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A3: A big list of random observations


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  • More fights than I'd like to admit went from fully winnable to irreversibly lost because I cured the wrong person, or attacked when I meant to heal.
  • The level of organisation and effectiveness in Avernum is crazy impressive for a bunch of misfits, criminals and undesirables. Decide to go up to the surface? Build Portal Fortress, Fort Emergence, raise an army etc. Most people seem remarkably well adjusted. Where things are dysfunctional it's because of too much bureaucracy.
  • I read a lot of debates on this forum about which skills are good, but in my experience they turned out to be fairly trivial – even on Torment, even when fighting bosses like Sulfuras. There are things made a noticeable difference, but they weren't what the experts were arguing about.
  • Slith may not be well balanced, but finishing the game with a Slith and Nephil in your party feels like a good thing for species relations in the Empire.
  • I'd never seen the Tower of the Magi event, so waited til the 150th day expecting some cool loot and maybe a fun battle or two. I've never felt so ashamed of my curiosity. What happened in the tower was more brutal and horrid than I'd ever imagined.
  • But hardly less scary than this. Just after I'd got the message saying "Something terrible has happened, but you're not sure what", I rounded the corner and behold: https://i.imgur.com/sQq9LmP.png A gigantic horde of rampaging slimes were seething across Krizsan Province. I was terrified for a moment until I realised what had happened. There was a wandering monster spawn for slimes & bandits nearby, which inexplicably had continued working even after Bojar and the slime plague were defeated.
  • The fact that one 25-year-old build an engine, a gigantic world, an epic story, plausible and involving characters, any number of jokes, a combat system, awesome spells and skills, and goodness knows what else -- it remains truly mind-blowing to me. I wish I had half Jeff's imagination, talent or energy.
  • Eyebeasts, for me at least, have the biggest gap between how flimsy they look and how crazy tough they are.
  • The most annoying thing playing the game was the lag I got every time I attacked. Seemed to be less bad when you were overkilling enemies, and worse when they were more healthy relative to the amount of damage you did. Playing on Casual eliminated the lag almost entirely.
  • The difference between a hard fight and an easy one is two levels. And, more often than not, that's the difference between hard one and an impossible one too. 
  • Jeff thinks I'm a lot more interested in visiting random farmhouses or trading with 2-bit peripatetic merchants than I actually am.
  • Anyone else ever try to talk to someone in town only to realise you're clicking a member of your own party?
  • The Valley of the Usagi (on Torment at least) feels like the main turning point in the game, where things gets easier afterwards.
  • ... except for the Golem Factory, which is always an agonising slog unless you set the difficult to Casual. 
  • The weird thing about stealing isn't that Jeff tells you it's wrong and then rewards you every time you do it. It's that there are items that aren't marked Steal. Like, "These bars of iron are mine. But I'm not possessive about those sacks of coal".
  • No happy friendly spiders, you're cute 🖤
  • Smite (the giant-slaying spear) wins the prize for the game's most useless effect. Not bad, just really, really late.
  • Could Rentar-Ihrno please explain why it's OK to tell Crystal Souls to kill me, but so shocking when I kill them back?
  • I miss Wound, and I miss the Alien Slime's look from Exile. The current Alien Slime doesn't look very alien ... or slimy?
  • The existence of giant bugs in Avernum is legit. Big creatures are more efficient, and so do better in environments where food is scarce. Like giant deep sea squid. Similarly, basalisks on the lost isles feel akin to giant tortoises on the Galápagos. A lot of other creatures however ...
  • Daze is as useful at the start of the game as at the end. Wonderful spell. Most others are useless.
  • If one scary creature is about to have their turn, you're ok. If two are, you need to reload.
  • "Kill roaches for Nell" has the most disproportionate quest rewards in the game. I'm not one to turn down priceless crystals, but 200 gold and some useless herbs would have done fine.
  • I can find slime towers and friendly roaches, navigate Zkal's labyrinth and spelunk the deepest of stalkers, but finding Mundt was the hardest challenge of all.
  • I was staggered by how many new hidey-holes, bosses and even major plot moments I found on my third "completionist" run. Never even noticed the Vahnatai tunnel before ...
  • Some of the naming in this game is terrible. +x% to blessings/curses is ambiguous, and +x% faster fatigue recovery is the surely the most confusing way of expressing that.

 

Balance
 
  • The amount of gold available in the game is ridiculous. Found myself carrying round an inventory of steel breastplates and artifacts because I'd hit max gold and couldn't find anything to spend it on.
  • A magic user can get Adrenaline Rush for free if they: equip the Discipline Blade (+5 melee stats), do +2 training in each melee stat, do Volosto training ... and then get a bonus from some other events that I can't remember. Kinda cool, and easily doable – especially with an archer party.
  • 3 archers + 1 mage/priest was definitely OP. Never struggled on Torment.
  • With 3 archers you can get 22(+?) gymnastics, and 2x20 sniper. Pretty sweet.
  • Spell and ranged damage work best when you stack them. You usually need multiple archers to kill nasty spell casters in one turn. And often, magic usually takes, say, a quarter of a creature's life, whereas melee/ranged will, say, take half. So if you have one magic damage dealer, archer and fighter, the magic user will generally be redundant. But 4 magic damage dealers, and you evaporate your enemies.

 

And if any of that was old hat, irrelevant, or trite, thanks for reading anyway.

Edited by Tsvetushchiy
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A few thoughts to go along with your random ones...

 

5 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

The level of organisation and effectiveness in Avernum is crazy impressive for a bunch of misfits, criminals and undesirables. Decide to go up to the surface? Build Portal Fortress, Fort Emergence, raise an army etc. Most people seem remarkably well adjusted. Where things are dysfunctional it's because of too much bureaucracy.

 

By A3 the Avernumites had been down there for a few generations (at least 2-4), so they had time to figure out what worked & what didn't, had been through the war with the Empire, etc.  They were pretty much in that sweet spot where things worked but not because they had to & not to the point where you will do 'x' followed by 'y' & then onto 'z' because that's how it's always been done/it's in the rules that that 'will' happen this way.

 

5 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

Slith may not be well balanced, but finishing the game with a Slith and Nephil in your party feels like a good thing for species relations in the Empire.

 

Back in beta testing for the current A3 I argued/discussed with Jeff that both sliths & nephils should 'not' be allowed in the exploration party.  My thinking/reasoning was that the Empire banished/tried to exterminate them.  Showing up on the surface, both very pale, & with either or both of them in your party isn't exactly stealthy.  His argument (iirc) was things were so bad up there that everyone quickly realizes that nobody cares or notices you (unless you give them a reason to do so).

 

5 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

The fact that one 25-year-old build an engine, a gigantic world, an epic story, plausible and involving characters, any number of jokes, a combat system, awesome spells and skills, and goodness knows what else -- it remains truly mind-blowing to me. I wish I had half Jeff's imagination, talent or energy.

 

Yep, I've thought this many times over the decades that I've been running around in his worlds

 

5 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

Jeff thinks I'm a lot more interested in visiting random farmhouses or trading with 2-bit peripatetic merchants than I actually am.

 

Hey, my word for the day. Agreed btw

 

5 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:
  • No happy friendly spiders, you're cute 🖤

 

Ummm, yes there are.  You can't do one of the big quests without meeting them...

 

6 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

I can find slime towers and friendly roaches, navigate Zkal's labyrinth and spelunk the deepest of stalkers, but finding Mundt was the hardest challenge of all.

 

I finally had to hint book/Strategy Central that one... decent long term reward though

 

6 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

The amount of gold available in the game is ridiculous. Found myself carrying round an inventory of steel breastplates and artifacts because I'd hit max gold and couldn't find anything to spend it on.

 

I never had a problem spending money. There were always things I wanted to train everyone in or spells to buy.  The job boards were great for providing income when I needed just a liiittttle bit more money

 

6 hours ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

But 4 magic damage dealers, and you evaporate your enemies.

 

I generally run a ranged damage party.  Everyone gets mage spells up to at least the first AOE spell (Ice Spray?).  They also get priest up to where (eventually) they get flamestrike.  The first guy may be more of a meat shield but even he can toss out those flaming grenades to thin out the horde before they can close with everyone.

 

It's been a couple of years since I've wandered through A3(RW).  Once the QW2 fervor dies down I may have to revisit some of my old friends there.

 

 

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On 8/17/2022 at 1:19 AM, TriRodent said:

Back in beta testing for the current A3 I argued/discussed with Jeff that both sliths & nephils should 'not' be allowed in the exploration party.  My thinking/reasoning was that the Empire banished/tried to exterminate them.  Showing up on the surface, both very pale, & with either or both of them in your party isn't exactly stealthy.  His argument (iirc) was things were so bad up there that everyone quickly realizes that nobody cares or notices you (unless you give them a reason to do so).

Interesting! Jeff's justification doesn't seem to make sense from Avernum's point of view though. You'd only be comfortable sending Sliths and Nephils to the surface if you already knew that the Empire was indifferent.

 

Always enjoyed the way that you step into Kriszan fearing violent hostility and are met with complete indifference.

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36 minutes ago, Tsvetushchiy said:

You'd only be comfortable sending Sliths and Nephils to the surface if you already knew that the Empire was indifferent.

 

Again iirc, that was my followup argument.  Perhaps allowing you to switch out party members 'after' doing some exploring/eliminating the slimes.  However it pretty much came down to 'that would be too complicated' & 'it's my game & I want them to be included if people want them'.  Well ok then (& I really can't fault either of those points.  It would make the programing somewhat more difficult/extra time to produce & in the end it is one guys vision of what he wants it to be).  Oh well, it's still a great game & one of my favorite SW offerings.

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On 8/16/2022 at 8:19 PM, TriRodent said:

Back in beta testing for the current A3 I argued/discussed with Jeff that both sliths & nephils should 'not' be allowed in the exploration party.  My thinking/reasoning was that the Empire banished/tried to exterminate them.  Showing up on the surface, both very pale, & with either or both of them in your party isn't exactly stealthy.  His argument (iirc) was things were so bad up there that everyone quickly realizes that nobody cares or notices you (unless you give them a reason to do so).

 

His argument is explicit in the game; there are quite a few surface NPCs who make it clear that they can tell you are Exiles even with an all-human party.  The people in Fort Emergence have some concept of this too -- they tell you that they don't expect the people in Krizsan Province, at the very least, will care.

 

But were you really trying to convince Jeff to remove a player option that many people had enjoyed in the previous two iterations of the game and in the immediately preceding sequel (A2:CS)?  I'm a big fan of internal consistency, but taking away parts of the game that already exist and that people enjoy is shooting the game in the foot.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Veterans of the Empire's conflicts in the caverns (and they are present in the setting) would have known of the Sliths more likely than not.

...That the region is in such a terrible state of affairs means that the plot point of them not caring can be forced to work. If you want to do your own RP'ing, don't take a Slith character with you on your first encounter. That said - because I do not recall - is there a hireable Slith in Upper Avernum which you could activate at your disposal?

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