Replayability / Expandability?

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AuthorTopic: Replayability / Expandability?
Member # 9449
Profile #0
I just started playing the Nethergate demo, and I must say, I'm impressed. My portable is a G4 iBook, so my Mac gaming options are pretty limited, and I'm thrilled to find a company developing great RPGs for OSX with modest hardware requirements.

However, given that Avernum and Nethergate use the same (or at least a very similar) engine, and A4 supposedly has a bigger storyline, I'm unsure as to which I should spend my money on. I like replayability in RPGs, and neither game's info page mentions anything about 3rd party campaigns or other features to ensure replayability.

So, to put my question bluntly: does Nethergate get boring once you've beaten both stories? I know people do higher difficulties, Singleton, etc. to make the game harder, but is that all there is? From the demo, it seems to be a linear plot with optional side quests; once you've beaten the plot and all the side quests, what's left to do? Is there enough variety in later-game character development that playing through with a different party would be substantially different?

Also, on a related note, how long are the two storylines? Are we talking 100+ hours of gameplay before this becomes an issue, or am I going to be out of storyline to play through a week after starting?
Posts: 7 | Registered: Thursday, July 26 2007 07:00
Member # 2018
Profile #1
IMHO, Nethergate's a better game -- more interesting, more innovative, and a story better told than A4. If you're looking for raw game-hours before boredom ensues, A4 is a better bet ... unless the whole game bored you. But you're easily likely to get 100+ hours of gaming out of Nethergate between the two sides, even playing each through just once (and no, there's probably not much replayability beyond that, unless you're a shameless min/maxer).

Better yet of course would be to buy both, but I'm operating under the assumption that that's not a financially reasonable option for you.

Just my $0.02 -- enjoy! And I'll leave it to non-lurking regulars to extend the traditional Spiderweb salutations with regards to where your sanity is best left.

[ Thursday, July 26, 2007 16:36: Message edited by: wearywanderer ]
Posts: 7 | Registered: Friday, October 4 2002 07:00
Member # 1479
Profile #2
If you're looking for lots of replayability, you might want to check out Blades of Avernum. It uses the same engine as Nethergate but is designed for user created scenarios, of which there are quite a few (not nearly as many as there are for the older Blades of Exile, but that can be a bit of a hassle to play). The "demo" for BoA is one full scenario from start to finish, which should give you a decent feel for what to expect, and I think you can get the full version (three more "official" scenarios and the ability to play fan created ones) fairly cheap when ordering another game.

[ Thursday, July 26, 2007 18:55: Message edited by: sheesh ]
Posts: 15 | Registered: Wednesday, July 10 2002 07:00
Member # 73
Profile #3
Also of note is that Avernum 4 uses a very different engine than the earlier games in the series, and that BoE has hundreds of scenarios, many of them very good, and that BoE is also open-source and thus free.

My Myspace, with some of my audial and visual art
The Lyceum - The Headquarters of the Blades designing community
The Louvre - The Blades of Avernum graphics database
Alexandria - The Blades of Exile Scenario database
BoE Webring - Self explanatory
Polaris - Free porn here
Odd Todd - Fun for the unemployed (and everyone else too)
They Might Be Giants - Four websites for one of the greatest bands in existance
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Posts: 2957 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #4
If you are looking for playability beyond the first time then Blades of Exile, which is now open sourced, and Blades of Avernum are the way to go. There are always new scenarios being made or you can make your own. The quality will vary, but at least there will be new material every year. Depending on the scenario you can spend a few hours or a few days on each one.

If you just want to play for 100+ hours in one game then any of the Avernum, Exile, Geneforge, or Nethergate games will do. There is no way to expand them, but you can go to the Geneforge 4 forum to see how players have found challenges to extend replayability.

The older games are fun and cheaper than the newer games if money is a problem. You can get the Avernum Trilogy of the first three games for a reasonable price.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #5
Avernum's main storyline takes longer than Nethergate's, but A4 is widely recognized here as one of the weaker stories and Nethergate is pretty universally hailed as the best. Charging straight through both sides of the story probably won't take you nearly 100 hours. Side quests add a lot, but many are the same for both sides.

I've enjoyed playing and replaying Nethergate with different parties, but my parties tend to converge in the end. A4 makes up for a weaker plot with a much more min-maxable and complicated set of monsters and parties, so you can keep yourself entertained much longer by the mechanics there.

If you want a better game, go with Nethergate. If you want better combat, go with A4. If you want length, it's really a toss-up. If you want expandability (and more plots, and ultimately more length, and more innovation, and everything) get a Blades game.

—Alorael, who recommends finishing the Nethergate and A4 demos. You really get a sense of how the games go from it. Don't bother with the BoE/A demos, though, except to test the engine. The demo scenario isn't very good.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Member # 9449
Profile #6
Thanks for all the quick replies.

I'm downloading the A4 and BoA demos now. I looked on the ordering page, and it seems that you can get BoA on CD with any other game for $15. I may consider that, especially if I can get an activation code instead of having to wait for a CD (and find an external drive to install with, as my disc drive is busted :\ ).

I'm going to look into BoA further, as it sounds like exactly what I'm looking for.

I'll probably start a thread on the BoA forum once I play through the demo a bit, but I do have one quick question: aside from the effort required, is there anything stopping someone from taking any other Spiderweb title (A4, Nethergate, etc.) and making it into a BoA scenario? Is the editor powerful enough to simulate one of the other games' storylines, or one of comparable complexity? Are there scenarios that attempt to do this (either 'port' another Spiderweb title or create a storyline of similar size and quality)?
Posts: 7 | Registered: Thursday, July 26 2007 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #7
Until Avernun 4, most of the older games are hard coded so you can't access the needed data. The games aren't designed to be transferred.

There are some scenarios like Baksshiva and Exodus that are quite large and comparable to the Avernum games in number of hours to play. They don't have the huge numbers of minor quests. Basically you start with a beginning party and play the scenarios in order of party level.

Since you have an iBook you can go to Khoth's site and download the OS X version of Blades of Exile for free. This will let you play the many scenarios from the Blades of Exile forum.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #8
The Geneforges, Nethergate, and A4 all have engines different enough from A1-3 and BoA that it's not really feasible to copy them to BoA, although Nethergate would be the easiest. There might be a few technical challenges in trying to script one of the Avernums for BoA, but it's almost certainly possible. The real barrier is the workload and the fact that it's illegal: Jeff sells the games, and he'd be unhappy if they came free with BoA.

Storylines of similar quality (superior quality, often) are quite doable and indeed have been done in both BoE and BoA. BoE has more immense scenarios than BoA, but there are hefty offerings for both.

—Alorael, who can still point out that Stareye's scenario "At the Gallows" has been called Exile 4 since long before Avernum 4 was even a glimmer in the back of Jeff's mind.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00