Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ravric: Nighttime Running

The first thing I did was to see what the net profit was for last night. My repair bill was 10.7 silver, a bit high only due to the fact that I died (Turbine seems to again hang on to an old and worn mechanic of requiring you to pay more if you die, which, in my opinion, only serves to slow down gameplay - not make it more exciting). I did however make a nice sale of wight bones, grave dust, and other manner of merchant trash for 60.53 silver. So a net gain of about 50 silver was not bad for one short night's work.

Then I went to the local bard at the Prancing Pony to check on my Traits, as I did want to equip the skill Uppercut I had completed last night. I swapped in Renewed Voice for Captain of War because I felt the reduced charge on Battle-Shout was more beneficial than a 5% reduction in attack speed (when the buff was up). Plus I got +10 Might, so that was helpful. It did suck that equipping the Racial Trait cost 22.5 silver! Whereas a Captain Trait and Virtue Trait only costs 1.25 silver. That cut into my nice 50 new silvers.

The next thing I did was finally check out my vault, where I could keep my stuff. I had been carrying around my crafting items and materials, almost unnecessarily since I did not craft much. Plus I had been keeping some recipes for later crafting advances and a ring Disseminated made for me that I would not be able to use for 3 levels. So I put all that away; taking almost half of my available storage space.

I looked at my quest log, and decided to go for the closest one: Shadow of the White Hand. In this quest chain, I have been seeking out information about Sharkey's Men, who are basically uber-bandits united under the iron fist of Sharkey (before they were just common thugs). According to Ranger Saeradan, an inside man will meet me outside Bree at night to give me some notes on Sharkey's Gang. A short jaunt north of Bree, I find my man hiding in a copse of trees.

In this quest, he basically starts talking to me and some of Sharkey's Men appear to kill him. I did not expect this, being a little lazy, and then I got turned around, failed to attack who I wanted (stupid facing wrong direction), failed to pull enough aggro, and just generally failed the quest when the informant was killed. Not a huge deal, EXCEPT I forgot who gave me the quest and when you fail a quest sometimes it just rips it from your quest log so you have no clue how to restart it. I find this tedious, and a waste of time... and so started my Nighttime Running. Run to the wiki, run back to Saeradan, run back to the trees. Great fifteen minutes of running.

A second try allowed me to easily defeat the three brigands that appeared, and Billdo did exactly what he should have without me telling him to... get in the face of archers. I came back to Saeradan, and he basically shrugged and said there were worse things to the North. And, could I go kill them please.

One great thing that came out of the quest was that I became an Acquaintance with the Men of Bree. The Men of Bree are a kind of fraternal order dedicated to protecting the Bree-Lands. Before, they neutrally regarded me, and I could not enter their lodge. But, now I could enter their lodge and have them all ignore me in there!

I should have just ended the night there on a high note, but I decided to go to Brigand's Watch and try and save the daughter of the blacksmith I talked to the night before. I died twice, failed the quest three times, and mostly ran in to a self-imposed wall for not trying to group up with anybody. Hopefully, I killed enough Brigands to pay for my forthcoming repair bill.


Disseminated said...

I love how dramatic you make the screenshots. ;-} The game's great for conveying the world like that tho. The farmlands of Bree are so pristine under a clear blue summer sky... but venture into the nearby barrow downs and all becomes appropriately bleak and oppressive. ;-}

Question.... how would you make in game defeat meaningful without "slowing down the game"?

Ravious said...

Not in-game defeat. I am narrowly talking about failing a quest. I have no problem with the mechanic of retreating some distance away and re-grouping/re-focusing/etc.

I am talking about where you fail a quest, especially in the case of an NPC dying for stupid reasons.

First, and most problematic, the quest is ripped from your log. And most people are trying to multitask quests so you are completing multiple objectives in one area. Most likely you will forget who gave it to you and from where. The "correct" thing to do is have it in your log as failed and make you restart it at point X.

Second, there seems to be huge discrepancies in what happens (and at what leg) when you do fail, but are not defeated. In the two quests I was one, if the informant died I had to run around for fifteen minutes to re-attempt saving him. If the blacksmith's daughter died, all I had to do was stand there for a minute or two to wait for her to respawn. The former definitely slows down the game, while I find the latter much more preferable.

Hope that answers your question.

Disseminated said...

"(Turbine seems to again hang on to an old and worn mechanic of requiring you to pay more if you die, which, in my opinion, only serves to slow down gameplay - not make it more exciting)."

Ravious said...

I think in-game defeat is plenty meaningful just by being punted away and having Dread. I think that they take away some of the risk/reward play when they penalize you monetarily (and to some degree, especially for heavy armor wearers) for dying.

Its more along the lines of the experience penalty of old than otherwise.

And to be quite clear, what I mean by slowing down the game is by using this mechanic, they absolutely force you to fight things that are easier. It's almost like they do not want you to go toe to toe with something you may not beat.