!  How do you fix it?  Iunno."


For example, take the puzzle in Bahssikava where a party member of yours is mind controlled.  There is NO hint or information of where or how to fix it, what is causing it, or anything for quite some time, outside of running around and finding an altar somewhere.  That's it.  Several paths lead to dead ends and wasted time and frustration, with no clues like "You feel a dark presence calling his name from the northwest" or something.  THAT guides you and provides a hint without outright telling you "You must get to the altar and break it" or something like that.  Things like that is what frustrate and irritate me.

 

For the second paragraph, Having to reload isn't an intense and immediate punishment.  First-turn kills, or damage that nearly kills you or completely incapacitates you are "intense and immediate punishment".  The Paralyzing Aura given off by one of the demons in Exodus is an example of this, wherin if you understand the puzzle too late, even if you would otherwise be capable of fighting or continuing you are left frozen and forced to reload, which is further frustrating.

 

For the third paragraph, I honestly have to disagree with the last statement.  I have never felt like a hero when I've beaten those impossible odds.  I've only felt relief that it's finally over and that I don't have to do it again.  Hopefully.  THAT is bad game design, in my opinion.

 

5 hours ago, Kelandon said:

This is a turn-based game. You have all the time you want. You just need to stop after each move and observe what happens (e.g., look at the statuses on your PCs, read the text updates, etc.). You don't do that, and you're aware that you don't do that (we talked about it earlier in this thread), but you can hardly complain that you "don't have time" when you don't take the time that you have.

 

You don't have to rush through turns. You choose to rush through turns.

THIS is actually a combination of two things.  The first is my scatterbrained-ness.  I tend to laser-focus on some things and miss other things, hence me not noticing status effects on my characters unless a big audio cue happens, and many times not looking at text information.  It's also why I tend to forget I have wands, potions, and so on until it's way too late for any of it to be useful.  Hell I've never even used my fighter's berzerk ability and barely ever used my mage's energy restore ability for that very reason.

 

The other reason is related to the fact I'm Let's Playing it.  And that is pacing.  The one thing I REALLY don't want to have, is VERY long periods of dead silence where I'm staring at the screen, silently analyzing, and trying to figure it out.  It KILLS any attention people have, and could even lead to them wondering if the video froze.  Because of that, I feel I have to keep going, and can't stop silently for too long.  The only times I really have allowed it in all the LPs I do is when I end up in a situation where I really have to try to think of an answer to a dilemma, and am torn between options (Like some choices that have happened in Avadon), which I've left there to emphasize the difficulty of the choice.


Yes it's a turn based game.  But taking two minutes per turn really adds up in the long run, and makes it less interesting than it already is, not to mention longer.  It's another reason why I get so frustrated with the constant reloads.  Yes people may laugh at my pain, but I also feel that showing the same content over and over and over is just... not good for the LP.  Especially in this one where there isn't as much variation in the same types of combat.

 

20 minutes ago, Sudanna said:

If the winning strategy of a game, or the way that it's trying to get you to play it(which may be different things), are ways that you do not enjoy playing that game, then that is a valid reason to dislike the game. I would just as often rather brute force a game to completion with the methods I actually enjoy using or naturally gravitate towards as adapt to whatever it's trying to get me to do. If it's trying to get me to do things I don't like and don't want, I am annoyed, and if it makes those methods the only viable means of completing it, I am resentful. That BoA is a game itself, with its own default game balance and strategies for success that players might reasonably expect to be broadly upheld across scenarios, surely doesn't help when someone comes in with a bright new rebalance for their scenario.
 

That you're having this problem with Kelandon's scenarios, which have long been held by many members of the forum to be particularly irritating, taxing, or unreasonably difficult to play through, is not surprising.

 

I like the different kinds of scenarios BoA has made. Don't be so flabbergasted that not everyone does or that not everyone wants to engage with them the way you want them to. "You're playing it wrong" is only a decent response if the person is actually more interested in "the right way to play" than they are in enjoying themselves.


Player deaths are widely recognized as a terrible way to communicate horror, by the way. Horror in particular is a genre very reliant on immersion, on the player regarding the characters' situation as stressful and dangerous and, somewhere in the back of their head, real. Characters dying and being made to reload instantly shatters any engagement of that kind. Oh, yeah, I can just reload. It's definitely not real. Now I just have to fight this same guy again. What's so scary, then? What have I got to lose? Dying a lot defuses tension, because something has to be real damn scary to still be scary the third time you see it. The fourth time. The fifth. Unless the dying is in-fiction and/or you've got something else to lose by doing so.

This.  Sudanna said a whole bunch of things I really kind of agree with, and I'm glad she put it out that way.  Thank you.

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You see the same types of puzzles to win a boss fight in Jeff's games. The difference is that he has more beta testers with different playing styles to try them so some of them will complain about certain scripted fights. I've had fights stretch for an hour where I didn't figure out what he expected a player to do to win. Other fights get solved by brute force hack and slash in ways Jeff didn't plan. Become a beta tester and see how the fights change as Jeff goes and changes them to prevent certain approaches.

 

"No, you can't use a damage immune summon to distract the boss monster," what Jeff must be thinking as he revised the fight.

 

With all the different scenario creators in BoA, you can't expect to play them the same way. It took me a few tries to figure out when to use resources to finish Frostbite after making in most of the way through and running out. Creators have their own ideas on how to play or what they want players to do.

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Edgwyn   
10 hours ago, Le grand peut-être said:

 

I am also baffled by the fact that you consider it a "punishment" if you don't succeed at a puzzle the first time you attempt it.  And having to reload is an "intense and immediate punishment"?  That's not a punishment, it's a chance to try something different and see how it goes!

Reloading is definitely not punishment.  Perma-Death (1st Ed AD&D or Rogue) is punishment, having to create a new party to retrieve the corpses of your old party (Wizardry) is punishment.  Sorry, old person venting here.

 

I do not find constant reloading fun which is why I tend to play on normal difficulty.  Were I to go through many of the fan made BoA scenarios, I would end up on easy difficulty.  But a game where every combat was identical and so you could respond with identical tactics would get really boring really quickly.

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2 hours ago, Sudanna said:

If the winning strategy of a game, or the way that it's trying to get you to play it(which may be different things), are ways that you do not enjoy playing that game, then that is a valid reason to dislike the game.

 

Absolutely true.  However, there is a big difference between saying you don't like a game, and saying a game is bad, or that its design is a bad idea.

 

Or, I don't know, maybe to a lot of people there's not a big difference between those things, and I'm actually the one who's using language in a non-standard way by wanting to use words carefully.  Yikes.  I'm going to go crawl under the covers now.

 

Note to aspiring BoA designers: if you ever want to communicate horror successfully to Slarty, make a scenario that applies descriptivist principles to the player.  *shivers*

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1 hour ago, Chessrook44 said:

With regards to the first, I would like to make an emphasis on the difference between "Hints and Guidance", "Providing the outright solution" and "Saying absolutely nothing".

 

This is a good beginning to labeling points on a continuum.  However, you'll note that "Hints and Guidance" covers the entire area between the other two.  It looks like you want "hints and guidance" that I would consider tantamount to "providing the outright solution" -- whereas the "hints and guidance" I want, you would consider tantamount to "saying absolutely nothing."  I think it's fair to provide content for preferences all along that continuum, and I would not denigrate the part of it you like by saying it's bad game design, even though it's not to my taste.  I know there are people who prefer it.

 

 

1 hour ago, Chessrook44 said:

For example, take the puzzle in Bahssikava where a party member of yours is mind controlled.  There is NO hint or information of where or how to fix it, what is causing it, or anything for quite some time, outside of running around and finding an altar somewhere.  That's it.  Several paths lead to dead ends and wasted time and frustration, with no clues like "You feel a dark presence calling his name from the northwest" or something.  THAT guides you and provides a hint without outright telling you "You must get to the altar and break it" or something like that.

 

As you've described it, I can understand the frustration here.  However, at the same time, it is a basic precept of this type of game that you find relevant things just by looking all over the map.  You don't need a quest marker for everything.  (Or maybe you do these days?  Well, I don't want one for everything.)

 

From what Kel has commented so far, I do want to give him a chance to say whether or not there in fact were hints or information about this that you skipped past, because that seems to be happening a lot.

 

 

1 hour ago, Chessrook44 said:

The other reason is related to the fact I'm Let's Playing it.  And that is pacing.  The one thing I REALLY don't want to have, is VERY long periods of dead silence where I'm staring at the screen, silently analyzing, and trying to figure it out.

 

This is a really good point.  Except that it also seems super easy to deal with on your end: can't you just go through and cut out parts where you silently analyze for a minute?  I understand not wanting to do that every 30 seconds, but surely if you do it just for really big battles, that wouldn't be much extra work?

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Kelandon   
3 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

The other reason is related to the fact I'm Let's Playing it.  And that is pacing.  The one thing I REALLY don't want to have, is VERY long periods of dead silence where I'm staring at the screen, silently analyzing, and trying to figure it out.  It KILLS any attention people have, and could even lead to them wondering if the video froze.  Because of that, I feel I have to keep going, and can't stop silently for too long.  The only times I really have allowed it in all the LPs I do is when I end up in a situation where I really have to try to think of an answer to a dilemma, and am torn between options (Like some choices that have happened in Avadon), which I've left there to emphasize the difficulty of the choice.


Yes it's a turn based game.  But taking two minutes per turn really adds up in the long run, and makes it less interesting than it already is, not to mention longer.  It's another reason why I get so frustrated with the constant reloads.  Yes people may laugh at my pain, but I also feel that showing the same content over and over and over is just... not good for the LP.  Especially in this one where there isn't as much variation in the same types of combat.

And you think that taking a few seconds to examine the screen — which you could narrate, since you could read out what you're looking at in the text box or describe the actions that you're considering taking — is going to turn off your viewers more than growling and yelling and reloading over and over again? I... suspect you're wrong, but maybe you know your audience better than I do. I mean, it's your LP. Do as you will.

 

Also, as Slarty points out, when you find yourself reloading a bunch, there's no reason you can't cut out the attempts that don't work — I was frankly surprised that you didn't when I first started watching. Why would anyone want to see you lose a combat over and over again?

3 hours ago, Chessrook44 said:

I would like to make an emphasis on the difference between "Hints and Guidance", "Providing the outright solution" and "Saying absolutely nothing".  The first is what I like, and draws from my love of games like Myst and Obduction (The latter of which I actually did on my YouTube channel).  The second is what you are hinting at, that of a puzzle definitively telling you "YOU MUST DO THIS TO WIN."  The third is what I sometimes feel is what happens with Kelandon's puzzles, that of going "Okay this has happened!  How do you fix it?  Iunno."

You think I provide fewer hints about how to progress than Myst does? LOOOOOOOOOL!!

 

EDIT: You know what, it's more readable as three separate posts.

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Kelandon   

it's been ages since I've done a point-by-point response like this, but what the heck, why not.

3 hours ago, Sudanna said:

If the winning strategy of a game, or the way that it's trying to get you to play it(which may be different things), are ways that you do not enjoy playing that game, then that is a valid reason to dislike the game. I would just as often rather brute force a game to completion with the methods I actually enjoy using or naturally gravitate towards as adapt to whatever it's trying to get me to do. If it's trying to get me to do things I don't like and don't want, I am annoyed, and if it makes those methods the only viable means of completing it, I am resentful.

 Sure, whatever. I take no issue with that. Do what you prefer. As I noted above, I simply didn't realize that Chessrook44 would prefer to yell at the screen than change his approach. I thought he didn't know what to do to change his approach. That's the whole reason I've been making combat strategy suggestions. I'm not doing that anymore.

 

Moreover, if Chessrook44 (or you, or whoever) doesn't like my scenarios, no skin off my back. I've long since stopped caring about that. If you say things that are wrong or silly, though, I might point out that you're wrong or silly.

Quote

That BoA is a game itself, with its own default game balance and strategies for success that players might reasonably expect to be broadly upheld across scenarios, surely doesn't help when someone comes in with a bright new rebalance for their scenario.

No, this is both wrong and silly. Players should not expect BoA scenarios to have the same game balance and strategies across scenarios; BoA allows for far too much customization for that. It's entirely possible within BoA to replace the combat system entirely, or have no combat, or do all kinds of other things, and it's entirely unreasonable to expect designers not to make use of those features (since many do make use of those features).

 

Now, whether you like a scenario making use of those features is up to you. That's a separate issue. But any expectation that designers won't make use of the full power of the scripting engine is an unreasonable expectation.

Quote

That you're having this problem with Kelandon's scenarios, which have long been held by many members of the forum to be particularly irritating, taxing, or unreasonably difficult to play through, is not surprising.

Of all the complaints I've gotten about my scenarios over the years — and there have been a lot, and I tend to pay attention to them — "unreasonably difficult" is not usually one of them. This leads me to believe that "many" is not quite as many as you would have it.

 

(That's not to say it's never been said. It's just pretty infrequent compared to other complaints.)

Quote

I like the different kinds of scenarios BoA has made. Don't be so flabbergasted that not everyone does or that not everyone wants to engage with them the way you want them to. "You're playing it wrong" is only a decent response if the person is actually more interested in "the right way to play" than they are in enjoying themselves.

This is a bizarre comment. It sure didn't seem like Chessrook44 was enjoying himself when he was growling and screaming. The reason I've been making suggestions about combat strategy is not that I thought he was playing the scenarios "wrong" (wtf does that even mean? if you win, you win); it's that he seemed as though he was having an awful time at certain points because he didn't know how to get through the combats more smoothly, and I thought my suggestions would help him have a more enjoyable experience. Turns out I was wrong, but I hope my error was understandable.

 

That is, what I found surprising was not that Chessrook44 enjoyed different kinds of combat than I expected. What I found surprising is that Chessrook44 prefers yelling at the screen to changing his tactics. But apparently he does, so that's fine, whatever floats your boat — I just didn't anticipate that.

 

(When he rode a bug exploit through the entire second half of Exodus, I may have gotten a little snarky — I think I called it "cheap" once and "boring" once — but I hope not overly so. I was trying to be measured/cheerful.)

Quote

Player deaths are widely recognized as a terrible way to communicate horror, by the way. Horror in particular is a genre very reliant on immersion, on the player regarding the characters' situation as stressful and dangerous and, somewhere in the back of their head, real. Characters dying and being made to reload instantly shatters any engagement of that kind. Oh, yeah, I can just reload. It's definitely not real. Now I just have to fight this same guy again. What's so scary, then? What have I got to lose? Dying a lot defuses tension, because something has to be real damn scary to still be scary the third time you see it. The fourth time. The fifth. Unless the dying is in-fiction and/or you've got something else to lose by doing so.

That's all well and good, but as I said above, the likelihood of dying in LP is relatively low. Even in the hardest encounters, a first-turn kill is about a one-in-five chance, more or less. And, as noted, if you make use of all the tools available to you, you can get through the rest without dying even once.

 

That, incidentally, is the reason for the scaling up of difficulty in those first three outdoor encounters! They're meant to introduce the combat system and, as noted above, they worked, even here!

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Kelandon   
1 hour ago, Le grand peut-être said:

However, there is a big difference between saying you don't like a game, and saying a game is bad, or that its design is a bad idea.

 

Or, I don't know, maybe to a lot of people there's not a big difference between those things, and I'm actually the one who's using language in a non-standard way by wanting to use words carefully.  Yikes.

Players constantly say "it's bad" when they mean "I don't like it," which is why at this point I'm sort of agnostic as to the use of terms.

1 hour ago, Le grand peut-être said:

From what Kel has commented so far, I do want to give him a chance to say whether or not there in fact were hints or information about this that you skipped past, because that seems to be happening a lot.

I attached a picture of what we're talking about. You lose control of one member of your party at the blue rectangle in the middle of the bottom of the screen. You're basically just told, "It's dark magic; enter combat mode." You're not really told where to go because there aren't many ways to go; you just came from the south, so you have to head north. I guess you have a choice between east and west, and west is more direct, but both get you there. You kill the dragon ("Drake Lord," technically) and then are told that the magic is concentrated at the altar. You're supposed to use Ritual of Sanctification to sanctify the altar to end the curse; Chessrook44 complained that you were never told that you were given Ritual of Sanctification at the beginning of the scenario, and I suppose that's a fair complaint, but as Tarsus put it earlier, "as someone who played the other Avernum games, when you see an evil altar you should automatically think of the ritual."

 

So... what exactly is the problem? I guess I should've put in a note at the beginning that you have Ritual of Sanctification, but that's really the only thing I'd change. As for "Several paths lead to dead ends," as Chessrook44 put it, you can see that that's not really true; there's a little dead end in the northeast, but it's only about three or four paces out of your way, and there's a dead end in the northwest, but to get to it, you have to waltz right past Scary Floor To The South. (I guess you could also go through the secret passage in the middle to a dead end, but who's checking walls for secret passages during this combat?)

 

I suppose this is neither here nor there, but nonetheless I feel like pointing out that back in 2005, the community was almost completely unanimous that this was the best fight in the whole scenario. No one has to like it now because some people liked it then — like or dislike whatever you want — but they did like it back then. If you don't believe me, check CSR; a bunch of the reviews from the early days still say this.

Tunnels.png

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15 minutes ago, Kelandon said:

This is a bizarre comment... The reason I've been making suggestions about combat strategy is not that I thought he was playing the scenarios "wrong" (wtf does that even mean? if you win, you win); it's that he seemed as though he was having an awful time at certain points...

 

I want to highlight this point because it comes up on these forums all the freaking time.  People talk about strategy or tactics -- perhaps making suggestions or talking about optimizing numbers -- and then somebody else complains about some variation of "you are telling us we're playing wrong."  It's a straw man argument and I wish everyone would stop doing it.

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But you are playing it wrong. That's what I keep effectively telling Jeff when I beta test and I'm fighting a wimpy boss monster that I wasn't supposed to have killed at that point. If you can kill it off without taking much damage, then you are right no matter what the designer or other players think. :)

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Lilith   
1 hour ago, Kelandon said:

And you think that taking a few seconds to examine the screen — which you could narrate, since you could read out what you're looking at in the text box or describe the actions that you're considering taking — is going to turn off your viewers more than growling and yelling and reloading over and over again? I... suspect you're wrong, but maybe you know your audience better than I do. I mean, it's your LP. Do as you will.

 

From what I've seen as someone who tries to keep a finger on the pulse of the mainstream gaming community, anger and frustration actually plays pretty well with YouTube audiences in general; certainly a lot better than decisive victory achieved through calm and careful planning. People will tune in to see someone yell at a computer screen for much the same reason they'll tune in to see people have screaming arguments on a reality TV show: it's a spectacle, and many people find spectacles entertaining. So if maximising viewer numbers is a major goal for Chessrook, filling the videos with growling and yelling and reloading may well be the smart move.

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Kelandon   
24 minutes ago, Lilith said:

So if maximising viewer numbers is a major goal for Chessrook, filling the videos with growling and yelling and reloading may well be the smart move.

Huh. The more you know.

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ChowGuy   
3 hours ago, Edgwyn said:

Reloading is definitely not punishment.  Perma-Death (1st Ed AD&D or Rogue) is punishment, having to create a new party to retrieve the corpses of your old party (Wizardry) is punishment.  Sorry, old person venting here

 

Oh PLEASE spare me the thought of watching Chessrook bludgeon his way through Nethack or Angband. And I don't even want to think how he'd approach  ADOM. But that's taking  "genre difference" to the extreme.

 

He has a point in complaining that constant reloading is probably not fun, either for him, or his putative audience, but at the same time, neither is his yelling questions at the screen knowing full well that he won't get an answer for a week to ten days, and then dismissing it with a "that's not what I DO" when he does. I think only once have I seen him stop his recording session to check the Read-Me file, much less to ask a question here. That's what this forum is for, not for him to lecture us on the "proper" way to play (or design) a scenario, any more then the inverse. I doubt if anyone following his target YouTube channel would think of him for announcing such a thing there, but I may be wrong.

 

Wow, active thread. There's been to or three replies just while I was typing this.

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9 hours ago, Lilith said:

 

From what I've seen as someone who tries to keep a finger on the pulse of the mainstream gaming community, anger and frustration actually plays pretty well with YouTube audiences in general; certainly a lot better than decisive victory achieved through calm and careful planning. People will tune in to see someone yell at a computer screen for much the same reason they'll tune in to see people have screaming arguments on a reality TV show: it's a spectacle, and many people find spectacles entertaining. So if maximising viewer numbers is a major goal for Chessrook, filling the videos with growling and yelling and reloading may well be the smart move.

There's a reason "Rage Games" are something that people enjoy watching.  But that said, no, I don't particularly care about maximizing views at all.  So... yeah.

 

I feel like the "Genre Difference" thing really is the massive cause of my anger and rage and how I approach all of this.  I've been playing this whole time like it was another RPG scenario, and not like it was one with more of a focus on puzzled, harder combat.  Because of this, my expectations are drawn in a certain way, and I get angry when those expectations don't meet it.  To draw back to the earlier comparison, it's like getting angry at Dark Souls because I didn't expect Dark Souls to be that hard, and expected it to me closer to other, easier games I had been playing.  Or something.

 

I will admit though, the time between recording sessions, and delay in getting help from the forums, really does also factor into the frustration, and is a shortcoming on my end.  I only have so much time to record, and mixed with my desire to never miss an update every day (And sometimes my desire to keep playing) it DOES result in the unfortunate fact that by the time I get the tips, I'm way past where it is helpful.  I still appreciate them, and make use of them later when I can, I only wish I could display a more immediate result of the assistance.

 

Anyway, moving on to the next episode.  Into Castle Putideum, and then Prison, and then Hell.

 

https://youtu.be/GXHelzOPAA8

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1 hour ago, Chessrook44 said:

I've been playing this whole time like it was another RPG scenario, and not like it was one with more of a focus on puzzled, harder combat.

 

Yeah, that makes sense.  I will say, however, that the RPG label definitely applies to both categories.  This isn't a case of mislabeled genres.  That's just how "RPG" is used when it comes to computer and video games.

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Sudanna   
Quote

Moreover, if Chessrook44 (or you, or whoever) doesn't like my scenarios, no skin off my back. I've long since stopped caring about that. If you say things that are wrong or silly, though, I might point out that you're wrong or silly.

I like your scenarios. They're some of my favorites.

 

Quote

No, this is both wrong and silly. Players should not expect BoA scenarios to have the same game balance and strategies across scenarios; BoA allows for far too much customization for that. It's entirely possible within BoA to replace the combat system entirely, or have no combat, or do all kinds of other things, and it's entirely unreasonable to expect designers not to make use of those features (since many do make use of those features).

 

Now, whether you like a scenario making use of those features is up to you. That's a separate issue. But any expectation that designers won't make use of the full power of the scripting engine is an unreasonable expectation.

 

I didn't say it was unreasonable for designers to make major balance changes. I said that it's reasonable that players wouldn't expect them. Major balance changes across a single game is not something that really happens much, even in constantly-tweaked modern competitive multiplayer games. The most obvious analogue to BoA is a tabletop group that takes the same party through multiple campaigns. While tabletop games do change from low to high levels of play, it's more gradual over less of a distance than some BoA scenarios. Most players do not know a thing about scenario designing or what BoA is or is not capable of, and any likely transferable experience would not lead one to expect that level of change.

 

Quote

This is a bizarre comment. It sure didn't seem like Chessrook44 was enjoying himself when he was growling and screaming. The reason I've been making suggestions about combat strategy is not that I thought he was playing the scenarios "wrong" (wtf does that even mean? if you win, you win); it's that he seemed as though he was having an awful time at certain points because he didn't know how to get through the combats more smoothly, and I thought my suggestions would help him have a more enjoyable experience. Turns out I was wrong, but I hope my error was understandable.

Quote

I want to highlight this point because it comes up on these forums all the freaking time.  People talk about strategy or tactics -- perhaps making suggestions or talking about optimizing numbers -- and then somebody else complains about some variation of "you are telling us we're playing wrong."  It's a straw man argument and I wish everyone would stop doing it.

 

People gravitate towards doing things in certain ways, whether it's playing a game or fixing their plumbing, and unless they specifically ask or feel like they owe something to someone else, they are -rarely- asking for corrections. Everyone's dad would rather swear at the plumbing for six hours than have someone tell them what they should be doing instead. That level of frustration is not usually the kind that gets satisfied by having someone else solve your problem for you, especially for people that typically play games.

 

Quote

That's all well and good, but as I said above, the likelihood of dying in LP is relatively low. Even in the hardest encounters, a first-turn kill is about a one-in-five chance, more or less. And, as noted, if you make use of all the tools available to you, you can get through the rest without dying even once.

 

That, incidentally, is the reason for the scaling up of difficulty in those first three outdoor encounters! They're meant to introduce the combat system and, as noted above, they worked, even here!

 

I would say: a 1-in-5 chance of instant failure is way too dang high.

Other than that, though, fine. If the idea was to introduce the combat changes, that's fine. It's just, in the post I was responding to, you seemed to indicate it was intended to produce a mood, and difficult RPG combat itself is not a great vehicle for horror.
 

Quote

Players constantly say "it's bad" when they mean "I don't like it," which is why at this point I'm sort of agnostic as to the use of terms.


Is there a difference between bad game design and game design that players do not like? Just degree of consensus?

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32 minutes ago, Sudanna said:

Players constantly say "it's bad" when they mean "I don't like it," which is why at this point I'm sort of agnostic as to the use of terms.


Is there a difference between bad game design and game design that players do not like? Just degree of consensus?

 

"Players" are not a monolithic entity with a single unitary opinion.  A game that one player enjoys, may not be what another player enjoys.  This, obviously, is why there are different types of games; different genres, different styles, different -- different everythings.

 

If "good game design" is simply defined as "highest degree of positive consensus" on an elemental level, then "good game design" will gravitate, like a rudimentary neural net, towards meaninglessly common, inoffensive denominators.

 

No, we have more analytical ability and more insight than that.  We can talk about "good design" and "bad design" while acknowledging that no design (good or bad) will be liked by all players.

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Kelandon   
3 hours ago, Sudanna said:

People gravitate towards doing things in certain ways, whether it's playing a game or fixing their plumbing, and unless they specifically ask or feel like they owe something to someone else, they are -rarely- asking for corrections. Everyone's dad would rather swear at the plumbing for six hours than have someone tell them what they should be doing instead. That level of frustration is not usually the kind that gets satisfied by having someone else solve your problem for you, especially for people that typically play games.

Have you watched these episodes? There are times when Chessrook44 addresses me by name and sometimes even asks questions. I think you don't know what you're talking about.

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And before you say that part was in response to my comment: the stuff I was talking about typically involves someone who's not being addressed at all (and is generally not even a participant in the thread) making the complaint.

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Kelandon   

I mean, the tl,dr of the last few posts between me and Sudanna is:

 

Kelandon: I guess Chessrook44 would rather yell at the screen than take my tactical suggestions. I didn't realize that, but that's cool, I guess. I'll stop making tactical suggestions.

Sudanna: People don't like being told what to do! Stop making tactical suggestions!

Kelandon: Uh... that's what I just said?

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Sudanna   

That has been one of the several topics in each of our posts, yes.

The first time I brought it up, it was mostly about this specific situation. The second, mostly about Slarty's response, as Chessrook had just said what the difficulty is for him.

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Kelandon   

"Some of the writing was a bit flowery." LOL! Yes. Yes, it was. When I'm lapsing into actual Latin (virtus, etc.) , you know I'm indulging my lofty side.

 

LP was, in many ways, sort of a hodgepodge pastiche; I borrowed freely from more or less everything that I was reading at the time that I liked, and a lot of it was fairly grandiose — in college, I had just finished a year of Shakespeare and a semester of Vergil — which left my writing fairly turgid at times.

 

Well, that was fun! I may watch another episode or two at some point if you play something that I think I'll find amusing (Canopy, maybe?), but other than that, I wish you well as you continue your Let's Play, and I will end my comments here.

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6 hours ago, Kelandon said:

Well, that was fun! I may watch another episode or two at some point if you play something that I think I'll find amusing (Canopy, maybe?), but other than that, I wish you well as you continue your Let's Play, and I will end my comments here.

Thank you Kelandon!  I appreciated your comments throughout, and look forward to homeland.

 

A new scenario by a new author is begun... and I dare say... have we gone insane?

 

https://youtu.be/HzDiec6lDKg

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Thralni   

Hi Chessrook, I was alerted by Nikki that you are doing this! Pretty amazing project, I gotta say. I have to say I have been really enjoying seeing you play HIM and its sequel, and I would like to commend you for your thorough explorations. By doing that you are definitely getting everything out of the scenarios, and making it a lot easier for yourself;f down the road (finding the stairs in HIM2 before you actually needed them, for example!). I'm looking forward to the next episode!

 

Incidentally, this remind me I never finished HIM3. I actually tried just yesterday, having watched you play HIM, to download and open BoA but it seems it doesn't work anymore on the newest macOS... Oh well. At least I can relive it through your movies ;)

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Kelandon   
2 hours ago, Thralni said:

Incidentally, this remind me I never finished HIM3. I actually tried just yesterday, having watched you play HIM, to download and open BoA but it seems it doesn't work anymore on the newest macOS... Oh well. At least I can relive it through your movies ;)

I'm on 10.12 and it runs just fine for me.

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Posted (edited)

BoA version 1.2.1 runs without issues on macOS 10.12.5 and on the developer preview of macOS 10.13 for me.

Edited by Tyranicus

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Thralni   
Posted (edited)

Watched the video, and once again a lot of fun! Very interesting to analyze how you make your decisions, especially toward the end when things got more tense. How, in the cemetery, you essentially ran straight to the crypt in the back and chose to go in was delightful for me to watch, as I had hoped that this would happen. Now, if you were to play this on a Mac, there would have been custom music in the church. You can still download it from my website I think...

 

...Yup, go here for that: http://thralni.ermarian.net/The_wrath_of_the_purty_potatoe/Blades_of_Avernum_HIM2.html

 

I'm of course sorry you felt cheated by the abrupt ending :p (and it's something that was frequently mentioned to me by both testers and reviewers after release). You are right of course: there was going to be a third installment. Then, life got the better of me, plus I got a new computer that wasn't compatible with some key software I used to plan the story, and that's how it all sizzled out. Having seen you play through HIM, though, has made me interested again to dust it off and finish the third installment, though possibly I'll be less ambitious - which is part of the reason it got never finished. Simply tried to do too many fancy stuff even though I wasn't up to the task. I was trying to give the player choice, like in Mass Effect, which I think I had probably played around that time, but of course the many story threads ended up dooming the project from the outset...

 

Looking forward to see you play Where the Rivers Meet. A much, much longer scenario - and also the first one I ever made. And yes, this one will have an actual ending ;)

 

EDIT: Managed to find all the files of HIM3, so might potentially restart this. And I do mean restart, sicne it also seems I lost the central doucment detailing the progression of the various story lines... Oh well.

Edited by Thralni

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