I still think this is a much better starting scene than Solace Bridge, so I'm confused why it was turned off in favor of the more-blah scene. I particularly like the burning sky, which is atmospheric while also providing consistent lighting so the newbie who arrives at midnight isn't at a disadvantage. I never get tired of that burning sky. Still, there are a few ways the scene could be improved. The rift is collapsed when you first see it, but when you return to Highvale later, the stones are upright again. The only people who've been around in the meantime are bandits and maybe elves, so who raised the stones up? This is particularly noticeable for players who skip the Outskirts and return to Highvale after only a day or so of game-time -- as some will inevitably do if we're using the rift for travel, or if a more experienced player who started on another path is switching to the courage path and not interested in an Tier 0 area. As pretty as the fallen-down stones are, I'd prefer to see them always upright, and simply remove the glowy blue energy to show that the rift is inactive at the moment. Leave the pretty collapsed rift for use as a decorative-only, never-active stone circle. The horses are lovely, and it's nice seeing them right off the bat. But they're rather calm and easy-going for horses who are right next to burning buildings. They ought to be acting more like Floyd's spooking and rearing horses. On the other hand, Floyd's horses are too excitable for the circumstances they're in. (Floyd, by the way, is marvelous. It feels like someone put much more care into his dialogue than for the other NPCs.) It's less obtrusive here than in Solace Bridge, but I still really dislike the blue highlight on things we're supposed to interact with. It makes it feel like a game for preschoolers, who aren't expected to be able to figure anything out on their own, and as if we're being railroaded down a particular path. Again, I felt this the first time around, but it's even more noticeable with a character who has already completed one starter area and is now starting the path of courage. Even coming straight from the Isle of Storms, I already had three weapons, so why do I need another sword glowing blue at me? Especially when swords aren't my weapon of choice? I thought I read somewhere that the starter areas had been changed so you could no longer pick up multiple copies of something you had already. But that's not the case here, I still ended up with four Highvale Defender Swords. However, they ARE tradable/placeable now, when they weren't before. That's great! My offline blacksmith is jealous, she wanted to use them as decoration for her shop but only got the nonplaceable versions. They still have a value of 0, though, which means they're pretty useless to the PC; as weapons, they're no improvement over the training sword given on the Isle of Storms. I still think it would be great to allow the PC to turn the extra swords in to Simone or someone in the Outskirts (like the combat merchant that really ought to be a supply master) for virtue or xp points. Surely the guards there could use them, and it would be an in-character way for the new player to get rid of all the stuff they thought they'd need but don't and can't sell. Funny that all those corpses are carrying paperwork identifying them as knights, but none of them are wearing knightly armor! Not asking for plate in free loot, but it would be nice if the graphics on the corpses looked more like some of them were knights, some were town guards. I was pleasantly surprised to get a couple decent swords, better than the Highvale Defender, in the free loot from the corpses, since this character hadn't gotten anything worth having as loot in Solace Bridge or its Outskirts. Speaking of paperwork... most of those knightly notes are multi-page, even though some are only one or two lines on the second page. This (a) is a hint that the character-limit on paper notes is too short, if even the devs can't stick to one page for things like the Knight's Vow, and (b) will be confusing to new players when they first start trying to write paper notes themselves. You've got a dozen two-page notes in your inventory, so you know it's possible to write multi-pages (on paper, not just books), but the game won't let you write on the back of your own page? The knights are missing their armor, but the dead elves seem inordinately fond of lettuce and fish. At one point, I suggested more low-level food, things that warrior grunts could conceivably carry around, and this comes close. But I don't think even Obsidian elves would be carrying heads of lettuce and raw fish into battle, unless maybe they're working for Chaos. I kept seeing them using the heads of lettuce as projectiles, and smacking the knights upside the head with wet fish. Amusing and not a priority for changing, but probably not ideal in the long run. Also, since this character was born in Ardoris (despite the NPCs' insistence that she's an Outlander), it was rather alarming to discover two different elves carrying maps of Ardoris. Makes you wonder if they're planning an invasion there too. Edvard is gone now! I do think this is better for the game in the long run, but now I'm feeling unreasonably guilty that my calling him a useless nincompoop a few months ago might have resulted in him losing a job. Oh well, he's still got a job at Solace Bridge, where at least he has a bit more to do than he did in Highvale. However fun it always is to find treasure chests, even when they've got nothing worthwhile in them, it's still just wrong to see that one sitting right there out in the open in front of the house near the battlefield. At least make it look like it dropped as someone tried to load it into an escaping wagon or something. It was rather disconcerting to loot all the potatoes and tomatoes from the overturned market area, then turn around only a few moments later and find they'd all mysteriously reappeared. Also, this market area is overturned and lootable now, but when you return after the bandit infestation, it's completely and neatly restocked and marked as private property. The restocking makes sense -- bandits have to eat too, and if they have a dog named Daisy-toes, I'm not going to question that one of them also has a penchant for making sure the fresh bread is arranged just right on display. Whatever makes you happy, Bandit Baker. However, bandits are NOT known for the high value they place on personal property rights, so having the Oracle ding you for stealing from the bandits seems rather unfair. It's okay to kill them, but not to steal their tomatoes? Everytime I see the skeleton at Area: Battle of Highvale (novia_r6_hills02_highvalevillage/WithoutTutorial) Loc: (92.686, 45.231, -82.116), I want to ask whose house is this and who are they starving to death in the attic and why? There are no undead involved in the attack on Highvale. There's a couple other skeletons on the battlefield, but they're close enough to the burning wall that it just looks like they died in battle and everything but the bones has burned away. But this one skeleton in the attic... it's nowhere near the battle zone, and it's too soon afterwards for the body to have decayed to skeleton state. It really looks like someone died up in that room before the battle ever started. I understand why there are wolves and bears wandering about, but it really feels far too soon for the wilderness to start encroaching on what should have been settled farmland. Sure, they'd start moving in within a few months of the human settlement being gone, but not this quickly. Do we really need to be keeping these gate keys forever? I've never used it after creating my first character, everyone else I've sent through Highvale just goes over the wall. I haven't noticed in Highvale, but in Solace Bridge, the keyhole doesn't even exist in the permament version of the scene. As far as I can tell, the only purpose for the keys is to remind the player of whether they've been through the starter version of that scene. That IS useful, especially if you've got multiple characters. But is it useful enough for the new player to have an ever-expanding collection of quest-related items that don't go away and that'll never be used again, but that the new player won't know if it's safe to destroy? I honestly don't know the answer to that. One day, I swear, I WILL figure out a way to get up onto the northeast arc of the palisade platform. Alas, that day is not today.