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Which is your favorite Avernum game?


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Originally Posted By: feo takahari
You might as well play them in order, skipping A4 if you so desire. (While I didn't much like A3, everyone else seems to.)


Lots of the old guard hated E3, and A3 is E3 but with a worse engine. Disliking A3 is a sign of good taste. My advice: skip either A3 or A4, since they're basically the same game, except that A3 is set on the surface and A4 is set in the caves.
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A1 introduces you to the world. The demo is a good idea even if don't play through the whole thing. A2 brings the nice addition of a quest log but otherwise has the same engine, love it or hate it. It also has the best plot of the series, although A5 gives it a run for its money. A3 has a substantial change in damage calculations and magic items from A2, and it's probably the largest. (Size becomes complicated between the original trilogy and the second trilogy). A4 switches engines, and its plot really doesn't advance the story of Avernum noticeably. A3 is very similar, but more background changes occur. A5 is good, solid fun.

 

My vote is on A2 if you like the old engine and A5 is you prefer the new one. Playing the whole trilogy is nice too. Since all the demos are available, you can decide for yourself.

 

—Alorael, who hopes his pocket guide without paragraph breaks is of use. Maybe he ought to save it one of these times so he can stop having to retype it every time the question is asked.

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I voted A2 for its plot (feels like being inside a book, doesn't it?) and A1 second for its underworldy feeling. None of the later games make you feel like a hero as much.

 

A3 I almost liked as little as A4, but it does use a better version of the A2 engine (which I really liked), and E3 was the first SpidWeb game I ever played as a kid, so I will forever be bound to it by nostalgia.

Other than that, I completely agree with Alorael. As usual. How come I always agree with Alorael?

 

...

Hm. I've probably posted into 10-20 threads like this. I should search for them and compare my answers...

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Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Originally Posted By: feo takahari
You might as well play them in order, skipping A4 if you so desire. (While I didn't much like A3, everyone else seems to.)


Lots of the old guard hated E3, and A3 is E3 but with a worse engine. Disliking A3 is a sign of good taste. My advice: skip either A3 or A4, since they're basically the same game, except that A3 is set on the surface and A4 is set in the caves.


A3 is the only game set on the surface. Also most people who played Avernum before Exile (like me) prefer the Avernum engine. There's a lot to like about A3 imho.
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The surface really doesn't fit the Avernum engine as well as the caves do. A number of people who prefer Avernum 2 to Exile 2, prefer Exile 3 to Avernum 3. That says something about the engine right there.

 

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Lots of the old guard hated E3, and A3 is E3 but with a worse engine. Disliking A3 is a sign of good taste.

Really? I know lots of the old guard disliked the changes introduced in E3, and the unsuitability of the A3 engine is obvious. But I wasn't aware that for E3 specifically, it rose to the level of hate. Maybe I just heard one too many screeds from Drakey about how much he loved E3.

 

If you have ruled out playing any of the Exiles, my advice would be to just skip both A3 and A4. You miss practically nothing plotwise and A5 will seem fresh and vibrant, so you will have more fun with it.

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I know the old guard detests the Avernum engine, but the unsuitability of the A3 engine is entirely non-obvious to me. Explain?

 

—Alorael, who wouldn't call A3 the best of the trilogy. It's still a fun game, though. You could get away with not playing it, but you could also enjoy playing it.

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I don't really know what would make it unsuitable, except for the way mountains are rendered in A3, where inexplicable, vertical walls of brown rock shoot up from the ground with occasional sloping paths running between them, rather than a (comparatively) gentle slope running up to a peak. While Exile 3 didn't have height, it did have areas representing hills surrounding areas representing mountains surrounding areas representing impassibly high mountains, rather than just sheer cliffs with seemingly nothing on top.

 

I played well into A3, though, and I liked it, anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I cannot give a true opinion but when playing A1 and A5 in parallel, it hurts how A5 is superior on many gameplay design points:

  • No comparison for fights design, A5 is a world above.
  • No comparison for interface design, A5 is a world above even if on few points the A1 approach could be better.
  • No comparison for story telling and story progression, A5 has better stuff with more contents, better written. But I won't compare both for the story itself, I don't have yet a good view.
  • No comparison for quests design, A5 is a world above.
  • For making the world alive, A5 has a better density with more story stuff and more events, better dialog dynamic that evolve according of stuff done.
  • General system design, I have probably not a deep enough point of view of the games but I quote many points better done in A5, in A1 more unbalanced skills, money economic not as well tuned than in A5, death design much better in A5, I wonder why character dead in A1 should lost all their stuff, that's poor realism for ugly gameplay design.
  • Dead end, I still have to see one in A5 and already felt upon 2 in A1 that I played less. Dead end is an ugly game design because at some point the player realize he is stuck and not see coming this it could have save backup only a long time before. That's totally different than being crush somewhere but reload previous save don't place you in a same situation.
  • The A5 strong focus on alternate choices strongly highlighted in the game is a plus I enjoy even if I feel that it could be better and that some modern game did it better (few).

But A1 has also some points that could appeal more, and I do for:

  • More freedom in A1. The main story of A5 is definitely a strong justification for having a more linear game (but still many freedom). And the A5 approach is more original, most game using a similar approach didn't build successive large area with a lot of freedom. Still the A1 approach even if more classical hasn't been so often implemented as well and definitely add a charm to the world.
  • The A1 movement controls suit much better turn based system than the A5 choices copying system with real time and continuous movements.
  • The two scale approach is definitely a plus to setup a more epic game by implementing better larger area even if it's symbolic. I prefer much more this A1 approach and now it is very original because almost fully abandoned (I have yet to try the last NW2 addon). But that good point is a bit tempered by a filling of the large scale map which isn't that good. The lack of "fog of war" and some lack of events and interesting stuff to discover are probably the weaker points that reduce the efficiency of this two scale approach.
  • And there's the story, as I wrote above I need play more the games to have a good point of view of this. But that could be a point for A1 because even if A5 has some strong moments I still have to see in A1, A1 could have a charm coming from the merging of the more freedom and more fantasy mood that some could prefer, I don't know yet.

Again, that's just a temporary and biased comparison because I need finish both and at least play more A1.

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So I played much more A1 and more A5, still unfinished both but at this point it's weird how my general feeling has changed.

 

In favor of A5:

  • For the fights, even if I admire the approach of A5, in practice it doesn't generate fights much more fun. So it's just a small plus for A5.
  • For controls, overall A5 is much better designed but in practice I feel movements much better in A1 and get used to other weird controls of A1. So it's just a small plus to A5.
  • For alternate choice, my feeling didn't change, still a good move in A5 you don't really find in A1, at least not at the same level. That's a big plus for A5.
  • No quest log in A1 and a good job in A5 but I realized that there's something not so positive with those quests logs. They involve straight forward and obvious quest setup, even more when they are as static than in A5 with just the initial setup, it becomes weird if the quest evolves in more complicate stuff. I got the feeling that RPG should try something different, a bit more subtle. Perhaps no quest logs but just notes in a small organizer and map notes linked to the organizer. Still a plus for A5.

In favor of A1:

  • For the story telling and story progression, I continue think that A5 is more detailed, better written and a bit more original, but not that much more detailed. On another part A1 setup an intricate web all around a huge world and A5 don't build that feeling at all. That point became a plus for A1.
  • For the freedom and non linearity as I played them more it grows in importance. In fact A5 is going on same railroad where is going all modern RPG and I don't like that, more simple, more linearity, obvious secrets, straight forward quests. A1 is just much more original in its approach and that's a very big plus for it.
  • For the quests, I realized A1 is much more intricate than I realized with many little links throughout the world that build interesting quest setup more fascinating than the more detailed quests of A5. So it's overall a small plus for A1.
  • For dead end, I realized one of the two wasn't one in A1 and didn't find more, so just one for a special dungeon setup is ok. Not anymore a plus for A5, A1 fine in fact.
  • For the story itself, I wonder, I just don't feel it that important, what matter is the scenario and the web building of A1 is just much better than the more detailed but straight forward story of A5. What save a bit A5 on this point is the multiple highlighted choices. Overall I feel it a plus for A1.

Still a temporary and biased comparison but now I played a lot of both games and my general feeling has changed and prefer A1 but also I realized how different they are so I feel more tough to compare them fairly.

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maybe i'll actually get around to playing avernum 5 one of these days since people keep saying how great it is.

 

anyway, avernum 2 had the best plot out of the first 4 games, so i picked that one. my second favorite was the first game because it had the second best plot.

 

as for saying that you can skip any one game, you could really say that about any of the games. all of them give you a brief update on what's happened before.

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I just finished A1 but still have to finish A5. I like a lot the organization of A1, less linear and like a web. It's a cool choice to have setup three main quests like this. But it has many little flaws I noticed most was solved in A5. Also its first half really grab me but at some point I felt it lack of thrill and played it with less interest.

 

The cause of this isn't clear at all, I can only make some guess:

  • Perhaps it's because I solved most in first half and get less stuff in second half, a sort of consequence of the high freedom.
  • Another possibility is that it's because slowly the fights was easier and easier, I suppose I should not have use the NPC you can hire or I should have change the difficulty level.
  • It's also possible that the game was a bit too long for me.
  • Or perhaps because I during a long time I look at far sight spell as a far sight spell(!) and used my patience in looking at secrets until I finally realize the spell description was wrong.

Still a good game, I like its setup and despite many details I dislike I found the whole quite good and the three main quests final was cool. But At this point I can't say I prefer it than A5 I just don't know.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Lots of the old guard hated E3, and A3 is E3 but with a worse engine. Disliking A3 is a sign of good taste. My advice: skip either A3 or A4, since they're basically the same game, except that A3 is set on the surface and A4 is set in the caves.


A3 is E3 with a worse engine? That's simply a false statement. Whether or not you agree with the artistic style of the Avernum games (I could easily understand someone hating vertical mountain walls and the somewhat odd npc graphics), from a gameplay perspective, that's not true at all.

The Exile engine, from all three games, does not scale well. Exile 2 pretty much pushed the limits of what it can handle. As characters get stronger, they hit the maximum limits of what a character can achieve extremely quickly. Once you have the max in everything relevant to your character, there's not much point in continuing to kill stuff, except for gold (which, incidentally, also doesn't do much) or advancing the game's plot. In the Avernum games, your characters will scale as far as you choose to let them, and if you're patient enough, you can become essentially gods (particularly in Avernum 3 where you can create a huge number of Knowledge Brews). Even if you don't choose to though, by the time you're about halfway through Exile 3, you're rapidly running out of things to do with each character, unless you pick every single positive trait at the beginning to arrest your exp gain.

Another problem is weapons. Specifically, the most powerful weapons in the Exile games don't really affect your damage that much, and your "max hit" is very small regardless of weapons. The damage cap on most spells is also extremely low (barring stuff like Death Arrows). When a character halfway through the game is basically the same as a character at the very end, that's kind of a problem.

Exile games also lack effective ways to spend gold. You will occasionally run into some decent items from one of the randomly generated vendors, but the odds of anything good enough to drop 10000 gold on are pretty slim. The Avernum games have Silverlocke's Knowledge Brew supply as a method of dumping gold, plus expensive skills like Parry, Gymnastics, and Magery. It's far harder to run out of ways to spend gold in Avernum than in Exile, which, given the length of Avernum/Exile 2-3, is a good thing.

Exile's method of handling quests is also quite primitive, clunky, and underdeveloped. Given the age of the games, that's not really an issue, but Avernum 2 and 3's Quest feature is one of the biggest draws of those games over Exile.

Exile's dialog system is very clunky. You read huge text out of a small window and have to either click words looking for the next trigger phrase, or just cheat and enter it manually (Saying "sand" to a guard in Fort Emergence in Exile 3 as a particularly grievous example, which immediately sends you into a piece of the endgame plot line). Avernum's is far smoother, more intuitive, and more flexible.

The Windows versions of Exile games have severe UI issues, where, depending on what you press and when you press it, can put the focus on the wrong UI element (I believe hitting Enter in Exile 1 does this) and you can't control your characters any more unless you manually click on the playing field or tab your way back to it. They also use basic windows features like buttons, menu bars, and so forth, in very uninspired and clunky ways. This doesn't exactly help the immersion factor. The Exile games look like someone slapped a SNES game into Windows Explorer. The Avernum games, whether you like their visual design or not, at least manage to hide the Windows features. Imagine playing a game like crysis with a Windows title bar, where you have to click on Windows buttons to swap from one weapon to another, and where pressing the wrong thing makes your character stand still until you tab around. Wouldn't be enjoyable.

And now we get to the biggest problem, which, to be fair, Avernum 1 and 2 suffer from also, but Avernum 3 finally resolves. The Exile engine handles large scale fights HORRIBLY. It takes forever to sit through the animations of every player attacking every enemy, and every enemy fighting back, especially when the enemies go to town and start summoning even more. Even with spells like Shockwave to clear out the smaller enemies, sitting and listening/watching to each individual attack animation, one after the other, can get incredibly frustrating. There is of course options like turning off special effects, etc. While they do help, they don't help much. Except in Avernum 3, where, for the first time, setting your effects speed to "Very Fast" does indeed make them go by extremely quickly.

Furthermore, one of the greatest things about the Avernum engine is the ability to fight out of combat mode, which Exile sorely lacks. Sure, you can only use one character, and it leaves the other ones open, but the effect can't be overstated. It dramatically reduces the tedium of Combat Mode->Smack one mob->Normal mode, and makes what could be a chore into a treat instead.

Most people who prefer Exile games over Avernum ones do so for nostalgia reasons. The Avernum engine is far more evolved, the game world is massively larger and fully fleshed out, and a lot of the core, fundamental problems of the Exile engine simply don't apply to Avernum. They are simply better made.

And did you really say that Avernum 3 and Avernum 4 are the same game? That's like saying Exile and Geneforge are the same game, or Diablo 2 and Final Fantasy 7 are the same game. They are so completely different on a fundamental gameplay level, I simply have no idea what you're talking about.
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I found A5 anticlimatic, turning on the general, or making him king means little really, and the final battles are weak tea compared to A3 and A4. You basically just whack around an army of normal peeps until they die, then whack around their general until he dies, the end. A4 wasen't half as good as A5, but it was more damatic, in that you fought enemies totally alien to the human condition, A5 is just a civil-war.

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Originally Posted By: Jeran Korak
A4 wasen't half as good as A5, but it was more damatic, in that you fought enemies totally alien to the human condition, A5 is just a civil-war.

I see what you mean about the nature of the enemies, but I don't think that the actual final battle in A4 is as good as the actual final battle in A5. I think the battle against Dorikas in A4, as well as the one in A5, is more exciting than the final battle in A4. In both battles, Dorikas pulls out a variety of tricks, and keeps running away from you, forcing you to hack through a bunch of minions to get back to him. It's a chase as well as a fight.

Rentar in A4, on the other hand, can't move. There is some dialogue in the final battle with her, but if you've gathered the right items and use them correctly, her attacks don't amount to much.

Maybe the battle against Redmark is cooler, but I've never fought him.
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Originally Posted By: Golgolath
The Exile engine, from all three games, does not scale well. Exile 2 pretty much pushed the limits of what it can handle. As characters get stronger, they hit the maximum limits of what a character can achieve extremely quickly. Once you have the max in everything relevant to your character, there's not much point in continuing to kill stuff, except for gold (which, incidentally, also doesn't do much) or advancing the game's plot.


So, uh, stop killing stuff? It's easy to run away from most battles, and wandering monsters will start to run away from you once your level is high enough anyway.

Anyway, there are plenty of things to spend skill points on even at high levels. Max out spell points for your spellcasters. Max out Assassination for your fighters. Give your fighters magic skills and your spellcasters combat skills. Give everyone loads and loads of Luck.

Quote:
Another problem is weapons. Specifically, the most powerful weapons in the Exile games don't really affect your damage that much, and your "max hit" is very small regardless of weapons. The damage cap on most spells is also extremely low (barring stuff like Death Arrows). When a character halfway through the game is basically the same as a character at the very end, that's kind of a problem.


Maybe it's a problem for you, but this is actually one of the things I like best about the Exile engine. In Avernum, it's just not as much fun to try to rush through to the endgame with a beginning party while skipping as much of the game as possible, because the way enemy HP scales means that killing high-level enemies with a level-1 party is just a chore. In Exile, both characters and enemies scale much less drastically, so it's possible to get into wildly mismatched encounters and win. Success should depend on your skill as a player, not on how high you've levelled up and what weapons you've collected.

Quote:
Exile games also lack effective ways to spend gold. You will occasionally run into some decent items from one of the randomly generated vendors, but the odds of anything good enough to drop 10000 gold on are pretty slim. The Avernum games have Silverlocke's Knowledge Brew supply as a method of dumping gold, plus expensive skills like Parry, Gymnastics, and Magery. It's far harder to run out of ways to spend gold in Avernum than in Exile, which, given the length of Avernum/Exile 2-3, is a good thing.


Silverlocke sold Knowledge Brews in Exile as well, y'know. Spells are also a significant money sink, especially if you want to give all your characters level 7 mage and priest spells by the end.

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Exile's method of handling quests is also quite primitive, clunky, and underdeveloped. Given the age of the games, that's not really an issue, but Avernum 2 and 3's Quest feature is one of the biggest draws of those games over Exile.


What can I say? I grew up playing RPGs from the mid-1980s, and those didn't have quest logs. I'm used to getting by without them.

Quote:
Exile's dialog system is very clunky. You read huge text out of a small window and have to either click words looking for the next trigger phrase, or just cheat and enter it manually (Saying "sand" to a guard in Fort Emergence in Exile 3 as a particularly grievous example, which immediately sends you into a piece of the endgame plot line). Avernum's is far smoother, more intuitive, and more flexible.


Keyword-based and menu-based dialogue both have their advantages and disadvantages; there have been whole threads on the subject here. Suffice it to say that there are people who have good reasons to prefer either system.

It's pretty ridiculous that you point to the fact that the game lets you cheat if you consciously choose to do so as a disadvantage, though.

Quote:
The Windows versions of Exile games have severe UI issues, where, depending on what you press and when you press it, can put the focus on the wrong UI element (I believe hitting Enter in Exile 1 does this) and you can't control your characters any more unless you manually click on the playing field or tab your way back to it. They also use basic windows features like buttons, menu bars, and so forth, in very uninspired and clunky ways. This doesn't exactly help the immersion factor. The Exile games look like someone slapped a SNES game into Windows Explorer. The Avernum games, whether you like their visual design or not, at least manage to hide the Windows features. Imagine playing a game like crysis with a Windows title bar, where you have to click on Windows buttons to swap from one weapon to another, and where pressing the wrong thing makes your character stand still until you tab around. Wouldn't be enjoyable.


I'm tempted to say that this is your fault for not using a Mac, but I won't.

Whoops.

Quote:
And now we get to the biggest problem, which, to be fair, Avernum 1 and 2 suffer from also, but Avernum 3 finally resolves. The Exile engine handles large scale fights HORRIBLY. It takes forever to sit through the animations of every player attacking every enemy, and every enemy fighting back, especially when the enemies go to town and start summoning even more. Even with spells like Shockwave to clear out the smaller enemies, sitting and listening/watching to each individual attack animation, one after the other, can get incredibly frustrating. There is of course options like turning off special effects, etc. While they do help, they don't help much. Except in Avernum 3, where, for the first time, setting your effects speed to "Very Fast" does indeed make them go by extremely quickly.


Come on, this can't really be your "biggest problem" with the Exile series. Nobody's attention span is so short that they can't wait 20 seconds for a round of combat to resolve.

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Furthermore, one of the greatest things about the Avernum engine is the ability to fight out of combat mode, which Exile sorely lacks. Sure, you can only use one character, and it leaves the other ones open, but the effect can't be overstated. It dramatically reduces the tedium of Combat Mode->Smack one mob->Normal mode, and makes what could be a chore into a treat instead.


Okay, I guess your attention span really is that short. Seriously, who complains about taking 2 seconds to enter combat mode and hit something?

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Most people who prefer Exile games over Avernum ones do so for nostalgia reasons. The Avernum engine is far more evolved, the game world is massively larger and fully fleshed out, and a lot of the core, fundamental problems of the Exile engine simply don't apply to Avernum. They are simply better made.


If my motivation in playing Exile were simply to indulge in nostalgia, I'd look through old photo albums instead.

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And did you really say that Avernum 3 and Avernum 4 are the same game? That's like saying Exile and Geneforge are the same game, or Diablo 2 and Final Fantasy 7 are the same game. They are so completely different on a fundamental gameplay level, I simply have no idea what you're talking about.


I meant that A3 and A4 have the same plot, which they do. A4 is the same game as A3 in the same sense that A3 is the same game as E3.
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Golgolath, I think you stepped in a little deep here. You're addressing matters of preference as if your own opinion is going to be shared by everyone. To give one example, I absolutely can't stand the Avernum dialogue system. I could elaborate, but that's not the point; the point is that's my opinion, and this is a question of opinion. Both dialogue systems do what they need to do.

 

Dismissing somebody else's preference as "nostalgia" while suggesting that the game you like better is actually "better" or "better made" is self-centered, to say the least. Why is it so hard to believe that somebody else might genuinely enjoy different things, or care about different things?

 

A few other points.

 

In a CRPG, ideally, fighting should be fun in and of itself. If fighting isn't fun, and the only reason you do it is to grind towards some kind of power-up, it begs the question of why you are playing a game whose main modality of play bores you.

 

Finally, you say that in Avernum "the game world is massively larger and fully fleshed out." I don't know what you're talking about, but it's wrong. The fact is that the game text in Exile and Avernum is almost exactly the same, and game maps also correspond almost exactly. A few optional dungeons were changed (and in very rare cases, added) between Exile and Avernum, but the "game world" is not "massively larger" by any stretch of the imagination. It's almost exactly the same, just with different graphics.

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Originally Posted By: Thuryl
So, uh, stop killing stuff? It's easy to run away from most battles, and wandering monsters will start to run away from you once your level is high enough anyway.


So to clarify, you think it's better for a game to scale so poorly that it's better to avoid fighting things? Huh? Combat is the core aspect of Avernum/Exile games. Maxing out halfway through and then spending the rest of the game avoiding fights doesn't sound like my idea of fun. Would Final Fantasy 7 be fun if you hit level 99 before leaving Midgar and spent the rest of the game holding down L+R every time you got into combat with trash mobs?

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Anyway, there are plenty of things to spend skill points on even at high levels. Max out spell points for your spellcasters. Max out Assassination for your fighters. Give your fighters magic skills and your spellcasters combat skills. Give everyone loads and loads of Luck.


Yes, there are things to spend your skill points on. Unfortunately, you run out of things to buy long before Exile 3 ends.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Maybe it's a problem for you, but this is actually one of the things I like best about the Exile engine. In Avernum, it's just not as much fun to try to rush through to the endgame with a beginning party while skipping as much of the game as possible, because the way enemy HP scales means that killing high-level enemies with a level-1 party is just a chore. In Exile, both characters and enemies scale much less drastically, so it's possible to get into wildly mismatched encounters and win.

You're right. It's not fun to skip content. So why are you advocating it? You contradicted yourself here. It's ok to skip all but the most essential combat in Exile games, yet it's not ok to do so in Avernum games? I'm not sure what you're getting at here. I don't try to skip my way through Avernum or Exile. Just because you can, doesn't mean it's a good idea. There is a very linear progression in enemy difficulty as you move north through Valorim. If you skip content, then yes, you're going to have a bad time.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Success should depend on your skill as a player, not on how high you've levelled up and what weapons you've collected.


I would say that it should depend equally on skill/gear/level, personally. Gear based progression IS an important part of RPGs.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Silverlocke sold Knowledge Brews in Exile as well, y'know. Spells are also a significant money sink, especially if you want to give all your characters level 7 mage and priest spells by the end.


Yes, she did, and as I already discussed, Exile games don't scale well enough for them to be worth it. Last time I played Exile 3, I was pretty much maxed before I even finished the Troglo/Giant quests, let alone Aliens/Golems. There's simply not enough practical/useful skills in Exile games to spend points on. Avernum's "no cap on anything, but diminishing returns apply" method of character progression is much better. It gives you reasons to play/advance your character, which is the core aspect of most RPG's.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
What can I say? I grew up playing RPGs from the mid-1980s, and those didn't have quest logs. I'm used to getting by without them.


So am I. That doesn't mean it's a good thing. Surely you're not using "I can survive without this feature, so it's not important" as an argument, right? Advancements are a good thing. Rejecting convenient and useful features simply because you don't absolutely need them is...odd.

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Keyword-based and menu-based dialogue both have their advantages and disadvantages; there have been whole threads on the subject here. Suffice it to say that there are people who have good reasons to prefer either system.

It's pretty ridiculous that you point to the fact that the game lets you cheat if you consciously choose to do so as a disadvantage, though.


You're completely missing my point. Considering that the game comes with a character editor, no, I'm not using a condemnation of cheating as an argument. What I'm saying is, it's clunky and awkward to be able to say anything, at any time, to any NPC, and jump to that point in the plot immediately (assuming it's a poorly designed conversation and doesn't check Stuff Done Flags, like the "sand" example doesn't).

And yes, I find that method of conversing with NPCs to be silly. Imagine that. Having an opinion about Avernum games in a thread called "Which is your favorite Avernum game."

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I'm tempted to say that this is your fault for not using a Mac, but I won't.

Whoops.


I assume you're joking, because if you were honestly trying to make that statement, I would just laugh. Citing my choice of operating systems as a reason why Exile is better than Avernum would be pretty silly. Especially considering that the Mac version of Exile ALSO uses the default OS's menu bars. UI issues ARE a consideration when comparing one game to another. And using the default Windows/Mac UI elements is a bit tacky.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Come on, this can't really be your "biggest problem" with the Exile series. Nobody's attention span is so short that they can't wait 20 seconds for a round of combat to resolve.


Already resorting to personal attacks? Nicely done. And yes, that is my biggest issue with the game. Why? Very simple. The core element of the Exile games, the thing you do most often, more than anything else, is combat. It is the fundamental building block of the entire gameplay experience, so yes, it DOES matter how smoothly combat flows. I honestly cannot believe that you think throwing 20 extra seconds onto a combat round that should last three seconds is acceptable. That's just mind blowing. Would you play a first person shooter where you could only fire a pistol every 5 seconds? Would you play a Mario game where jumping required 10 seconds of warming up? Would you play a version of Solitaire where you could only move one card every 20 seconds? Would you read a book you could only turn the pages of once every five minutes? It's exactly the same problem:

20 seconds is not a long period of time, if you look at it with no context. But when something that should require three seconds takes 20 seconds, then yes, that is unacceptable. Let's look at it this way:

20 rounds of combat:
Time it should require: 60 seconds
Time it requires in Exile 3: 400 seconds
Time it requires in Avernum 3: 60 seconds

Strangely, I DO think that a 667% bloat in the amount of time every round of combat takes is unacceptable. Imagine that, and I'm not the only one who thinks this way, which is why most games don't waste massive amounts of time with artificial and unnecessary pauses. Long delays in combat are fine if they're optional (Avernum 3), but not when they aren't (Exile 3).

Jeff Vogel games are HUGE compared to most others, and having them flow smoothly while playing is necessary, which is why Avernum 3's version of combat, which you can speed up almost to the point of running it in fast-forward, is better. Damn, long sentence.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Okay, I guess your attention span really is that short. Seriously, who complains about taking 2 seconds to enter combat mode and hit something?


Another personal attack. Disappointing. And yes, I complain about taking two seconds to enter combat mode. Why? Because you will enter and leave combat mode thousands (if not tens of thousands) of times over the course of the game. That time tends to add up. It's fine that you don't care about combat flowing smoothly. That is certainly your right. But insulting someone because they do is pretty tactless.

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
I meant that A3 and A4 have the same plot, which they do. A4 is the same game as A3 in the same sense that A3 is the same game as E3.


Thank you for clarifying. That makes much more sense.
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Originally Posted By: Feather of Maat, Scales of Poole
Golgolath, I think you stepped in a little deep here. You're addressing matters of preference as if your own opinion is going to be shared by everyone. To give one example, I absolutely can't stand the Avernum dialogue system. I could elaborate, but that's not the point; the point is that's my opinion, and this is a question of opinion. Both dialogue systems do what they need to do.


I don't really see anything wrong with expressing my opinions with conviction. I don't think they're going to be shared by everyone. I just don't see any point in being ambivalent. Avernum 3 is my favorite video game, and I firmly believe it's one of the best ever made. That's going to make someone a bit passionate while defending it.

Originally Posted By: Feather of Maat, Scales of Poole
Dismissing somebody else's preference as "nostalgia" while suggesting that the game you like better is actually "better" or "better made" is self-centered, to say the least. Why is it so hard to believe that somebody else might genuinely enjoy different things, or care about different things?


Coming across as self-centered is not my intention, and I don't believe I did that. I expressed very thoroughly and reasonably why I thought Avernum 3 was better than Exile 3, to someone who maligned Avernum 3 unfairly (there's nothing wrong with criticizing a game, if you explain why you think that. He didn't in his post, hence my long, possibly too venomous, response)


Originally Posted By: Feather of Maat, Scales of Poole
In a CRPG, ideally, fighting should be fun in and of itself. If fighting isn't fun, and the only reason you do it is to grind towards some kind of power-up, it begs the question of why you are playing a game whose main modality of play bores you.


Errrr....I don't play a game whose main modality of play bores me. That's Exile 3. I play Avernum 3. Also, you contradicted yourself. Above, you criticized me for dismissing someone else's enjoyment of Exile 3, yet here you criticize me for having different priorities in games than you do. I DO play games to grind. I find it immensely enjoyable to work towards a goal, even if that goal is something as trivial as a number saying that I'm level 50. What's wrong with that? I find it fun.
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Originally Posted By: Golgolath
So to clarify, you think it's better for a game to scale so poorly that it's better to avoid fighting things? Huh? Combat is the core aspect of Avernum/Exile games. Maxing out halfway through and then spending the rest of the game avoiding fights doesn't sound like my idea of fun. Would Final Fantasy 7 be fun if you hit level 99 before leaving Midgar and spent the rest of the game holding down L+R every time you got into combat with trash mobs?

Yes, there are things to spend your skill points on. Unfortunately, you run out of things to buy long before Exile 3 ends.


Look, I don't know what to tell you here. I only got to about level 30 on my first playthrough of any of the Exile games, and I didn't have to run away from any fights. I just don't see how the problem you describe can ever happen unless you spend days wandering around the countryside aimlessly just to fight stuff.

Even at level 50, you shouldn't be running out of ways to use skill points. I've built characters up that high in Blades of Exile and still had things to spend skill points on. Diversify!

And Final Fantasy 7 would be a better game if it didn't exist at all, but let's not get on to that.

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You're right. It's not fun to skip content. So why are you advocating it? You contradicted yourself here. It's ok to skip all but the most essential combat in Exile games, yet it's not ok to do so in Avernum games? I'm not sure what you're getting at here. I don't try to skip my way through Avernum or Exile.


When I said "not as much fun", I meant "not as much fun in Avernum as it is in Exile". I'm talking about replay value here. On a replay, it's fun to do crazy things like attempt the Tower of Magi encounter before solving any of the plagues. Except that it isn't fun in Avernum because fighting demons with a level-1 party is just too imbalanced.

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Just because you can, doesn't mean it's a good idea.


So playing the game the way I find to be fun is a bad idea? I'll keep that in mind.

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There is a very linear progression in enemy difficulty as you move north through Valorim. If you skip content, then yes, you're going to have a bad time.


In Avernum, I have a bad time when I skip content. In Exile, I have a challenging but fun time when I skip content.

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So am I. That doesn't mean it's a good thing. Surely you're not using "I can survive without this feature, so it's not important" as an argument, right? Advancements are a good thing. Rejecting convenient and useful features simply because you don't absolutely need them is...odd.


A quest log is a nice thing to have for those who want it. All I'm saying is that I don't personally find it to be any use at all.

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You're completely missing my point. Considering that the game comes with a character editor, no, I'm not using a condemnation of cheating as an argument. What I'm saying is, it's clunky and awkward to be able to say anything, at any time, to any NPC, and jump to that point in the plot immediately (assuming it's a poorly designed conversation and doesn't check Stuff Done Flags, like the "sand" example doesn't).


You're lacking in experimental spirit. A game is a game, not a simulation: it's fun to find the ways that you can mess up the plot. Again, preventing the player from sequence-breaking in this way takes out a lot of replay value. Maybe this sounds like a strange opinion to you, but I think it's better for a game to have a few exploitable bugs in it: it gives people something to find and feel clever about themselves because they did something the game designer never thought of. A designer who's too smart to be outwitted is less fun to play against.

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And yes, I find that method of conversing with NPCs to be silly. Imagine that. Having an opinion about Avernum games in a thread called "Which is your favorite Avernum game."


Right back at ya, buddy.

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I assume you're joking, because if you were honestly trying to make that statement, I would just laugh. Citing my choice of operating systems as a reason why Exile is better than Avernum would be pretty silly. Especially considering that the Mac version of Exile ALSO uses the default OS's menu bars. UI issues ARE a consideration when comparing one game to another. And using the default Windows/Mac UI elements is a bit tacky.


I was mostly joking, yes.

Using the default UI elements is actually good practice, especially if you don't know how to make custom ones work correctly. The way the custom UI elements are coded in the Avernum series causes problems for some people with non-standard configurations or with other programs running in the background.

Quote:
20 rounds of combat:
Time it should require: 60 seconds
Time it requires in Exile 3: 400 seconds
Time it requires in Avernum 3: 60 seconds


All I can say about this is that in my experience, combat rounds take longer to resolve in Avernum 3. Combat also takes a larger number of rounds in Avernum 3, because of HP inflation, so comparing two 20-round fights is apples to oranges. (Besides, 20 seconds per round is an extreme case, and after the first two rounds half your enemies will be dead and it won't take so long any more.)

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Another personal attack. Disappointing. And yes, I complain about taking two seconds to enter combat mode. Why? Because you will enter and leave combat mode thousands (if not tens of thousands) of times over the course of the game. That time tends to add up. It's fine that you don't care about combat flowing smoothly. That is certainly your right. But insulting someone because they do is pretty tactless.


It was a statement of fact, not a personal attack. Some people just have short attention spans, and if two seconds is too long for you to wait, you're one of them.
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The main problem with these arguments is that they assume the very thing most people disagree on, that is, the Exile series is outdated and the Avernum engine is a declination. What happens is that these arguments come off as pretentious statements, no matter how much "evidence" you use.

 

And an insult is an insult, no matter how thinly veiled it is. I like being told my opinions are a matter of nostalgia just as much as you like being told you have a short attention span.

 

I find Exile much more enjoyable than Avernum, and, yes, I did start with Exile. I also find Exile 2 much better than both Exile 1 and 3 and Blades of Avernum more fun than Blades of Exile. This is mostly based on years of personal experience and it isn't going to change just because you tell me I'm wrong.

 

Also, welcome to the forum Golgolath. I hope this mildly rocky start doesn't dissuade you from staying.

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
I find Exile much more enjoyable than Avernum, and, yes, I did start with Exile. I also find [...] Blades of Avernum more fun than Blades of Exile.


You like the Exile series more than the Avernum series, but you like BoA more than BoE? Are you sure you didn't make a typo? tongue

Anyway... I think both the Exile and Avernum games have their share of very good stuff and pretty bad stuff...

What I like in Exile :

*Up to six party members
*Field spells
*Poisoned weapons
*Conveyor belts
*No-type (or maybe Darkness, whatever) damage spells (Shockwave, Wound)
*AoE spells, like Divine Thud
*Sleep Cloud
*Scry Monster
*Death Touch
*Summoning items that can summon a monster from the database (yes, I'm mostly thinking of BoE for that one)
*Characters that can get all of the positive and negative traits
*Being able to choose where your summons appear

What I like in Avernum games 1, 2, and 3 :

*Laser puzzles. A shame we lost the conveyor belts in the process, really.
*Elevation.
*As was said before, I really do like the Being Able To Attack In Town Mode feature. Sure, entering combat mode in Exile to whack one monster is no problem, but when you do it a hundred times, it does get somewhat tedious.
*The game is much more balanced and much less "clunky" overall. Like Thuryl, I like undertaking crazy challenges in Exile; but unlike him, I don't think the player *should* have to rely on an insane amount of bugs to have fun (blessing fun, undead trick, end combat trick, luck abuse...). I think it's up to the designer to make a game as fun as possible with as few bugs as possible. In Exile and many BoE scenarios, I *have* to fight high-level enemies with a low-level party if I want to have fun. In Avernum, this isn't true anymore. And even if you do want to have something to brag about, simply fight enemies with a moderately higher (as opposed to much higher) level than yours.
*The amount of useless spells has been reduced. There are still a few useless spells (Arcane Summon is terrible in A1 and Divine Host is useless until A3 and BoA), but not nearly as many as in Exile. High-level spells are much more useful, too. In Exile, all you really needed was low-level spells. With a few exceptions like Antimagic Cloud, most high-level spells weren't all that useful.
*Overall, I do like Jeff's Avernum games better than Jeff's Exile games, but had Exile been less buggy and less ridiculously imbalanced, it would have been another story.
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Originally Posted By: The Lurker
*The game is much more balanced and much less "clunky" overall. Like Thuryl, I like undertaking crazy challenges in Exile; but unlike him, I don't think the player *should* have to rely on an insane amount of bugs to have fun (blessing fun, undead trick, end combat trick, luck abuse...).


I assume you're inferring that I believe this based on the fact that I made Roots rather than on what I've said in this thread. tongue
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I just have one tiny little thing to add to the loads of what has already been said about the Exile/Avernum dispute in this thread: Exile could (however inventive at that time) easily be mistaken for any other fantasy-rpg, while Avernum feels more unique, deviates more from the typical graphics, gameplay etc of most games which involve goblins and dragons. Don't you think? That's probably wherein the source of Avernum's brighter, smoother likeableness lies in my eyes.

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Originally Posted By: Rent-an-Ihrno
I just have one tiny little thing to add to the loads of what has already been said about the Exile/Avernum dispute in this thread: Exile could (however inventive at that time) easily be mistaken for any other fantasy-rpg, while Avernum feels more unique, deviates more from the typical graphics, gameplay etc of most games which involve goblins and dragons. Don't you think?


Not really, no. How is Avernum any more different from Ultima 6 than Exile is from Ultima 4?
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Thuryl : Nope, actually, I was more or less replying to this :

 

Quote:
You're lacking in experimental spirit. A game is a game, not a simulation: it's fun to find the ways that you can mess up the plot. Again, preventing the player from sequence-breaking in this way takes out a lot of replay value. Maybe this sounds like a strange opinion to you, but I think it's better for a game to have a few exploitable bugs in it: it gives people something to find and feel clever about themselves because they did something the game designer never thought of. A designer who's too smart to be outwitted is less fun to play against.

 

Don't get me wrong, I think Roots is fantastic. But it also proves that BoE designers *have* to take the bugs and engine exploits into account if they want to make fun combat (with the possible exception of a few scenarios like Nebulous Times Hence). Sure, when you first find out about the boatload of bugs Exile has, it's fun to abuse blessing spells so you can easily take out high-level melee warriors with a Level 1 party. But in the end, it also makes "regular" playthroughs way too easy.

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When did I say that imbalances and bugs were the same things? I did imply that Exile suffers from both, but in my last post I was talking about exploitable bugs. wink

 

EDIT : A "bug" occurs when you have something that doesn't work as intended. An imbalance can be caused by a bug, or by a mere oversight. I don't think I was being overly illogical.

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