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  • Acra
  • 04/23/2019 05:40 AM
What initially started as a quick check on how two characters are recruited has spiraled wildly out of control. In short, changed the recruitment methods for one, with a new option being available, Damian has been completely reworked, and an event around seven artifacts has been scrapped and replaced with a completely new version that combines ideas from the old version and merges it with the aftermath of a new sidequest. Most of these are finished writing, but almost none of which are fully implemented within the game just yet.

In significantly more words, those two characters, Leon and Allen, are mutually exclusive, and feature somewhat similar movesets and roles. But there’s almost zero story correlation between getting one and not getting the other. They can make decent excuses AFTERwards, but not warn beforehand that there’ll be consequences to recruiting them. Further, complications arising from additions to Damian’s events has pushed Leon, the one with far more demanding requirements, to later in the game (used to be available at three+ artifacts, now only makes sense at fifth or later), while Allen has almost zero requirements (he’s desperate to find anyone to train him after a certain event), and is now available sooner (three artifacts).

Leon is definitely a sort of secret character, and that’s fine, but that bumbling into Allen is fairly easy and stops you from getting Leon isn’t really fair in any way, especially as Leon’s fate can be a major sticking point when it comes to lategame Memory events. I guess this is my own fault for making such a tight situation around the two of them, something I should’ve obviously thought more about before making Allen this way in the first place. I considered briefly WHY they can’t both be available, and my main excuse is a mechanics one; they’re both fighting for second-billing when it comes to info about Fire tomes (Chizuru is first). Incredibly petty, I know, but it’s enough to not make me budge. It already happens with the secondary poison-users, but they have reason to HATE each other and be mutually exclusive.

The best solution I can find is to write a loophole that makes Leon more easily available (and earlier) under a new specific circumstance. This makes getting him the old way fairly unlikely, but hey, this is the best way I can figure to deal with it. In simplest terms, if you stumble into that circumstance before meeting Allen (~1/6 chances), you’ll probably get Leon. If not, you’ll probably get Allen. Unless you’re not very chatty with random NPCs, because nobody really points Allen out very hard (or at all, really), while Leon is thrown dead into your face if the conditions are met. So if you miss that 1/6 chance, and just ignore Allen, and haven’t pissed Damian off, Leon is a likely sell. Writing that out... kind of makes it sound more fair. It’s definitely one of the more esoteric parts of DR, but hey. A lot of it comes down to the whims of Damian’s mood, so in that way it makes sense a lot of the outcome here is out of your direct hands. You have the option to say no to both, of course, but who ever ACTUALLY says no to free stuff, without knowing some secret reason behind it? Something I can’t see any way to hint at.

From there, Damian needed a complete rewrite. Being one of the very first things I ever worked on in Draug’s Resurrection, it was kind of a rocky base to begin with, and I only just piled crap on top of that unstable base. He was prone to constantly moving around, and had three entirely sets of dialogue trees, based on his location, with two of those being basically abandoned nothings since like 2011. He’ll now always been in his room if there’s an artifact to give him, so you won’t have to wait around until he’s in there. And he’ll actually respond normally when not in his chambers, instead of basically ignoring you. He also now has lines related to every single artifact scenario, instead of having none at all and just staring blankly at you if try to talk to him about what you’ve been up to.

Seeing as Damian’s ‘loyalty’ to you (how much he likes you) is incredibly important to Leon’s recruitment (and almost all of the true endgames), I next went to iron out the two big sidequests related to that. The first is fairly uneventful, if a bit lighthearted and silly, but it’s something that’s been planned since almost day one. It’s done and tested. The other is probably the single most important sidequest in the game, and it’s a bit of a moral conundrum, something I’m aware the game needs more of, so I’m happy to have it in. There need to be consequences for not doing it, and so I chose to lace that outcome with an incredibly messy and needlessly complex event that takes place at seven artifacts. I essentially scrapped the old version, being about 20 pages of writing, with unfinished hooks still in there. The new one is written, but not fully evented out yet; but it sits at just over 40 pages and is essentially six totally different versions with a total of 17 different outcomes, with both decision splits and reactive splits. That number is much higher if you count the different characters who might show, and might die as a result, as different permutations. And that's where the real trickery lies; making it seem like having NPCs die when you're not explicitly being an asshole as something that's worth letting happen.

Despite that, it’s easier to understand and has more impact and makes Damian seem less unhinged. Maybe good, maybe bad. I’m pretty pleased with this turn of events, as it’s a firm payoff for something set up earlier, and this change makes several simple things more complex, and eases the stress on a complex thing. Said complex thing is tied to ANOTHER third party member. So yes, the recruitment methods of three whole characters has been affected.

On forward progress, this does technically count as such, as said seventh event was a major stumbling block on the road to the true endgames. I’m just as happy that I scrapped the old version. This might take longer to fully implement, but I think it makes things flow better, and it’s at a time where it’s both influenced by events that happened and affects those yet to come.