Richard Cobbett: SotA review

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ephialtes, Dec 10, 2018.

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  1. ephialtes

    ephialtes Avatar

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    Richard Cobbett if one of the most rapid Ultima fans out there:
    "When I think of 'my favourite RPG', Ultima VII: The Black Gate snaps instantly into my head
    ...
    Shroud doesn't pick up on Ultima as such, it's a new property that simply harks back to it as much as possible, but the Avatar concept is of course still baked in.
    ...
    Will it be second time lucky? However it turns out, I'm certainly looking forward to finding out what the legacy of the Avatar truly is." -Richard Cobbett, November 2014
    https://www.pcgamer.com/ultima-the-legacy-of-the-avatar

    Before release, he was still quietly optimistic about SotA:
    "Ah, Richard Garriott’s return to both an Ultima style universe, and to judge from the engine and UI, 2003.
    ...
    Right now though, this one still feels like a lot of pieces that’s doing better at selling virtual stuff, Star Citizen style, than truly coming together into a modern game.
    ...
    I’m hoping that as we get closer to the first episode of the story’s release, we’ll see things looking more polished… and more like anyone involved has played a recent RPG." -Richard Cobbett, December 2016
    https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/12/05/the-rpgs-of-2017

    At SotA release, he didn't even want to review it:
    "Watching for reviews of Shroud of the Avatar in the hope people gel with it and go 'quick, jump in'. Played it a few times in beta and just... it didn't work for me at all. Felt like a eighteen year old game with all the worst trappings of modern stuff, like the microtransactions" -Richard Cobbett, March 2017
    https://twitter.com/richardcobbett/status/978652496376815616
    "I mean, I think I've displayed my Ultima-cred on, ahem, more than occasion. And I really want it to work. But turned down doing a review of it because I just couldn't face the idea of spending fifty or so hours in what I'd played so far." -Richard Cobbett, March 2017
    https://twitter.com/richardcobbett/status/978652837294084097

    But he seems happy to heap praise on D:eek:S 2 (~80 million dollars in sales) as a spiritual successor to the Ultima VII:
    "Whether Ultima 7 can ever officially be ‘beaten’ or not, nobody has come half as close as Divinity: Original Sin 2." -Richard Cobbett, October 2017
    https://www.pcgamer.com/rpgs-may-never-top-ultima-7-but-divinity-original-sin-2-comes-close

    So, I was thinking that Portalarium might want to take some course correcting action with regard to SotA before an eventual console launch of Episode 2.
     
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  2. Floors

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    I just went back and looked at Oblivion. Wow, that game did not age well at all. It certainly looks alot worse than I remember it. And Sota looks better than it (of course sota is not an open world game). But yeah. So...when people use excessive hyperbole to say it looks like an 18 year old game, I know they're not being honest with themselves about how games in 2002/3 really looked.

    Having said that, the ship has sailed for a lot of folks on sota. Let that be as it may. Sota probably needed to have better graphics earlier on IMO.
     
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  3. Timmy Vortex

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    Well as much as there's complaining about "spiritual successor" parts; you might also get Underworld Ascendant thrown into your lap and be really happy this game is like it is right now :p
     
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  4. Xee

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    Graphics new and old are all good no matter what time. I think graphics is the art style the artist went with. when I hear people talk about the graphics not that great or dated then I ask what games are they playing that look better? It's more a matter of tastes. Some like Cell shaded, some like realistic, some like minecraft blocks and so on. Graphics are a matter of each persons perspective. Just my thoughts :)
     
  5. marthos

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    I think the problem with SotA's graphics is the consistency. There are some areas that look beautiful, and then other areas that look really bad. Good rule of thumb is that the earlier scenes look worse because they use more stock Unity assets and the newer scenes look better with more custom art. The same is true with the content of the zones - the starter area zones are packed full of things to do: take a quest, complete a quest, sell stuff, train, take another quest. After you go to the overworld map, you start encountering cloned scenes with no quests or anything. That scene may contain a cool point of interest, but when you get there, it's empty. Experienced players know where to go for the good stuff, but new players will wander around and see empty towns, empty scenes, and figure this game is unfinished and not worth playing.

    Course change is needed here if the game is ever going to grow significantly. If I had a magic wand, I'd start doing a wholesale removal of any town or scene that isn't using the best artwork and filled with stuff to do/explore. Britanny, that was released as a ghost town, probably needed to be on the map still, so I would have guards bar anyone from entering. Add in some story related reason why the capital was shut down (quarantined from plague, Obsidians took over the town, Princess is missing so a lock-down was ordered, etc). When the town is finished, have the playerbase complete some quests to "unlock" the town and the goodies inside. The world would feel a bit more alive, and the game could focus on having quality spaces rather than just a whole bunch of empty spaces to play in.
     
  6. Xee

    Xee Avatar

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    I think that you have pointed out something of importance here. One of the issues that I think needs to be addressed is the scenes outside of the main story. As you pointed out we have lots of quests in the beginning but after that all these other places become just resource gather areas with maybe a point to visit but nothing of any value. The remaking of some scenes well stunning and full of wonderful mobs is great but IMO every scene should have a quest or something in a quest line to have people there. Mindless killing in these zones is not enough to make someone want to be there. XP can be made in better locations so what is the draw to make someone want to be in these places?
     
  7. Elwyn

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    They were doing that until a large chunk of staff had to be let go because we failed to get enough players to support that staffing level. Hopefully by the time of Ep2 release they will have things enough in order that people start coming AND staying.
     
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  8. Rada Torment

    Rada Torment Community Ambassador (ES)

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    He is so right about Divinity Original Sin 2, its probably the best rpg I have played in last five years and the multiplayer Game Master option is the best rp experience since NwN1. Still playing with friends every week.
     
  9. Toadster

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    Any review that starts with Ultima 7 Was my favorite game is almost always going to be negative. This game really tried to be a split between RPG and MMO but, people that were expecting an RPG like ultima 7 will never truly give this game a chance and let it stand on it's own merit's, there are too many MMO features that directly conflict with the RPG style they were expecting. All the reviews that started with I Played Ultima Online for XX years are generally trying to compare the amount of content UO had developed after 20 + years with a full development team to what Sota has achieved with Minimal Staffing and Funding. If people stop comparing it to Feelings they had when they were 15 and Playing UO for the first time on a Dial up connection or the experience they had when playing a Full RPG Ultima game it may be a different review all together... This game has it's positives and it's negatives... but all in all, I still log in nightly to spend time with friends and family... that was what I was looking for.
     
  10. Spungwa

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    I personally don't think more quests is the answer. At least not until they change the quest and journal system.

    This is a sandbox, if players can't set goals for themselves and find ways to have fun in the game world without the game telling them what to do then a sandbox MMO is not for them. That is ok by the way, sandbox MMOs are more niche, WOW proved that, even if the sandbox MMOs came first.

    Regards
    Spung
     
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  11. oplek

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    I generally agree, and I don't mean to argue that point with you, as much as repeat my thoughts. So this is not directed at you, per se.

    As a veteran player, I feel that I've exhausted the available game mechanics. Sure, I haven't done every possible thing, but that's not really enough. I see the core mechanics as (off the top of my head):
    • Leveling up a character and unlocking skills
    • Combat / Deck mechanics
    • Exploring zones
    • Getting a lot deed, house, and decorating it
    • Quests
    • Crafting / Agriculture
    There's minor mechanics, like fishing, which I'd have as its own item. But for the above, there's only so much space there to keep myself entertained. It's sort of the "No man's sky" problem. They boasted some quadrillions of planets that could be explored, but after the first dozen, you've essentially seen them all. I'm AL 90. I suppose that I could spend time getting to AL 100... but why? What's the grind for?

    I've been playing Fallout 76... and I think it suffers a lot in this fashion too, although I have been enjoying it. The exploration in 76 is much higher density. SOTA has a lot to explore, but very little to find... if that makes sense. Exploration isn't rewarding.

    I was actually waiting for something like courier contracts, in SOTA. But with the elimination of control point gates, and the bank becoming global, that potential depth is now lost. That potential gameplay, potential empire-building and potential project possibilities are now gone. We need more depth in mechanics, not less. That's how you'd keep the veterans around.

    I can agree that some game mechanics are more BS than others, and I would hope Port would have a plan for replacing the regional-economy depth with an equivalent... but I don't see that coming. For instance, one of the things in Fallout 76 that I find fun is the ability to have a camp, that you can place virtually anywhere... put turrets and crafting stations, etc.... and then move it at any time to somewhere else. It helps cultivate this feeling of going out on an adventure. You can use it to siege a zone with enemy NPCs, or have a nice house by the riverside.

    I like this game mechanic, but I'm already feeling its limitations. Other than that, what I have in 76 is quests, levels, exploration and events... but nothing with a lot of depth. Depth is why I keep going back to Eve Online, even as ******** as I am.

    So at this point, I'm in a hover pattern over SOTA, waiting for it to become something interesting again. Fishing didn't do it for me. Dungeons is a good addition of depth, but in a redundant direction (at least for now).
     
  12. oplek

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    Apparently "c a r e b e a r" is a naughty word.
     
  13. kaeshiva

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    I think the problem I'm starting to feel is that it all boils down to going and fighting more stuff.
    You fight to level up
    You fight to clear areas to harvest materials to make gear/food to make you fight better
    Everything is fight fight fight
    Now you fight to get recipes to craft everything.
    And the new direction as seen with the elven furniture recipes (which are not even teachable) fight to learn how to make deco?
    You already had to fight to earn money to buy the recipes but that wasn't enough. Now they're rare drops. Woohoo.

    There's no true "life skills" here, everything boils down to being enabled by, or financed by, more fighting.
    Sure, you can make money with agriculture. Slowly. With significant time investment. If you're able to commit to a watering schedule. And even then, fighting is orders of magnitude better way to earn money.

    Add the fact that 'fighting' is unrewarding due to the current loot implementation, and you basically have something that you are as a player are forced to do with 90% of your playtime, that is a means to an end, and once the fighting itself has lost its excitement (after you're 1000th hr spent in x scene), well, as we see, people move on. And everyone's got their own threshold for how much of the 'same thing again' they are going to take.

    The answer isn't really making more "fighting scenes" - people will still flock to those that are the most efficient use of their time and ignore 95% of all scenes that are less so, because the fighting has become a yardstick for 'how much of this do I have to do, so I can go do this other thing that I enjoy doing'.

    I've been around here a long time, and my best memories in Sota have nothing to do with fighting and have nothing to do with grinding for stuff. Its always been most fun using the sandbox to come up with our own things to do. I guess I'm still here "in spite of" the fight fight fight and not because of it. But from that reviewer's point of view, or anyone's point of view, I can see how this would get old.
     
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  14. Duke Gréagóir

    Duke Gréagóir Legend of the Hearth

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    Yes it is. Unless you’re a Carrie Underwood fan.
     
  15. oplek

    oplek Avatar

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    Alright. Apparently I've been living under a rock too long, and I didn't get the memo.
     
  16. Cora Cuz'avich

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    I pretty much only login on the weekends now. I'll get on Saturday or Sunday morning, restock my vendors, check my lot taxes, then ask, "what do I want to do now?" The answer more and more is to logout and go do something else, unless I'm getting low on gold to pay those taxes. Because the only answers really are go grind xp here, or go grind xp there. And since the devs have taken the stance that nothing above a troll should be solo-able except for really high level players with specific builds, all those answers involve fights that have gotten really boring. For a while I was grinding Hilt to find blueprints, but after a few weeks of nothing, that got too dull to continue. Which is sad, because had I found some, I'd be going nuts building dungeons.
     
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  17. Lord Andernut

    Lord Andernut Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    It's fun to find them, but during all that grinding to find blueprints perhaps you got enough gold to grab them off a vendor?
     
  18. Cora Cuz'avich

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    Last time I looked, they were over 200k on vendors. That may have changed, it was while ago. Regardless, after paying lot taxes, no, I did not have 200k in gold. And even if I did, I would not have spent it on blueprints. I am fine with dropping gold on things rather then getting them myself, but I have limits.
     
  19. Duke Gréagóir

    Duke Gréagóir Legend of the Hearth

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    Yea, that really sucks. Kills my solo adventuring.
     
  20. Elwyn

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    You can buy the recipes from someone else. I might have gotten ONE of them as a drop, the rest I bought off of player vendors.
     
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