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TES Marathon

Discussion in 'The Elder Scrolls 1-4' started by Ziad, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    This is something I have been thinking about for almost a year now. Circumstances forced me to forget about it for a while, but I now have the hardware and the time is finally right.

    The goal is simple: I will play through all of the Elder Scrolls games on the PC to completion, including all expansions for Morrowind and Oblivion and both spinoffs, Redguard and Battlespire, but not the Travels spinoffs. Why PC only? The major reason is because that's the system I have so there's no point in trying to get the console version of Oblivion. A related reason has to do with the Travels games. I don't have an N-Gage, and while I think my current phone will play the other Java games (and I'm sure there's tricks to get them to work on a PC) I'm unclear where the games fit in the Elder Scrolls timeline or if they even fit at all, since they weren't developed by Bethesda themselves.

    I thought about doing this as a blog, but considering how large the main games are I don't want to feel I have to post something regularly, but instead post when something interesting happens, I want to comment on something, or I need help to pass a certain point (hopefully there won't be too many of these!). I'm also hoping this format will lead to more input and conversations from anyone interested without limiting it to just comments.

    I'm doing the games by chronological order within the story, not by release order, so I'll start with Redguard then Battlespire, then move on to the main series: Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, and finally Oblivion. The next game will probably be out by the time I get there! The expansions will be most probably done before I finish the respective main game, though I'll definitely ask people's opinion and may change that when I get this far. I don't expect much interest and comments from the early games as few people will have played them (go on, prove me wrong! ;) ) but I expect things will get lively by Morrowind. I have played all the games minus Battlespire but never completed any of them, so I'd rather not read about plot points before I encounter them. I don't expect to complete the series in under a year, so I will most probably play other games in parallel to have some variety in the process.

    I'm getting warmed up by reading the lovely Pocket Guide to the Empire that comes with Redguard, then I'll start with the game itself.

    Redguard
    Battlespire
    Arena
    Daggerfall
    Morrowind
    Tribunal
    Bloodmoon
    Oblivion
    Knights of the Nine
    Shivering Isles
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
    Caradhras likes this.
  2. The Magister Gems: 26/31
    Latest gem: Diamond


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    Will you be modding any of them, or are you just playing through with the stranded games?
     
  3. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
    Latest gem: Pearl


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    Damn, Ziad! You will be busy untill next year with this plan. Best of luck to you though. Can guarantee you that you will have loads of fun, though.
     
  4. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Only until next year? More like the next two or three :) I've done something similar with the Might and Magic series, and while that took almost one entire year I had tons of fun with it, so I'm expecting the same with this one.

    I didn't mention modding as I don't think Redguard, Battlespire or Arena had any mods released for them. Daggerfall had a quest pack released by Bethesda and I will certainly use this (not that Daggerfall needs any more quests than it already has!). I'm still not sure what I will do with the last two. They're the games I've played the least (not counting Battlespire) so I'd like to have the experience be as close to the original as possible but on the other hand I may be tempted to use mods if they change an aspect of the game or the UI that I find extremely irritating. I may go with vanilla Morrowind, unless there are mods that improve subtle aspects like these. Oblivion might be a different matter as I found the level scaling to be a huge turn off so I will most probably use a mod that changes that (from the ones I've seen I'm leaning towards Francesco's but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it). This of course doesn't apply to the Unofficial Patches, as I'll definitely be using them for both Morrowind and Oblivion.
     
  5. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Redguard

    [​IMG] I didn't have much time to game over the weekend but I started Redguard. For now my impressions are mostly positive. The game runs beautifully in DOSBox in emulated 3Dfx acceleration, at a glorious resolution of 1280x1024! The engine looks very dated compared to others released the same year (Might and Magic VI, Unreal) but considering it's a DOS game and the engine was already a few years old at the time it's not bad at all. It's not very well optimized though and there's a noticeable slowdown in some areas (not due to hardware limitation or the emulator - they're there even if I take the resolution down to 320x200) but even then the game is still smooth.

    The story's still in its early stages. It's set several centuries before the other games, as Tiber Septim (the ancestor of Uriel VII, from the main games) is taking over Tamriel and creating what will become the empire. The game takes place on an island off the coast of Hammerfell and the protagonist is a Redguard called Cyrus, who's there looking for his missing sister. I've not left the starting town yet so I've spent most of my time poking around the various houses and shops and talking to the inhabitants (there are many around town). There is a lot of background exposition in these conversations; although I first thought it was there just for flavour and to tie in with the other games, I'm starting to suspect a lot of it will become relevant to the plot and might lead to some interesting political intrigue.

    The game has no RPG elements to speak of, it's a pure action/adventure. The adventure part so far consists of walking around, talking to people and picking up items. Solving puzzles by item manipulation is well-done, as you get no UI hints that this particular item is needed in that particular place - you've got to figure things out by yourself, but for now the puzzles have been rather straightforward. This lack of hand-holding extends to other things in the game too, which is refreshing. I've picked up several "quests" already, but only one was presented as such. Paying attention to dialogues makes figuring out what needs to be done easier, but very few hints are given outright, which is nice. The action part is good for the most part. Controls are good and responsive, there are some nice touches such as the fact Cyrus can't fall off ledges when in walking mode, and there's no need to catch ledges as he does this automatically. I had quite a bit of fun climbing rooftops in town and jumping onto the walls, which also led me to a well-hidden amulet, a quest item of sorts I suspect. The only problem with the action (and it's a major one) is the combat. The game is very picky about positioning and alignment, so if Cyrus isn't facing the exact angle his hits will miss, even though graphically they go through his opponent's 3D mesh. It gets even more confusing when you've got multiple opponents attacking from all sides (and naturally they have no problem with positioning). Since combat has no benefits whatsoever that I can see, I will probably skip fights that aren't required for plot purposes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  6. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    That's great, Ziad. I take it you will also be playing Knights of the 9 and SI? You may even finish just in time for the release of TES V.
     
  7. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Wonderful! When you get to Oblivion in a year or so I do recommend Francisco's Items and creatures. MM is very popular with people I respect but I love what Fran did with animal behavior. I also recommend Deadly Reflex with gore turned up high unless you have a very weak stomach.

    Morrowind IMO didn't need modding I only added an apartment mod and a house mod I mad near the town where you enter, blast can't get the spelling right. During the period when my eyesight began to return and I could play Morrowind I did add a couple of mods just for something new.

    I actually envy you a bit. However with all the Oblivion modders I will probably be playing Oblivion until they cart me off to Happy Land Nursing Home. :)
     
  8. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I've been doing long hours at work so gaming time is limited I did manage to make some progress though. I found my first dungeon in the game, a cavern behind a waterfall and just underneath the main town. It was full of goblins and trolls unfortunately, which meant a lot of combat. I have figured out a way to make combat easier though, which involves constantly running around opponents and hitting them from the side. They're unable to defend and if I keep moving they don't get the time to attack. It's a cheap method, makes Cyrus look extremely silly and doesn't work in very cramped spaces against multiple opponents, but it gets the job done pretty quickly. The caverns were also full of jumps (a couple were annoying, but saving and reloading is very quick and painless) and loot. Speaking of loot there's a limitation on how much gold Cyrus can carry (500 to be exact), after which he just stops picking it up, so I'm constantly going on spending sprees, mainly buying potions of strength and healing. The former are very nice because they seem to double the damage Cyrus does and therefore shorten combat significantly.

    The caverns held two items of interest, the body of an acolyte (the priest at the temple in town had told me he was missing) and an archmage ring he was looking for. The ring is a pretty major quest item and because I've found the acolyte I now get free healing at the temple, which is nice. I've got several other quests I'm working on, one of which started a bit randomly but seems quite involved. While in the bookshop in town I read a book about some elven artifact, an anti-magic flask, and before I knew it I was collecting map pieces to find it. I've got all but one, and I suspect the flask will be very helpful for dealing with a necromancer who is terrorising the island and who is the object of another quest.

    For now I'm wandering around the island looking for the second town and other items of interest. The island is small but hiking around it is fun and there are some clever bits of design. In one instance I found a large hole in the ground, not too far from town, with a ship in it and no way to get down; while in the goblin carverns I got to a spot with a ship in a small underground river, and a hole in the ceiling - nice touch. Later, while I was exploring the island, I decided to go off-road, climb a hill and see what's there. I was greeted by a hidden campsite with soldiers loading dwarven artifacts onto an airship (reminded me of Indiana Jones!). Some time later I was walking down a road and ended in a valley under a massive bridge, so I'm now looking for a way to get onto it. All in all the island is well designed and it's fun to look for interesting sights.

    One funny note - the sound the priest's spell makes when he heals Cyrus is lifted straight out of Doom, specifically the fireball that the imps throw. If they were going to use stock sounds they probably should have gone for something a little less recognisable :shake:


    That's the plan :) I will be playing KotN and SI as part of the "all official expansions included" approach.

    I was planning on using Fran for a number of reasons, mostly because I like some of its changes and I can pick and choose exactly which ones I want. I'll probably have some detailed questions about it when I get this far. As for Morrowind I was planning on using the official plugins released by Bethesda as well as the unofficial patch, not sure if I'll add anything to these.
     
  9. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I only briefly touched on the story in earlier posts, but I'll have to elaborate for some bits to make sense. As I mentioned Cyrus, a Redguard, is on the island of Stros M'kai off the coast of Hammerfell looking for his missing sister Iszara. According to the game's introduction, Hammerfell has just been annexed by the newly-formed Cyrodiil Empire after the imperial army defeat the troops of Prince A'tos, heir to the throne of Hammerfell, and the prince was supposedly killed. Tiber Septim then appointed Lord Richton as ruler of Stros M'kai, and he's not a particularly friendly fellow, imprisoning or killing people still loyal to the crown and burning part of the town in the process. Richton is also in league with N'gasta, a necromancer who's enslaving the souls of people who die on the island. Now it turns out the prince isn't really dead but is kept in suspended animation (the fantasy version of cryostatis I suppose) by the temple priest, and the archmage ring I mentioned in the previous post, which Iszara was looking for, can break him out of stasis, though this won't achieve much at this stage.

    I've completely explored the island now and found all the spots of interest (I think). There a two Yokudans (gypsies, from what I can tell) living at the northern tip who are trying to get the soul of one of theirs, who was recently killed by Richton, past N'gasta's soul snare, and in order to help them I need to figure out the position of the Serpent constellation relative to the other constellations (I believe these are the same as the birthsigns that appear in Morrowind and Oblivion). The second "town" I mentioned, Saintsport, turned out to be one locked lighthouse (that will be relevant at some point, as it's been mentioned several times), 4 abandoned houses, of which only one is accessible, and one crazy guy who attacked on sight (and died quickly thanks to my cheesy combat tactic). Not much of a town! However there was an obervatory a short walk away, which would allow me to find the Serpent constellation if the orrery wasn't broken and didn't need a dwarven gear to repair. One quest leads to another... so it's off to the dwarven ruins to find the gear. The entrance was at the end of a long walk near the top of a mountain.

    The ruins are a very nice dungeon. There's not much combat, some tough jumps at the beginning, but most of the rest is puzzle-solving and exploration. The Dwemer artifacts and machinery have a distinct steampunk feel to them, which feels odd because I was expecting TES to be pure medieval fantasy (Arena and Oblivion gave me the impression), but it does create good atmosphere. One puzzle in particular (the toughest I've encountered so far) was very clever. You get into a very large room with a giant mechanical beetle and a chain. Pulling the chain opens the exit, but the chain has to be pulled continuously. The beetle can be rotated to different positions, then by climbing on some walkways and stepping on parts of the beetle bits of it can be "opened" to reveal legs, hands, the head, and so on. After some experimentation I figured the goal was to get the hands to pull the chain, which involved quit a bit of rotating, opening and closing various bits of the beetle. Going through the door I found myself outside the ruins on top of the bridge I mentioned in the previous post - finally! The bridge leads to another puzzle, a set of steam pipes that need to be rotated, open and closed to get steam power routed back to the ruins. This was easier than the beetle puzzle and opened anoter path inside the ruins. Back there, I took the new exit and finally reached the last room, with a very large hostile steam-powered robot! The robot looked pretty much unkillable, until I noticed there was a control panel in his left heel. Hello Achilles! I kept whacking the panel until the robot collapsed, tricky because he constantly moves but keeping behind him or between his legs means he cannot reach me. One of the things that fell out of him was a dwarven gear, so I took this back and fixed the orrery, allowing me to use the telescope and locate the Serpent! Back at the Yokudan's I helped them complete the ritual, for which they were very thankful and told me they will help me later. So much for all the running around.

    This leaves me with three unfinished threads: the amulet delivery from N'gasta to Richton, the fifth map piece to the anti-magic flask, and getting into the lighthouse. Since I can't seem to do anything about the last two, I'm off to N'gasta next. Hopefully I won't need the flask at this stage (or maybe I'm completely wrong and the flask is used for something else entirely).
     
  10. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Redguard is done. As I said yesterday I headed to N'gasta's island to pick up the amulet. N'gasta's island is full of skeletons (who are fast and can be killed) and zombies (who are slow and cannot be killed) but the path to the necromancer is straightforward. I got the amulet and headed back to town and the palace to deliver it to Richton. This led to an amusing example of Cutscene Stupidity, where your character starts saying things you know he really shouldn't say but you have no control over him. After insulting Richton and killing some of his guards (the latter was under my control, but I attribute it to self-defense), said Richton was not amused and threw poor Cyrus into the catacombs to die. Naturally the game designers had something else in mind.

    The catacombs were a bit of a pain - lots of jumps, traps and combat, and they're quite large, but puzzles were very simple. The main purpose was to get the key to the lighthouse, given at the very beginning by a dying prisoner who also told me how to signal a band of revolutionaries called the Restless League. As soon as I got out I noticed all the guards in town and around the island are now hostile and attack on sight. They also respawn when killed and there's no point in fighting them, so I started running away whenever one is in sight. I made it to the lighthouse and shortly afterwards met with the leader of the League. Turns out the League had a soulstone containing Prince A'tor's soul and Iszara (who was part of the League) stole it and ran away so she could reunite his soul and body (hence why she was also looking for the archmage ring).

    Back in town I start asking about soulstones, which leads me to Joto the ex-Mage Guild member who's now imprisoned. After paying him a visit in jail (which involved being briefly turned into a gremlin) we find out Iszara took the soulstone to N'gasta in the hope he'd help her restore the Prince (girl's not too bright. It gets worse). Joto also gives me the last map piece so I can dig out the anti-magic flask! With that in hand I went back to confront N'gasta, who it turns out has been holding Iszara all along and gave her soul to the Daedra lord Clavicus Vile. Worse, the amulet I delivered to Richton earlier is the soulstone. Nice job breaking it hero (wouldn't be half as bad if it wasn't for Iszara's idiocy though).

    Defeating N'gasta was easy. The flask acts as a spell reflector so it's just a matter of throwing the necromancer's spells back at him. Once he's dead I used his lab to create a portal to Clavicus Vile himself. For a Daedra lord he's quite conversational and even agrees to give Iszara's soul back after answering a riddle for him (it was the classical "two doors, two guards, one lies and one doesn't").

    At around this time I started wondering if finding Iszara was such a good idea after all.

    Everyone's familiar with the classical Damsel in Distress. Iszara is closer to a B**** in Distress. Upon being returned to her body by her brother, who she hasn't seen for 10 years and who has just gone through Hell and back again (literally too), what does she do? She starts calling him names, belittling him, saying how unreliable he is... I JUST SAVED YOU AND I'M HALFWAY TO FIXING THE MESS YOU CREATED, YOU MORON! And to think I was expecting a heartwarming family reunion and thanks... She goes on like this for the rest of the game, constantly talking about herself and how she cannot forgive Cyrus for not coming back earlier and how selfish he is... even though he's been through a lot of horrible stuff and supported a political cause he couldn't care less about for her sake and hers alone. I was hoping Cyrus would punch her in the face, but sadly he grovels and keeps asking for her forgiveness. Ahem.

    Anyway things move pretty quickly afterwards. Iszara has a key to the royal treasury, where they think the amulet/soulstone is being stored. Back in the catacombs there was a locked door I couldn't go through, and naturally they key opens it. After some more jumping and fighting and a very odd puzzle that involved moving between rotating circular floors to reach the bottom of a very large room, Cyrus gets to the soulstone... which is in the hands (claws?) of a dragon! Yikes. I'm not really sure what happened here, but one minute the dragon seemed completely impervious to my attacks, the next minute he was taking damage and went down in a few hits. I was positioned in such a way that I was attacking him through a light brazier at this point (not my intention, but that's the position I got in) so this may have something to do with it. Anyway with both soulstone and ring in hand I paid a visit to the Yokudan woman, remind her she promised to help, and she agrees to restore the prince's body and soul.

    Things don't go quite as planned though. The ritual goes a bit off and the Prince's soul ends up in his sword instead of his body (?). For some reason the sword links in some way with Cyrus, who then leads the League in a revolution to retake the island (why didn't they do this sooner I wonder?) while Cyrus goes by himself to confront Richton. Raiding the palace was easy as it's linear and there's no puzzles to speak of, only a lot of combat. I had a huge stock of potions though and used them liberally to go through fights quickly. The last fight is against Richton, on an air balloon he's trying to escape on (the same one I saw much earlier in the game). The ending video is quite good, as the Prince's sword, moved by his soul, kills Richton by itself. Unfortunately that idiot Iszara keeps the sword and becomes the ruler of Hammerfell (it's hinted during the game that she was A'tor's lover), who is now supposedly independant from the Empire but willing to become allies of Cyrodiil. Considering her moronic actions all the way through the story I don't know how long Hammerfell will last, but I guess I'll find out in a later game.

    All in all my opinion of the game is quite positive. It does both the action and the adventure parts well and combat was less annoying after I got more used to it (and found how to dance around opponents). The story's interesting with a couple of unexpected twists and ties multiple threads together nicely. My favourite aspect is the open and non-linear design of the game, being able to go just about anywhere and do most things in any order. The sandbox aspect is a staple of main series but it's interesting to see Bethesda trying to apply the formula to an action/adventure game and it works for the most part.

    Next up is Battlespire. I've already tested it and it works fine in DOSBox. Unfortunately I cannot figure out how the character system works and as a result I have no idea what character to create. Character creation seems similar to Daggerfall, with many of the same skills and class being defined by 3 class, 3 major and 6 minor skills, but I don't know how leveling works and I can't find any hint files with information on the game's mechanics.
     
  11. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Battlespire

    [​IMG] I started Battlespire and even managed to make some progress yesterday evening. This game is probably the most obscure and hardest to get in the series. I think the main reason has to do with the very odd graphical display it uses: 640x480x15 (yes, fifteen). Even back when the game was released the standard VESA display resolution was 640x480x16 and few VESA cards supported the 15-bit resolutions. Of course this is moot now with DOSBox, which supports 15-bit VESA regardless of your card's actual VESA support, but back then it must have greatly limited sales of the game.

    The game was also greatly maligned on release, especially by fans of Arena and Daggerfall, for being an action game, which puzzles me. The closest thing to action in the game is the real-time combat, and that's identical to Daggerfall's in every way. The game requires some jumping to be completed, but it also has the best jumping system I've seen in an RPG: when you press and hold the jump button, a very visible indicator moves forward and away from you; once it's over the spot where you wish to land, release the jump button and you will land in the exact spot where the indicator was. I guess people were disappointed because it's completely unlike the numbered games, being much shorter and focused, but Bethesda were very honest about this and clearly stated that Battlespire is "Extra Not Like Daggerfall".

    So what is the game about then? It's essentially a dungeon crawl through a single multi-level dungeon, and so far a very well designed one. The Battlespire is a training academy for the Imperial Battlemages and floats somewhere between the planes of Oblivion and Mundus (where Tamriel is). The story holds no surprises as everything is spelled out in the introduction: Jagar Tharn (who we will see more of in Arena) has made a deal with Mehrunes Dagon and Daedra have taken over the Battlespire, presumably to give Dagon a bridge between Oblivion and Tamriel. The PC goes there as part of his training and immediately finds himself in the thick of it as the path back out is blocked and the Daedra are everywhere. Fortunately one his friends, Vatasha, has survived and is also fighting the Daedra. She leaves lots of scrolls with useful information behind her, and I'm guessing that finding her will be one of the major goals of the game.

    Character creation is very complex, on par with Daggerfall. It's simpler in some ways, as some skills and feats are missing, but it's made more complex because of Build Points. There is a certain pool of BPs available to a starting character and everything has to be purchased with them: stats, skills, feats, resistances or weaknesses, allowed armour and weapons, health, spells, equipment... naturally the points are limited and deciding what to invest them in is a challenge in itself. Since there is no option to rest in the game I picked Spell Point regeneration, gave myself the maximum amount of mana (3xINT) and picked Heal as a spell; I also gave my character the ability to use any armour or weapons. I had to actually lower my skill levels below the starting value to get enough points, but skills can be increased with use (and they increase very quickly, since the game is much shorter than Daggerfall) so that's not a real problem. I picked a Spellsword-type character, with Long Blade, Critical Strike and all the magic schools being distributed among my Class, Major and Minor skills. The only Misc skills I ended up with were Stealth (easiest skill to increase) and all the weapon skills that I will not use.

    Like most RPGs from back then, the game is quite tough and unforgiving. It's extremely easy to die within seconds after starting if you're not careful. The first enemy I encountered was easy, but just one door away was a Dremora, and they are nasty spellcasters. Thankfully there is an in-game tutorial of sorts, which is well-done and makes getting started easier. The game has very good atmosphere, very dark compared to Redguard. The music is appropriately dark and foreboding and helps the mood. The unusual display mode means the game looks remarkably good for its age. The dungeon is divided into levels, with objectives to be completed to move from one to the next (and apparently no going back). There are no character levels as such; skills increase with use, and upon completion of a level you get a handful of BPs and can place them in either attributes or skills. Naturally they will all go into attributes since practising skills is easy.

    Level 1 was a good introductory level, large with plenty to do. I had to gather 5 cog wheels and reconnect 4 anchors (the 5th was already connected) to activate the device that let me move to level 2. The anchors led to a very disappointing moment: the anchors apprently hold the Battlespire in place. At one point I talked to a surviving Battlemage, who said that severing all anchors would send the Battlespire crashing into Oblivion, killing everyone on board and preventing the Daedra from using it to reach Tamriel. I thought this might be a neat thing to try and would give a nonstandard Game Over. Unfortunately severing the last anchor has absolutely no effect whatsoever, even though there are signs all over the place warning not to do this. I feel that since Bethesda went to all the trouble to have all these warnings and even have the Battlemage mention this as a means to stop the Daedra, they should have gone all the way and included a "Bad Ending".

    Aside from this the game is fun. I can see people being disappointed by its length compared to the other games but the Battlespire is very well designed, with lots of interesting things to see. No two rooms look alike and each one has something of interest, either as part of an objective, or a small puzzle to get some helpful items, or just something that helps make the place feel more real. The game rewards careful and slow exploration rather than running blindly into what's ahead. I've also seen screenshots that show outdoors, so I'm looking forward to some open spaces!
     
  12. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I've made a lot of progress over the weekend and so far I'm enjoying the game. The level design is as strong as the first level makes it seem; if anything the later levels are even more impressive. There's a very handy automap, but even without it I would probably not get lost because rooms and even corridors are distinctly unique. That's not say the levels are small and linear; on the contrary the the last one I played is outdoors and open, and a very good level too. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Level 2 introduced the pattern that would become common in the later levels: find a set of quest items or switches that are needed to open the exit. To get these items/switches, a number of Entry Sigils are needed, which are the Battlespire equivalent of the key hunt. There were some fun moments to be had with Daedra politics though, including getting a Sigil to an optional area (with good loot though) from a Daedra in order to get her brethren in trouble. The items to gether here were pieces of the Voidguide, a device to open the portal to the next level.

    Level 3 is the obligatory undead level, full of skeletons, ghosts and wraiths. The wraiths are invincible and cannot be killed by weapons or spells, but thankfully there's a ritual I learned later on that destroys them outright (another ritual makes the skeletons fight for me, and they're very useful allies). This is also where I noticed the game tries to have things make sense, for example by placing the ritual scrolls and potions in out-of-the-way places, with a message from Vatasha saying she's hidden them there for me to use. Nice touch. Gathering 3 rods allowed me to activate the gate out of the Battlespire and into the realms of the Daedra lords.

    Level 4 is the Shade Perilous and part of the realm of Nocturnal. Mehrunes Dagon's Fire and Frost Daedra have taken over on their way to Battlespire, and this is where playing the Daedra against each other starts to become fun. The elemental Daedra are unlikely allies who hate each other, so it's possible to get useful items from each by promising to destroy their opposites (something they can't do themselves). On top of this the Dremora are trying to get rid of both Fire and Frost Daedra and also helped me to do this. Then there's the Seducers, Nocturnal's Daedra who are fighting the invaders, Frost, Fire and Dremora. Pitting them against each other, making alliances with them and then watching them all fight each other is good fun! Around this time I started finding Daedric armour pieces, which is great because this level is where enemies take a turn for the nasty. All of them can cast spells and hit very hard in melee. The game is challenging and I've had to reload many times, but it's well balanced and I've not reached a point where I got frustrated and wanted to stop. Anyway, at one point I'm told by a "helpful" Dremora that Vatasha has been captured by Mehrunes Dagon, so naturally the goal now is to find and rescue her. Too bad, I thought having a female secondary character, who you never see but you constantly hear about from her scrolls and the Daedra trying to catch her, was a nice alternative to the Damsel In Distress. Anyway I had to help the leader of Nocturnal's Seducers and eventually pulled the 4 levers that open the exit to the next realm.

    Level 5 is by far the craziest. It's huge for starters and takes place outdoors on an island. It's completely open and since my character has good swimming it's possible to skip some sections of the island and just swim to the destination (only if you know where you're going). The premise is that the Daedra are hunting and my poor character is the prey. The Herne hunters are invincible so I have to constantly run away from them, though thankfully the regular enemies are not. The Daedra seem to have some concept of honour though and decide that it should be possible for the prey to escape and scatter six keys on the island, needed to reach the portal. Naturally the head hunter decides to cheat and keeps one of the keys on his person, and since he's invincible we have a problem. However it turns out the Spear of Bitter Mercy can kill him, but it will also kill the wielder unless he's properly prepared. Said preparation involved gathering the six pieces of the Armor of the Savior Hide, also scattered around the island; and finding the Spear itself, of course. Wearing the Armor and with the Spear in hand I easily defeated the head hunter, got the last key from him and jumped into the next realm.

    A few words on skills and stats. I had started with Long Blade as a Class skill because I thought the best weapons would be in this category, and I was right. However my highest skill is now Missiles (which was a Misc skill at started at a measly 5%) because ranged attacks are way overpowered: they never miss even at very low levels, they cannot be blocked or dodged and a decent long bow can do good damage. I gave up trying to fight opponents who can kill me with two blows and dodge 90% of my strikes and decided to just snipe everything in my path. This is not always possible and there are lots of tight and narrow passages, but in these cases magic is more efficient. I'm glad I got the 3xINT bonus at character creation! One thing I've had trouble with is that skills can never be higher than their governing attribute, so I've had to use up Build Points to raise Agility (and therefore get better Missile skill) even though I would rather put more points in Intelligence and increase my mana pool. I've made it so far so all's good!
     
  13. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Aw man, I am getting so keen on playing through Morrowind and Oblivion again. Heck I never did play through Morrowind properly.
     
  14. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Joacqin, I'm about to start Arena. Both Arena and Daggerfall are available for free now from Bethesda. Since you already have Morrowind and Oblivion, just play through the entire series and we'll compare notes as we go ;)

    Level 6 was much more straightforward compared to 5 as we're back indoors, and while it's fairly nonlinear things still have to be done in order. At one point I ran into the traitor, one of Jagar Tharn's Battlemages who handed Battlespire to Mehrunes Dagon. Being responsible for the entire mess I did not spare him. Later I almost got completely stuck at a large gate; there seemed to be no way past it and no way to open it. It was frustrating because the cavern where it is contains lots of siege engines but there's no way to use them on the gate. Clicking madly on everything in the cavern didn't do anything, and I was about to give up when some more clicking finally opened it. I have no idea what did open it, but at least I got past! There I met Imago Storm, Mehrunes Dagon's chief general, who while supposedly faithful to his master has decided that the invasion of Battlespire was a bad idea and that his lord should go on an extended vacation while he fixes the mess that has created. He gives me the neonymics for Dagon, Xivilai and Faydra (the Frost and Fire Daedra lords), which allow them to be banished to Oblivion. He also hands over one of three keys required to move to Dagon's domain (the obligatory set of quest items for this level). With the neonymics I banished Faydra, but Xivilai was not as stupid and agreed to hand over the key in exchange for not being banished. Amusingly it's possible to tell each of them that the other gave me the neonymic and sow further discord between them, although this doesn't seem to affect the rest of the game.

    Level 7, Mehrunes Dagon's domain, seemed very open at first, but it's all lava and the path from beginning to end is actually a very linear line. I learned from a scroll left by Imago that Dagon can only be banished if his anchor to Battlespire is severed, and the only way to do this is to attack him with a weapon that contains some of his essence. Conveniently his bodyguard has such a sword, Moon Reiver, which I took off her. However the sword cannot be used without wearing Savior Hide, which I left back on level 5! Oops. Thankfully one of Imago's agents thoughtfully picked it up and brought it along, so with sword and armour and after a lot of combat I finally reached Mehrunes Dagon. Confronting him is interesting because there's no real fighting involved. Talking to him allowed me to invoke his neonymic, which pisses him off but doesn't banish him outright. Thankfully the leader of Nocturnal's Seducers (who I helped back in level 4) shows up in the nick of time and distracts him for 2 or 3 seconds - long enough to strike him once with Moon Reiver and sever his anchor. The ending video is very nice and shows Mehrunes losing his body as his spirit is banished, the PC then rescues Vatasha and escapes with her while Battlespire collapses and is destroyed. After the fireworks there's a brief glimpse of Dagon's spirit, presumably overshadowing his return in Oblivion. Then I found myself staring at the DOS prompt in a lovely reminder of how virtually all games ended back in the 80s :)

    All in all I enjoyed both spinoffs for what they are: solid and well-done games with narrower focus, one an action/adventure with good puzzles and some open-ended exploration, the other a linear dungeon crawl with emphasis on combat and exploration and a good dose of dialogue. They both provide good backstories and lore to Tamriel in general; Battlespire in particular provides lots of lore on the Daedra, and additionally has a good number of references to Arena and seems to take place just before that game starts. Sadly there were no references whatsoever in the game to the Daedric Crescent that shows up quite a lot in the main menu, loading screen, introduction and even on the game box. I'm hoping a future game will reference it again.
     
  15. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Arena

    [​IMG] Nostalgia is an odd thing. I had such good memories of playing Arena 15 years ago that I was looking forward to it. I remembered the main questline being incredibly repetitive but I also remember having so much fun with the game. The first thing I noticed when I started it is how badly it has aged. Graphics aren't so bad but the engine is very primitive, more so than Ultima Underworld for example. Worse, the game seems to have no speed limiter so in-game speed will be as fast as the CPU. This was not a problem back then because computers were slow and the game just didn't run smoothly anyway. With DOSBox a low number of cycles results in jerky performance, while at higher numbers things happen far too quickly. Spellcasting opponents are a nightmare - even with over a hundred hit points I die to them in a second as they shoot spells at machine gun speed.

    The game's story is just window dressing. Jagar Tharn, an Imperial Battlemage, captures the Emperor using the Staff of Chaos then breaks the Staff into 8 pieces and scatters one in each province. His apprentice Ria Silmane contacts the PC and sends him on a quest to reassemble the Staff and free the Emperor. All this time Tharn sits in the Imperial City taunting the PC and doing nothing to actually stop him. Having played Battlespire first makes this a bit less silly, as you can assume he's probably too busy dealing with the aftermath of having lost his only ally with Mehrunes Dagon, but Arena itself suffers from Bond Villain Syndrome (he even sends little parties to kill the PC and admits himself that they're incompetent. Do something about it yourself then!)

    The game is frankly not very fun. Having a Battlemage helps (spellcasters are even more overpowered than I remember them being; I have no idea how the game can be completed with a pure fighter or thief). There other problems with the design though: the main questline is incredibly repetitive. After escaping from the starter dungeon Ria Silmane contacted me with the whereabouts of the first staff piece (most of the time only the dungeon name). This establishes the pattern for the rest of the game:
    1. Ask about the dungeon name to pinpoint the province, then the city, then the particular organisation within the city
    2. Get sent to a "prequel" dungeon to retrieve the tablet/map/scroll/jewel/whatever needed for the organisation to mark the staff piece dungeon on your map
    3. Retrieve the staff piece
    4. Rest once to hear Tharn's taunt and fight his pathetic ambush
    5. Rest again to get another dream from Silmane with the name of the next staff piece dungeon.

    The biggest problem with this design, aside from the repetitiveness, is the linearity. The dungeons have to be done in order - there's no way to skip one or to get, say, the 3rd piece first and then the 2nd. This is odd because the difficulty isn't linear - the 3rd piece dungeons were much harder than the 4th, for example. Also, in order to enforce this linearity, both the prequel and staff piece dungeons cannot be found (like the random dungeons) by walking around and stumbling upon them in the wilderness; they have to be fast-travelled to, after their location is placed on the continent map. This makes the entire wilderness section of the game completely pointless. Why bother with it, and with the random dungeons, when you can get so much loot and experience (there are no skills in the game) from the fixed dungeons? The random side quests are also very limited: there's only 4 templates so once you've seen one of each you've seen them all. None of the guilds can be joined (in fact the only ones to even exist are the Mage's and the Temples). This is a shame, because Arena is the only TES game to date that allows access to the entire continent of Tamriel, rather than only a couple of provinces or less, but everything all over the continent looks the same and there's no variety in anything.

    The dungeoneering is a mixed bag. Some of the fixed dungeons are very well designed and a lot of fun, others are just a maze of look-alike corridors. Even this section has problems though, the biggest being the respawns. Everything in the dungeon, loot and monsters, are reset when you leave a level. This would have been fine for leaving the dungeon (Daggerfall did it this way) but for multi-level dungeons (most of them are) having to fight multiple times, sometimes up to four, through the same corridors becomes tedious. This is where having a spellcaster really shines: they can turn invisible, deal area affect damage from afar, levitate over pits, open most locked doors (only a few absolutely require a key), even dissolve walls and create a shortcut through an entire dungeon! The latter is a real life-saver when the way out is one wall away but the game forces you to go (again) through a very circuitous route to get there. One click and the wall is gone. The Battlemage really shines because he gets more spell points than other mage hybrid classes but, unlike pure mages, he can use any weapon in the game. Walking around while immune to physical damage and swatting things with an Ebony Katana feels good!

    I have four pieces of the Staff, so I'm exactly halfway through the game. Naturally the later dungeons are meant to be tougher, but I have so much money now that I can afford the best items my Battlemage can wear. I also made custom spells to deal with any situation that might arise, so it should be smooth sailing to the end.
     
  16. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Another two dungeons have gone by and I now have 6 staff pieces. As I expected the game has become easier rather than harder, thanks to my Battlemage reaching a decent level and being armed with good gear and and excellent selection of spells. I expect the game will be done by the end of the week, unless the later dungeons become much harder.

    I only briefly touched on the spell system, so I want to elaborate on it because I think it was one of Arena's most innovative features and one that also makes the game extremely unbalanced. The Spellmaker is available to any character and allows the creation of custom spells by adding effects such as heal health, damage fatigue, levitate, cure poison or disease, resistance to an element, and so on. Each spell can have up to 3 effects, so you can have a spell that deals immediate Fire damage, Poison damage over time, and also paralyses the enemy. Naturally the more effects you add the higher the magicka cost. This goes down at each level-up (the magicka pool is tied to Intelligence and unrelated to level) so what's initially a very expensive spell can end up costing a handful of magicka. The huge advantage that custom spells have over off-the-rack ones is in progression. All bought spells typically start with a high initial damage (or duration, or % success, or whatever) and then have a very small increase per level. I found it much better to reverse this and create spells with negligible initial effect but large increments per level. Compare Fire Storm, which does 10-30 + 1-5/level, to my custom Fireball, which did 1 + 10/level. The fixed spell is better at low levels (but then it's too expensive to cast anyway), while at level 10 or above my Fireball consistantly deals 100 damage, compared to 20-80 for Fire Storm. By level 15 Fire Storm isn't even worth considering. The reason I went for a fixed increment rather than a range was that the magicka cost is the same whether I have +10/level or +1-20/level. My Fireball could kill almost anything in one shot anyway (except the fire-resistant monsters, but that's why I created Cold Death), so there was no point in risking the lower damage for no benefit at all. I did the same with my resistance and levitation spells, so that at high levels I never needed to recast them while in the same dungeon.

    Speaking of resistance, there are 2 spells that are absolutely required: Spell Resistance and Passwall. As I mentioned before enemy casters (and there are many) shoot spells with machine gun speed and there's no way to dodge the spells when there's 3 flying from different directions. Spell Resistance provides a chance to completely block the effect of a spell, and with an increment of 10% that chance was 100% at level 10. Expensive spell to cast, but once it's on I was immune to anything not using melee (and all the dangerous enemies like Stone Golems, Vampires and Liches are spellcasters). Combined with Passwall, which does just what it says on the tin and provides shortcuts by simply dissolving the walls, and going through some dungeons is a breeze. Passwall isn't always useful of course - there are some Passwall-immune walls, usually around the quest items, but for getting back out of the lowest level (there is no Mark & Recall) nothing compares.

    Most of the dungeons are very samey: multi-level mazes with keys to find to get to the item (either the tablet or the staff piece). The first prequel was particularly annoying, as it's huge yet the tablet is seconds away from the entrance. Naturally I only explored this particular room an hour later, after having explored almost the entirety of the level. Some dungeons have features that stand out as interesting though. Labyrinthian, the 2nd staff piece dungeon, has two completely separate sections, each held by one of two brothers with a riddle to solve (there were more riddles later in the game too). The Elden Grove, home to the 3rd piece, has one very open top level (the only outdoor dungeon so far) while the underground level is almost completely flooded, though I didn't need to swim thanks to Levitation. The Halls of Colossus (4th piece) was entertaining; it's a relatively straightforward key hunt (for six keys, no less!), but it's well done and some of the keys are cleverly hidden. The Crystal Tower (5th piece) was very large (4 levels!) but full of interesting bits, including a zoo on level 3 with cages containing every critter I had encountered so far in the game. One of them was empty and had my Battlemage's name on the plaque! Obviously Tharn does have a sense of humour, despite the impression I got from the cutscenes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  17. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    As I predicted in the previous post I completed Arena on schedule. There were a couple more interesting dungeons before the end. The 7th staff piece was in Murkwood, the only other outdoor dungeon. This one was fun because it's full of open areas (being a not-very-dense wood) crawling with large numbers of nasty critters. Some tactical thinking and heavy abuse of Invisibility and Spell Resistance were required to get through. The final piece was in a dungeon called Dagoth-Ur, which surprised me because I thought that was the name of the Big Bad in Morrowind. The dungeon was in the middle of that volcano on Vvardenfell, so there may be a link. Anyway Dagoth-Ur was a crazy place, full of nast monsters and lava (through which you can swim with a potion of fire resistance... yes, the game has some oddities). Level 2 is meant to be a nasty hunt for 5 keys, but between Passwall and Open I ended up only needing one.

    With the staff now completed I headed for Cyrodiil and the Imperial Palace, a very large 4-level dungeon. There are many ways down, and naturally the one I took the first time turned out to be wrong when I got to level 4 and hit a dead end. Rather than fight my way back up through all the respawning enemies, I dissolved a few walls and found myself at the door to the final confrontation; later I discovered that I had skipped a very large part of the level full of liches, so no loss there! Anyway, fighting Jagar Tharn is pointless because he's invincible. To make matters worse he's in a large room with almost nothing but lava and keeps throwing spells around. There are four rooms in there however. The trick is to cast Spell Resistance and Levitation, then fly to the room with the key, and use the key to get to the Jewel of Fire, which is the source of Tharn's power and immortality. Using the staff on the jewel breaks it, killing Tharn and bringing the Emperor back from his captivity. He then congratulates you with a voice that sounds suspiciously like Patrick Stewart! No wonder they brought him back for Oblivion. Then I'm dumped back in the Imperial City, although there's nothing left to do but more random quests.

    So ends the first and weakest game in the series. It's clear that Bethesda tried to do way more than they could, which results in all the repetitiveness and sameness. The wilderness is extraneous to the plot, all cities look the same and even the quests, whether main line or sidequests, all follow the same 4 templates. Making such a huge game with so little unique content is definitely the weakest point. I have to give props to the game for some very original creations, especially Spellmaker, which is at once extremely simple and quick to use and very complex and flexible. Keeping in mind this was Bethesda's first CRPG (I think they were mostly famous for the Teminator games) it was an impressive effort. The sequels provided much-needed scaling down in scope and tightening of design, resulting in much better games.

    Speaking of sequels I have something to say about Daggerfall. I was planning to jump straight into the game after Arena, until I found out about DaggerXL, an engine recreation. Considering the project is only one month old and being done by one person I thought to myself I'd have time to finish the entire series before this ever got close to completion. Then I looked at what the guy has done in this one month and frankly I'm shocked. He's got a full demo of the starter dungeon with skills, inventory and combat all fully implemented and he seems to be another couple of weeks away from having outdoors and cities ready. If he keeps this pace the whole thing will be done in 2-3 months. The question is: should I start the game now, or wait a few months and play using the engine port? Either could lead to disappointment - if I wait and he abandons the project or it drags on for much longer, or if I start now only to have it completed before I've even finished the game. I'm not too sure what to do. As much as I am sceptical of any fan-made mods, the progress he's made in such a short time is incredible.
     
  18. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Great reading Ziad. Can't help you with your choice.

    Now I am getting peeved, Ziad actually inspired me to go and buy Morrowind and Oblivion but that is apparently impossible. Now when I played the games previously I just pirated them but now I do want them properly but that seems to be impossible. Even the "Game of the year" editions are out of stock and not in production and I have no real interest in driving around the "real world" looking for old copies. Even checked the official page to see if I could steam them or something but not that I could see. Anyone have any tips or I should just get the shaky pirated version of the games again?

    Aha, I actually did find a nice bundle on Steam although it is a bit pricey. 45€ for Morrowind+Oblivion GOTY editions not cheap but not outrageous. Now if only I could actually view the item. Steam gave asked me to give it a date but didn't tell me what date or why so I just pressed ok and now I apparently can't even browse the games. Would be nice if they wrote what date I should have put in there.

    Oh well, I caved in and bought the pack, still find it a bit too expensive for old games and in digital form. If this is an attempt to stem piracy they will need to lower prices especially on older products. The only reason I was willing to pay was that I had already played the games, enjoyed them and in a way paying retroactively for games I liked.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  19. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Daggerfall

    [​IMG] Joacqin, 45 Euros seems relatively cheap for 2 full games and 4 expansion packs. I don't know if Amazon UK or DE ship to Sweden, but you could have got used copies for slightly cheaper on there; though I guess after shipping it would have amounted to the same. Still a good price I think, though I personally don't like digital formats much - I like gettig the box, the manual and whatever goodies come in the package.

    I decided not to wait and start Daggerfall straight away, as it's probably the game I was excited most about out of the entire series. I didn't remember it as well as Arena because I hadn't played it as much and because it was even buggier, so I never got to do much in it. This time I decided to get it into as stable a shape as possible, so I installed the latest official patch, the official quest pack (which adds 16 new quests, taking the total to 244!), one unofficial patch that fixes glitches in the factions list and another one that removes a huge number of quest bugs (amazingly, this one is still being updated as of 2 weeks ago!). With that taken care of I jumped straight into the game and the character generator.

    Daggerfall has the most glorious and complex character system I've seen in a CRPG. Everything is customisable via the Custom Class Generator, even the class base attributes! There are a total of 35 skills in the game, and even though 5 of them are just variants of the Language skill (used to get past certain enemies without fighting) that's still 30 unique skills. There are 3 groups of Class Skills: 3 Primary, 3 Major and 6 Minor skills, with everything else counting as Misc skills. I wanted a Spellsword-type character but was dissatisfied with the premade classes, so I created my own variant with the following skills:
    Primary: Long Blade, Critical Strike, Destruction
    Major: Dodge, Alteration, Restoration
    Minor: Illusion, Thaumaturgy, Mysticism, Mercantile, Archery, Medical.
    This may not be ideal, as I'm not using Illusion spells at all and Dodge could have benefited from being a Primary skill (it levels up very slowly), but it's a good character with access to all magic schools and effects (emphasis on blasing things and healing himself), mastery with the best one-handed weapons and bows as backup, and a couple of useful secondary skills (Mercantile to make tons of money, Medical to reduce resting time - very important, since all quests have a time limit).

    There's much more to custom classes than just skills though. There's all sorts of advantages and disadvantages, and naturally they have to be balanced. Since I wanted a spellcasting-heavy character I had to take magicka=3xINT (the default is half INT - utterly useless for spellcasting), and that's a very expensive advantage. I also upped the total hit points per level (the default was 8 only), again an expensive advantage. I cheated a bit with the disadvantages: I picked Critical Weakness to Paralysis and Forbidden Weaponry Hand to Hand. I picked High Elf as race so the first is cancelled out by the Elf's natural immunity to Paralysis. The second one makes no difference whatsoever, as armour, weapon and material restriction works by preventing a character from equipping the item, not using them or carrying them - and since fists are always "equipped" they can still be used (not that I plan on doing that anyway). The next step involves picking the character's background by answering a dozen questions; the answers make some minor adjustments to skills, starting reputations and items and generates the character's biography accordingly. One of the options is priceless though - the ability to start the game with the Ebony Dagger. Ebony is the 2nd best material in the game, and even though the dagger does puny damage having it means I can at least hit any enemy, regardless of their immunities (some enemies can only be hit by higher-grade materials). Finally I get to distribute a handful of points among attributes and skills (I boosted INT as much as possible), then the game begins.

    The first thing that struck me was how well the game has aged, especially compared to Arena. The UI, engine, sounds and atmosphere are a huge jump forward from the previous game. Almost all in-game objects are still sprites, but the engine itself is true 3D and dungeon design takes fully advantage of this to create some very nice architectures. The design also feels far more studied and less random, so that dungeons have some kind of underlying pattern rather than being a random maze. The game drew me in very quickly in a way its predecessor didn't. I think the character system had something to do with this too, especially since I decided to play naturally and let my skills rise when they will, rather than constantly spam a particular skill to get quick level-ups. Speaking of skills, a level is gained after 15 increases in any combination of the Primary skills, the highest 2 Major skills and the single highest Minor skill. However skills don't increase automatically, but only after either resting or travelling, and a certain amount of time must pass between increases, which I think encourages a more natural style of play and a mentality of "skill and level increases will happen when they do, don't think too much about them". The starter dungeon is standard fare. It's easy, relatively small and tailored to get one level-up and some low quality weapons and armour. Just like in Battlespire though I'm surprised by how easy it is to die in older games: the first enemy is lowly rat, the next one (though optional) is an imp, which needs Silver or better to hit (that's before I found any items at all) and can cast spells. I'm glad I had that Ebony Dagger!

    Getting to the outside is a great feeling: there's a whole world to explore, guilds to join, hundreds of quests that can be done... the main questline doesn't kick off straight away (I think the start-up is level-dependant) so I decided to join the Fighter and Mage's guilds and do some questing for them. Most of the early quests are simple and take place either in the same city or in another town in the same province. Then I got my first dungeon crawl from the Mage's guild, to go and kill an atronach. How hard can it be, I thought?

    Oh boy.

    As I said earlier, the starter dungeon is small. Relatively small. The regular dungeons, on the other hand, are huge. The automap is very good, but with a true 3D dungeon that spans dozens of floors it eventually becomes impossible to figure out what's what. At one point I got so lost I was afraid I would never find the way out (I've learned my lesson since - always leave a teleport anchor at the entrance). Also, any notion that Daggerfall uses level-scaling was tossed out the window when my level 2 character came across five Ancient Liches. Ahem. There's a couple of excellent features though: you can access your cart (practically a bag of holding and horse combined in one) at the entrance without leaving the dungeon, and the dungeon only resets if you exit completely (it's all one piece, unlike the levels in Arena. The advantages of true 3D!). After accumulating enough loot to buy a house, and resetting the dungeon, I still couldn't find the atronach, and I had explored everywhere twice. I was convinced the quest was bugged, so I resorted to a cheat to get to the quest object. That's when I found out there's a huge portion of the dungeon that I never found - how to get to it, I still don't know. I just killed the atronach and decided to stay away from dungeon crawls for now!
     
  20. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Got started in Morrowind. Man this game is immense and it literally swamps you with things to do and vague directions. I am playing a mage, mostly so I think I will focus on the mage guild first.

    I have encountered a problem I had in Oblivion as well and wonder if the cure is the same here as there. I suffer a status effect, my str and end is red and much lowered and I cant move. I killed the mobs that gave it to me but no dispel, cure disease or cure poison works. Do I need to use restore spells/potions (which I do not have) or is there any other way?
     
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