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North Midmaer Way: Spoilers

Discussion in 'Release 47 Feedback Forum' started by Poor game design, Oct 27, 2017.

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  1. Poor game design

    Poor game design Avatar

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    Visited North Midmaer Way and wanted to provide some feedback:

    I thought the scene was well designed and had a lot of good things going for it, including a cool side quest. Details below:
    North Midmaer Way was set up very well. It begins a bit confusingly and I found myself going in circles. The mobs seemed appropriate, and there were interesting NPC's and points of interest.

    In the future, having the NPC trader stocked with some type of rare inventory would have made it even better.

    The one odd placement in the scene was The woodsman's cabin being so very close to the witch's house. It was convenient to be sure, but it also felt manufactured.

    I happened to visit the woodsman first, and when he told me about the witch I immediately assumed that was his wife based on the dialogue. Later when I visited the witch, I opened up by saying "Daisy?" and to my great delight she responded in a way that made sense! This was great, this was good dialogue that kept my immerssion because the NPC's responded as I would expect them to. Great job @Lum the Mad!

    The quest played out easily, but for the fact that I did not ask the witch for details about each ingredient. I already had garlic, and I knew there were tons of spiders in the forest already. So the only thing I really had to find was the woodsman's tears, and one could assume that would be found where the woodsman lived.

    So back I went to the woodsman's cabin, and for the second time I noticed a locked chest. Surely this is where the woodsman keeps his tears! :)

    But I couldn't find a key, and no NPC's seemed to mention the chest or understand what I was saying when asked. So why is that chest even there? Did I miss something? Is it just decoration? This is frustrating because no one wants to walk around trying to figure out if this is intended or not intended. If it's part of a puzzle or a quest it should be more clear, if it's not part of anything important then remove it or make it so the chest opens and you can see there's nothing important going on.

    I was stumped though, I couldn't find a key and I couldn't seem to get the woodsman to give up his tears. So back I walked to the witches home for the second time. Now I asked her specifically about each ingredient, and it was very clear where to find the tears. After a third trip to the woodsman's cabin and back to the witches home, I had the ingredients and followed the new instructions from the witch easily.

    But now the witch was saying "come back later" when the potion is down brewing. Well ok, how long is that?! Do I have to wait a day? Do I have to leave the scene? At what point is is ok to come back? This should be made more clear, or an extra task should be added to the quest to ensure that the dialogue does not confuse or annoy people.

    It turns out that if I just waited a few seconds it was ok to move through the quest and go to the next step, but for a few seconds I was really annoyed and it felt like there was no point in doing that.

    I finished the last step in the quest and found myself being very disappointed that the Reapers didn't all try to attack me. I thought for sure the witch was double crossing me and making the Reapers attack everyone onsite. That would've been a cooler finish, imo. But it's still good the way it is.

    I received the anti-virtue painting as a reward. Cool, love it! I thought the dialogue here was very good too, the witch saying something like she just wanted to get rid of it, it meant something to her once but not anymore. Great, I can dig that. But what I don't understand is what exactly she's talking about, it seems like perhaps it has something to do with her husband, but that's just a reach based on what little I know about that situation.

    I just feel like that dialogue needs one or two more lines that point towards what she's really trying to say. Did she feel like that was the wrong path (the anti-virtues) for her to take? I think the open-ended language is unsatisfying to some degree. It's almost perfect now, but it nags at me like I'm supposed to understand something that I don't.

    I think there's room to put some type of virtue "lesson" into this quest. Certainly the act of taking a man's tears seems like something that might count against you, but I'm not really interested in the virtue score card hear. Instead I'm interested in cause and effect. I feel like these side quests should have alternate choices that can be made. Take the tears and sure you get to help the witch and get the prize. But don't take the tears (the game would need a way to record this choice) and what happens? Is there a way to reunite the husband with daisy? Or maybe there's a way to help him get over her? The point is that the choices we make should have some kind of impact on the world, the world shouldn't appear to be static all the time.

    Here's the best way I can describe it. In game of thrones season seven *spoilers* "the Hound" revisits a cabin that he once stole money from. Now the man's skeleton rests against the wall of the cabin holding his daughter, presumably they didn't have enough money to eat and starved/froze to death as winter came. "The Hound"see's this and realizes the cause and effect of his actions. There's no virtue score needed here.

    I'd like to see more of that type of story telling in our quest line. I'd like to see players choose an action, and then later when they talk to an NPC, the NPC deals with them differently than if they didn't take that action. So for example, what if the player doesn't take the woodsman's tears? Perhaps later in the game while traveling through another scene there is an NPC that talks about her father the woodsman of North Midmaer Way. She explains that her mother left him, and he hasn't been able to get over it. But recently he noticed that he had cried so much that he's filled an entire bowl with tears! He looked into the bowl and saw his reflection, and it reminded him that he still had a daughter! So now he's coming to visit her! If that bowl of tears wasn't there, she's not sure she would've ever seen her father again! (I know that's lame but something like that would show how the world and the actions players make are connected)

    Overall, great job! I hope we see more and more of these side quests. This one definitely didn't feel like it was a go fetch quest even though there were still elements of that within.

    Oh, and I found a corpse with an undelivered letter that could be taken to any town crier. I thought this was really cool, not sure how long we've been doing this but it was well received and seemed very appropriate in this scene location.
     
    Rada Torment, Brugas, Numa and 4 others like this.
  2. Sannio

    Sannio Lead Quest and Level Designer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    Thanks for all the feedback, and I'm glad you liked North Midmaer Way and its quest! I was the one who wrote "The Witch's Solution" quest, but @Vas Corp Por and @PlagueOfLocust were the worlbuilders, spawners, and puzzle-makers. I'm saving your notes and will make a few tweaks based on your feedback.

    As the main sidequest guy these days, here are some of the goals I'm setting for myself: try adding a new quest into each scene that's uncloned (if I have time), coordinate my tasks to give out unique gifts (gear or emotes) with these new quests where appropriate, add scene-agnostic mini-side quests if appropriate, and work with the worldbuilders to ensure all the above makes sense in the scene. Sounds like we got pretty close with North Midmaer Way to all those goals.

    A note on choosing between "A" and "B" options:
    Here are two goals I have for quests: give clear "A" and "B" choices (good versus evil, truth versus lie, courage versus love, help versus hinder, etc.), and don't get too complicated. The conversation points in this particular quest were fairly linear because it's puzzle was a little complicated (at least, behind the scenes it was). Adding in the extra complexity of A and B conversation choices risks adding in places where the quest would break. If you want a a quest with a wide variety of choices, talk to Milde in Resolute--there are at least 8 resolutions for her quest (champion, bully, liar, etc.), although some of those "choices" are made for you depending on... let's say depending on the sort of player you were before you got to her. All that being said, when I review the quest I'll keep your feedback in mind and see if I can include some minor A and B commitments.

    I'll add this not-exactly-a-spoiler note:
    The corpse with the undelivered mail is something I came up with last release. Most "road" scenes (North Midmaer Way, South Drachvald Spur, Each Perennial Trail, etc.) and one or two non-road scenes have a good chance to have one of these incidental side-quest corpses. Nothing too complicated, but eventually one of several goal-oriented tasks in a scene that players can take on if they want.
     
  3. Aldo

    Aldo Avatar

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    I have to say, this quest and your response are very encouraging to me. Best of luck to you @Sannio and thanks so much for your feedback to us. Looking forward to your work....:)
     
  4. Poor game design

    Poor game design Avatar

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    Yeah, it sounds like it. From my playing perspective it seems like there was good collaboration on this scene.

    At the risk of over-killing my previous feedback.

    I think clear A and B choices are something that players generally like and I fully support having that. But from a story telling perspective, I think the way those choices impact the world is what really helps bring everything to life. Because we're obviously limited in that we won't have a lot of fancy tech (like phasing), I think there's room to expand the story and the choices of players through other NPC's. So depending on the choice someone makes in "The Witch's Solution", maybe the Reapers do something else? Or maybe another NPC in a far away scene interacts differently with the player should they ever meet up? For me, this is what turns a liner quest that has a disconnected start and stop from the rest of the world, and creates more of a story "system" that can help players stay engaged with.

    Also regarding rewards, I really wanted to get the anti-virtue painting so I was highly motivated to complete the quest, that was what brought me there. But I was delighted by the scene and the quest itself, and that made for a very satisfying gaming session. Conversely, I tried again to finish the Klin quest so I could get the virtue painting, but I wasn't able to. I don't know if it's bugged or if the problem was on my end, but I ended up giving up, at least for now. It could be, in part, that the Witch quest was very clear about what needed to be done. The Klin quest is more like go figure out what's wrong, and so you're constantly trying to explore whatever you haven't looked into yet, without a clear goal in mind. (maybe if I can figure out how to finish this one I'll provide feedback on it too)

    I hope this helps. Keep up the great work! I'm really looking forward to seeing more of these in the future.
     
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  5. Sannio

    Sannio Lead Quest and Level Designer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    Thanks for the additional feedback!

    With regard to side-quests having lingering repercussions, some of the recent additions are starting to "bleed out" into the rest of the world. We already have the completion of some side quests unlocking other/follow-up side quests, but there's more complexity being added over time For example, the results of some of your A or B choices in Crooked Shank will completely change how the whole town treats you. Also, your help in a different scene inspires an NPC to write a song about you (that you'll only learn about when you return to him), and it's my plan to have that song catch on with other NPCs in towns around that same area. Just to mention a couple of small things. To me, I'm not the guy who forges your character in the fires of an epic quest (that's Lum), but I am the guy who will try making you feel like the world is changing through your actions.
     
  6. DeadnGone

    DeadnGone Avatar

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    In response to this part:
    Not sure if you already tried yet, but you can...
    Ask Sigmund the woodsman about the chest and key. He'll tell you about it and what's inside and that he lost the key a while back. Seems like there is more to the quest line perhaps. Maybe there is a key to find still which unlocks the chest and the next part of the quest and maybe a reunion between the wife and husband.
     
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  7. Rada Torment

    Rada Torment Community Ambassador (ES)

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    I missed this post. Great feedback Drocis, wish we could get more of this.

    Found the same, no clues for the key.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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