TFP: Sunwolf Enemy: First Impressions

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TFP: Sunwolf Enemy: First Impressions Empty TFP: Sunwolf Enemy: First Impressions

Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:40 pm

Transferred Forum Post (from old Bravenet forum):
Original Author: Sunwolf Enemy
Original Post Date: February 19, 2008
Title: First Impressions

Greetings!

Now that I've had a day or two to see what stuff's like on this server, I figured I'd post my first impressions, both good and bad.

Disclaimer: I am not "demanding" anything. I know, as the FNG (F'in New Guy), that I haven't seen much yet and as I advance things may change in any number of ways. These are, as the title suggests, my first impressions.

The Good

Quality stuff here. Everything runs very smooth and seems to be well thought out. Few if any bugs so far. Balance seems fairly good. The deities and their clerics are very well done. I absolutely love the additional skills, though they make non skill-intensive classes a bit tough to manage. On the whole, the subraces seem very well done too, though the xp penalties seem overly stiff in many cases. I'd prefer give and take ability-wise rather than tough xp penalties (25-30% = ouch!), though the ancestry option to distribute one character's xp to another is a truly brilliant way to offset this pain. Great starting quests too. I hope they continue as I level.

The Bad

There's only one major drawback I've run into and I s'pose it's not necessarily bad for everyone, but it sure is for me. I *really* don't like the rest system at all. I understand that rest limitations, particularly when it comes to requiring food and the need to take off one's armor, are designed to increase immersion, but let's face it, this has never been a particularly immersive game, particularly when compared to its PnP ancestors. In my opinion, the food/armor resting limitations are, at best, a hindrance, and a worst a downright hassle. For me, the bottom line is, I'm looking to have fun here, and these limitations are significant detractors from said fun.

Lemme ramble a bit.

It is my belief that immersion measures, when applied to specific actions, are far more effective when directed towards the interactions between players. This obviously would indicate focus on a group-oriented game. Some DMs/developers have focused on this exclusively, and, while not to my personal taste, many of their efforts at increasing immersion have been well thought out and implemented.

On the other hand, this server, from what I've heard and seen, does not take that path. Aenea seems to have been designed as a server where, while players can interact and get along, it is entirely proper to solo. Thus, immersion, while certainly important, should be focused on making the world seem real (which, in this case, it has--clerics/deities for instance), rather than forcing limitations on mundane actions like resting.

The bottom line, again respectfully and from my personal perspective, is this: focus time and efforts on improving the "big picture" ie, the game world, quests, class balance, factions, etc, while at the same time streamlining the actual gameplay experience ie, reduced travel time (scaled of course), no or few limitations on resting, no limitations on wearing weapons in town, etc.

Thanks for reading, and again I mean no offense by any of these comments. Feel free to respond to anything I've said here. Overall, this is a magnificent world so far and I look forward to continuing my explorations.

Transferred Forum Post (from old Bravenet forum):
Original Author: Sunwolf Enemy
Original Post Date: February 20, 2008

More bad stuff.

Merchants who only buy very specific things.

Again, this seems to be put in place to increase immersion, but it ends up just creating a hassle. When I come to town I want to simply unload my crap and get back to the fun which in no way encompasses searching for various merchants all over the place who'll buy my varied stuff.

Loot items.

I have to actually examine a mundane, non-magical item to actually determine what it is? *sigh...* When I kill a group of 7-8 goblins and each drops 4-5 items, I have to specifically right click on each item to identify it? That's a LOT of clicking. Another feature of this world that creates a hassle and gets in the way of the fun.

Items too powerful to be identified. At level 6 I now have 4 items in my inventory that I can't seem to get identified. These items take up space and encumbrance. Once more, this creates frustration.

I hate to complain so much, but the more I play, the more frustrated I become with some of the development decisions relating to mundane gameplay elements.

Transferred Forum Post (from old Bravenet forum):
Original Author: Sunwolf Enemy
Original Post Date: February 20, 2008

Here's something I absolutely love:

The use of varied levels of vision distance. Too many servers keep vision distance very low, ostensibly (guessing) to keep things playable for those with old/weak computers. Aenea has zones where you can literally see the other side of the zone as well as zones where you can't see more than 20 feet in front of you. This does wonders for immersion and a sense of gloom and impending threat for areas in which it's appropriate.
The Amethyst Dragon
The Amethyst Dragon
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. : Creator of Aenea / Dungeon Master
Male Number of posts : 7839
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NWN Username : amethystdragon
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TFP: Sunwolf Enemy: First Impressions Empty TFP: Sunwolf Enemy: First Impressions: Responses

Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:46 pm

Transferred Forum Post (from old Bravenet forum):
Original Author: The Amethyst Dragon
Original Post Date: February 20, 2008

Hi Sunwolf Enemy.

Hopefully I can explain a few things so that yourself and others can understand why I've made some of the decisions I have. I appreciate feedback of any sort from players, so thoughts and suggestions are considered, even if I don't end up following along with them.

First, I will say that I've been a D&D DM for close to 20 years now. The Aenea PW is based on my pen-&-paper game world. I've tried to make changes to the game that bring it a little bit closer to that D&D feel, so some of the things you see may not be as video/computer game like as you are used to, even compared to other NWN servers.

Resting/Food/Armor:

I make resting a bit easier at lower levels, with longer times in between at higher levels. The use of a wait time and the requirement for sustenance of some sort brings into the game a need for resource management (did I bring enough food?), time management (I just woke up a half hour ago, I'm out of spells already, but I just can't sleep again for a while 'cuz I'm not tired), and the ability to add in elements that deal with such things (what the heck is a devourer beetle, and isn't there a magic ring or something to make it so I don't need to carry all this food with me?).

The removal of armor before resting stems from the fact that in most cases (and you can chose not to in Aenea), a person removes their armor before sleeping so as to get better rest. Leaving it on makes sleep uncomfortable or impossible, reflected in the possible loss of hit points by resting in armor (NWN doesn't have a real fatigue system to work with, although I am considering an alternative of temporary abilities penalties instead of hit points, liek with going around in winter without a cloak).

Subrace XP:

I try to keep a balance in Aenea. If the subraces didn't have a drawback, nobody would bother to stay a normal being anymore. XP is very valuable in the game, so it takes a measure of thought on whether to take one on or not. However, some of the subraces with the largest XP penalties also have the most powerful abilities (winged beings can just fly over many obstacles or out of danger, vampires get basically free healing potions (aka blood) from killing stuff, demon spawn can sometimes fly and get spell resistance, etc.). Overall, I've found that those with subraces have to do a bit more work to keep up level-wise, but have an easier time surviving the dangers of the world.

Travel Times:

Aenea is intended to be an expansive land. Part of the problem with a large land is the time it takes to get from one place to another. However, you will soon discover that there are ways to travel more quickly. Here are three:
- Boots of Striding and Springing (double your movement rate)
- Wanderer's Portals (talk to the old man at the top of the hill to learn to access these)
- teleportation magic (there are a couple of items that allow even non-spellcasters to sometimes teleport)

Merchants:

Many of the merchants specialize in specific types of items and have no personal reason to deal in objects they know little about. Take Darla Blackrose...she knows weapons and armor, makes and sells them, and buys them. She also buys gemstones. Kind of like a record/music store were they know music, and will sell and even trade other music for. She generally doesn't know much about other types of items, so she's not comfortable buying things she doesn't know much about. Smitty, on the other hand, likes to deal in all sorts of stuff, so he'll buy almost anything he knows isn't stolen. He's more like the guy with the pawn shop.

Loot Items:

How are you going to know if something is more valuable than another if you don't look at it? Eventually, you get to know the lower quality stuff just with a glance and will only bother to examine the stuff that looks different (and that will happen with beings like goblins after just a little while).

UnIdentified Powerful Items:

You can go up the hill to find an altar to Kalas and donate/sacrifice 5,000 gp. This will instantly identify ALL the items in your inventory. Even doing this with a single item can be worth the money, as such items are usually (95% of the time) worth much more than the 5,000 it took to find out what it is.


Thanks for the feedback and your opinions!

Transferred Forum Post (from old Bravenet forum):
Original Author: Nethaniel Orbenrose
Original Post Date: February 20, 2008

Your style of play seems to be pretty pure solo hack-&-slash, Sunwolf Enemy. Many servers out there offer the action and ease you'd like to see here, but Aenea is purposefully different. While it can be soloed (I play solo the majority of the time), it is not pure action and ease of play, however neither is it insanely difficult. Rather it's elements are a personal reflection of it's creator's own play style, a style he undoubtedly enjoys, as do others of similiar taste.

For those whom it does not fit, there are many other types of servers out there. I would hate to see Amethyst alter the system that he originally thought was a good idea simply in order to appease the player-base. Aenea is his book, and to me it's a very good one and I applaud the author. If there comes a time I no longer enjoy playing here, I will find another server and a different author more suitable to my play style.

Regarding your dislikes, my personal opinions:

Waiting between resting adds pace to the game and an external element of time which the character must yield to. This is good in the sense that it adds a feeling of the world existing and functioning independently of you. A good world is one where the character is caught up in something larger, grander, and more powerful than himself, not the center of everything.

Now how I deduced all of that from waiting to rest may make you chuckle a bit and roll your eyes, but here's a simpler reason why waiting is good: It keeps players (myself included) from blowing through encounters with non-stop spellcasting. I enjoy being forced to wait because my character, in a sense, has exhausted himself from the previous battles. This makes me feel as though I've accomplished something in stages instead of in one perpetual, unchanging blur of death, as well as giving me a sense of my own mortality and subjection to the laws of the living, which brings me to my next point: Food.

Food, as resting, makes me feel mortal. It also adds a degree of immersion that I enjoy. It also gives me reason to do things I would not otherwise do: harvest food along the road, stop by an inn, a baker, lend food to a fellow adventure in need who would not have been able to go on without your help, etc.

Armor and rest: Never really thought about it, I just carry a spare change of clothes on my warriors. Immersion really again. I'd even go above that and say, hey, let's do rest encounters that spawn on a percentage chance if you sleep in dangerous areas, maybe even add campfires that serve some purpose (although realistically that would equate with attracting even MORE attention).

Merchants who only buy specific things: Again, creates immersion and the sense of an independent world. Baker won't buy your armor, weapons, and other loot? Why would he, I doubt he makes much money as it is, or even has much of an interest in all of that stuff. So use common sense and go find someone who does have an interest and can afford it. NPC roles add depth to the world. As it is, if someone wanted to be a part time merchant, they would have to explore the land for specific buyers instead of just knowing that every town will buy whatever they're hauling (ox caravan with specific goods and hired guards to a town half way across Aenea anyone? That's adventure to many). So again, just immersion and depth-creating options for the player.

Mundane loot items: Immersion again and not really anything that's ever bothered me ("Got a lot of stuff, now I gotta sit down and examine it all to see if I got anything worthwhile from my adventure." or, the next day I'm thinking "I'm tired of carrying/looting all this stuff! My impatience may cost me in gold, but my priorities are different so it's okay! On with the adventure!" Really I don't have a preference either way when we're talking about mundane items, so no differing opinion here.

Items too powerful: Personally I see this as being one more feature that makes the high lore skill of some player characters useful. Have a magic item of seemingly great power? Well, seek out a powerful bard or mage to help you determine it's properties. Now I know this can become somewhat of a frustration because this requires cooperating with another PC, and so realizing/empathizing with soloists, why not allow certain powerful and knowledgeable NPC's around Aenea to be able to ID these items for a price? Common sense would say the Wizard who owns Magic Store A in Far City B would probably be able to do this, so I will take a journey to Magic Store A after my adventure into Deep Dungeon C where I acquired L33tl00t D with great expectation of what my treasure might be. *chuckle* In the meantime, make magic bags useful and buy some to throw your stuff in. Too much stuff? Oh well, pack rat! :-D

Immersion of this sort equates to fun for some, hassle for others. You have to determine which personality type you are and if your current server caters to that style of play, and if not, whether you can live with the server as it is or if you need to find one more suitable and enjoyable for you. This would apply to anyone. I know I've played numerous servers I just couldn't live with long-term, so I had to move on until I found one that fit me perfectly. For me, that was WoA as it currently is. That's simply because my creative vision and Amethyst's are similiar, the only difference being that he's devoted the huge amount of time and energy required to bring his vision to life, while I've simply settled in and enjoyed it all, ever looking forward to the next idea that springs from his imagination onto the pages of WoA.

So varying opinions, clearly. I would just like to see Amethyst continue in his current vein regardless of what anyone else things, including me. Freedom to the artist! Viva la revolucion! (I swear, that gnome has been so close to getting FoDed popping out of nowhere like that it's not even funny... well, a little)

Cheers mate.

- Nate

(By the way, just saw Amethyst posted while I was writing all this, so in no way do these two posts have anything to do with what he might say, it's all just a response to Sunwolf's original messages.)
The Amethyst Dragon
The Amethyst Dragon
Ludicrous Level
Ludicrous Level

. : Creator of Aenea / Dungeon Master
Male Number of posts : 7839
Age : 43
Location : probably on the computer or wrangling his offspring
NWN Username : amethystdragon
DM Name : The Amethyst Dragon
Time Zone : GMT - 6:00 (Wisconsin)
Registration date : 2008-06-02

View user profile http://www.amethyst-dragon.com/nwn

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