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Heroica: Glory Amongst The Stars - Mission Masters Lounge

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Gonna answer a few questions before writing breakdown stuff probably later today.

17 hours ago, Zepher said:

Crawling through the ship was fun and TOUGH. You're right in saying we (or at least I) wanted to get access to each of the recordings, and uncovering what happened was a lot of fun. I'd say it ran just a TAD too long, but we were also in charge of that!

4 hours ago, karmajay said:

I know we had one overarching goal on the ship but I wonder if there was a chunk of time to be saved if we didn't have to wait to decide to search each room, or wait on others to make some decisions. Since I'm new I don't really have a solution to that or know if it was actually a factor or not. 

I do think this was the biggest weakness of the quest - because of how open and optional exploration was, I didn't want to make any assumptions about player action, but this led to a lot of dead air. It's the sort of thing that would be fine in a tabletop setting because these player and MM interactions would take maybe minutes at most, but could stretch into days in an online setting like this one. I did try to streamline the process as we went on, but it was still probably the biggest contributor to the quest's length. I've spent time trying to think if it would have been effective to try to condense Valencia at all: would I axe the cargo containers and have Viper locked up somewhere on the ship? etc., but doing so always seemed like it would screw with the overall pacing of everything. I'd be curious to hear other solutions to streamlining this kind of exploration.

5 hours ago, karmajay said:

Reading Merei's comments above I think we should retcon that Luce lives because I think they were only unconscious for one round before dying. I'd have to look back to be sure. 

EDIT: Luce is released from control in round 1 and died in round 3

Because Luce was technically an enemy, she rolled her first death save at the end of that first round. Had the dice worked out her way, Luce would have probably recovered just fine. I do get the frustration, especially with the miscommunication regarding Luce's health pool. There were a few moments of this quest (like most enemy specials, or how the tendrils worked) that I left vague until player experimentation largely to convey how alien this creature was, but I was never sure if that felt reasonable or if it came off as deliberately obfuscating. Luce's death is especially a tricky subject because I doubt there will be a lot of situations where the heroes will want to stabilize an enemy, but I'm satisfied with the way it was handled. Consequence is a big theme of this quest, and it would seem counterproductive to me to erase maybe one of the biggest direct consequences of the heroes' actions. Besides, if Luce lived to the end of the fight, I'm sure the ensuing conversation would have played out pretty differently. 

2 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

@The Legonater: When reading the quest, in addition to the obvious basis in Alien, I picked up on some Resident Evil references (e.g. the disaster being documented through a series of notes that the players can find, finding/building more specialised weapons (Kirwin's flamethrower), needing to go to another room to open a door in the current room (Viper's cell), etc). Additionally, considering the Hydra's ability to bond with Humans, I fully expected the final boss to be a Hydra-mutated member of the crew - Was this something that you considered? 

Honestly haven't played very much Resident Evil, so that was never quite my endgame! Duncan had some elements of that Hydra-mutation angle, and if Merei hadn't burned the sprouts out of Ilbery, something similar would have happened with that fight. But I think the Hydra is mostly interested in growth, and the humans are just sort of a means to that end. The group at the end served as a mouthpiece to communicate with these other humans running through its ship, as well as to broaden its own intelligence, otherwise they would have ended up cocooned like the group in the crew quarters. 

Most of those RE references are scattered influences from a bunch of other single-player games. :laugh: In particular a lot of pull from the opening of KotOR II (the 'edit together a bunch of recordings to bypass a voice lock' puzzle is stolen directly from there) and Prey 2017 (there's a lot of the Typhon in the Hydra). There's also a lot of other pulls (a good chunk of the body horror was probably inspired by Annihilation) but those are definitely the weightiest ones. 

18 hours ago, Zepher said:

Port Charon was really fun too, and I enjoyed the Starblazers (who were the NPCs, out of many options, I ended up interacting with). It gave us a distaste for Hart, but it also felt they weren't trustworthy either. I'll talk about Viper later, but I really enjoyed them, and was invested in my promise to them to save their leader, even if, again, they seemed like a rough bunch. This would actually be one of my only complaints in the quest - I wish we were given a CP for negotiating with them. It felt like a fight was possible, but Merei didn't want one, and we diffused. I felt badly afterwards, thinking I maybe robbed us of a chance to advance. I don't know if they were a potential fight, but if they were, avoiding a fight feels like it should be awarded as well.

So, originally I had planned for the Starblazer/Hart tension to escalate into a sort of bar fight that would then be broken up by Dean and Duncan. The battle map for that fight was actually the first thing I put together in Stud.io. But when I started trying to cut things down, the fight was one of the first to go - the important bit was establishing that tension and then introducing the ITAs as roadblocks, and the fight was only going to extend the amount of time it took to actually get to Valencia. So, giving CP wasn't really a thing that had occurred to me because the fight was no longer on the table - though you're probably right that it was still worthy of CP. I also didn't expect anyone to actually hear out the Starblazers, so I was already spinning my wheels trying to get that tension happening at all. :laugh:

18 hours ago, Zepher said:

I don't know what the idea behind the Captain was, but I really appreciated you allowing me to use my race to try to drive out Hydra. I think you and I worked out well behind the scenes that I should have to spend resources to make it happen, and I was really consistent about that, and purposefully so. You were incredibly permissive in letting me bend that rule (make up that rule?) and I hope it felt to you, my fellow players, and the community at large that I sacrificed resources to make it still cost me something. Anyway, were we meant to be able to save the Captain? And if so, how? I came up with a solution on the fly, was there another one?

I'd have to check my notes, but there were a number of problems mostly to see what the party would do, without any "singular" solution in mind, and this may have been one of them. Kirwin was later able to build a flamethrower in the science lab, and I imagine pushing Ilbery into one of the consoles would have had a similar reaction. Lots of room for imagination. If you had killed Ilbery outright, more sprouts would have spawned from his body, and you would have had a slightly harder fight. 

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This post got meatier than I was expecting, so I'm spoiling the subsections for ease of scrolling:

Act 1 - Port Charon and the Forbidden Sector

Spoiler

 

A whole lot of set-up here. Jace and Alexa served as a smooth intro to Hart and the mystery. At one point I considered having them join for the entirety of the quest, but figured that having a couple of NPCs along for the Valencia section would probably kill a lot of the tension, especially with their clear allegiance to Hart. Stil, I think we were able to get a lot of their personality out in a comparatively short span of the quest. They also brought out some good intra-party bonding in the front section of the quest, which was good because I doubted there was going to be a lot of room for that in the middle section. I tried to seed Alexa's Tongues ability pretty early and was a little surprised when people didn't seem very curious about it. I had thought about it coming up more during the meat of the quest (the deeper you got into Hydra territory, the harder it would have been for her to hear you) but I think it worked well enough for you Jace and Alexa to basically be put on backburner once you were in the ship proper.

Port Charon was really fun to develop, the last outpost on the edges of wild space. I really wanted the party to feel like they were in charge of the mystery here. I toyed with making Charon a bigger space to investigate (you would have probably visited a control tower and examined Valencia's flight logs, etc.), but that would have seriously dragged down the front of the quest. As I said to Zepher, I also cut out a fight with the Starblazers that would have further inflated this section. I'm pretty pleased with the way the mystery panned out; you needed to talk to a majority of the patrons to really piece everything together, and you all approached that pretty naturally. There was only one person you didn't talk to, but she would have mostly talked to you about some of the mystery-science phenomena in the area. There were a lot of fun NPCs here, and Lord Malloy and Tobermory in particular were a lot more delightful than I was expecting, and I hope to bring them back in some fashion. The diner also let me set-up a lot of the major NPCs like Ilbery, McSorley, and Dunn in advance. A side note, but Zepher jumped on the thread of the previous search parties a lot more than I was anticipating - they were mostly there to explain why Hart was desperate enough to turn to newcomers like Heroica. I'm realizing that I still screwed up that thread slightly because the parties were led by agents Titania and Eston instead of flying Titania and Eston as I describe it when you uncover the bodies of the one search party, but alas. For closure, one shuttle got destroyed in the Sector's forces, while the other boarded with Valencia but got ripped apart afterward, damaging the starboard port. 

After some nice roleplaying, you came up to the Forbidden Sector puzzle, which was basically a simplified version of the Forbidden Desert board game. It served mostly to set the tone of how dangerous the area was, and to make the search for Valencia a really tangible thing. I don't think I quite explained the rules to this as cleanly as I could have, but you did come together and solved it in good time! 

Act 2 - Searching Valencia

Spoiler

This was definitely the meat and potatoes of the quest. Valencia's Alpha section was loosely split into the port and starboard sections, with the Bridge kind of functioning as a midpoint. The portside half was pretty meticulously planned, with the recording puzzle. I'm glad you connected with Luce because she was more or less the 'protagonist' of the recordings, especially for the first bit. I was worried that the sheer number of names coming your way may have been overwhelming (hence why the core staff were underlined in the crew manifest) but you did a great job following along! It was a minor detail, but I enjoyed coming up with the code-like interface. I hope people largely tracked along with the rough chronology of everything. You didn't have to visit the science lab, but I'm glad you did because it probably would have played out pretty differently without that intro to Greenlaw. I thought about first introducing the sprouts in the med lab, but saving them for the Bridge was really the right call.

Getting to the Bridge kicked off your first fight. As I mentioned to Zepher, if you hadn't burned the Hydra out of Ilbery the fight would have gone pretty differently, with the potential of Ilbery dying. I tried to keep some ambiguity as to whether the Hydra was natural to the area or something Hart had brought onto the ship, but I think the latter was the natural conclusion regardless. If you would have investigated the bridge's consoles you would have gotten a bit more of Simon's personality, but I was still able to convey a lot of what he was about. With the bridge you also get the Ilbery/McSorley debate, kicking off the main question you'd have to wrestle with at the end. Regarding the fight itself, I think it was an okay starter fight, but karmajay is right that the abundance of Sprouts meant a lot of enemy melee focus. High offense, high-velocity melee enemies are a lot to deal with. The recovery mechanic made sense (I really wanted to convey how fluid the make-up of these creatures were) but I'm glad it didn't trigger very often because it seemed on reflection more like a nuisance than anything. 

I had a lot less set in stone for the starboard section. It was a lot more of introducing the heroes to a problem and seeing what they would do with it. The bit with Gail seemed especially potent, and we got a lot of Zaria's resolve out of it. I'm pretty pleased with the crew quarters build, there are actually enough bunks for all the crewmembers of Valencia. I tried my best to make this feel like a functioning ship you were exploring. I was also pleased with how the arrival of Dean and Duncan landed. Zaria called it the most unexpected and yet worst possibly outcome, which was basically exactly what I was going for - things are already bad, and now here are these two guys determined to get in the way and probably get themselves killed. The whole arc for them was basically to paint them as an obstruction to getting your job done, but then their hubris would bite them back horribly in the next section. Like the Starblazers, I was a little surprised with how quickly you tried to reason with them, but that's a good thing on your part! Kirwin's use of their television knowledge was especially fun in their interactions with the ITAs. Kirwin also proved to be pretty handy with fashioning the flamethrower; there were going to be elemental weapons in security if you had explored it further, but I prefer the creativity you wound up showing. The engineering fight was maybe the most obligatory of the combat sequences; mostly I wanted to introduce the Calyx and start building up the tension. I think this section was about when activity began to drop, however, and I don't think the mostly-aimless engineering fight helped, or the open-ended problem of getting to Beta. The solution I anticipated was one where you'd open the shielding and jump across quickly before losing oxygen, but extending the energy shields was a pretty brilliant play that was also a lot safer.

Also, you never went to the Head/bathroom, which is fair because there wasn't much there. You would have ran into Jim McMaugh here hiding in a stall, insistent that he was safe from the Hydra. It was probably my favourite build in the quest, though, so I feel obligated to share it here:

Spoiler

bathroom_3.png

Act 3: Cargo Containers and Endgame:

Spoiler

 

As I said in General Discussion, this is where things start to wrap up, but it was in hindsight a lot more prolonged than I thought. Viper was a delightful character to bring into the end of the quest. I was tinkering with Stud.io trying to think what this mercenary leader would look like, and then accidentally made Snake Plissken and that pretty thoroughly changed my imagination for the character. I'm glad you had fun with him, I'm already thinking up a Starblazer-centered quest, which wasn't something I was expecting to do when I first planned out #7, and your interactions with him and the other Starblazers are a good part of that. He also wound up being a useful hand as the combat intensified. 

The cargo hold puzzle and ensuing aftermath was fun. I was really trying to skew away from the quest becoming an outright dungeon crawl, and the puzzle felt like a good way to assert the rising Hydra threat without just throwing you into a bunch of enemies. Of course, then you run into Dean and Duncan and it triggers all of the Hydra coming after you. In general, I really preferred the puzzle-nature of the latter two fights over the first two fights. The cargo fight really proved the value of the defense action; I was expecting a little bit more of you chipping away at sprouts, but instead, you hunkered down pretty solidly and got out in good time, though it was very tight. I didn't have any huge plans for the Hydra Hand rather than "a bunch of Hydra comes together in this awful conglomeration" but it wound up being maybe my favourite Hydra build and I'm glad it made an impression! This was also the fight that really began to show just how dangerous the various Hydra types were when working in combination - the Sprouts locking people down while the Calyxes and Meiospores picked people off from a distance. They were a challenge to fight, but I think you all rose to the occasion pretty thoroughly, especially in the final fight.

The Hydra Root showdown felt suitably climactic. Here are all these people you've heard about and tracked along with, under the Root's thrall. The Root's dialogue through each individual character loosely tracked along with what that character believed in, but filtered through the Root's mind. There wasn't really any way to convince the Root to stand down, but I liked how much character came out of your conversation. This was a tough fight and for a moment I worried that it was maybe too tough, but you banded together excellently. It came very down to the wire - had you not freed Kirwin, they would have thrown a grenade that more or less would have ended the fight. The debate afterwords went pretty much exactly as I hoped it would, a lot of tense consideration about a no-win scenario. While all the NPCs had varied opinions, this was really your decision. You did a great job at making the most of the resources you had. Oh, if you hadn't encouraged Viper to come with you, he would have escaped on Dean and Duncan's ship, which would have made things that much harder for you. I'm also a little surprised that Greenlaw made it to the end, but I'm excited to see where that leads in the future. None of this was morally easy, but I hope it was a good test of your characters. Speaking off...

 

Character Breakdown:

karmajay/Kirwin - I really like Kirwin! After seeing some of their naiveness in their previous quest, I was really set on bringing them into this morally grey mess and seeing how they reacted. You didn't disappoint; Kirwin plays nice with those around them, and I enjoy how much mileage you were able to get out of all the television they watched. Seeing them get increasingly angry at the Hydra brought out some neat shades to your character. I know you said you weren't sure how to bring Kirwin's voice to the final debate, but I think that works for Kirwin - they're still a little new to this, and were thrown into a shaking set of events, it makes sense they'd be a little quieter. I also think it's fair to be frustrated with how combat went for you, especially for a pacifist character in what was largely a dungeon crawl. In reflection, the sprouts were in every combat encounter, and there may have been better ways to balance their use. There are ways you might have been able to get a little bit more mileage out of your flamethrower, though I'm not sure damage was your goal. In any case, I really encourage investing in Skill - I think a pacifist character is a great concept, and I hope you're able to continue building Kirwin in that direction.

Zepher/Merei - You know how much I loved your quests in 1.0, and it felt like a privilege to be on the other side of the table. Merei constantly surprised me with how willing she was to hear out other perspectives, even ones the rest of her team felt were dangerous. You single-handedly brought a lot more character to the Starblazers than I was expecting, and I love how much Merei connected with Greenlaw. Merei is mechanically really interesting; splitting your magic proficiencies is a bold move, but I think once they're more built-up she'll be a very powerful player in this game. Together with Kirwin you played support incredibly well. I was more than happy to let Merei use her background to combat the Hydra, that's exactly the sort of creativity I'm looking for! I was also really surprised with her decision to stay on Valencia with the others - I think if the quest had run shorter I would have loved to see that play out a little more, but even as is it reflects a lot about her priorities. 

KotZ/Varen - I liked what we saw of Varen! He was one of the less upstanding members of this party, having a sort of rough and tumble roguishness, and I was curious to see how much that would bounce off the other players. When Varen was there, he was really there, taking the events in a sort of sardonic slide that only occasionally betrayed how horrified he was at everything. Unfortunately, he wasn't there a lot of the time, and I think you disappeared entirely in the last run of the quest. I hope everything is going okay! Mechanically, Varen was a good help in combat, and your biggest play is going to be building up your long-range skills. I was expecting to see Varen shine the most in RP-sections like the diner, but your availability meant you weren't able to take the spotlight as much as you could. His interaction with Ilbery stands out to me, though, and I hope to see more of that in the future!

Kintober/Zaria - You took charge in a big way for this quest, and it paid off. We really got to see Zaria at her wit's end, and the zeal with which she began to hunt down the Hydra was a cool development. Zaria made some of the bigger moral plays here, personally killing both Gail and Duncan. Seeing her that dedicated was very cool and a little spooky. It seemed like letting the Hydra live at the end really weighed on her; her determination to save lives over accomplishing what she felt were her duties speaks pretty well to her character. In combat, you were really the powerhouse here. I tried to have the Root zero in on you a little bit as you made yourself the clear threat, but you withstood just about everything it threw at you! Zaria's not quite at the level Guts was in 1.0, but with some proper character building, I can easily see her getting there. 

And I think that's everything! I look forward to hearing your further thoughts, but this was really a cool thing to bring to life with you guys, and thank you so much for sticking along! :sweet:

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Just finished reading through Mission 7, @The Legonater and I've got to say that it was a very well put together quest. It's really cool seeing something that would have been almost impossible in Heroica 1.0 and all of the homages to certain sci-fi tropes were great to see. This was a great introductory mission for Hart and I think you've got the faction setup well for future stories. As others have mentioned, Jace and Alexa were perfect representatives of the company, and the Starblazers did a good job really rounding out the perspecitves on the organization. Speaking of Starblazers, is Viper supposed to be a reference to another eye-patch wearing action hero named after a reptile? :laugh:

The first act did a fantastic job setting up the mystery and mood of the ship's disappearance. Port Charon had a great feel of being on the edge of "known" territory. The little scenes at the bar were perfect and I loved the bits of worldbuilding you included and incorporated with the different NPC's.

Act two started off with the puzzle and it was cool to see a sci-fi represenation of such a cool game. Boarding the Valencia had the perfect atmosphere of spooky and mystery. The way you rendered the lighting made ratcheted up the tension to eleven and was super fitting for the mission. The layout didn't seem to overwhelming and I liked the variety you gave each of the rooms of the "dungeon". The recordings and logs were an amazing addition and really helped the party feel like they were piecing the story together bit by bit as well as getting to know the NPC's better. The maze puzzle and timed battle really helped to add variety and I'm glad to see MM's spicing up their missions with other methods of giving out experience and trying different win conditions.

Act three for me was getting into the shipping containers and the final battle. The final argument with the Hydra was a fitting end and I loved the age-old quandrum you left the party with. It was fascinating watching each party member wrestle with the situation and I think it really made for great opportunities of character development. The battle itself was just high stakes enough to keep everyone engaged and on the edge of their seats. The final discussion was a great way to conclude the mission and I loved seeing Merei stay with the ship and thought it really spoke to her character.

Speaking of players, all four of you were incredible to read. Even though it's only the second mission for all of you, by the end it seemed that you all came into your own and your characters really are starting to have some depth to them. I know availability can be hard for these types of games and I'm glad you all tried to see it through.

The Legonater, your builds were incredible. I've still only dabbled with Stud.io, but I think this mission proves that anyone can run something of quality and good looking utilizing the digital tools out there. Your NPC's were on point and believable with rational motivations. Your fights seemed balanced and your puzzles engaging. All in all, a fantastic mission and I hope to take part in the next one!

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I've been saying I'll do it, so I think it's time to comment on other characters! I'll keep it brief, though, since I mentioned a lot in my wrap up! One final note I didn't mention that others have: Legonator, the sets were, indeed, incredible. Very cool, very atmospheric.

Zaria - A very fun character. You're making big choices, which definitely helps define her quickly. I liked how decisive she was when anyone succumbed to the Hydra. Her religion is an interesting one too - I really like the idea of a religion of a wanderer, and a wanderer who requires said bloody action when it's necessary. I do fear we're doomed to play out our same dynamic again hahaha, in that I think Zaria has some big trouble with the way Merei sees the world, and Merei is, if not oblivious to this, just not accepting of the fact that the two may have trouble between them. It was the same with Karie and Boomingham - Karie had some legitimate complaints, and Boomingham was just constantly "I don't get why you don't want to get along!" That being said, I think the quest was great for these two. They respected each other's competency in battle, and I think that's a real cool dynamic: trusting each other with their lives, but not sure of their individual intentions. There's this very cool push and pull to it.

Kirwin - Kirwin is a very sweet character, and I'm always happy to go on the same quest with people twice. Merei and he really grew to like and trust each other in the first quest. I was afraid that I was frankly sometimes overbearing. I kept asking Kirwin to do this and that, and I hope it came across as Merei suggesting a course of action to a friend, or asking a friend for a favor, and not a "Zepher dictating what karmajay should be doing right now." Like I said above, learning his backstory was very cool. I'm sad you fell off a bit near the end there: I would have liked another voice in the debate! If you're having trouble connecting with moments, I'd suggest using Kinto as an example. Be bold! Take an action! What does Kirwin prioritize in the moment? I think they're a strong character, and I wouldn't have given that note unless you yourself said that you had a bit of trouble there at the end.

Merei - She's not really announcing her deal as much as some other characters I've played. She's quieter. I think I'm dropping hints, over both quests, kind of what she's about. But, like I said at the end of 4, she's here for a reason. She has a mission. She's doing other stuff in the meantime, but she's working towards something. I think I let a bit of that drop out here and there. But, following my own advice to Karma, I do think her actions are speaking loudly for her character, if not her backstory yet, which is what I'm aiming for. So, you know, always nice to end of post by just patting myself on the back. :laugh: And since I'm already there, I'm happy I chose to ignore meditate. It made the quest MUCH tougher for me. Which I love.

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And that's a wrap! I'm afraid it'll probably be a while before I make any attempt at a post mortem (though there's still time to put the lie to that) but for what it's worth I think you both did a great job.

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With our intense cliff hanger, here are my thoughts of Mission #9: He's Dead, Jim.

@Duvors

Overall, I really enjoyed this experience!  Admittedly it seemed a bit slow and boring with exploring the sewers at first.  That is primarily because we did not find anything (yet) and it seemed rather confusing to navigate.  The addition of the sewer map really helped with that issue for me so thank you for that!  I thought the story was extremely interesting as the mission progressed.  Initially I thought it was going to ne just finding Gregory Smiles who simply just went missing.  But then slowly putting the pieces together to discover he was kidnapped for some ritual by a cult really added to the intrigue.  When I was able to figure out that the few other missing people were the corpses in the sewer made the mission more intense I think.  When talking to Vinoq I assumed we would be trying to find them too.  Whilst we did I did not expect it to be in the way we did haha.

One thing I genuinely loved and appreciated was some of the quirks to the mission when we arrived at the bazaar.  I enjoyed some of the more notable NPCs there and really enjoyed interacting with them.  Vinoq was an interesting character I thought.  A dealer of information.  And with him being a Quarm I enjoyed that too.  Neros Solon was another NPC I enjoyed too.  I think without his help being able to save Gregory would have been impossible.  I think he was one of the unsung heroes in this mission.  I am glad we found his son too and I hope he was able to return home safely!  Kenshi was great too, I was a bit disappointed I lost that duel with him but I think it was a great learning experience for Ronin.  I do hope to encounter him again.  Lastly... Elfonn Deshelf.  He was by far the most fascinating NPC on this mission I thought.  I loved his interactions with Decker!  I definitely would love to see more of that guy again.

I am very pleased with the outcome of this mission too.  I am glad we were able to save Gregory from being possessed instead of having to kill him.  I understand you had to wrap up the mission rather quickly, Duvors, but I hope it did not affect the story too much.  I actually thought that we would face Avery Mann after saving Gregory.  I had such a fun idea with Ronin and the Lamplight for that.  I am curious to know about alternate outcomes.  What would have happened if we killed Gregory?  Things like that interest me the most.

@Endgame, I had a blast playing with you again!  I think Decker and Ronin make a great team together.  Decker is such a fun character to interact with and to get his perspective on things.  I really like how you roleplay him and hope we can be on more missions again.  In fact, I myself even thought about having Ronin reveal himself to Decker.  I tried to give some subtle context clues to Decker about Ronin's identity.  That hint being Ronin is not exactly human per se.  Next time we are on a mission together you may find out more about him.  I will give you a hint, examine Ronin next chance you get. :wink:

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Having finally retuned from Ireland, I'll be able to conduct a post mortem of M9 sometime soon. @Endgame, @Yzalirk, feel free to correct your character's stats with the appropriate amount of credits.

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Ok. Wow. This is a long time coming for me to write this. I'm absolutely embarrassed it took me this long to come back to Heroica and leave a party and harm a game like this. There's really no excuse that is acceptable as I made the commitment to be a part of the game and ultimately failed at that. While I logged into EB everyday, I just couldn't mentally check into any of my commitments for a time, be it Heroica, BotBS, or well anything. Luckily I'm doing better so hopefully I can really try to be a part of this again.

That being said, I did have fun win this mission that @The Legonater ran. It was really interesting and the interactions were great. I loved how every NPC felt different from each other and how they interacted with the party. Of course in RPGs (and as we saw in Heroica Fantasy), not every NPC interacts with every party member, and you did really well keeping track of all of that. There were a lot of characters to keep track of and you did it flawlessly. Varen interacting with the crew friend felt real as well as all the other Player characters. I really enjoyed playing with everyone while I was active as they all committed to their characters.

I think while this was a long quest, I had fun with it. I've just gone back and caught up on everything I missed due to my abscence. The roleplay was my favorite part (still trying to figure out the combat) and you created a really intricate quest storywise which I loved. My one complaint which is due to the system might be the way the combat is. Battles take a long time. I'm not sure if it's because of low activity or complication (and this is not your fault) but it felt like every encounter went to late game Heroica Fantasy levels of time to calculate and figure out what to do. As much as I love this new grid system for tactics, it felt long. Didn't help that I definitely didn't spec Varen well for this quest.

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My post editor was still, bizarrely, holding onto a write-up about #1 from September. :wacko: This is what I get for using three different devices on this forum. :laugh:

It's good to have you back, KotZ! I think there's been a lot of online burn-out going around, which is reasonable given how chaotic everything continues to be out in the real world. Don't feel too bad about dropping out, I'm just grateful for what you were able to bring to the table when you were with us! 

Regarding the battle system, I do think there's a bit of a learning curve to it. In particular, the new system is very reactive in a way that 1.0's never was; instead of sitting in one spot and repeating your attack, the players and the enemies are encouraged to dance around each other to find the perfect range and such. That said, running the combat is actually vastly easier! There's a lot less number crunching, at least. In the case of #7 at least, I think battle length was largely up to the players. My goal was for each encounter to take about five rounds, with the exception of the final boss, which I planned for about double that - and we broadly hit that benchmark for all of them! My hope was also to have at least one update per day; we fairly frequently got that but it took some doing. This is the biggest point of difference from 1.0, where I think we had enough engagement that we could easily do two or three rounds per day, and it wasn't until we had the giant parties where we were slowing down to an update every day or so. Encounters that theoretically could have lasted a couple of days became week-long events. So it's a combination of factors - less engagement, more strategy, and just the general weirdness of a new system. Should we keep everything running consistently I think eventually people would ease into the system and the overall pace of things would pick up, but that's dependent on 2.0's overall growth and self-sustainability.

A quick add, but character builds are also a thing I think would figure themselves out in the long-term. It seems to me that it's really tough to build a level 1 character who's able to really deal damage without coming at the expense of other traits that might benefit your character's roleplaying. After a couple of quests, however, I imagine people are better able to figure out what they need to be doing and how to get there.

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