Quest feedback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Quests & Lore' started by mass, Jan 5, 2018.

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  1. mass

    mass Avatar

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    I'm going through the main questline now and thought I'd use a thread to provide feed back as I go through it, before I forget previous steps.

    Path of Love
    1. At the end of Necropolis Barrens, Samael says he has an errand to run in Brookside, but that he will meet me in Midras Ruins. The Necropolis exits to Midras: and no Samael. I go to the entrances of Midras: No Samael. I find the entrance of the Crypt of the Avatar: No Samael. I don't want to go in the crypt because Samael said he would meet me in Midras and I figure it will mess things up if I go on without him. So, I wander around Midras for some period of time and finally decide to just go in the crypt. I'm surprised to find Samael inside the crypt and annoyed that he was not where he said he would be.

    Recommendation: Either post Samael outside the crypt entrance so that he will 'meet me in Midras' as he says or have him indicate that he will 'meet me in the crypt' before we leave the necropolis.

    2.So, Miles says I can help Eris if I find something. I try to ask him about it, but Samael interrupts me every time. I figure I'll go look for 'something' anyway and proceed to explore the crypt and kill all enemies, including the obsidian construct, and get nothing. So I run back to Miles, and luckily Samael is lagging so far behind I get to ask him about what to get and he tells me about the council report. But, since I've killed everything, I have to wait for the instance to reset to go back down and get the report off the obsidian construct. Very interuptive.

    Recommendation: Always allow the council report to drop off the obsidian construct the first time you kill him. And: 800 xp seems comparatively low as a reward.

    3. In order to give Samael his ring, you have to trick him to walk away from the gravestone, otherwise he is unresponsive to 'keepsake' or any other attempt to give him the fixed ring.

    Recommendation: Fix Samael's behavior in Brookside.

    4. Why doesn't Samael follow me to the ferry and cross with me? Seems awkward.

    5. In Malice there is a barrier. I'm clued to pull gems off dead bodies. But there is never any explanation of how or why this might lower the barrier, but I find two more and by coincidence it does. This is a very shallow mechanic.

    Recommendation: Flesh out story behind barrier, corpses with gems, and their connection.

    6. In general, this path is ok, but short and of 'low density' (e.g. you don't get to know any particular character well enough to care about their fate, nor do you get enough world lore to feel connected to it).

    Path of Truth

    1. I arrive at Bloodriver and two guards ask me to see the Magistrate. Both Gaurds are named "Robert Townsend".

    Recommendation: Change one guard's name.

    2. During my conversation with the Magistrate, he says this place used to be called 'Blood River' but because of the massacre, he doesn't know what it should be called now. This seems nonsensical.

    3. Bandits in Ectceter mine don't show a green reticle, therefore I wandered around the first floor of the mine for 20 minutes before I discovered I could talk to them. Needs fixing.

    4. After you do what lady ransom requests, if you go back to her, she behaves as though you have not initiated the quest with her. Needs fixing.

    5. In my opinion, Artifice is sort of a mess. There is very little interactivity throughout. There is little to no explanation of the motivations of the operators of artifice except that they lure in people to make bonesteel (seems like there are easier ways to do that). The ethical challenges seem very superficial here. Depictions of lust, greed, etc. are very shallow without any characters having any personality or role in the story. Boreas and the crown seem more like afterthoughts than the main purpose of being there. The whole thing feels like a rough story board draft; simply a series of bullet points that get you from point a to b to c and then out the door with some artifact you barely understand and some story that was apparently there somewhere.

    Instead of telling a story about loss of virtue, you put up a sign that reads, "This is a story about loss of virtue."

    Recommendations: Every floor of artifice should have a series of characters comment on why they are there and why what they receive is better than the loss of virtue they give up. The Avatar should be able to partake in every debauch for a loss of virtue, which should be commented on by other characters. Main characters such as Notus, Hephaestus, and Perri (sp? for all three) should have more depth and perhaps be able to be convinced to leave with the Avatar (and then actually do so - Perri just talks about it). As it is, as far as the player experiences it, once you leave, Artifice goes back to being the same boring mess as when you entered it, leaving one to ask, 'Why did I even do all that in the first place?'.

    Path of Courage

    1. This path starts out well; Gawin is a good, if brief character.

    2. The outskirts lack a reason to be there, except to leave immediately and head for the next quest objective. It's a really neat area, but there needs to be a story based reason to explore it before leaving for Resolute.

    3. Hiring the ferry in Harvest seems buggy. I simply talked to him several times saying the same things until he ultimately allowed me to go.

    4. This quest allows you to get to know the Kobolds and some world lore in a positive way.

    5. In the final scenes with Grannus, it would be better if characters arrived by walking in rather than 'materializing' in front of you.

    6. Overall, this is the strongest questline with a few choices to make, a storyline that is more engaging, and builds on world lore. The density is still fairly low and all characters are ultimately forgettable because we don't have enough interaction with them.

    In general, there is low interactivity with all characters and scenes in the story. Samael is the closest we get to caring about an actual person in the story, and his interaction is superficial at best. There are really neat scenes in the story, like the Crypt of the Avatar, which seem under utilized because of the short time spent there/limited interactivity of the scene. All in all, the three paths take around 15 hours to complete. Is there another 25 hours in the Oracle finale? It is clear there is a core story in place, but it feels very skeletal currently.
    Path of the Oracle

    1. The introduction with the Oracle is probably the strongest piece of writing yet. If it were possible, I would suggest this be modified to be the introduction to the entire game. You have a sense of purpose, but not overwhelming urgency; you have general knowledge of the nature of the game world, but with a reasonable amount of mystery. For the first time in the main quest, I'm looking forward to discovering the rest of the story.

    2. I've begun collecting pages of the book. So far, this is a little uninspired. No new characters to meet along the way, no advancement of world lore or story. Just fetching all the pages. The puzzle in the brittany castle was neat, but again, seems a bit arbitrary and without context.

    3. The 'time of day' requirement for the shrine of love is one of those ideas that sounds good on paper, but can actually be quite frustrating for the player. I figure out what to do and where to go, but I don't have time to sit around waiting for the right time. So I end up logging in and out when I can to try to catch the right time, hoping my schedule happens to match the world time.
    Recommendation: Change these types of 'timed' events to puzzles. This way the player is not frustrated by a lack of agency over progress (they can, instead, be frustrated by their own stupidity ;) ).

    4. So, apparently reading my post on 'wanting more puzzles' I go to Boreas Colossus, and bam! full of puzzles. But, like so full of puzzles (and no story). The story, in general, has severe pacing problems. There will be exploration for hours with no story, and then an hour of walls of text to read, and no puzzles anywhere, and then 5 hours of puzzle solving. All of these elements need better distribution throughout the story in a connected, coherent framework. The puzzles were mostly good (although I would have liked one more clue regarding the blocks).

    5. I like the Grannus Colossus area, but there's no narrative in the scene for the story, with the exception of a note. I like that the note recounts characters from the Sword of Midras story, but I think players would find it more meaningful if that story was introduced more in the first 3 paths (I know some events are hinted at).

    6. The Oracle Colossus is a nice balance of puzzle, jump puzzle, and action, but needs more NPC interaction to fill in lore and story. I did not see any apparent explanation for the order of the guardian puzzle.

    7. The obsidian forge is currently a stopping point for most solo players. It's been said this will be reworked, so there's no need to harp on it, but it should definitely be fixed before launch. You may also want to consider putting some lore in Hilt that hints at how the forge works and why it takes your life.

    8. The Dire Prophecy is a neat mechanic, although the writing is a bit disjointed, and with the exception of naming you, doesn't really seem as specific as it implies.

    9. The end with the Oracle is mostly satisfying. The contradiction of 'you are the avatar, you are all the avatar' comes off as pretty clunky and causes dissonance. If I'm to defeat the ultimate bad guy, then I'm the avatar. If it's a group, then the prophecy should be about a group. This kind of weak explanation sort of kills my suspension of disbelief regarding the core vision and lore of the game world.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  2. mass

    mass Avatar

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    General Comments: The main story has pacing issues. It's as though there a places where a substantial amount of content just dumps out followed by hours and hours of empty space. There's lore and puzzles and some character development, but there's not a coherent integration of those things evenly paced throughout the quests. There are no fully fleshed out characters that you care about by the end of the story. There's no issues of 'virtue' that challenge you to make a difficult decision, either because it's not effectively presented or because you become so detached from the story, you simply don't care what your impact on the world might be (see artifice comments). I would say that at least a third of the Sword of Midras story should be peppered throughout the main quest line so that you get a sense of how this world came to be. Most of the time you find yourself doing something not because you understand how the activity will advance your characters story, but because your quest journal says, 'this is how you advance' (e.g. why am I involved in lover's spat? oh wait, that guy's a ghost now, ok fine I guess if I finish it the story will eventually lead me to solve this undead problem). Finally, it was an ambitious idea to put a single player narrative in a multiplayer environment where you strive to make the player feel 'impactful'. The story does not succeed in this endeavor. You solve the undead issue; still lots of undead out there. You make peace with the Kobolds; those dudes still trying to KOS me. You assemble the dire prophecy, and then are told, 'yes, every other player will also do are special, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.'

    I'm not sure how to fix everything, but in general, creating more NPCs with more dialog, that follow you through the story more and filling in more of the 'dead space' with lore, background story, and personality would greatly improve the experience. Reducing story dissonance where possible would also help.

    I took the time to make these notes in an attempt to make constructive feedback; I hope they are viewed in that light. I also realize some comments may not be consistent with the experience of others that found more or less story components along the way.
    majoria70 and Cordelayne like this.
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