Cloak Tower

It turns out you can queue up for a dungeon with  letter K.  Also when you first log in it comes up as an option.

The Tool gives you no idea how long the wait might be, so you have to examine your toes, check the bank, whatever.

Neverwinter Cloak Tower Queue

 

I got twitchy so I started an escort quest bringing a certain googly-eyed Mrs. Linkletter through the sewers (is there any other way?) to meet the oily wizard Razzad.  I was right at the end of it when the Cloak Tower group popped up as ready.  Had to start over after the tower, of course.

Speaking of googly-eyed, I worked on my character’s features at length, but when she arrived in the world she was sort of bug eyed and she is stuck “gooning” everyone, as we say around our house.

Neverwinter Ranger

The environments were cave areas, and everything was underground with the way between levels being spiral staircases.

Fights were fast.  Boss fights were fast and no problem.

If we were operating at all with the traditional tank, healer DPS roles, I couldn’t discern it.  Everyone just went flying in, killed the npcs, and that was it.

I won’t worry about the next one, and I’ll hope I’m on some shorter quest sequence when the queue is ready.

Got Nuthin’

Neverwinter

Played quite a bit of Neverwinter tonight.  Did the three big bads in their bandito hideout.  I didn’t realize the door to where they were was right the heck around the corner from where you come in.  Spent a bunch of time looking around the area for those bosses.

I did a Foundry Quest and could not make myself stop critiquing it as I went.  I don’t do that with a staff written quest unless it is really awful.  As it turns out it was really well done.  I rated and reviewed it.

Reached the level where I could go in the dungeon but couldn’t see how to queue for it.  People were lfg for the Cloak Tower  left and right as if they were desperate. easily enough for a few groups but nobody seemed to want to take charge and nobody wanted to just ask all the others to be in their group.  Very odd!  As they were all asking for lfg other not so helpful souls kept asking why they weren’t using the lfg tool.  The first bozo-ness I’ve seen in Neverwinter.

Rift

Ran my Cleric tonight.  I’m trying some of the yule events but I am not exactly made merry by any of them.  I can’t find the Father Christmas guy’s hearth so I can put the coal in his hearth.  You know how that goes.  Did you see Grimm with the Krampus and his lumps of coal?   The Yule trees have split waving tops like a Rift.  Kinda creepy.

I may toss my cleric in the dungeon since my Pyromancer is outleveling it.  I’ve been practicing on unsuspecting types at Rifts and in Instant Adventures.  For a character who is a dedicated healer, she really doesn’t have very powerful heals.  People don’t take as much damage as fast as they do in WOW, either, is how it seems to me.

Big excitement, I looted a shrub for my dimension.  I placed it there and went to sleep on my nice blue rug in my hut but when she comes around again she’ll be standing around Sanctum.  Reminds me of the space ship/yacht in Galaxies you could decorate, but not live in because you’d be standing around in the starport next time you “woke up”.

See?  The loading screen said I was in Sanguine Shores on my comfy rug but I was sleeping like a bum in the grass in Sanctum.

Sanctum Snoozing

I realized tonight that I like that Rift music too much.  That drumbeat, man.  Bomba-da Bomba-da, yo.

World of Warcraft

BW inscriptionist Still circling the K3 area.  Have been doing the quests while I’m there.  It seems to be a big Roleplayer hangout.  I say nothing, but good grief  “Blah Boinklinker  takes off his helmet and shakes his hair, carefully removing the comb from his pocket given to him by HER, hands trembling, he tries to compose himself.”     I’m thinking.  Get. Away.

Hunter still working the tundra.  You know that woman on the strand that you have to fight your way to, then she sends you to get a trident, then to kill some guy?  Gack.  All different on Goat back.  Nice torturous preview for her of Draenor.  I’m going to have to take the time to put some stuff on the auction house so she can fly.

All Kinds of Good Stuff

Yesterday I had nothing at all and broke my nice run of posts.  Today, cool stuff galore.

Project Update #26: Torment: Tides of Numenera    I missed the poll somehow because I would have voted against Turn-based combat for all of the reasons listed in their update:

Comment #1: Turn-Based combat can be tedious

If one were to take Planescape: Torment and, changing nothing else, switch to TB combat, the result would be miserable for many. You’d be stopped midstride in every Hive back alley to perform the same boring actions on meaningless thugs and zombies.

This isn’t what we’re going to do.

Turn-based combat certainly can be tedious, but that comes down to encounter design. As we stated during the Kickstarter, Torment will have no trash mobs—those hordes of filler battles that require little thought from the player. That type of gameplay is at odds with our emphasis on the story and character development, so each Crisis in Torment will be hand-crafted. It will have narrative relevance and consequences. We’ll iterate on them until each one is a quality encounter and provides the experience we seek for that moment in the game.

If any combat situation in Torment were tedious, it wouldn’t be because it’s turn-based. It would be because we failed in our goal. And our Crises aren’t just combat. They contain exploration, dialogue, and time-relevant actions and events that can exist outside of combat, like pursuits, environmental puzzles, and application of special skills. You’re going to have to work throughout the game toward your goals, and the Crisis concept is a primary way that we put your intentions to the test.

We understand the importance to you of combat not being tedious. Emphasis on encounter design is important for any CRPG, but for Torment, the bar will be even higher – we believe that through well designed encounters, and extensive gameplay iteration on them, we’ll be able to address the majority of the concerns expressed by those who favored RTwP.

Comment #2: Turn-Based combat can break immersion

“Immersion” is a tricky term that can mean a lot of things, but generally this comment is referring to the jarring sense a player gets when they’re walking through a town and suddenly the whole world stops because, say, a feral dog saw them coming down the street.

Again, this isn’t what we’re going to do. In general, we don’t plan to “surprise” you with a Crisis. Through the design of the areas and the pacing of the game, you’ll know when and where combat is a possibility. The situation will feel tense and in some cases, you will be explicitly initiating the Crisis. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever ambush you, of course, but if we do, it will be very deliberate and not an arbitrary event.

We get that you don’t want to be pulled out of the game in this way and we’ll look for ways to keep you in control and prevent Crises from disrupting the normal flow of the game.

That said, Torment isn’t an action game. Real time doesn’t pass in conversations, for example – you have as much time as you want to decide your choice. And while exploration occurs in real-time, it won’t include twitch elements. All of your decision-making throughout the game will consistently be free from real-time considerations. Torment is a game about thinking and deliberation and will not have any actual time pressure, so turn-based combat will maintain a more consistent feel.

Comment #2a: Turn-Based combat isn’t realistic

A variation of the concern about immersion is that TB gameplay isn’t realistic. In a real battle, you don’t patiently observe while your opponents orderly take turns one at a time.

This is true, but the lack of realism is inherent in most videogame combat and gameplay (again, turn-based conversations come to mind), and RTwP combat isn’t immune to this issue. What we strive for isn’t realism, but creating an immersive experience that allows you to suspend your disbelief. In other words, realism is not at the core of Torment’s party-based combat.

That said, we will strive to make the combats as dynamic and visceral as possible – attacked characters will animate appropriately when struck instead of standing lifelessly, for example, or perhaps having readied actions such as overwatch or interrupts to take actions on the opponent’s turn. We will maintain tension and flow, creating the sense that you are in actual danger and making your tactical and strategic decisions matter.

Comment #3: Controlling the entire party in Turn-Based can be boring

The idea behind this concern is that if only one character in your party is relevant to the combat (e.g., it’s in a narrow passageway or a specific skill/weapon is needed for some aspect of it, etc.) then gameplay gets bogged down. It’s not fun to have to skip most of your characters’ turns, cycling back to the one character who can actually do something.

This problem also comes down to encounter design, and we’ll be paying close attention to this aspect in our specific Crisis designs. Strong support of ranged combat will help, as melee-focused battles can exacerbate this problem. The Numenera rules also help here because skills, while beneficial, generally aren’t required to accomplish specific tasks, and Effort can be expended to give any character a better chance of success at tasks outside their character build. Adam discussed how this works in Update 21 (in the context of dialogue, though it applies to Crisis gameplay as well), but we’ll copy it here again so you don’t have to search for it.

Using skills will be different, too (side note: I say “will,” but we’re still in pre-production, so any of this can change). Say there’s a difficult task you want to attempt—lying to a prison guard or deciphering the text on an ancient puzzle box. Typically, in D&D-style RPGs for example, if you don’t have the associated skill, your chances of success are very low, or you might not be able to attempt the task at all. In Numenera, all such tasks are treated the same, and anyone can try them. Training in a related skill or skills will lower the difficulty of the task, but even if you’re untrained, you can still apply Effort.

Effort is a concept from the Numenera tabletop game. Essentially you spend points out of the appropriate stat pool (Might, Speed, or Intellect) to lower the difficulty of a task. The idea is, even if you’ve never been trained in lock picking, a very smart or dexterous character can, with some Effort, increase their chances of cracking a lock.

Your stat pools are renewable with rest. And of course, all of this is balanced. If you’re trying to crack a combination lock created by a culture that died out millions of years ago, which requires a combination of smells rather than integers, well . . . you’d have to have a high-level character specialized in the task, who spent all the Intellect they had on Effort, just to make the task possible. That character would still have to roll ridiculously well.

Effort provides more options to customize your character and tackle obstacles. If there’s a task you want to attempt—even if it’s something normally contrary to your character build—you still have a chance of succeeding if you can use enough Effort. On the other hand, someone who has trained or specialized in that sort of task will have a greater chance of success, and will maintain that edge in similar tasks throughout the game.

Note also that party members can “assist” others in particular skill-based tasks, boosting their chances for success.

In short, we’re fully aware that cycling can be a painful way to play, and that this aspect of gameplay is important to you, and we’ll design the Crises to keep your entire party engaged.

Comment #4: You should implement both RTwP and TB and make it a gameplay option

This solution may sound ideal, but it wouldn’t give anybody what they really want. Area and encounter design needs of the two systems are very different. Designing for both would dilute the quality of the encounters for one or both systems, and most likely require so much time and resources as to impact the rest of the game. In a deep RPG like ours, where combat isn’t even the focus, trying to implement two combat systems would lead to an inferior game across the board.

Comment #5: Planescape: Torment had Real-Time with Pause combat, so the new Torment should too

This is a reasonable perspective and valid point of view. Shouldn’t we stick with what made the original great?

But is RTwP combat what made Planescape: Torment great? For some of you, the combat may have been an important part of your PST experience, and we hope that you’ll find the combat in Torment: Tides of Numenera to be at least equally enjoyable. But we don’t think PST’s combat system was what most players loved about the game.

We believe PST is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all-time, not because its combat was Real-Time w/ Pause, but because of its emphasis on the narrative and on role-playing your character.

Kickstarter

Neverwinter’s new expansion Shadowmantle has gone live.  this includes a new hunter/ranger character.  You can have two free characters there and I like my cleric so I will kill off the mage to make one of these.  I shall let you know what I think.

neverwinter shadowmantle

Broken Sword 5  The Serpents Curse has been released.  Adventure/puzzle fans will enjoy this which is being released episodically.   A little pricey for episodes one and 2 (one is out now, 2 to be released in early 2014) at $19.00 from the good folks at GOG and elsewhere.

Broken Sword 5

Neverwinter Quest for a Big Bad and Trying a Foundry Quest

After reading about them and seeing so many recommendations, I decided to try a Foundry Quest. I love the idea of player made quests and content.  This particular one was rated by like 3,000 people with lots of stars. Nicely written plot. Interesting enough layout.

As you can see on my screenshot I had credit for killing two of six quest npcs.  In fact I was on my sixth guy and at first I thought the quest isn’t counting these right, that is frustrating.  Then I realized that groups of 2-4 mobs with more than normal health were counting as 1 kill.  I could be wrong, it seemed like there were ten of these groups.

Fig A. yet another group of Baddies around the corner

NW where has the justice gone

I kept thinking I must be getting near the end when boss types showed up but nooo there was more!  I get to a hublike place, grab a couple of treasures, go through a portal…more hallways, more bad guys.   I couldn’t finish the thing before Sleepy Hollow came on and I was so annoyed knowing I’d have to start from scratch.  Fruitlessly, I left my character in place hoping she could stay in place.  Nope, popped out of the sewer with no way back in and no way to finish the quest.  Grr I say.   One boss would have been enough.

When my son was small he and his dad played Wolfenstein and they made their own map levels.  They filled rooms with as many wolves as you could use to surprise each other.  My husband put “Guten tag” guys in rooms they couldn’t get out of but every time you went by the room they all said ‘Guten tag.”   Overkill.    I’m not so sure about the Foundry Quests.

Dept of starting off with a bang:  Finding Karzov at the Nasher Hideout in the Blacklake district.  The initial room swarms you with a ridiculous amount of guys.  The rest of the hideout is fine.  Karzov was ez.   So far you’re always facing at least five guys at once, even on the streets.  Some groups have what I think of as a Goon Character, some larger than normal guy.  He not only has more hit points but he pops out these red glow patterns on the ground that trap you and do extra damage.  You have to become adept at double tapping your movement keys to scoot away, firing all the while.  They’re not too smart though, because you can always scoot towards them, passing them by then turn and nail them a couple of times while they pound the ground where you last were.  I can’t think of anything I’ve played like that before.

nw karzov

I feel like I got to level ten here quickly.  I’m going to see what craft I’d like to pick up.  I’m not sure which “Feat” or skill specialization I should take.

I should try the PVP and see if the old fake out scoot works on people too.

Actually moving back to Rift and will get that character to dungeon level.  She can go into an Instant Adventure now so we shall see how that goes.

 

Neverwinter: The Blacklake District Sewers

Sigh.  I was doing so well and then I became cocky as I sometimes do.  My main mistake was running through Traps which I hadn’t the wit to look for, because I hadn’t encountered many or any, I think.  Then there is a stretch of sewer with spike traps and arrow traps that I’m running through la la la.  I used up my supply of potions pretty much (I have one puny puny heal.)  Then I get to a freakish giant rat named Fleabottom whose health bar crossed the entire screen, oops.  That didn’t last long.

I respawned at a campfire inside the sewers, and pondered if I should go back out of the sewer and buy health potions or go forward and try him again.  I left my Cleric there for the night and today she is back at the sewer entrance and apparently has to begin again.  No problem actually.  This time I’ll go a bit more carefully and try to avoid the traps.   I bought as many healing potions as I could afford and some Kits each of the skills I don’t have so I can, I hope grab that nice loot.

Look at the area map for the district.  Doesn’t it look so much like the original Neverwinter Nights?

Blacklake map

Edit:  Needer, Call Him Fleabag!  I went back through. Avoided all traps.  Used the healing skill between fights.  Much better.  The Rat lies dead in the sewer.

nw sewer trap one

Neverwinter

I started a new cleric for my dungeon challenge after reading about the four classes on the Neverwinter forums.   She kicks butt, she really does.  Hot knife through butter city.   The city of Neverwinter is huge and beautiful.  The atmosphere is perfect.

Neverwinter City

I’m only level 5 but I’ve been in a huge dungeon-you couldn’t call it anything else as part of the Theft of the Crown Quest.

When I first started playing online games and going in dungeons, this is how I thought they’d look.  Huge, awesome, treasures, traps!  Secret door levers.  I hope when I get to the real thing they’re like this times 100.

nw dungeon

I had to stop to look up Dungeoneering.  I need that, I really do.  Edit: oh noooo. I can’t use the Dungeoneering Skill. 

I’m walking through Neverwinter looking all around and I’m thinking I like this.  I really like this place, this game.

Off I go the the Blacklake District!

Neverwinter

I had a brief chance to create a character in the new free to play Neverwinter game.  I didn’t get far but liked character creation choices, particularly the array of race and class choices.  You can only have two character slots, which is a bummer but likely you can buy more.

 

Character Creation

Neverwinter Character Customization

 

I went with a Wood Elf Control Wizard.  I’ve traditionally preferred melee classes but I think so many dungeons under the bridge has made me appreciate a bit of distance from the monsters.

There are three servers.  I wonder if they had an idea it would end up at three servers of people once the new shiny wore off so they began that way.  I would think would be easier to add new ones than have the Cone of Shame thing of server mergers just a few months after launch.

I enjoyed picking out the skill set numbers for Intellect, Wisdom and Charisma.

You can come up into the world in quite a few locations.  Despite my desire to see the city of Neverwinter, I went with a place on the far side of the continent.  There was something in the description that made me think my character would do well to begin her adventures out in the wilds.  It may make no difference, but we shall see.

I’m not a fan of Mouselook.  You can toggle it off with Alt but that just freezes the screen so you can make choices from menus.

I picked a few things up off the beach for an npc then headed up to a camp.  Two seconds into the game some person wants to form a group.  Maybe grouping is a good thing in the game, but that early on I’m getting used to the interface and taking things in and don’t care to be dragged along by someone who may have been through this area multiple times already.

I’ll be back adventuring again soon.

Neverwinter my character in the world