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Game News Age of Decadence December Update

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff Patron

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: Age of Decadence; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

    <p>Another month, another update.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><span>We tried to get the demo out in Dec, but we aren't there yet. I'd say we're 2-3 weeks of work away from the release, so most likely we'll release the demo in January. </span><br /><br /><span>What? This update sucks? I know, I know. One can read "yeah, we, uh, still working on that bitch" only so many times before going postal, which is why we asked the testers to share their updated impressions with you guys. Yeah, you're welcome!</span><br /><br /><span>Now, keep in mind that we asked them not to sugar coat anything and that they've been playing it for 4 months now, so the fact that they don't hate it with passion is already something. Yay!</span><br /><br /><span>Without further ado:</span></p>
    <div>* * *</div>
    <br /><span>Starwars:</span><br /><br /><span>Roleplaying:</span><br /><br /><span>The shining jewel of Age of Decadence I'd say. This is why you'll want to buy the game when it comes out on Thursday. The game supplies you with a few archetype characters at the start that work great, and have specific little vignettes attached to them that give you a sense of context to the world when you start and introduce you to the text-adventure style of the game.</span><br /><br /><span>Just working from these characters, you already get a sense that yeah... there is a lot of unique content in this game. Then you start to realize that, even if you go Merchant for example, there is no restriction on what skills you level. You can fuck around completely with all skills you have available.  This may seem "stupid" (why would you want to play a Merchant who wants to kill shit?) but the dialogues and text adventures are overloaded with skill checks, some of which are kinda "out of the blue" and unexpected (in a good way). Crafting checks for example are not the most common, but they definitely happen at times and can unlock pretty cool shit. This feels nice in the sense that a crafting character is not just literally about making phat equip for yourself, but gives a good sense that your character is *skilled*. He knows about things related to crafting, and he can showcase it to the world.</span><br /><br /><span>The events that you partake in in AoD can be pretty unpredictable. This is both a good and a bad thing. There are times where the game presents you with pretty cool "oh shit" moments where you definitely want to weigh your options carefully. The bad side is that sometimes it can feel like the game is actively fucking you over. Most games can have a Diplomacy check for example, and if you pursue that dialogue line you can pretty much expect to be able to talk your way out. In AoD, you can see a Persuasion check and it will lead you onwards in the dialogue, and the dialogue might ask for a completely different check in the second stage of the convo which can leave you fucked. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (though there are times where the testers have complained about where some choices take you which can be a problem) but it will leave you raging at times.</span><br /><br /><span>All in all, one thing I tend to look for in RPGs is times where I think A) "Fuck yes, I'm glad I invested in this skill" and B) "Fuck, I wish I had invested in that skill". AoD supplies that a lot.</span><br /><br /><span>Combat:</span><br /><br /><span>Combat in AoD is punishing, fun and sometimes rage-inducing. It feels really good when you beat some encounters, and oft-times (as people who have played the demo will know) you will notice big differences in how things play out when you switch strategies, invest in some items that will aid you in combat and so forth. It feels quite rewarding when you find a strategy that works really well for a fight.</span><br /><br /><span>There are pretty much no filler-encounters in AoD. This can be a double-edged sword but it's absolutely a large positive overall. You don't want to get too arrogant overall, even if you're a tough combat-character. If you make a dumb move and sometimes if you have a bit of bad luck, you can get screwed over really quickly.</span><br /><br /><span>The negative thing about this is that sometimes, when you're playing a diplomacy focused character, and if you somehow end up in a fight, a lot of times you're fucked. In most games, even your diplomacy character can make it out most encounters, but in AoD this is simply not always the case. It can take some time getting re-adjusted to this type of thinking, though like I said, it's absolutely a net-positive if you ask me.</span><br /><br /><span>This doesn't mean that you can't go through the game without combat though. The demo can be completed without combat, and I think the full game can as well. But you shouldn't mistake that for "just because I have high Persuasion, I can bypass every combat-encounter in the game". It requires more than that, and sometimes careful maneuvering by the player.</span><br /><br /><span>Atmosphere:</span><br /><br /><span>This is definitely being worked on, with the addition of the side-encounters, filling up the world with "commoner NPCs" and so forth so it's not finished yet.</span><br /><br /><span>But the graphics are good, as most people have seen from screenies and vids. The world looks really nice and some of the combat animations are very satisfying when you manage to critically kill some dude. The music is really nice but gets repetitive in Teron I feel. I hope this can be alleviated somehow by the addition of another track to the loop or something.</span><br /><br /><span>The sound is lacking at the moment. It feels very sparse as of now but there was an effort to fix this in the beta forums a while back and I hope that's still going or is planned.</span><br /><br /><span>The writing style is pretty different, especially when compared to other RPGs. If you've seen Vince's interviews or forum-posts, you can get a sense of the tone that way. Liberal use of sarcasm and quite "harsh" in many ways. There is the odd sentence where you can tell that English isn't the writer's mother tongue but most of the time it's really entertaining to read. The descriptive text for when you use skills successfully for example are very good at stroking the player's ego, describing the intricacies of sneaking or whatever skill you're employing. This is important since much of the game is about the text-adventures, and the writing makes it feel very satisfying at times.</span><br /><br /><span>All in all, I'd say that the game is definitely a good game and very satisfying if you're looking for hardcore roleplaying. But I will also say that one should read up on the game and get your expectations set straight. If you go in expecting a traditional RPG (even something like Fallout which AoD is quite inspired by), you will have to readjust your views a bit on how things work. It feels like a pretty unique game and it will definitely rub some people the wrong way. </span>
    <p> </p>
    </blockquote>
    <p><a href="http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,2360.0.html" target="_blank">Read the rest here.</a></p>
    <p> </p>
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  2. villain of the story Unwanted

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    I welcome this with open arms. If you can't stand up for your own in a fight or can't afford to hire muscle to do it for you, you better learn to adapt and do whatever it takes to ensure your own long-term survival, and if it comes to the first, well, C&C bitch! I only hope that you can at least run away in such moments.
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  3. Angelo85 Arbiter

    Angelo85
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    Brace yourselves Thursday is coming!
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  4. villain of the story Unwanted

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    An idea that I wonder why VD didn't do was to release the combat demos with combat logs and ask people to send in their combat logs so they could study winning player decisions and improve combat AI accordingly.
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  5. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

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    This was a design decision, sort of. I dislike godlike characters whose presence can turn the tide of any battle, so in group fights you aren't leading the fight and killing enemies left and right, but trying to survive.
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  6. hiver Augur Dumbfuck White Knight

    hiver
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    I was wondering about that part a bit more. Seems a bit weird that your team just always wins in such a way and that your actions cannot achieve anything at all.

    Not sure if the tester really correctly described it, although it seems so.
    But maybe its something they can work on more and change a bit.

    -edit-
    ah, hmm... still, it seems weird that my guys will always win and that i (if combat character) cant at least kill one enemy and thus help my team get advantage.
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  7. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

    Vault Dweller
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    Not always. It depends on who's on your side and whom you're fighting against. The sides aren't always evenly matched, so it's always easier to fight on the winning side.

    From our beta forums (you and 2 assassins against 4 imperial guards):

    "And another question. Any tips on how the fuck you beat this battle? I've spent a lot of skill points into Dagger, Critical Strike and Dodge, with a little bit of Sneak on the side (since I wanted to see if anything happened when you passed the above Sneak check). If I get lucky (fairly big if), I can manage to take down the guy with the sledgehammer using armor-piercing bolts (and with help from one of the AG mates who also shoots at him from the start).

    After that though, I get fucking murdered when they close in on me. The guild-mates are basically minced meat and go down incredibly quick. I've tried replaying this battle a few times now and really am now having any luck finding a successful strategy.
    ...
    Been using nets to pretty good effect. I've managed to take two guys down now, but after that it's lights out. Ah well, keep trying I guess.
    ...

    I'm risking sounding bitter and whiny here but but as of right now, I'm ready to toss my computer out the window because of this fight.

    I have literally tried this fight over 20 times now and have not managed to kill more than 2 of the guards, this trying out a variety of equipment, different daggers and armors, different crossbows, using nets and additional stuff like that. Varying my approach staying back or being more aggressive, varying combat approaches with different aimed attacks (seem to have the most luck with aiming for the head, though that is just that, lucky rolls).

    Again, I don't want to whine about the game's direction because I know it is a hardcore game, meant for hardcore people and all that. But I was honestly expecting to feel more respectable at the combat when I have invested nearly all skill points at that point into my main weapon (that being daggers), critical strike and dodge. As long as I have the distance, I'm actually putting out much more respectable damage with the crossbows despite having much lower skill in them.

    The good thing is that you *can* by-pass the fight if you choose to betray the guild. But I'd rather have that be more of a roleplaying choice rather than a necessity because you can't get through the fight that otherwise ensues.
    ...
    I agree that it should be a really tough fight. I mean, Assassain's are guys striking out from the shadows, and here they are caught with their pants down by four battle-hardened Imperial Guards. Tough odds indeed, so the player should definitely be challenged. But yeah, it might be me just sucking but I'm having a hell of a hard time with the fight as it is now.
    ...

    Second attempt is going a little better than the first for me so far, but not so much for my comrades. You'll also note that a significant part of my strategy involves using a hand-crossbow (ran out of nets some time ago), when I've invested nothing in crossbow - maybe one point. A dagger/hand-crossbow build is great, but I think there should be more reason to invest in the crossbow part (again, lower base THC should accomplish this). I suppose that means that throwing-knives would have been a better bet though, hmmmm. I'll try that after my horrible death glorious victory.
    ...

    In other news, victory (of sorts) - but I guess I'll be dead before morning if I choose to go on the raid on the IG.
    The dagger/hand-crossbow combo worked pretty well. I could aimed(arms) at 100% with the dagger if either of them ever closed completely, and could get reasonable odds at with the crossbow otherwise (90-odd for a shoot, a little over 70 for an aimed legs/arms). Was on to the bronze AP ammo by the end, but survived before it ran out. The hand-crossbow was also useful in getting the swordsman to close right next to me - so that I could aimed(arms) with the dagger, then back off. This makes sense of course, so it's nice that it works. The impassable parts of the terrain also help quite a bit - particularly when you're avoiding diagonal attacks from the hammer-guy. In particular, I found running around the central statue to be more effective than doing laps around the courtyard.
    I'm not sure how a non-12-AP character would do at this though - probably not well. The 12 AP works well in combination with the hand-crossbow, since it's 2/shoot, 4/aimed, 2/reload weapon - so an 11AP character would be little better than a 10AP character, other than occasionally being able to aimed(arms) with a 3AP dagger, then retreat three squares. I was able to use the 4AP dagger, but to be honest it wasn't much use at that stage - any dagger can crit for 5hp, and an aimed arms at 3-7 isn't much better than an aimed arms at 2-4. Every little helps though, of course.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that this time it was doable, difficult, got my friends killed, and required a lot of preparation."
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  8. Wunderpurps Educated

    Wunderpurps
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    1942. That's going to be the really big year of the war.
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  9. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    I like it that diplomacy characters can find themselves fucked if they get into a combat scenario. Vogel did that with later Geneforge games and it worked really well (he didn't have a diplomacy stat per se, but he had leadership - which had a very large point cost to buy levels in compared to most skills; you'd usually combine that with good shaping ability and mechanics, but even with a good little army of shaped creatures you'd be far weaker than an actual combat build). It would sometimes affect who you might choose to ally with (e.g. accept an offer that could cause another faction to hate you if/when it gets out, or get pwned in a battle that a combat-build could probably have handled) and would OFTEN affect your approach (large areas could be skipped through stealth, mechanics or just clever play, and even combat 'quests' could often be handled through pin-pointing the leadership, switching off the mechanical defences and assassinating them, rather than fighting your way through - which would be literally impossible for a low-combat build).

    It adds to replayability quite a lot, but mostly it just helps add to the feeling that you are planning a mode of attack and interacting with the world. It's a lot more fun thinking 'ok, here are my strengths, here are the possible zones I can choose between in making a path to X, which one am I best suited at handling. Then, what approach should I take - try to pull down the mechanical defences, or can those sentries outrun me? Can I stealth through, and then summon my shaped army once I'm actually inside the inner sanctum - oh shit there's a fucking drayk at the door, ok forget that plan....etc. Much more fun than just click-moving through zone after zone.
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  10. hiver Augur Dumbfuck White Knight

    hiver
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    Aaah! AHA!
    Thats the butter! Well, thats all just fine and how it should be.
    Very good indeed!

    It was a lousy and incorrect comment by a tester after all.

    I wouldnt want to win fights where my team is obviously and logically weaker or in disadvantage in any way, except maybe as just a very, very hard theoretical possibility. Maybe not even that. Because this is not the game where you are awesome hero.

    I just wanted to be able to make some reasonable contribution in a fight by maybe killing one or two enemies when the teams are approximately the same. Not kill everyone.
    And that is actually possible. Theoretically, not as certainty.
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  11. Captain Shrek Orbis non-sufficit Dumbfuck

    Captain Shrek
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    SOUNDS AMAZING! :salute:

    Will Buy four copies and distribute it amongst friends...
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  12. LibertyRansom Learned

    LibertyRansom
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    Ditto. :love:
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  13. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Sounds like commercial suicide and bad design. Working as intended :smug:
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  14. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    Fuck.
    I forgot AoD was an indie.
    I'll have to overcome my loathing for buying things online.
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  15. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    Hey, VD, lil' question for ya... what if you play a pure loremaster who isn't even a smooth talker and can't fight for shit? How can HE solve stuff?
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  16. villain of the story Unwanted

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    VD is doing it all wrong. He should have worked on a game with mass appeal and then add his original vision in a DLC/expansion. Worked pretty good for MotB, no?
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  17. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    And what about adding a completely annoying titular mechanic to that original vision, villain?
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  18. St. Toxic Arcane

    St. Toxic
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    But will there be qte's?
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  19. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    You could click skillcheck options extremely fast to recreate the QTE experience.
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  20. hiver Augur Dumbfuck White Knight

    hiver
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    If you mean combat - very badly. You better stick to loremaster stuff. Of which there will be plenty.
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  21. Wunderpurps Educated

    Wunderpurps
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    No he was supposed to make an ipad card game or tower defense game to raise money for the real game.

    Though it's still not too late for fork death and it won't surprise me any.
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  22. oneself Educated

    oneself
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    My body is ready.
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  23. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    What I meant, hiver, are there loremaster specific skill checks that might grant avoidance of fights/NPC help as if it was etiquette or streetwise?

    I combat demo'd enough to know that if you slack even a bit on combat skills you're mincemeat against pure tanks.
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  24. hiver Augur Dumbfuck White Knight

    hiver
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    What i know is that when you play loremaster you play through specially created loremaster gameplay. Which is different then other types of gameplay and not available to other builds without needed skills.
    So youre not exactly going around doing combat or being in danger of combat all the time in the first place, unless you fuck up and get into combat by some accident in a wrong place and wrong time and then you die.

    You have Loremaster quests and missions to worry about, not fighting.
    Thats the beauty of the thing.

    But other than this general stuff i cant really say much more.
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  25. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    That's enough. I just know I want to do something I never did - a pacifist run - in AoD.
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