a4 is the best game yet

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AuthorTopic: a4 is the best game yet
Board Administrator
Member # 1
Profile Homepage #75
"I'm picturing an upset parent, who probably thinks Avernum is against their religion."

I've gotten that one too. But I brought that on myself, by having a summon demon spell in the Exile games. I removed it when I put Avernum together, just because the spell didn't justify the hassle. (And because what business do the supposedly good characters have summoning demons in the first place?)

- Jeff Vogel

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Official Board Admin
spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #76
Well, I'm nearing the end-game now, so I'll pass a judgement.

Avernum 4 ISN'T Jeff's best game. The combat is better than I'd imagined, and was fun at some points. But it wasn't the be-all-and-end-all some members have said. Archers and ranged enemies were to easily fooled. There was too much hacking and slashing my way through dungeons, and I'm sure I could cast Lightning Spray in my sleep...

As far as spells go, there was a good mix. Divine Restoration was nicer than A1-3's, and Arcane Shield was quite useful. In fact, I found myself using the top three mage and priest spells much more than I did previously. Summoning still sucked - and now that we only get one ally for our Mana, there really wasn't any point to it. Spray Acid was nice, but t felt cheap just pummelling golems with it.

The story was basically A3-2. Rentar wasn't as bad as I thought she'd be - and I liked how I had to chase her around. The trap that she sets you West of the ToM was nice - it showed she wasn't just lording it up and was active. The shades could've been handled better - destroying them seemed a little bit too easy and unfun. And the Darkside Loyalists should've been taken further - here's hoping Dorikas makes a more prominent appearance in A5.

The interface was nice, and not too much of a problem. I didn't like having to quicksave an Avernum game (hitting CTRL+S took too long to do though) at first, and the loss of the outdoors jarred a little, but otherwise it was enjoyable. The honeycomb actually was a maze, and caves actually went up and down in level). The graphics were okay, but at one or two points, I'd think to myself "Eek, a cryoadrayk", and then realise it was actually a drake. The introduction of pylons was okay, but they should've had the same range as me.

The main issue for me was that Solberg was chucked into a minor, unimportant role, and that Cheeseball wasn't present.

Overall, I'm looking forward to going back to play BoA and Av2, but I do hold out some hope for A5. If plot is worked on, and drakes go back to looking like drakes, then I'll be a very happy chappy.

[ Wednesday, May 17, 2006 03:30: Message edited by: Sleepy Surburbanite xx ]

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And when you want to Live
How do you start?
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Who do you need to know?

Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Board Administrator
Member # 1
Profile Homepage #77
"The main issue for me was that Solberg was chucked into a minor, unimportant role, and that Cheeseball wasn't present."

This particular thing was quite intentional. Solberg was basically put on ice for a game. I intend for him to be back in a notable role in Avernum 5.

I seriously doubt, by the way, that there will be any spawners in Avernum 5. Heck, at this point, I'm not sure there will be spawners in Geneforge 4.

- Jeff Vogel

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Official Board Admin
spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 5437
Profile #78
quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

I seriously doubt, by the way, that there will be any spawners in Avernum 5. Heck, at this point, I'm not sure there will be spawners in Geneforge 4.

This is indeed good news.

[ Wednesday, May 17, 2006 12:59: Message edited by: Miya ]
Posts: 2032 | Registered: Wednesday, January 26 2005 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #79
quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

This particular thing was quite intentional. Solberg was basically put on ice for a game. I intend for him to be back in a notable role in Avernum 5.
That's one of the more bizarre teasers I've ever heard. Now I am rather more intrigued by A5 than I ought to be.

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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 55
Profile Homepage #80
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

This particular thing was quite intentional. Solberg was basically put on ice for a game. I intend for him to be back in a notable role in Avernum 5.
That's one of the more bizarre teasers I've ever heard. Now I am rather more intrigued by A5 than I ought to be.

Avernum 5: The Vahnatai Didn't Do It, It Was Solberg All Along.

Also, 'X' will have a machine gun.
Posts: 236 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 6652
Profile #81
X is far above such mundane weapons as machine guns.

X, my friend, has an anvil gun.

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But I don't want to ride the elevator.
Posts: 420 | Registered: Sunday, January 8 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 55
Profile Homepage #82
quote:
Originally written by Little Billy Sue:

X, my friend, has an anvil gun.
That reminds me of one point I've been wanting to make for a while: I swear right now that if Jeff ever releases an Avernum game in which the PCs can learn 'X's anvil spell, I will buy a copy no matter how bad it is.
Posts: 236 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #83
quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

"I'm picturing an upset parent, who probably thinks Avernum is against their religion."

I've gotten that one too. ...
- Jeff Vogel

Do you have "most rediculous customer complaints" section somewhere on Ironycentral? :)

quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

...
I seriously doubt, by the way, that there will be any spawners in Avernum 5. Heck, at this point, I'm not sure there will be spawners in Geneforge 4.

Spawners are fine in Geneforge. It's the merging of the two game worlds that is bothering me. Things like Spawners, pylons and drakon graphics have their place. Just not in Avernum.

An idea to make Geneforge spawners more tactically challenging could be to have some fragile spawners that quickly produce many weak creatures, so player would have to go for the spawner itself, while taking some damage from the summons. If there were many kinds of spawners with different toughness and summoning rates, players would have to worry when it makes sence to go for the spawner and when for the creatures it is generating.

[ Wednesday, May 17, 2006 16:07: Message edited by: Zeviz ]

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #84
quote:
"I'm picturing an upset parent, who probably thinks Avernum is against their religion."

That problem with demons was addressed in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Ed. They changed the names but kept the monsters.

I loved the Knights of the Dinner Table issue that had the Dieties manual withdrawn for having God's stats included. The players had a copy that had the information and were calculating if their characters could beat God. Now that would be a real problem.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #85
quote:
Originally written by Lord Bob:

I swear right now that if Jeff ever releases an Avernum game in which the PCs can learn 'X's anvil spell, I will buy a copy no matter how bad it is.
Seconded.

How will Solberg still be alive in A5? He's already almost impossibly old.

Nonetheless: Yay, no more spawners.

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Thuryl: "Runescape: for people who are too stupid to save their games."

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #86
quote:
Originally written by Ephesos:


How will Solberg still be alive in A5? He's already almost impossibly old.

Rone managed it. And A4 kinda explains how magi can prolong their life. Which basically means Jeff doesn't have to invent new characters...

Anyway, Solberg! Yay.

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And when you want to Live
How do you start?
Where do you go?
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Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #87
I'm hoping for Erika's shade to come back with another major quest and a series of challenges on the way to visit her. After all she was the most powerful one down in Avernum.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #88
Erika's shade is not a terrible idea per se. Erika's shade taking on the same role as Erika is a terrible idea. Dying was her biggest step in character development.

—Alorael, who wouldn't mind seeing more of what the (currently very stubby) Tower of Magi folks think about Erika's demise. It means one rogue wizard not running amuck, but it also means one rogue wizard not zealously protecting Avernum. Well, zealously hating everywhere else more than Avernum.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #89
quote:
Originally written by Randomizer:

quote:
"I'm picturing an upset parent, who probably thinks Avernum is against their religion."

That problem with demons was addressed in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Ed. They changed the names but kept the monsters.

I loved the Knights of the Dinner Table issue that had the Dieties manual withdrawn for having God's stats included. The players had a copy that had the information and were calculating if their characters could beat God. Now that would be a real problem.

A game in which there is both a monster called 'God' and a Dungeon Master is simply very poorly theologically informed.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 247
Profile Homepage #90
Pff, forget Solberg, I want Cheeseball to return. Cheeseball was the real star.

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The Knight Between Posts.
Posts: 2395 | Registered: Friday, November 2 2001 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 643
Profile #91
Well I did give A4 a spin today ... honestly it feels to clunky, interface wise and the movement of the screen to follow the characters ... and it hasn't grabbed me quite like the previous titles ... so it probley wont be a purchase I make in the near future.... but each to their own, as they say.

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Fine Meal is people!!!
Posts: 289 | Registered: Saturday, February 16 2002 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 7154
Profile #92
(riddled with spoilers)

I finished up Avernum 4 last night, and I'm inclined to say I was disappointed with the experience.
It was fun traveling through the length and breadth of the Avernum caves, of course. The new skillsets seem like they're getting about as close to perfection as one should reasonably expect, particularly First Aid and Quick Action (those two made me happiest). I liked the variety in the items, though it didn't feel like there were enough "epic" items involving long and dangerous quests. Think the five artifacts of Avernum 3 - insanely hard to get, but in almost every case (we won't talk about the Ring of Endless Magery), worth the effort. I also enjoyed seeing the evolution of certain towns, and the destruction of Blosk gave me a bit of a shake.
Now, the downsides. The plot, as a whole, was just plain bad. The Darkside Loyalists, for all the hinting and eventual conflict, were poorly defined and not especially threatening as villains (especially since when I ran into Dorikas, I had his health down to 1 three times before he made his timely jump through the portal). The Rentar Ihrno angle was perhaps satisfying, but at the same time, kind of a "heard it all before" scenario. Nobody at all was surprised when we saw her as a Crystal Soul, I'm sure of that. I think some of Rentar's co-conspirators should have been built up stronger and functioned as more than "one conversation and kill" targets. That being said, now that Rentar is out of the picture, I can imagine Avernum 5 will be free to explore many new options.
Next, the mugging. By this, I'm referring to the references to past Avernum games. Sure, I laughed in the Fissure Inn when the girl wasn't quite sure what happened at the Golem Tower, but on the whole, a lot of those comments felt like they should have neon lights blinking around them with the word "Flashback" highlighted. Connectivity is one thing, but I feel it was completely overdone in this game.
The combat system may have been more fun in some ways, but around the end of the game, I got very tired of duking it out with villains that had a 50 percent Riposte rate but couldn't do any damage to me due to my high parry, gymnastics, defense, hardiness, etc. It made combat into a long, drawn-out affair in which every fourth shot drops one-tenth of their health. In other words, boring. Also, the total terror state was overused and too one-sided. A lower level spell to cure individual states of terror would've been much appreciated. Finally, I would've much rather that the Return Life spell be redefined as a function of First Aid. It could bring them back with minimal health and energy, and then you have to handle the rest yourself. Considering most parties have to limit themselves to one priest, as soon as that guy goes down, it's automatically a long walk to the local town/Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spider lair.
There were little things that bothered me here and there, too, but I've covered the main points. I think this game could've been much better than it was, and though I enjoyed it well enough, I am hoping for better in the future.
I hope this can be taken constructively.

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I blame the media
Posts: 1 | Registered: Tuesday, May 23 2006 07:00
Warrior
Member # 7002
Profile #93
quote:
Originally written by VCH:

Pff, forget Solberg, I want Cheeseball to return. Cheeseball was the real star.
Oh God, oh God. Please tell me you're joking.

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Polaris
Posts: 193 | Registered: Thursday, April 6 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #94
I liked Cheeseball and the other familiars. The name left a bit to be desired, but the cat was very catlike in a slightly magical way.

—Alorael, who wants to get a mutant magical catnip quest from Cheeseball. Because surely the rogue catnip monsters that fled the ToM during Linda's little faux pas are at large!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #95
Originally by VCH:

quote:
...I want Cheeseball to return.
Yes, familiars (and children) provide a nice diversion and a bit of humor that Dikiyoba enjoys.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #96
quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

You can't win an argument with a customer.
Having to win an argument with a customer is usually a pretty sound sign you're doing something wrong, isn't it?

I've played and thoroughly enjoyed every Exile title, still love Blades of Exile, and thought Nethergate was magnificent. I appreciated the idea behind A1, because E1 was certainly showing its age at that point.

I speak for a significant section of your customers - a section, I have noticed, which is a little old (both in maturity and in terms of better things to do) to send emails to gamemakers - when I say that I don't get Geneforge. The way you manage semi-real-time gameplay is inelegant and ugly, and I played A4 only very briefly before having bile rise in my gorge - not only on the plot, which you clearly phoned in (there are a dozen people, plenty of them moderators at your forums, who probably would have furnished better ideas for free), but at the stream from something I like (Avernum, ultimately derived from Exile - some of my favorite games of all time) being crossed with that of something I don't (Geneforge).

I resent, and I believe the section I speak for resents, the periodic efforts to dumb down your games. The market isn't even pushing towards dumb any more; I don't get why you're doing it. I don't mean dumb in terms of plot; that's at least understandable, because you've had other things on your mind and I don't expect every one to be a winner there. I mean the continual, incomprehensible slide into mediocrity in terms of game mechanics.

Exile had hundreds of spells, dozens of weapon types [from three inherent weapon classes], and a dozen trainable and modifiable statistics. People are still finding new things to do with BoE (even though it allows very little access to game mechanics!). A4 plays like a lazy fantasy throwaway by a big, heartless developer.

Note earlier that I said a significant section of your customers. I'm not just a random curmugeon: I'm personally responsible for a couple hundred dollars of your revenue. I would buy a sequel to Nethergate; in fact, I would buy three damn copies. I'd buy an Exile 4. I'd buy another version of Blades. I'd buy something entirely different. I like your games, but the ones I like best - the ones I love - came before you got the idea your target demographic was 10 and under, and swearing and moral ambiguity and having more ways to kill a monster than you could count to using your toes were no-nos.

Yeah, I'm sure you get letters that say 'Avernum 4 is the best ever'. I'm sure you also get letters thanking you for Homeland: Stone of Night. Not everyone has the time or the inclination to send you email, sir, and just because some of us don't doesn't mean you shouldn't discount us as customers.

For one thing, we aren't spending our parents' money. :P

[ Tuesday, May 23, 2006 18:29: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 247
Profile Homepage #97
quote:
Originally written by Mr.Bookworm:

quote:
Originally written by VCH:

Pff, forget Solberg, I want Cheeseball to return. Cheeseball was the real star.
Oh God, oh God. Please tell me you're joking.

Never! Cheeseball was more interesting than Solberg. And yes familiars and children are interesting diversions in a game.

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The Knight Between Posts.
Posts: 2395 | Registered: Friday, November 2 2001 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #98
quote:
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

quote:
Originally written by Spidweb:

You can't win an argument with a customer.
Having to win an argument with a customer is usually a pretty sound sign you're doing something wrong, isn't it?

Clearly, you have never worked in business, or any kind of service occupation for that matter.

There are plenty of changes Jeff has made in the past ten years that I don't agree with. But even by my standards, he still does a better job than pretty much anyone else out there. There are people who are much more deserving of whining and moaning than he is.

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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #99
quote:
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

(rant)
Seconded, while with a bit less bile. I look forward to possibly being able to say "Avernum 5 is the best game ever" and meaning it, because I can't say it for A4.

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Thuryl: "Runescape: for people who are too stupid to save their games."

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00

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