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Exhuminator
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Re: What are you playing?

by Exhuminator Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:19 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Another From Software FPARPG (Eternal Ring or Shadow Tower Abyss)

Help me decide!!!

The decision is clear to me.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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BogusMeatFactory
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Re: What are you playing?

by BogusMeatFactory Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:29 am

I just started playing The Shroud of the Avatar, created by Richard "Lord British" Garriott and writing by Margaret Weiss. It is a Single-Player/Co-op/MMORPG. Yes, it can be all of those things. This is an MMO-style game that allows the player to play offline as a single-player experience, play with friends in a closed environment, or open as an MMO and can be switched between them at the push of a button. The story puts you in the role of a person on earth who is sucked into the fantastical realm of New Brittania as an Outlander and Avatar. After speaking to a mechanically ominous oracle, you are put on one of the paths of virtue, which determines where you start in the game and what major quest line you begin with. You later will be able to do the other major quest lines to complete the story.

The game has some very fascinating mechanics that are marred by slightly inconveniencing bugs. The major element of the game is combat and this is the most complex, but fascinating set of systems. You have a set of intro skills that all belong to the wide variety of skill categories, ranging to weapon types, magical skills as well as crafting skills and skills based on the basic stats of a player (intelligence, strength, dexterity etc.). By using the skills, you level them up and improve their potency and effectiveness. In harvesting, it improves your chance of successfully harvesting rare materials and the speed of harvesting, but with magic spells or combat abilities, it affects range, damage and chance for hitting status effects. Some other skills are passive ones that only improve when using skills related to a stat. These passive abilities improve your base stats as they level up.

In order to level up those skills, you need to have an xp pool that you earn by killing enemies and doing quests. You can also set skills that you no longer want to use to decay and put xp back into the overall pool. The pool is ginormous at the start and I have not even remotely come close to running dry as there are a ton of quests and areas to explore, plus the act of improving said skills usually involves combat and gaining more xp.

As you level up your skills, you can purchase branches of skills through their prospective skill tree and get access to new powers and abilities. These skills are also built into decks that you create. Certain skills can be combined with others to create combos that are more potent and combine status affects. There are ways you can charge up these moves and even implement a more FPS style targeting system that makes it more challenging but the abilities be more potent

What I love about the game is how you interact with NPCs. The game uses an Everquest style dialog system where NPCs include keywords which you have ti type out to discuss further. The game also features those same keywords on a small dialog bar for folks who want it laid out more easily. Also, in order to have the NPCs name and occupation to appear over their heads, you need to ask them about it. Also, how quests work is not blatant. If an NPC has a quest, you need to ask if they need help and quest types run the gamut of, "Kill this creature," to, "Interrogate NPCs to determine their guilt," to, "Track down a series of books," and on and on. The quests are more varied and not always so blatant. There are waypoints to general areas if the NPCs tell you that information, but they never outright point you to the exact location. Some quests require you to be at a location at a certain time and others are ones you DO NOT WANT TO DO as they are villainous in intent and will hinder your journey to be the avatar (it just requires you to do more good things). These villainous quests are ones that you need to determine whether they are or not and it is really important to talk to the NPCs to learn their intent. You can still do them and they can still affect your story and being villainous is an actual option with evil skills and abilities and the ability to steal and pickpocket folks.

When talking to the Oracle (which has temples throughout the world) she can actually tell you how you are doing on your path and certain tasks you did that helped or hindered your journey.

As for the world itself, it is enormous. Spanning two continents with tons of regions, it is absolutely huge. How you navigate this is through an overworld. This allows you to travel to the zones for combat and adventure, as well as the major cities and player run towns. At first, I thought this was a negative, but it feels very oldschool and interesting. Think of it like a modern version of Zelda 2's overworld. There are enemies you can see that when you engage them put you into a combat zone which you can run away from or do combat in. You also can see and interact with other players here and terrain affects your speed. There are tons of zones to explore and their difficulty is notated by the number of skulls on a spike at its entrance. Exploration is highly rewarded as there are tons of quests and resources and unique enemies hidden in the world.

Jesus.... this is a long ass post.... there's more....

Player cities. Players and guilds can create cities and custom housing in the world through the overworld. There is free housing in the form of Inn rooms if a town allows it and you can freely decorate it. If you want to own a house, it is expensive in the early run, but is apparently very manageable once you get closer to the end game. Players can have custom NPCs with quests and merchants, can even create their own dungeons for players to explore and more. These places can range the gamut of being very gawdy and crowded to being very intimate and feeling very realistic. They are also not packed. The overworld is not just littered with a million player towns thankfully. Even in the pre-built cities, the player housing there (which is the most expensive) are not overwhelmingly gaudy. A lot of major guilds have guild houses located there where they congregate and recruit and it is fascinating to see people interact in-game in a this way. This is the part that I have the least experience in as I have just started, but I have explored a bunch of towns and am super surprised at the type of stuff a player is able to do.

Also with towns is the ability to be sieged. This is an optional activity for players who want to engage in PvP or in larger scale PvE (depending on the type of siege). Guilds can declare war with other guilds (they mutually must agree to it) and that opens up free PvP between them. There are arenas and in-game tournaments that have brackets and leader boards all presented in an in-character way. There are also world events that players can take part in like a special enemy that leads an army to a town. Players can fight to whittle down their forces before they reach the target, with the goal of defeating them before they kill all the npcs in the town and the town leader. There are areas that open up and are fought over for land by guilds and so much more. These things are all of course optional for players who do not want to participate in that sort of activity.

Players can also play music, write books and learn and teach other people a variety of emotes that can actually have functions. Players can use the zombie emote to avoid aggro of passing zombie mobs (but not avoid it if already in combat). In the end, the game is jam packed with content and has an amazing player-base that are kind, friendly and helpful. I have never seen a global chat that isn't spamming with obscenities. I have had an absolute blast playing the game so far and talking with folks. It is a joy to explore and interact with NPCs and the world. It is a great mix between Ultima Online and Everquest, but with the option and ability to play by yourself or with your friends without the outside noise of an MMO. Also... it's free.

Phew.....that was a big-ass post.
Ack wrote:I don't know, chief, the haunting feeling of lust I feel whenever I look at your avatar makes me think it's real.

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Erik_Twice
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Re: What are you playing?

by Erik_Twice Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:45 pm

I like your big posts. Thanks! :)
Looking for a cool game? Find it in my blog!
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: What are you playing?

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:12 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Another From Software FPARPG (Eternal Ring or Shadow Tower Abyss)

Help me decide!!!

The decision is clear to me.


I tried so hard. I spent an hour tonight trying to get my PS2 to output through component video cables, but I just wouldn’t do it. (I think my cables are busted...if that’s possible. The were aciting strangely before I moved, and now I get no video signal through them apparently...) I tried it with regular video cables, but it looked so bad. Shadow Tower Abyss is one of the best looking PS2 games, and it deserves better than that. It’s otherwise ready to go...I just have to get some new cables first. :(
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noiseredux
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Re: What are you playing?

by noiseredux Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:35 am

my neighborhood lost power for a couple of hours last night so I ended up sitting in the dark playing LTTP. I finished up the Ice Palace and decided to go off exploring the overworld looking for some more power-ups and stuff. I cannot for the life of me remember where there's an easy access portal back to the dark world now. Hmm.
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Ack
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Re: What are you playing?

by Ack Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:02 am

BogusMeatFactory wrote:I just started playing The Shroud of the Avatar, created by Richard "Lord British" Garriott and writing by Margaret Weiss.


With a name like that and considering its creator, is it in any way related to the Ultima universe?
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Exhuminator
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Re: What are you playing?

by Exhuminator Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:13 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:I spent an hour tonight trying to get my PS2 to output through component video cables, but I just wouldn’t do it.

Very unfortunate. I hope you can get the component output working, because you're right that Shadow Tower Abyss is a gorgeous PS2 game. To play it as a blurry badly scaled mess would be a travesty. You probably already know this, but just in case, changing a setting in your PS2 can increase component cable compatiblity...

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Go to the PS2 configuration menu.
Scroll down to the setting which reads: Component Video Out.
Select Y Cb/Pb Cr/Pr instead of RGB.
Press X.

If that doesn't fix your problem, well, it could be a few other things.

I'm glad that you played through Shadow Tower before attempting Abyss. There's plot stuff and callbacks in Abyss that will make more sense because of that.
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BogusMeatFactory
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Re: What are you playing?

by BogusMeatFactory Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:33 am

Ack wrote:
BogusMeatFactory wrote:I just started playing The Shroud of the Avatar, created by Richard "Lord British" Garriott and writing by Margaret Weiss.


With a name like that and considering its creator, is it in any way related to the Ultima universe?


Yes and no. You are an avatar, it has some places with the same name, it has the ahnk and the virtues and Britannia and takes place after, "The cataclysm" that is, I assume is ultima online.... but it is technically not in the universe.

Playing more, I see so many nods to ultima. The overworld is just classic ultima and it was so naive to not think so. I just got into one of the major cities and I am LOST! Even though there is a map. I've entered the merchants district, found a monetary to the virtues and hung out with monks, learned about the city's issues and what I need to do, but I am engrossed with talking to npcs. There was an instance where I was talking to a guard and they were talking about the theories of love and I had to go afk. When I came back, some little girl npc walked by and the guard was like, "Hey isn't that [INSERT GIRLS NAME]" and chased her. NPCs have their routines and sleep and get pissed off if you wake them up.

It has its flaws and the bugs I have encountered deal with npcs. Sometimes I input a question and do not get a response and the dialog box closes... sometimes I complete a quest and it doesn't think I did. There is jank but there is so much old school ultima feel that pulls from the entire series with modern design. I am enchanted but so many people don't seem to agree and I don't entirely understand why.
Ack wrote:I don't know, chief, the haunting feeling of lust I feel whenever I look at your avatar makes me think it's real.

-I am the idiot that likes to have fun and be happy.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: What are you playing?

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:33 am

Exhuminator wrote:If that doesn't fix your problem, well, it could be a few other things.

I'm glad that you played through Shadow Tower before attempting Abyss. There's plot stuff and callbacks in Abyss that will make more sense because of that.


I have been attempting to squeeze better resolution out of my PS2 for years. I tried everything, and no luck.

I will overcome, however. I ordered a PS2 HDMI converter today, and should have it by Thursday. :D
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SuperDerpBro
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Re: What are you playing?

by SuperDerpBro Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:21 pm

PS2 looks so good on a CRT tho.

EDIT: Have you seen this? https://youtu.be/brMW6KFue-I
But enough talk! Have at you!
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