Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Neverwinter Nights Retrospective Walkthrough - Part II

Neverwinter Nights Retrospective Walkthrough



Chapter One

In one brutal attack the promise of those at the academy had been all but snuffed out. Hope disappeared with the Waterdhavian creatures, and the weight of the terrible sickness pressed down on the city once more.
 

Even more chilling, the whispered rumors of the enemies seeking to destroy Neverwinter from within had proved true, though the identity of those responsible for the slaughter was as yet unknown.


Still, a flicker of hope yet remained, for not all had died in the attack. From the bloody carnage at the academy a survivor had stepped forward, a champion to carry the torch in this darkest hour...
  

Neverwinter - City Core


Watchknight Desther Indelayne & Abbot Fenthick Moss
Chapter One begins in the Sanatorium, still within the Neverwinter Academy. The moaning and wailing of the patients actually isn't overbearing like one might expect - the whole suffering thing is done quite tastefully, though it becomes unintentionally funny at times, later, in the City Core itself. Anyway, I'm choosing all the "mean" responses in dialogue for shits n gigs. I'm able to threaten Desther at one point (as a Gnome, I don't think I could actually reach his teeth to knock them out, but whatevs) but it's just sort of glossed over by the eminently calm - and gullible! - Fenthick. Desther comes across as majorly butthurt about basically everything, interrupting even when I'm speaking to Fenthick. Interestingly, a nearby nurse can be persuaded into giving info leading to early suspicion about the intent of Desther and his Helmites, but the check is cheapened when you realize you can just cycle back through the dialogue again and again and again until you succeed in passing it... Suspicions about Desther grow when the player delivers Anonymous Letters - looted from the corpses of would-be assassins - to Fenthick, as the chapter progresses.

The famous initial convo with Lady Aribeth de Tylmarande, Paladin of Tyr
Note the falling leaf :(
Aribeth is the primary quest-giver and anchor of the chapter, suggesting where to go and what to do. The whole idea of Chapter One is to travel to the four districts of Neverwinter and in each find a Waterdhavian creature (or part thereof) which is to be returned to the authorities, who can then hopefully concoct a cure for the Wailing Death, the plague afflicting Neverwinter.

Aribeth hands the player 100 GP and a Stone of Recall, which, when activated, teleports you to the nearest Temple of Tyr, which, in this Chapter's case, is right here in the Halls of Justice.

You can then ask her to freely cure you of any ailments, including awful negative status effects like Level Drain, and, since she's also a vendor, you can sell off any excess and encumbering loot - which BioWare likes to throw around like confetti - before jumping back into the portal to return from whence you came (50 GP charge).

It was good to see that BioWare evolved this concept in HotU, by allowing the player to set multiple recall spots - pity they didn't think of it earlier, though. Lastly, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realize that most encounters can be trivialized by Stone of Recall spam (though, to my mind, that's clearly "cheesing it"...)

A halfling Rogue Henchman by the name of Tomi Undergallows can be found loitering in the Halls of Justice, so let's talk a little about Henchmen and Rogue skills.

Henchmen

"HenchMAN" is the word BioWare decided to use for companion. The OC allows the player to recruit one Henchman at any given time from a pool of six, who will happily follow, fight alongside and risk their lives for the player for a small initial fee. Squishy spellcasters would do well to take a warrior Henchman to keep the aggro at bay; rogues and spellcasters complement warrior PCs, as a rule, but really, no choice is wrong.

You have very little control over what a Henchman actually does in combat (ie, "tactics"), but easily the most important commands at your disposal are attack nearest, follow and stand your ground - which, to save my sanity, I like to hot-key to the quickbar, immediately. In dialogue, Henchman "follow distance" can be changed to "close", "medium" or "far", and they can also be asked to help (or not to help) open locked doors and chests. That is literally the limit of your Henchman control. Companion control is basic, but it's very important to use correctly.

Tomi the Rogue, Sharwyn the Bard, Daelan the Barb, Grimgnaw the Monk, Boddyknock the Sorc & Linu the Cleric

Henchman character sheets can be accessed to check out their stats, but, unlike SoU and HotU, you can't access their inventories to equip them how you like. Instead, they handle their gear upgrades automatically, as they level up. Henchman Inventory & Battle AI Mod changes all this and boasts far more dialogue control, but I won't be using it for this series of posts.

Each of the six Henchmen has their own lengthy and entertaining tale to tell, plus items to be found within the game-world related to the tale. Once the Henchman receives the item, they reward the PC with a powerful gift which is upgraded in subsequent chapters. The rewards from Boddyknock and Sharwyn, being Charisma-based, are a priority find for my Sorcerer, but a few other gifts are of use, too.

I'll be adventuring exclusively with Grimgnaw for the duration of the OC. Why not Daelan? It's just preference, but I think Grimgnaw is superior because of his movement speed. He gets perma-Hasted at ninth level from Robes of the Darkmoon, which stacks with Monk speed and has to be seen to be believed, the guy is on crystal meth (at this level the PC won't have Boots of Speed yet). Plus Stunning Fist is useful and so are his superior saves (so I can drop AoEs on him). Moreover, Daelan doesn't even take Cleave at sixth level, which is just stupid.

The "downside" of Grimgnaw is that neither Keen Edge, Flame Weapon nor (Greater) Magic Weapon can be cast on his fists, but no Sorcerer worth their weight in salt should be looking to a "mere" companion for damage output, imo. He is there to tank and attract the aggro while I unleash hell on the enemies. Finally, Grimgnaw just happens to also be the most bad-ass companion in the official content, so that's just icing on the cake.

Feel the chill touch of the grave!


Locks n Traps

The very thought of locks n traps
Players who lack Rogue skills and don't bring Tomi along are gonna find locks n traps to at times be rather tedious or even obnoxious. Locks, because chests and doors must be either "bashed", Knocked, or Fireballed. The problem with "bash" is that it's very tedious even with Power Attack and elemental damage (due to the soak property); the problem with using spells for utility purposes is that you have fewer for killin' and have to rest more often. Prudent players might like to invest a single point in Open Lock and then rely on Thieves' Tools to buff their cross-class skill, but, even then, the act of picking the lock has a progress bar, which should tell you it takes time (the action was instant in the Infinity Engine). Traps, because you're probably gonna trip them before you detect them. If you do detect a trap, you have the choice of avoiding it or simply tripping it on purpose, preferably with a summon or familiar. You obviously can't do that with trapped chests - for those you'll want Fireball or Find Traps (which, despite the misleading name, actually does disarm them, too). Note that trapped chests can be utterly lethal, the one in Meldanen's Sanctum inflicts 80+ damage on a failed save, which is death to any low-level PC. Arcane classes could possess their Pixie, but that's a very specific solution. Btw, have fun at the Hodge's Estate trapfest without elemental resistance, I know I did..

So, not only did BioWare include millions of doors and receptacles to loot, they also locked and trapped many of them. Why did they do this - why? It drains my will to play on, at times..

Exploration & Area Design

Anyway, Aribeth recommends exploring the Peninsula District, first. The designers also have other NPCs hint at the same thing. I would say the suggested progression is sound, as the Beggar's Nest contains undead and Stoneskin use (plus things step up, area design-wise); Blacklake has a gating encounter in Loxar (plus minor wizardry and side-quest distractions); and finally the Docks' enemies are armored and beefed up compared to the prisoners in the Peninsula, who, apart from being punctuated by an escaped sorcerer or gang leader, are just soooo utterly weak...

The City Core is the hub of Chapter One, hosting a few optional quests, the Henchman pick-up point, and the various vendors. The other Districts also contain optional quests, points of interest and their own inn and merchant or two, but exploring them is slow for new players due to trashmobs, receptacles and their sprawling, over-sized nature.

The four Districts of Neverwinter, plus City Core & No Man's Land (linking the Core to Blacklake).

Within or beneath each District is a dungeon crawl, with the emphasis on "crawl" because the areas are far too spacious and consist of many siderooms jam-packed with receptacles and trashmobs. I have literally fallen asleep plodding through this awful design. Almost without exception, each District, and dungeon therein, could do with a major down-sizing (ie, halved) and complete refurbishment to make them acceptable.

On the plus side, three of the four main dungeons have an alternative entrypoint (always good) and generally exhibit good ambience - but so what when they're fundamentally flawed like this? Note the excessive siderooms in the dungeons pictured below and the tedious wrap around nature of them. The Hodge, Rumbottom and especially Androd estate dungeon crawls are all similarly bland and uninspired - basically mini-versions of what you see below.

Prison main floor, prison containment, Warrens of the Damned and Meldanen's Estate
  
Basic Encounters

A street scum trash-horde in the Docks, where's my Hellball?
Much of the encounter design can at times feel trashmobby: scores of prisoners in the Peninsula District, scores of weak zombies in "the Nest", scores of weak ruffians and muggers in the Docks, scores of diseased thugs and guards en route to and in Blacklake - scores n scores n scores! The fact they can be lured together into a massive clump for a Great Cleave-fest or a Fireballin' proves they're trashmobs. Does killing fifty weak prisoners absent-mindedly dotted over the enormous Peninsula map, yielding 33 Exp each, seem like fun to you? How about the other hundred or so holed up in houses and the prison itself? Now, repeat this across the four over-sized Districts, pictured above! Actually, somehow it doesn't seem that bad when you're playing. Even so, I highly recommend warrior builds take Great Cleave ASAP; spellcasters Sleep (Coup de grace) and later Fireball.

Note that Chapter One isn't all about trashmobs - there are indeed tougher encounters and many and varied enemies to spruce things up. At times, the problem is that they can be rather difficult for the uninitiated, as is exemplified by the notorious Bloated Dire Spider, an enemy encountered in the Nest crypts and the Silver Sails HQ, inflicting DC-26 poison and Knockdown, and which might as well have been a Bebilith for all the hope an unsuspecting new player has of surviving the ordeal..

This specimen has killed many new players over the years, I'll wager.
Or how about the Scythe-wielding half-orc encountered in the broken tower of No Man's Land whom you can run into fresh out of the Academy? In that case, have fun being "harvested".

Loxar is about to harvest Grimgnaw's head

One might also be surprised to learn that some "unassuming" encounters are actually "easier" taken at, say, third rather than at seventh level. I cite - with a shudder - the beetle encounter on the second floor of the Silver Sails which scales into Stags.

Check out their stats, these things are straight out of Starship Troopers

I exaggerate, but the point is that combat encounters can at times be really boring; at others frustrating, yet the (unintended?) difficulty spikes can be oddly amusing at times - to me at least.

The sub-bosses are underwhelming in Chapter One. The Neverwinter Zoo's "Master of Pens" and Kurdan Fenkt of the Prison's Pits weren't exactly riveting rumbles to write home about. "Gifted" with undead status and the look of a Lich by one of the Waterdhavian creatures, the dire mace-wielding Drawl at least raised my eye-brow slightly when he charged, but the priestly Snake Cult Leader in the Beggar's Nest is another inanity, casting a few pathetic buffs before wading into melee to wave his flail about feebly...

Drawl, the Sword Coast Boys gang leader, turned undead

District Boss Encounters


The Intellect Devourer is more tedious and annoying than difficult (DR 20/+3, daze). When you first enter it's Peninsula Prison lair, it charges you as Head Gaoler Alaefin, of whom it has taken possession. Having killed Alaefin, the psionic Waterdhavian pops out ready to "co-opt" the next guard unless you quickly use "Persuasion recycling" beforehand to make them vacate the lair. If you're low level, allowing it to co-opt the four guards - so that you can fight and kill each of them - yields considerably more Exp than persuading them, though.

The second District boss I take on is Gulnan the yuan-ti (Cleric [12]), who has taken up residence in the Warrens of the Damned under the Beggar's Nest. She's technically the most powerful pre-Helm's Hold foe, but, relatively speaking, I've always found her pretty tameable. Not that she isn't deadly if she unleashes Flame Strike or Hammer of the Gods. She's also capable of conjuring a Shadow Fiend. The PC being merely fifth level, the "trick" is to never give her the chance to unleash. Yeah, not exactly a tactical encounter, is it...

Meldanen the Sorcerer was a faceroll, surrendering at Near Death, inducing nothing from me but an exaggerated yawn. Note the Impossible challenge rating, what a joke that is...

Meldanen & Gulnan

The fourth Waterdhavian creature I went after was the Cockatrice. At seventh level I encountered Callik and Vengaul, both of whom felt a step up from the others. Callik (Fighter [4] / Rogue [5]) inflicts sneak attacks and wields a scimitar, which is always dangerous. Vengaul (Fighter [10]) fires piercing arrows from a longbow, but he's a completely optional mark, meaning you have to draw him into the fight by firing a projectile into his back as he attempts to scamper off. 

Left: Flame Arrow on Callik Right: Shoryuken!

Apart from the District bosses themselves, it ends up being the "Never's Tomb" sidequest which finally offers a decent challenge, at least for the unsuspecting. I speak of the four flying Swords of Never which swarm the player upon entry to the Blacklake tomb.
The above comments pertain to D&D "Hardcore" difficulty only.

Evil "role-playing" opportunities

(Remember, I'm Chaotic Evil alignment for shits n gigs.)

The vulnerable Bethany, a refugee from the Peninsula District, is the very first person the player meets in the City Core, and also my first victim. "Gimme money or I'll take it from your beat-up body", basically...


Nyatar is a Druid merchant and quest giver in the City Core, standing under a great oak. He requests I rescue animals that are being mistreated at Neverwinter Zoo. This generic dungeon crawl involves butchering twenty human beings - a mix of noble guards, hunters and the Master of Pens himself - to free four animals (a wolf, a bear, a lion and a panther). Having saved the animals, I then bully Nyatar for more money, forcing him to close up shop and teleport back to the forest, penniless. The hilariously stale dialogue made me splurt my coffee out onto my display...


Later in the Chapter, I find myself in the Helmite sanctuary of the zombie-infested Beggar's Nest. Noble Priest of Helm, Bertrand, requests I find his brother, Marcus. I locate his brother's corpse amidst a zombie trashmob, loot it of journal and staff, then return to Bertrand and demand payment for the items. When he doesn't cough up for the staff, I tell him he's not getting it.


Now in yuppie Blacklake district, to no surprise I fail a Strength check against a Meldanen guard. While the check is indeed welcome, the dialogue is just so poorly written and rushed that it seems like a wasted opportunity.


This was to be a series of posts, but I'm unable to continue due to the blandness of the OC, which makes it unplayable to me (at least in my current mood). In the OC's defense, I can say there are diamonds in the rough, that it was designed with multiplayer in mind, and that it's DMable.

Also, what I've said here in no way reflects on the modules made by the community using the Aurora toolset. This is where it's at for NWN! A few examples: The Aielund Saga, The Swordflight Series and The Bastard of Kosigan. Lilura out.

EoP

19 comments:

  1. "but the check is cheapened when you realize you can just cycle back through the dialogue again and again and again until you succeed in passing it"

    In all fairness, you could also keep simply reloading until you pass it.

    "Moreover, Daelan doesn't even take Cleave at Level 7 which is just stupid."

    Damn that Daelen for not taking Cleave on a level where he can't gain a feat!

    (Unless, of course, you're referring to him being one level behind and YOU being level 7, which isn't explicit here :P)

    "I exaggerate slightly, but the point is that combat encounters can at times be really boring; at others frustrating, yet the (unintended?) difficulty spikes can be oddly amusing at times - to me at least."

    That's Bioware for you!

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    Replies
    1. Error fixed.

      Save/reload until you succeed is "cheesing it", imo. I try not to do that, though I can't say I've never done it out of curiosity. Allowing the player to recycle persuade checks is lame "embedded cheese" by the dev, and breaks immersion. At least, that's how I see it.

      "That's Bioware for you!"

      Post-Baldur's Gate Bioware, anyway..

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    2. "Save/reload until you succeed is "cheesing it", imo."

      I would agree, but I also think the fact you'll randomly succeed some fights and not others is immersion breaking too. And while continuing to spam it is definitely cheesing, coming back later with more Persuade and trying again seems less so.

      Especially when something as big as the Tomb of Never sidequest is locked behind a Persuade check, for example (which, among other things, means you can get 500g more gold before entering the Peninsula to buy more potions or better items).

      On another note, I actually got to thinking about Daelen. Because, quite frankly, his "build" sucks. Think about what his feats would need to look like...

      Exotic Proficiency
      Two Weapon Fighting
      Ambidexterity
      Improved Two Weapon Fighting
      Weapon Focus: Double Axe
      Improved Critical: Double Axe

      And that leaves one more feat prior to 20.

      I don't even know how he has Power Attack at his level! I think Bioware just cheated and gave him extra feats/items. If I actually wound up "revamping" the OC at some point, I feel like I'd just strip him of his double axe and just give him a Great Axe. Feat order may go like

      Power Attack
      Cleave
      Weapon Focus: Greataxe
      Improved Critical: Greataxe
      Great Cleave
      Toughness

      In the event he got to 18 then maybe Knockdown?

      Frankly, I'd rather skip the whole Cleave line, though, and pick up Heavy Armor Proficiency (which is a minimum of a 2 AC bonus, plus you don't need 14+ Dex -- just 12). Unless you then went and gave him a "personal" set of armor that scaled with his level and was clearly the ideal armor to use despite the AC penalty (with damage immunity/reduction, extra stats, or whatever).

      It's complicated!

      Maybe just drop the weapon focus stuff entirely in this case? I'm not sure. Weird as it sounds, you also probably don't want it to feel like the companion is overshadowing the player too much, so maybe also actually keep him a level behind from the get go? Intentionally give the companions worse starting stats (like either -2 to all stats or only the equivalent of 20-24 point buy rather than 30) so the player is always a little stronger? Like I said, complicated.

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    3. Daelan sort of sucks ass compared to Grimgnaw, that's all I know from playing the game and being a munchkin. But really, Daelan taking the wrong feats or having illegal choices is small-time stuff to the complete redesign of which the OC is in dire need. Stuff like large, empty areas to plod through all the while poking three-pack trashmobs dotted thoughtlessly around; the lootable placeables spammed all over, locked and trapped! (and I'm not just talkin pre-Helm's Hold chapter 1, either...)

      Some of the OC is quality stuff, though, and doesn't need to be redone. There are diamonds in the rough.

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    4. "Daelan sort of sucks ass compared to Grimgnaw, that's all I know from playing the game and being a munchkin."

      Definitely later on, but initially I'm not so sure. Monks aren't that great to start.

      "Stuff like large, empty areas to plod through all the while poking three-pack trashmobs dotted thoughtlessly around;"

      Hmm. The lootable stuff and thoughtlessly placed mobs and such are relatively easily fixable, overhauling the physical layout of the zone is harder. Not impossible, just can mess a lot of other stuff up. You think an overhaul of the OC would mandate shrinking/altering area layouts to be worthwhile, then?

      That said, thinking of the first chapter and the Peninsula area specifically, it does seem like you could basically eliminate the middle floor of the prison with no real impact, for example.

      "Some of the OC is quality stuff, though, and doesn't need to be redone. There are diamonds in the rough."

      What in particular stands out to you?

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    5. "Definitely later on, but initially I'm not so sure. Monks aren't that great to start."

      I think he's superior even at the start. Comparable AB, FAR superior saves, superior AC, ele dmg (cold +2)...

      Daelan can inflict more dmg, but survivability is more important in the early game. You can't control when he uses barb rage.. but yeah, like i said in the blog post, there's no wrong choice per se. This IS the OC, afterall. :P

      "You think an overhaul of the OC would mandate shrinking/altering area layouts to be worthwhile, then?"

      Well it kills the game for me.. :(

      "That said, thinking of the first chapter and the Peninsula area specifically, it does seem like you could basically eliminate the middle floor of the prison with no real impact, for example."

      That's an idea, but I think many areas are in need of a full downsizing and refurbishment, also removal of hundreds of receptacles. Did they make this for multi-player or something, it seems like all the added space and junk-heap loot is for a larger party..?

      "What in particular stands out to you?"

      I think Helm's Hold is great.. I'm gonna post about it later, though. Charwood is also well done, pity even the interior castle areas are too large..

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    6. "I think he's superior even at the start. Comparable AB, FAR superior saves, superior AC, ele dmg (cold +2)..."

      Took a look at this.

      Daelen: 7/3 AB schedule with 9.5/7.5 damage respectively. 16 AC. Two extra feats he shouldn't have.
      Grim: 8 AB, 9.5 damage, 20 AC. No cleave, though, which he should have as a monk.

      If Grim uses Flurry of Blows properly (don't recall) then he'd be better...6/6 attack at 9.5 damage each and 4 more AC.

      That said, if I want Daelan as a companion then I'm often a mage/cleric...and I can't buff Grim with GMW/Flame Weapon/Keen/etc. Of course, those spells didn't exist in the OC either!

      "That's an idea, but I think many areas are in need of a full downsizing and refurbishment, also removal of hundreds of receptacles."

      To be clear (as I may not have expressed myself well), the hundreds of receptacles would definitely go. No question. The question is whether the physical layout of areas needs to be changed (aka, how MUCH of an improvement would doing that be -- if it would improve the campaign by 1-2% probably not worth doing, if it would be a 20% improvement it would be worth doing).

      "I think Helm's Hold is great.. I'm gonna post about it later, though. Charwood is also well done, pity even the interior castle areas are too large.."

      Looking forward to Helm's Hold. And yes, I think Charwood was one of the better parts in general.

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    7. Interesting stats you quoted..

      Grimgnaw takes Cleave at player level 10, which is very early Chapter 2 assuming you've had him as a Henchmen since day 1, milked EXP fairly diligently to that point and haven't conjured familiars and summons. I'm not sure when Daelan takes Cleave, how do I access their level scripts in the toolset to take a look?

      And yeah, I mentioned in the blogpost that his fists can't be enchanted with those spells, but he can be buffed with Mage Armor. Grimgnaw's Will saves also embarrass Daelan. I would assume Daelan's knockdown would be highly effective (remembering how Robert Black used it in Aielund Saga to great effect), but it depends on how proactive he is at activating it. Grim's stunning fist was handy against the minotaurs in Mutamin's dungeon. I'm pretty sure he uses Flurry, but I haven't really checked properly cuz his killspeed is more than sound..

      Maybe increase global movement rate, or give an option to. How hard is that to do on every actor for a whole module (I realise that's a heavy handed approach and doubtless would cause issues..)? Or maybe just give the PC more to fight in those areas and just scale the whole campaign to end at level 30 or something..

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    8. "I'm not sure when Daelan takes Cleave, how do I access their level scripts in the toolset to take a look?"

      I'm not sure how to break this to you gently...he doesn't...ever.

      And there's no leveling scripts -- the game literally deletes the level 4 companion and creates the level 5 companion that are predefined. And you also cannot access them in the toolset normally.

      "And yeah, I mentioned in the blogpost that his fists can't be enchanted with those spells, but he can be buffed with Mage Armor. Grimgnaw's Will saves also embarrass Daelan."

      Both can be buffed with Mage Armor, so that's not really a huge deal. And Daelan can be given Protection from Alignment (immune to Evil mind affecting affects) or (Lesser) Mind Blank, in all fairness.

      Then, of course, you can buff Daelen with Haste later on which gives him a large boost (and Grim is already permahasted).

      Basically, Grim is definitely better without buffs, but even with Mage Armor/Haste/Protection From Alignment Daelen is likely better (at least at high level). Throw in GMW/Flame Weapon and...yeah.

      "I would assume Daelan's knockdown would be highly effective (remembering how Robert Black used it in Aielund Saga to great effect), but it depends on how proactive he is at activating it."

      Robert Black only used it so effectively due to the Tony K AI incorporation...Daelen often refuses to use it. He prefers to Power Attack and miss a lot. It's stupid how much the AI loves Power Attack.

      "How hard is that to do on every actor for a whole module (I realise that's a heavy handed approach and doubtless would cause issues..)?"

      You mean like give every PC and NPC a 25% movement rate bonus? Trivial.

      "Or maybe just give the PC more to fight in those areas and just scale the whole campaign to end at level 30 or something.."

      That would be more along the lines of what I was thinking, yes. Use the space provided, just make the areas more interesting and probably have the campaign go up to higher level.

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    9. "I'm not sure how to break this to you gently...he doesn't...ever."

      Classic! :P

      Points noted on the level scripts of Henchmen (or lack thereof), and on Daelan.

      I think ideally all areas would be kept, but they'd be halved in size or even quartered, with more focus and less (or no) wrap around and MUCH fewer siderooms, giving a definite and much more engaging progression through the overall quest (also easier to fine tune combat encounters) and less of this pointless and aimless exploration (keep some genuine exploration, of course).

      I know that's a much bigger undertaking than just giving a 25% movement rate boost or packing in more enemies so the player doesn't fall asleep, but, to me, that's the ideal solution.

      (Note I've updated the post to include the District and dungeon maps).

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    10. Fair enough. I do wonder how much of the annoyance with siderooms would vanish if they had nothing in them (aka, they exist so you aren't immediately sure of the main path but upon opening them you can simply continue on).

      Wrap around is an interesting topic. Have it and people complain that it's pointless and silly. Take it out and people complain they're being railroaded.

      Manage to somehow make it feel like exploration and not proceeding down a hallway while keeping it focused and you're a designing god. Which I'm not, so I'm not sure of the best way to handle it.

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    11. Putting nothing in siderooms is a big "no-no" for me. You give the player a door to open (and possibly unlock and detrap), you damn well better put something in there 95% of the time - and not 7 barrels, 5 crates, 3 chests and a trashmob pack, either. :P

      Just my opinion, but I don't like filler combat, confetti loot or fake exploration and the illusion of openness, I see right through it. For example, I can tell they just mirrored one side of the dungeon to create the other, then just make minor modifications so that it looks different - which is why I say halve it and nothing of value is lost. If the design calls for wrap around, then that's different. But I don't see why Androd estate had to be designed so boring like that. also, three smaller areas linked together are better than one large bland area, because you can mix things up more (including tilesets).

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    12. Please understand I'm not trying to be a jerk here -- but a lot of people would think not having side rooms is equally as much of a "no-no." If they can walk into a building and instantly see everything in it (or just proceed through it in a linear fashion with the route being obvious) they often feel like there's not enough "exploration." They're not as perceptive as you.

      For example, which is a better system?

      A. You completed a quest and the NPC gave you 10,000 gold.

      B. You completed a quest and the NPC gives you a choice between 10,000 gold and getting kicked in the crotch.

      While the latter "choice" is, obviously, more painful for me than you, I daresay neither of us would think it is a good option. But there are people who will say (way too many people) that B is a better system because you get a choice. Even if it's a false one. They like that illusion.

      Two recent examples (using Bioware as a source) would be ME2 vs ME1 and DA2 versus DA:O. But you could find many others.

      Then that comes back to the wrap around -- let's even say that you legitimately made each side different (both in terms of the physical environment and creatures/features there). What does that accomplish?

      For you and me, absolutely nothing. We're going to do both sides anyway, both before the "final boss" (because we've been trained to do that just in case something changes after the boss), and that's that. It's just annoying. But others? They'll go different routes and think they're being given a choice, even when it's expected they'll do everything anyway.

      I'm not even sure there is a right/perfect answer here. Probably the closest you could come is something like Charwood where you have multiple paths but can only do one.

      ...but even that will lead to some people (aka, the two of us) reloading to see all three paths.

      You can't win!

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    13. Note that I never said remove ALL siderooms, remove ALL wrap around, remove ALL exploration - it's just that the OC can do with a massive redesigning to remove lots of it, imo. ;)

      Any idea why some creatures can have "PC Properties" on their corpse?
      http://i.imgur.com/A0Vq8eH.jpg

      You can't loot it, but you can examine it. Something to do with "expansion 3" horse scripts?

      Also, have you seen this?
      https://swordcoast.com/about

      Delete
    14. In reverse order!

      Yes, I also saw the thread here:

      http://forum.bioware.com/topic/545688-this-could-be-a-new-neverwinter-nights-type-game/

      Without a proper toolset and without allowing more than 4 players I don't see it being a good replacement.

      PC Properties are usually generated by using a spell added in SoU or HotU on a creature -- did you use Firebrand/IGMS perhaps? It's a bug, to be clear.

      And definitely, the OC would need a major redesign to seriously improve it.

      Delete
    15. "PC Properties are usually generated by using a spell added in SoU or HotU on a creature -- did you use Firebrand/IGMS perhaps? It's a bug, to be clear."

      Yes, both. And often :P

      Delete
    16. Understandable, they're both very good spells!

      But yes, that was something I had to fix in my modules (and everyone has to fix in most modules, I guess).

      Delete
  2. This really makes me wonder why no one has made a custom module "remake" of the OC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. a phantom edit of the OC, I like it.

      Delete

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