Greetings Avatars, I heard alot about "game balance" the last time and alot asking about Journal and Quest and ... It was also told: New players left or stayed not longer, because of "intro", "starting scenes", etc. Things were removed, the first meeting with the oracle erased, also the choice of a path as the first decision in a game full of decisions ... Well, as all of us know: first impression counts alot! And don't get me wrong, please: All player preferences are important! But if the first impressions (how(!) it starts, story, quests), deter new players, what good is it then, first to do things like - skill balance - more decorations - more dungeons - new scenes - new quests - high tier content ? ? ? ? For 6 years I have been testing the game - and especially quests. And unfortunately there are a few rough edges that need to be filed, as soon as possible. It's those "little things" that keep new players from playing. And that's not skill balance, high tier content, etc.! As important as it is - later - a new player is not interested in this at first ... (S)he realizes and knows nothing (!) of it! (S)he takes first steps and sees exactly what is presented: A story, dialogues, scenes ... WINDOWS ... What questions may (s)he ask? Is it fun? Is it challenging? Is it annoying? Is it interesting? Do I have to repeatedly click the same keywords? Can I manage well / quickly? Do I know exactly what I have to do - where? Why do I have to click things twice? That's the questions, I suppose, a new player has while "fighting" with the UI. Therefor, I really miss the "balance" of the storyline. To be exact: a few parts of Courage and Love Path! The Path of truth is truly a "run through" part Nobody has to tell me, please, "but you have to do first ... , it was intented to ..." I think I know what I am talking about, I did the whole questlines over years more than 5 times. Currently I started 2 new Avatars doing the paths again to prove, 1. others than Solace Bridge are not "bugged as hell"! 2. it wasn't a good idea to send all NEW players on the path of love! Telling, this one is most polished, isn't exactly right ... may be the path with most (re)working, but not the most polished one I am not talking about, what someone thought how things could/would fit, I am talking about having fun while following the storyline The whole storyline can be done - nobody should tell me "they are bugged as hell". For sure, there are a few bugs (task, compass, journal ... watch my last bug reports for QA 70 ) I did the quests parallel with two new Avatars! And in some cases I recognized, MY BEHAVIOR wasn't what the quest wanted me to do, so reading the information on screen is still very important This time, I did NOT every side quest! Just a few. My intention was to try, if someone could do the main quest without doing all side quests! --> Since all new Avatars are sent to the path of love! --> THIS is the hardest path of all! --> TAKE THE SHORT WAY DOWN TO MY CONCLUSIONS, if you haven't enough time to read all the facts of my exploring! <-- --------------------------- FIRST IMPRESSION: A - The Outskirts are way too easy, compared to the rest of the path! But they are the most fun of the story! My favorites in row: 1. Highvale Outskirts, 2. Solace Bridge Outskirts, 3. Blood River. Blood River is HUGE - a player may get lost there ... Great to have working compass sparkle and maps!!! B - Hardest one is the Path of Love, and indeed, too much love (path) will kill you (often)! There is, not only one, but three moments in time, which are hard: 1. Shuttered Eye Tower: I did it with Adv.lvl. about 45. It would be great, if SAMAEL could follow us! I recommend a teleport INTO or behind the tower (secret entrance), because the area around is Tier 5 (what I love, it's one of my favorite scenes! ) 2. Midras Ruins: You can't do the side quest - yet, but you can go on for the main story, that's okay (come back later to help Eris). 3. Malice: It's way too hard! Even if you do it after you finished the path of courage and truth! Let's explain, what I did: 1. I started a new Avatar. Path of Love - Outskirts. After that I went on as far as I could. I did Necropolis until Malice - no chance to defeat the hardened Skeletons, even with Samael's help. --> Samael's behavior is not very helpful: He runs away, while they beat me to death, than he comes back, makes a few punshes, runs away, heals me a bit, and runs away ... He isn't really a great help ... If Samael would provide more healing over time, it would be very helpful! 2. I went on to the Path of Truth, did the Outskirts and went on. I finished the whole Path of Truth! --> there is really NO problem on the path of truth - all quests work well (some illogical bugs I found I reported!) The maze at the end is not very difficult. 3. I went on to the Path of Courage, did the Outskirts and finished the path of Courage! The most difficult part was the "Free Sir Patrick" quest. I did it with an Adv. lvl. 53, but would recommend 55! Why? --> look at my gear! I used Bludgeon. A Bone Chest Armor, Fortified leather Armor, a Cloak +7 (+3 Dex, 8,7 Str., 4,6% Attack Speed) and a ring (+3,3 dex, + 3,1 Int, +3,2 Str). I weared the Bonesteel Crown after Truth Quest (+7,3 Int), used Scepter of Dread after Courage Quest (+7,3 Str). 4. I tried to do the Quest for Courage Virtue Armor in Verdantis Mines and Resolute Sewers. Resoloute Sewers: Couldn't defend General Zayas! His Health Draining is too much! Verdantis Mines (Tier 5!): Could manage ONE Elf Archer at one time, but not two. 5. After that I went back to Malice. Now I can handle 2 Hardened Skeletons, but not 4, like they appear a few times ... FAZIT: I would recommend at least Adv. lvl. 55 to finish Malice and also to do the side quests for Courage Armor. --> The side quests for Virtue love armor parts are tough, too, but you can do them! As I told before: I like the whole story. It is diversified, full of information about what happened in the past. Doing the paths is a kind of puzzle to understand the whole situation better. If you have read the Sword of Midras, you will remember so many things and understand alot of situations better! Just ONE example: Meeting the ghost in Etceter, who waits for her sister ... The only thing what is taking fun away are a few disturbing / distracting things (I am not taling about the dialogue window - that's another point, for a better "presantation") --> HERE ARE MY CONCLUSIONS: <-- So, what could be done, to raise the chance for new players, so they can go on and enjoy the story? 1. After an Outskirts is done, Arabella should appear to send a player directly to the next path! After Solace Bridge I recommend Bloodriver. At last Highvale. Arabella can be found in Soltown and Aerie, but I missed her in Resolute. However: If a player won't talk to her, he never gets the information to move on first to the other outskirts! 2. At the end of Outskirts, a player should receive 100,000 XP 3. At the end of a path, a player should receive at least 250,000 XP, I recommend 500,000. 4. Let us use Companions in SOLO ONLINE mode (if not Ariel, Dupre and Fiona, so other great npc's) 4.1 LOVE: Samael still is, and on the love path he could jump in earlier --> Shuttered Eye (and make him more helpful, please ...) 4.2 TRUTH: lf Kiakis could follow us from Vertas (Well, he is there and we meet him later in Artifice again, why not walking together with him?) 4.3 COURAGE: currently needs no companion. When we meet Samael again in Highvale, well, would be nice to share the way together, but not necessary. Only hard scene is the "Free Sir Patrick" scene. May be Korobar could tell, that Sir Patrick and I may prove honor together, so it would be more easier to do this part! I think it is NO solution, to make those scenes or the end of a path more easier! There should be a kind of challenge, of course. Path of Truth has not one difficult part! --> To defeat the crazy elf Notus and the two Satyr's at the end would be fine to get rid of them and receiving the feeling we may have changed at least "something". Well, Kiakis will do more later ... My wish would have been to free at least the children: those had no choice to go on a pilgrimage there! How can we let them behind us after we KNOW the truth??? It should be a challenge on each path at the end! But it should not be annoying. Means: If I have no chance to follow the storyline and can't defend the last enemies, so something is unbalanced ... and I am not talking about skills For example: In Malice is a room with >4 Hardened Skeletons! It would be hard enough with 3 of them! If Samael just would heal more often, it would be great! Make Samael great (again)! SOME more "TECHNICAL" parts 1. If we have quest items, the quest window should open automatically to provide the item. Currently we have to click most time a keyword to proceed. Example: Highvale Outskirts. Guard Horatio asks for helping with an Elf Sniper. Defeating one and having the Elf Sniper Bow we have to scroll to the keyword "help"... Window opens. We have to scroll to the quest item, drag'n drop it to the right side, confirming. 2. The tasks on screen are fine. May it be possible to have the option to chose 2.1 Truth 2.2 Love 2.3 Courage 2.4 Other virtue quests (Armor/Banner/) The same thing would be very helpful in our Journal. Just simple chapters I know, this is announced as Episdoe 2 content, but it is so important to keep the overview! Currently scenes are redone, new dungeons are designed, but storyline is essential for the game ... And if players have left the game, as told(!), because of that, shouldn't this be priority 1? New players can't manage the (great!) skill system, pvp, high tier dungeons!!! They just can follow the quests to get into the game - and that's their first impresson! They are not interested, how great all those possibilites are, they can do later (housing, skill management, pvp, high tier scenes, ...) The only thing what may keep them, is a story, they can follow with interest and fun! If they make it through 3 paths, they probably wouldn't leave fast. NOW they can go on to do all the other stuff, they may have heard about!