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Avadon 2 First Impressions Thread! (no spoilers)


Rent-an-Ihrno
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I think that the Tinker Mage is a very interesting and creative character class. While it is not perfect, it is a departure from the fighter, priest, magic user, thief that has been the basis of every RPG for the last forty years. I am using one as my protagonist and am finding it a interesting option. I am really having to adjust my playing style which has been half the party engages in melee combat, the other half uses ranged attacks ever since I started playing computer RPGs. I currently am using one melee specialist, one tinker mage and one sorcerer. In Avadon 1, I used two melee specialists and one sorcerer, so I have to stop my self from sending my Tinker Mage into close combat all of the time. I am finding it a very different style of play and that he is effective with his razor disks.

As to the difficulty of outfitting six characters, I consider six characters the good old days, I prefer six to having just four like in A:EftP and three in the Avadon series.

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This is feature, not a bug ;) Jeff said somewhere he doesn't like music in his games, so I had no such expectations. If silence is really painful to you, you can always play some music in the background - I believe there were even threads in those very forums dedicated to music people choose while playing Spiderweb games.

 

Well, romances were not present directly in any spiderweb before so... why not music?

 

I know that Jeff said somewhere, some day, that its occurrence was very unlikely, but, since it remains as my main problem with his games, I always keep the faith that someday, he will put optional music.

 

And yes, I myself created a thread in wich I asked about music to hear while playing Geneforge. I do it most of the time when playing any spiderweb game; unfortunatelly, it's a poor substitute. What makes music a great part of videogaming is that the themes merge perfeclty with the gameplay flow. That's very tiring to do manually while playing, and frankly makes the experience more irritating than anything. But, of course, I'm only talking for myself.

 

Potato - the flip side of Jeff's writing is that usually the text is optional; you can complete the game with minimal attention to the storyline. This sometimes gives the player an illusion of choice without any real choice, as in Avadon one, where whatever choices you make throughout the game, the ending is largely the same regardless.

 

I see that point; but I don't understand why this has anything to do with writing. More than a writing problem, it seems a gameplay issue to me. There are good ways to write videogames without real choice and good ways to write games with real choice.

 

Anyway, I think it's just a very subjective topic.

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Whether you call it the writing or the gameplay, it's the same package. Everyone will have different preferences -- Jeff's maxim is "people will forgive you for having a good story as long as you can ignore it." I'd prefer a game with a good story that's integral, which is why I like Spiderweb games but rarely love them.

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I've seen more praise for Jeff's writing than criticism. For me, it's one of the things that draws me to the games.

 

As for music, I'd never know whether there was any music, because I always play games after my kids are in bed, so I turn off the sound. :)

 

The writing has always been my favorite part of Spiderweb Software's games, and somehow I've never noticed the lack of music.

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For me the problem with music in games is despite how good it may be there is not enough of it and you end up hearing the same tune every 20 minuets. The repetition gets even more pronounced if there is a combat track.

 

I think I would rather have more ambient sounds that contribute to the atmosphere. Avadon 2 seems to have a slight bit more than previous one.

 

On the idea of a fan soundtrack: You might want to consider making a public Pandora station. I got a Gregorian chant channel I use when I go dungeon crawling, makes things seem more epic.

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Alcander may be amusing but I have to say that I'm very underwhelmed with Tinkermage as a class. To take full advantage of the Turret Construction skill set makes the character underpowered-to-useless with melee and ranged attacks, and turrets are only worth constructing against powerful enemies -- in roving trash mob type fights, the Tm with a full turret construction skill tree looks exactly like a mage who's out of spells. He can throw razordisks ineffectually and that's it.

 

The basic boltflinger turret costs 1 fatigue. Beyond very low levels, there's really no reason not to construct one for any fight that'll last more than a couple of rounds. And in a fight that won't last more than a couple of rounds, everyone else is probably going to be using their normal attacks too, so the Tinkermage isn't really worse off than anyone else in that regard.

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Played through the first few areas. So far it's alot like Avadon 1, only bigger and more. Plus, the beginning is more exciting than the first Avadon, which is nice (the opening hours of Avadon 1 were kind of tedious). So if you like Avadon you'll love this, but if you didn't it probably won't win you over.

 

One thing I noticed, though, with the insta-regen health it's really easy to cheese battles by having one party member run away, regen, then come back. This is probably the same in Avadon 1, but I haven't played Avadon 1 in ages and I've played pretty much every other SW game since then, so it kind of makes it stand out. I didn't remember doing this much in the original, but maybe I've just gotten lazy.

 

Plus, I actually kind of think the 3 party member limit is a fun change of pace. It breaks up the monotony of the usual 2 tanks + priest + mage party structure of the Avernums. It's kind of fun trying different party builds. My main character is a mage so I was rolling with 2 mages + 1 shaman for a while which was kind of crazy. I'm playing torment, but my main character is actually pretty durable for a mage (kind of surprising), which is how I can manage this. But I haven't really gotten to the hard stuff yet.

 

 

RE: Music

 

I've been listening to alot of Philip Glass' Opera "Akhnaten,"

 

Also Arcade Fire's new album, which doesn't fit "Avadon" at all, but I've never cared much about making music I'm listening to fit the games I'm playing. :D

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I'm liking it. It has a way of drawing me along and making me want to keep playing. I'm doing a shaman on torment again (male this time) but I can see what people are saying about the Tinkermage....some of the adventures seem especially designed to showcase the tinkermage and the tinker NPC is excellent there. I feel much more at ease with my shaman this time...which I put down to some careful game balancing.

 

One thing I really appreciate in Mr. Vogel's games over time is that he's always looking to eliminate the most irritating aspects of CRPG's...such as the long tedious journey back to town to heal the wounded and revive the dead. As I commented long ago, I like the Avadon approach to "torment"...the minor fights are still easy; the big ones not so much. Yes, you still have to run back to the pylons to recharge your vitality sometimes, but even the routes to the pylons are faster than they were before. And the story is engaging - a logical extension of the previous game, but enough new material that it's not just an uninspired remake. I'm impressed.

 

I also like the extra political dimension – now there’s not just pro-Avadon versus anti-Avadon, but there’s the question of oversight by Hanvar’s Council. I always liked the multipolar games best (which is part of why I liked Geneforge 2 and 5 so much) – they give you more positions you can stake out and fight for, plus they add some depth to the game.

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I have now finished the first major quest, "Hunting the Rebels". I definitely like the game. The graphics are better and being able to enter a map from different locations is great. The rebalancing of abilities has thrown me off a bit, but it is for the best, I just need to adapt. I like the new traps. Traps in Avadon 1 were pointless. Here the mines are well implemented. The ranged traps can be a little tedious, but they and the Tinker Mage class add an interesting dimension to the game. When Jeff remakes Avadon 1 in around 10 years, I hope he incorporates at least some of the traps into the game.

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Tinkermages seem slightly overpowered to me. You can easily build them into melee tanks with few discernable downsides (provided you have a healer as they can't self heal), or, better yet, a shadowmaster style Dex focused ranged fighter who can stay out of range and dodge. Then you also have the uber-powerful turrets on top of this. It might have been better to make their turret power governed by either Dex or Int. That would probably make them slightly more fragile in combat.

 

Although, I am thinking that since the turrets disappear when he dies I should probably start pumping endurance to give him more longevity. Tinkermages might be the first class in a spiderweb game where it makes sense to focus on endurance since their main means of inflicting damage isn't governed by attributes.

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If you push a tinkermage's dexterity to 30 with wristflinger training to 8, then the tinkermage does more damage than his turret. However in combination with the turrets he can hang back behind them as meatshields and heal them. It gives more flexibility, plus it increases the damage from scarabs and healing using the self-healing scarab.

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Having two tinkermages with different builds in my party sure makes it easy to compare them. Observations so far: shooting for freeze turrets ASAP is better than maxing out the basic boltflinger turret, Dex-based tinkermages can afford to invest less in Endurance than Str-based tinkermages and consequently do more damage due to their higher attacking stat, upgraded turrets can survive significantly more damage than PCs and the turret-healing skill helps keep them alive even longer, so the tinkermage herself doesn't necessarily have to be a tank.

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Having played through I guess half the game so far, my biggest pet peeve is DEFINITELY that:

 

Equipping your party feels random, not earned. Earlier in this thread I discussed the lameness of the Tinkermage having to use the Shadowalker's ranged weapon - classes mean little from a storytelling perspective if equipment is interchangeable from one class to the next, and when you've got a six-character party to equip and swap items out between whatever 3 characters you feel like taking on upcoming missions, it begins to feel far more like it's just a matter of making a tidy power-gaming spreadsheet than like you're on a quest where the choices you make have any relevance. (Even if, as promised in the cut-screens, "there are many different endings" - that's great, but the action of prepping for each journey is always the same, and it's unfortunately really boring.)

 

I realize that this is the first Spiderweb game written with a party this large, but the endless number-crunching really adds to the downtime and detracts from the fun of being in the Avadon world. It's good that the class skill-trees have been nicely adjusted from Avadon 1 to make skill-acquisition feel distinct, but item selection is near-meaningless beyond the basic "mages can't wear heavy armor" rule that dates from the first Dungeons and Dragons system 40 years ago; there's no evolution to it beyond that.

Edited by eaintree
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It's huge. Playing more different area comparing to Avadon 1, am now in the temple of god whatsit so the game is far to be finished. Sensation is this: huge.

I notice something slightly annoying, it is the name of places in messages (dialogues) which often differ to those written on the map.

It's also confusing the way characters give information, i.e. it happens they direct you northwest, then explore the area northwest and there's nothing, it takes to change area to find the place.

It's not always like so, btw, no plane logic in instructions, apparently.

Hope to meet some big bad guys as in Avadon 1 soon because until now the newcomers are not that scary.

Going on I hope to find good bows too, because until now I only managed to steal a Composite bow, it's not very good compared to the selection of mighty blades.

Overall Avadon 2 is to me a huge, slow, difficult to memorize instructions (my problem), often annoying... absolutely great game. I love it.

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The Corruption is really interesting, but I'm kinda annoyed at the Anti-Avadon/Redbeard slant everything is given again.

 

No, I'm not going to bother to try and assassinate him no matter how many bags of puppies he drowns in the name of the Pact. If it comes down to my decision, he'll just be back in Av3, and I'll be left wondering why I wasted so much time and frustration. If I do, I'll probably crank the difficulty down to minimum and make liberal use of the console because that much pain isn't worth a non-canon fight.

 

It's one thing to have non-canon challenge fights on the side like the Avernum Dragons, but to build the entire game up to them then completely throw them out in the next game? Fool me once...

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Jeff deliberately makes the Demo easy. It gets worse after level 12. :)

Well, that's just bad design. People are gonna make their purchase decision based on the demo. If the demo offers no challenge even on supposedly "torment" difficulty, then that's gonna put a ton of people off. Why would anyone picking a Torment difficutly want a slow easing up of many hours of gameplay? This kind of boring phase also make replaying more of a chore than it needs to be.
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Well, that's just bad design. People are gonna make their purchase decision based on the demo. If the demo offers no challenge even on supposedly "torment" difficulty, then that's gonna put a ton of people off. Why would anyone picking a Torment difficutly want a slow easing up of many hours of gameplay? This kind of boring phase also make replaying more of a chore than it needs to be.

 

The demo is meant to attract first-time players who have no experience with Spiderweb game mechanics, and maybe not much experience with RPGs in general. They're not going to find it as easy as you or I do, and you and I are less likely to make our purchasing decisions based solely on the demo.

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First time players probably won't pick Torment as their difficulty either. And I'd imagine having no challenge, with just left-clicking everything to death, isn't the most engaging experience to lure an RPG newbie in. For someone who's mostly interested in the story that's perfectly serviceable, sure (many newbies might well enjoy complex combat too once presented with it), but for a longer time RPG player, who isn't necessarily familiar with Jeffs earlier work it doesn't paint a good picture.

 

 

Personally I probably won't pick up the full game, I'm sure you'd actually get some interesting abilities and fights later on in the end game, but I don't feel like trudging the early-game boredom to reach it at the moment.

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First time players probably won't pick Torment as their difficulty either. And I'd imagine having no challenge, with just left-clicking everything to death, isn't the most engaging experience to lure an RPG newbie in.

 

Gonna post the same link I posted in reply to you in another thread: a lot of people like to just left-click everything to death, and Jeff Vogel's one of them. Torment difficulty is not something that many players outside these forums use at all (according to data collected by Steam, only 1 in every 250 players played through Avadon 1 on Torment), so not a lot of effort is put into balancing it.

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Well, I just did a Loyalist run. Even if I can't say that's quite accurate given that I did what needed to be done to keep my companions loyal to me. It was an overall enjoyable experience.

 

I'll probably enjoy my upcoming less than loyal run even more. Even if staying loyal to Redbeard is likely to be canon for Avadon 3.

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All I can say then is that he really shouldn't have slanted the entire game in that direction

 

It seems like the first game being taken as encouraging players to kill Redbeard was kind of an accident and I'm not sure how it turned out the way it did. Looking at Jeff's blog posts about the game even right up to its release date, working with Redbeard was always meant to be the default ending that 95% of players got, while killing Redbeard was always described as a semi-hidden option that was very difficult to achieve. Of course, in the actual game, when you meet Redbeard at the end the option to challenge him to battle is right there in plain sight, and between that and the various people who try to talk you into opposing Redbeard, I think a lot of players went into "see boss, fight boss" mode.

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This game is horribly frustrating. I played through Avadon 1 with little problems and tried different combinations with party of 3. With this game I am only getting through each minor encounter of Cactus rats with 1 person in party dying and the other two near death at all times. Getting past Miranda was an act of god. I really don't think this game is very well balanced out with party members. Tinker mages I just don't get and the only character in my party who rocks in Yoshiria because she is a shadowalker and they rock. Sorcerer Yannick is just awful and is the main reason I have no chance as he always dies.

 

All the enemies are brutal melee characters and just destroy anything in my party. Without the dexterity bonus from the first game I can't see getting past mid game. Way too frustrating.

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The difficulty you're having might have to do with using a DEX-heavy build, which is nowhere near as effective as in Avadon 1. I'm personally using a tinkermage as my main character (maxing STR exclusively at every level, with the middle skill tree maxed and the right tree as secondary), Alcander (using the same stat/skill distribution as my main character), and Dedrik (INT exclusively, with the middle tree again maxed and the group heal and poison mist skills pumped up). With this group and the two tinkermages on melee, I've been tearing through basically all enemies/bosses like a buzzsaw. This is on Normal difficulty, though; not sure what difficulty level you're using. That said, the Spiderweb veterans seem to generally agree that a properly built tinkermage is the only way to powergame.

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I am using a shadowalker with Str/Dex/endurance, a sorcerer with dexterity/intelligence, and my tinkermage with strength and endurance and enchantments of dexterity for resistance and speed. Why the heck did jeff have to break dexterity. I got to start all over and lost 5 hours. The first game had ranged enemies all throughout the game. This game has melee enemies that can just as easily shred through your fighters with no problem. My tinkermage is a badass as he can at least take some hits but shadowalker girl is just a eunuch.

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With this game I am only getting through each minor encounter of Cactus rats with 1 person in party dying and the other two near death at all times.

I told Jeff during beta testing those rats were the second toughest monster in the zone and the toughest was an optional drake battle.

 

Jeff finally nerfed an all dexterity build so deep runestones for +5% to evasion becomes the best enhancement for armor.

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I told Jeff during beta testing those rats were the second toughest monster in the zone and the toughest was an optional drake battle.

 

Jeff finally nerfed an all dexterity build so deep runestones for +5% to evasion becomes the best enhancement for armor.

 

So jeff made that part impossible, great. Was the game rushed. From what you were saying it seems like it might still be in beta or alpha. Will there be another patch to fix this stuff?

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I'm really enjoying it so far -- I decided to do the Tinkermage thing because I usually play sorcerer-types and it seemed cool and different. And it's a lot of fun! Very tactical, as the reviews have been saying. It does mean that I don't have quite as much occasion to take Alcander along, though -- which is too bad, because he's hilarious. (Am I right that Intelligence doesn't do much for Tinkermages? It is kind of surprising, a priori, because of the "mage" bit; but my main stat is Dexterity and I am consequently pretty good at razordisks.)

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So jeff made that part impossible, great. Was the game rushed. From what you were saying it seems like it might still be in beta or alpha. Will there be another patch to fix this stuff?

I think Jeff felt players deserved what they got after the scout warned them to watch for markers to dangerous areas. I've gotten through it several times on torment difficulty so it is possible to do it without losing anyone.
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I just remember Silke saying that I need to get the satchel. So with all that figured out, what is the best way to go about making a party that actually works. I wanted to play a melee tinkermage and maybe a fighter and a shaman. Ive made shamans before but don't like Sorcerers because they are too fragile. It would seem that blade masters far outdo shadowalkers in melee.

 

Any ideas on something that works? I want to really make a successful fighter tinkermage and the other party members are up to decide. I am so f* bad at this game.

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A tinkermage, blademaster, and sorcerer party works fine. You can get by with a sorcerer, shadowwalker, and shaman party if you move the shadowwalker up in the party to first position. Even a missile blademaster, melee blademaster, and shaman will work most of the time, but won't be able to open most locked doors and chests since none have the skill.

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You don't necessarily have to start over, by the way: hit shift-D on your keyboard and enter the cheat retrain to reset all your characters' stat and skill allocations, letting you try out different builds. Also if you can hold out just a little longer, you'll find a retrainer who lets you do the same thing without using cheats.

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A tinkermage, blademaster, and sorcerer party works fine. You can get by with a sorcerer, shadowwalker, and shaman party if you move the shadowwalker up in the party to first position. Even a missile blademaster, melee blademaster, and shaman will work most of the time, but won't be able to open most locked doors and chests since none have the skill.

 

Thank you sir! Just favorited that for future playthroughs. Im going to try a Tinkermage Melee fighter, a blade master who fights in all forms and a shaman who goes with battle magic. I used dexterity and intelligence for previous shaman spell caster. I guess intelligence and endurance will have to settle.

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I have been playing on normal and found the beginning of the game more of a challenge than I expected as I adjusted to the change in dexterity and how to use a tinkermage, which is my main character. While there were some early fights that I struggled through and I still occasionally loose a character in a fight, it has smoothed out a lot. I do not spend very much on Dex. For the tinkermages, I go with Str and End so that I have a melee tinker mage with enough vitality to create buffs and attacks. For the rest of the characters, I have been spending on primary stat and End to give them more survivability. I am still swapping out characters for each major quest, but I have been using melee shadow walker or blade master, tinkermage, shaman or sorcerer in each quest. I of course did the NPC tinkermage's special quest with two tinkermages and I can see why Randomizer used two tinkermages for some of his Torment play throughs.

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On the subject of the first game being slanted towards fighting Redbeard . . . I think what was ultimately supposed to convince you otherwise was Miranda openly admitting that every assignment she gave you was chosen specifically because she thought they'd turn you against Avadon.

 

Though I ultimately justified staying loyal to Redbeard by concluding that replacing him as Keeper, and having to be brought up to speed on all the things a Keeper needs to know, were the last things Avadon and The Pact needed when things were about to go down.

 

Of course, by the time I finished my loyalist run of Avadon 2, I started feeling more and more like a villain by doing so. Which is part of the reason as to why I think I'll enjoy undermining Avadon in my second run.

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Just wanted to reiterate that - at least on Normal - splitting attribute increases doesn't seem to be optimal. If you want a melee tinkermage party, you can't go wrong with two all-STR tinkermages (you and Alcander), and an all-INT shaman (or, from what others have said, maybe a sorcerer). You can safely ignore END/DEX for all characters completely outside the automatic increases; if you use the healing scarabs on your main character and focus on healing as well as spirit claw for your shaman, you'll have plenty of healing to balance your lower HP (due to lower END) for the tougher fights.

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