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MotW: In-Depth Playthrough

  • Volrath
  • 06/05/2015 03:50 PM
  • 26900 views
Hey all,

Not much to report on the MotW Remake at this point. I still think about it quite often but we've both been fairly busy with our "real jobs" and we're waiting on certain tools before we start for realz. In the meantime, Super Solest fan NeverSilent has started a playthrough of the original game while taking detailed notes.

We started this already, but since the Solest forums have been retired, I decided we should continue it here. He'll be along to post his impressions after a session of the game and anyone who wants to weigh in can join us in the comments for this blog entry.

Peace bros!

Posts

NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
Unfortunately, since I am currently not at home and have no access to my own computer right now, I won't be able to continue with the next part of this playthrough until the beginning of next week. I'm sorry for keeping you waiting, but I'll try to make up for it as soon as I can start playing again.
So, you really are remaking the game? Well, in that case I'l give my own Two cents:
Personally, the worst part of the game for me was Daydream themselves.
They just felt so out place for the setting.
the electric guitars and stage lights are especially jarring since I don't recall seeing even steampowered machinery in the game, much less electricity powered machinery (aside from Daydream, of course.) I suppose they run on magic?
After the concert, I tried to pretend they never existed, and needless to say, it irritated me when they came back in the finale, since it reminded me that they did.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
At long last!

The Concert:
- I'm curious how you're planning to give Violet the necessary screentime to characterise her well enough if the "Emma subplot" is going to become smaller or optional. Do you have any plans for that already?
- Concerning what Reavenator said above: It is true that Daydream and their very modern music style and equipment feel a little out of place in a still not totally modern Solest. (I talked about the issues with technology earlier already.) At least the concept of rock/metal music existing in this world could have been mentioned earlier in the story to make it feel like something that fits the setting and not almost breaks the fourth wall.
On the other hand, this episode also does a great job at distinguishing the current Solest from the archetypal medieval fantasy setting. It's also a very clever plot device as it demonstrates the power of popularity: Its potential to bring people together, but also to manipulate them if misused. Not to mention that the atmosphere in these scenes is absolutely amazing.
- I really hope you're not planning on cutting the fight against Finley in the remake. Even though it's extremely easy gameplay-wise, I had great fun with this fight. Not only because Shroud and Stoic finally teach Finley (who has been really obnoxious until this point) a lesson, but also because nothing shows the interesting and not at all conflict-free dynamic between the heroes as well as a fight against a teammate. In addition, I approve of every opportunity for Stoic to make snarky comments.
- The buildup to the battle against Ercello is one of the best in the entire game.
- That battle was a bit harder than I remember, but not too difficult. Even though there are better boss fights in the game, this one is just a lot of fun due to the music used and the fact that it's only the second battle with a full party, adding to the epicness. By the way, that shield ability of Ercello is pretty macabre, if you think about it.
- All in all, I think it is true that this boss battle feels a little out of place - but that doesn't make it any less awesome. I think it's quite refreshing, in fact. I'm a bit worried how you could make it work without this music, though. Having an instrumental track alone probably wouldn't do this scene justice...
- I like the fact that Kovak, despite the player obviously being supposed to see him as the villain, still has his own philosophy to justify his actions, and that he's not shy about sharing it. He's not a well-intentioned extremist like Ketsu, for example, but it still demonstrates that, arrogant as he may be, Kovak does not see himself as doing anything morally wrong.



Sorry I kept you waiting for so long. Since I have a few weeks of mostly free time now, I'll try to make up for it by increasing my productivity. My goal is to post here about every second day.

Edit: Oops, I got my notes messed up. It's fixed now.
The concert scene was just one of those moments where we were like "Could we really pull this off?" and we just went for it. It is kinda tough to justify it within the wider lore but at the time that wasn't quite as developed and we just wanted to do something different. I'm glad we did and the heroes walking out on stage to confront Ercello is one of my favorite scenes.

We would want to do something like that in the remake, although I had some character changes in mind for Ercello himself. Naturally, the music itself would be tough as I don't imagine we'd have the budget to license Masterplan or really any other metal act.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
Make Ercello a lightning mage, problem solved. Hell, maybe he invented all that stuff. The concert scene is great and I'd hate to see it go.

I don't suppose having 'metal' be an element would work?
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
Don't get me wrong, among the not-super-serious scenes in the game, the concert is one of my absolute favourites and just like Solitayre I would never want to see it cut. It's one of those things that make Master of the Wind stand out without it becoming silly, since Daydream actually have a purpose in Kovak's plans. (I specifically recall this scene, as it's a typical move of shady advertising to present people as authorities just because they are well-known.)
Concerning the music, I wouldn't be as pessimistic right away. It would at least be worth asking about the license. And you could also try to find an indie metal band who would be interested in working with you - I'm pretty sure there's some talented people out there you could ask.


Anyway, back to the playthrough. I've said this before already, but just in case, beware of spoilers in this or following posts!

Fort Drake, Take Two:
- I've been thinking about this and can't exactly remember if the game eventually answers it, but I wonder how much of Kovak's plans Barry actually knew about. For example, he helps with the plan to get rid of Shroud and Stoic, but is he aware that Kovak wants to have them murdered? And by whom?
- Fort Drake is named after Drake Ramzad, right? If so, this might be a good moment to give the player (and Cade) a brief glimpse at Solest's history, or at least have Cade ask about it so the name sounds familiar when it comes up again later.
- The amateurish "puzzles" in Fort Drake and the heroes' complaints about them were a really funny idea. It's a neat twist that you made crappy dungeon mechanics not intended to annoy the player, but as an actual little plot device.
- One thing I find unclear: How did Kovak know that Shroud and Stoic were going to split up, and where each of them was going to go? Or did he observe them from a distance and then send the right person to the right place respectively? But what would he have done if the heroes had stayed together? I doubt he could have convinced Gabriella to fight on Sparrow's side.
- The battle against Gabriella, and especially the argument that precedes it, is one of the more powerful serious scenes in the game. Seeing the typical image of the good-doing, innocent Priestess of the Light from a completely new perspective gives the player a good impression of the complexity and realism of Solest. Gabriella is obviously convinced she is on the side of good, as are most antagonists in the game, which shows how dangerous these linear concepts of "good races vs. evil races" are. I'm very fond of this scene.
- I know that many fans of Master of the Wind were absolutely obsessed with Sparrow. And while I personally was more interested in the overarching plot and the development of the main characters, I have always been of the opinion that a dangerous pursuer-type enemy can increase the suspense of a story by a lot. And with the whole backstory involved, you even managed to make the Sparrow so much more than just a creepy menace. So I definitely get why Sparrow was so popular among players. Also, all of the scenes in which Shroud has to confront Sparrow are extremely well-crafted and cinematic. (By the way, my very first thought was that it was just Barry in a costume, but that theory didn't last long. My second guess was Vec, then after that I stopped thinking about it and just kept playing until Sparrow's identity was finally revealed.)
- Out of curiosity, did you ever have a "canonical" idea of what Sparrow's voice sounds like? I always imagined it as being just a rough-sounding whisper.
- This battle is definitely not easy - which is a good thing, considering the buildup. You really have to keep in mind to heal earlier than usual because Sparrow is so fast. However, I wonder if there's something wrong with that scripted Sludge move, because I don't recall it ever having actually worked on Shroud.
- An excellent moment to introduce my second favourite villain, Solik Darmanus. Especially after having heard Stoic's perspective on life as an undead, and knowing about his problems with Rana, the timing for this appearance could not have been better.


And that's it, everyone. Arc II is over! Next time, we'll be tackling the third Arc.
author=NeverSilent
And that's it, everyone. Arc II is over! Next time, we'll be tackling the third Arc.

Can't wait for this, the pacing in the third arc was a little off, but besides that it was great. I felt the two dungeons were pretty diverse and rememberable so reading another take on them should be fun.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
I'm looking forward to playing through Arc III, too. The Ice Dungeon is one of my favourite locations in the game, and the third Arc is just very good overall. When I got this far into the game for the first time, Arc III was the point at which I just couldn't stop playing any more.

Let's go!


Arc III:

Port Arianna:
- I might have said this before, but I've always found it nice to see that the heroes in this game actually have (or had right now, rather) a job that they spend time on, are confronted with financial and economic problems etc. It doesn't only make them much more believable as characters, it also adds a lot to the themes of the story and kind of fulfills the role of the "secret civilian identity" typical for superheroes.
- I'm a bit confused as to why Cade and Bones would talk about going after Equipment King and other hero stuff in such a crowded place as the tavern. Shouldn't they be more careful not to risk anyone overhearing their conversation and figuring out who they really are?
- Did you plan right from the beginning to have Gino come along on all the trips around Solest, or was that an idea that you thought of later? I've always seen him as quite a classic "supporter" character, but the fact that he travels everywhere together with the heroes gives him a lot of extra depth and screentime. Which is good, because he's a very nice character.
- This statement about Sparrow by Morias is something I find a bit weird. If it was more or less a known fact that Sparrow works for Kovak, wouldn't that cast a very bad light on him in public opinion? Maybe the Toutens are more knowledgeable about Sparrow than the average citizen because they are also criminals, but I still think it's odd that they would know details about this assassin who apparently was never seen during his actions.
- It always somewhat suprised me that Finley, of all people, is the first one to uncover Cade's and Bones's secret identity. Then again, while he might be self-satisfied and silly most of the time, Finley is not actually stupid. Either way, having him around is a lot of fun, and the fact that his enormous enthusiasm and desire to be a hero are the reasons he keeps quiet about the whole business are ironic in a funny way. But considering Finley is one of the most popular characters you ever came up with, you probably knew all of this already.
Also, the conversation that follows is brilliant, especially these kinds of reactions from Bones.



Roadtrip to Pearlton:
- At the beginning of the game, I hadn't expected the Touten Corps to play such a significant role, but I'm glad it does. Most of the individual members as well as the concept behind the Corps are very fascinating. My favourite member is definitely Pilc with his weird intellectualism, followed by Cyneric and Morias. Grinfrak is a lot of fun, too, but he doesn't have much depth as a character and is kind of a stereotype of an ogre. Tyranda is not as interesting in my opinion, but the only one I never felt really had a lot of story or personality to begin with is Krom.
- I know these are RPG Maker resource restrictions, but the way Pilc is standing in the water looks weird, as if he were standing on it. Also, since when do squirrels sound like frogs?
- The story of Korrel might be the first instance of the results of an event from Clean Slate being directly shown in this game. I wonder how you are planning to make these kinds of allusions and backstories accessible in the new version. Especially later in the game, you might either have to cut some content or give the player some extra information.
- I like the fact that although Cade is seemingly "conveniently orphaned," he actually has a family backstory that involves more than his heritage and the death of his parents. Especially the part about his mother locking him up at home to keep him safe is quite a powerful story without being unnecessarily cheesy.
- An opportunity to save would have been welcome somewhere during this Touten flashback. Later in the game, you gave the player plenty of "intermission" opportunities, but the early Arcs don't really seem to do that much. This part is quite long, anyway, so giving the player some more things to do (for example by making more of the flashback interactive, perhaps?) could maybe help the flow of the game here.
- This piece of dialogue made me think: Does the game actually ever provide a reason for why the Toutens have come to Port Arianna in the first place instead of staying in their territory? I can't really remember.
- Just as an aside: The story of what happened when Shroud and Stoic originally met is probably my favourite little anecdote in the game. It's so simple yet so funny. How did you come up with it, anyway?



Pearlton:
- Is there any particular reason as to why Kovak is bringing Barry along on his trip to Pearlton? After all, he is just the "manager" of his store in Port Arianna. What business does he have in Pearlton?
- Also, if Kovak wants to set up a shop in Pearlton, why doesn't he simply hire people to build a new shop for him? He could easily push the other ones out of business. Though building a new shop from scratch and finding people to work in it might make for a higher cost than profit, I suppose...
- What's up with the whole "class warfare" nonsense, by the way? Is that another catchphrase like "hating business" to push people into an ideological corner? It's obvious you like to make fun of these kinds of empty phrases (which you did in Clean Slate, too), so I just wondered if this fits into that.



I realise I'm starting to make less critical comments than I did at the beginning, because I'm just not seeing many things I feel the need to criticise. That might be because I'm starting to feel the hype again, so to speak. But another reason might just be that, as said above, I remember Arc III in general just being really good. Though we'll see in the next few sessions if it stays this way or if my memory failed me here. Until then!
Alrighty!

-Barry knew very little about the stuff Equipment King was into and was so grateful to still be working that he didn't care.
-While at the fort, Vec kept a close eye on the heroes and advised each of the attackers separately. Gabriella had no clue Sparrow was there and didn't even have Shroud on her radar. As far as she was concerned, her job was to deal with an aggressive skeleton.
-When talking about Sparrow, I figure Morias was filling in the gaps of his knowledge with his own guesses. He's only ever heard of Sparrow's recent activities in regard to EK-related incidents, so it must be because nobody else can afford him, right?
-You can actually save during the flashback at the part where Shroud can wander the campsite and chat with everyone. We would probably do that scene a lot differently and perhaps even make it optional.
-Pilc is Jesus.
-I think ArtBane came up with the initial premise for the story of Shroud and Stoic's first meeting. It was a pretty inspired idea.
-Barry was there to observe and learn more about the management side of EK, kind of a training thing so he would eventually run the store without Kovak's supervision (even though he was already doing that, if not very well). Also, from a story point of view, it helps maintain the possibility of him as a suspect for Sparrow.
-Kovak expected the situation in Pearlton to be like Port Arianna, where the shop owner had fallen on hard times and needed EK's help. Obviously didn't work out that way. They might have built their own store, but we learn in that same scene that Vec is concerned about the tax burden of operating in Port Arianna.
-It's very common in America for people to use the phrase "class warfare" anytime someone makes even the slightest criticism of the rich and powerful. It conjures up images of peasants raiding Wall Street with pitchforks and is meant to shut people up by making them feel like extremists. Oddly enough, nobody describes things like predatory bank loans, lobbying against minimum wage and better work conditions and other behaviors that affect the poor as "class warfare." I guess it's only warfare if we fight back.
Thanks for more commentary NeverSilent. Always fun to read. Pretty much the only reason I check this site anymore.

You mentioned you enjoyed the little backstory on how Shroud and Stoic met. I actually drew a short comic of their meeting called "Kindred Spirits" that Volrath also helped write. I'm not sure if the comic is up anywhere but MOTWFan actually did a 3d animation of the comic which is even better!

You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcoc4ewKyP0
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
Ok, I see. That explains some things. Thanks, Volrath! I hope my commentary is still useful for you to some degree.

I'm glad you enjoy my playthrough, Artie. I would be happy to see you around here on RMN more often again, but I understand if you have other responsibilities that eat you time.
I already knew that animation and like it a lot. I didn't remember it was based on a comic you made, though. Thanks for the link, I'll make sure to watch it again soon.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
Into the forest we go!


Pearlton:
- During the conversation with the guard that blocks the path to the monastery, I'm a bit surprised Cade doesn't ask about what exactly an Elemental is. Depending on how rare they indeed are, it seems unlikely he knows much about them, considering how little of an education Cade has had. Also, the player knows nothing about them yet at this point, too, although I can easily see this being intentional.
- Was there any special reasoning behind the name of the shopkeeper in Pearlton who allows Gino to set up shop in his store? Although this is an English game and therefore not really an issue, that name always sounded really awkward to me because "Bordell" (or words similar to that) literally means "brothel" in a lot of other languages. I know it's a bit of a dumb thing to even bring up, but I thought I'd just mention it in case you want to avoid any unfortunate associations in the future.
- Does the city of Rutul - that is brought up in this conversation in the store - ever actually appear as a location in the game itself? I only remember it playing a significant role in Clean Slate. The same is true for Drances Agran, who I believe was an important NPC in that game. Not that I think it's bad to present pieces of information like these to the player as part of the world-building. Quite the opposite, actually, it's one of the things I liked a lot about MotW. But I do recommend being careful with the distribution and frequency of this background history, because there's already so many characters and pieces of lore the player has to remember that some people might feel overwhelmed if it comes at too quick a pace.
- I never quite understood why Gino has a special shop subsection for crafting materials if those materials are also offered for sale in the weapon subsection already.
- Since I am unfortunately a hoarder and tend to save obsessively, it never really occured to me how useful Pocket Shelters are until I watched another player use them. Usually, I tend to go back to a save point to heal for free rather than expend resources, even if I never actually need them for later. (However, if Pocket Shelters allowed me to save the game in addition to healing, they would quickly become my favourite item. In fact, that might be an interesting alternative to allowing the player to freely save everywhere, which would at least partially defeat the point of having fairies around.)
- As usual, there's a lot of both interesting and funny NPCs in this town, too. My favourites are the ones in the weapons store, the fairy in the tavern and, for the funny bits, of course the obligatory punner. Though I do wonder whose idea that silly rabbit was. Volrath's brother again, maybe?
- I have a bit of a problem with the fact that you actually have to pay for a room at the inn in order to advance the plot, but there is no area you can go to to gain money. Since I just spent almost all my cash on buying items, I now kind of got locked into selling things again to be able to proceed. It's not a big deal by any means, but still kind of obnoxious since the player has no way to predict it. If the game's mechanics had been designed more visibly around managing money (which would fit some of the main themes, I suppose), that would be okay, but in this situation it feels rather out of place.



Eagle's Path, Part 1:
- My goodness, the monsters in this area are terrifying. And that's both in the visual sense and concerning their abilities in battle. Especially those Mush Caps are really dangerous. It's a good thing they are not very resilient, but they can still quickly overwhelm you during the first few encounters. After a few level ups, which fortunately come very quickly due to the good balancing, they become less deadly, though.
- Reading the instructions for Finley's gun-shooting mechanic makes me think these minigames and puzzles would be a lot easier to grasp for the player if the tutorials included some visual images to support the text. That way, the player could see what's going on in every step instead of having to remember all the information in one go and then apply it all afterwards.
- I remember it taking some time before I got used to Finley's shooting mechanic. But the real difficulties I had with it were not the shooting itself, but finding out what objects the game actually expected me to target sometimes, and especially which part of them in the case of multi-tile objects. The mechanic itself is all right, although I think it could have been used in more interesting ways to be more fun to play around with. Also, I think it tends to be a little too finicky for some players, so some rebalancing or an improved concept for this mechanic seems like a good idea to me.
- It's nice to see how with some experience, the different characters' abilities start to complement each other. With Tranquilizer Dart, Adrenaline Shot and Pistol Whip, Finley really brings some useful skills to the table now.
- Okay, so you can totally shoot frogs when you're supposed to break a log out of the Lodite dam. That's... something else, I guess.
- Also, it leaves a rather strange impression that in a game like this, you're required to shoot wild Lodites (which are intelligent beings) because they're trying to stop you from messing with a dam they built. If nothing else, it should at least be made clear that Finley is not actually killing them with his shots.
If the player was allowed to save anywhere, particularly in the original version of MotW, it would cause all kinds of issues. Saving and loading a map would put events back to their starting locations which could cause all kinds of problems; including progression blocks. The game would have to be carefully designed and tested around allowing the player to save anywhere which with RPG Maker would probably be more effort than it's worth.

There's an easter egg in Eagle's Path. If you shoot all the frogs, you'll be cursed for the duration of your time on that map to listen to a sped up version of the Dican boss theme!
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
Really? From my experience with RPG Maker XP, events are only reset if something on that particular map where you saved was changed in the editor. In a finished game that is no longer being changed, however, it should work fine. After all, there are many RPG Maker games that do allow you to save anywhere without issues. But then, I don't know whether any of the scripts you used might have caused some problems, not to mention that I can see there being compatibility issues with savefiles in an originally episodic game like this.

You shouldn't have told me about that easter egg, because now I obviously had to go back and try it out for myself. I learned something new about MotW today.
-I imagine that Cade has heard at least the basics of what an Elemental is from Stoic at some point.
-Come to the think of it, Bordell is just one letter short of Bordello. Just a coincidence. Maybe Solest could use some brothels, though. Probably would calm a lot of the Hand guys down.
-I think at that point I had entertained the possibility of some kind of visit to Rutul, but that didn't wind up happening.
-My brother has ownership of one NPC in each town. Can you find them all? (Hint: There are usually, but not always, animals)
-I think somewhere in the town there is a chest with money in it. I remember I considered the possibility that the player could be out of money but I can't recall what I did to deal with that.
-Hmm, never thought the lodites died from Finely's shots, I thought the animation suggested they ducked underwater to avoid them after a while. In fact, I imagined those are the same lodites who ambush the log later.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
author=Volrath
-My brother has ownership of one NPC in each town. Can you find them all? (Hint: There are usually, but not always, animals)

I'll be looking out for them. Master of the Wind is a trading card game now. Gotta catch 'em all!

author=Volrath
-Hmm, never thought the lodites died from Finely's shots, I thought the animation suggested they ducked underwater to avoid them after a while. In fact, I imagined those are the same lodites who ambush the log later.

I myself never really thought Finley killed the Lodites either. It just occured to me that others might get that impression however, since it's not made very clear.


Anyway, let's finish this hiking trip of ours!

Eagle's Path, Part 2:
- At this point, I remember again why I don't like Eagle's Path as much, despite the fact that it's a quite beautiful area and also the first dungeon with Finley in the party. The layout of the place is just so confusing and hard to remember for me, it makes navigating the place a pain. Although, to be fair, that might just be my own fault, as I seem to have this problem with outdoors-dungeons a lot.
- Also, most of the minigames/puzzles here are fun, but evading the Lodites' water splashes on the bridges never worked for me. If there is a regular pattern behind their shots, it either never became recognisable to me, or each Lodite in a group has its own waiting time between shots, making the spray as a whole change constantly and become almost unpredictable. To be honest, I just ended up not even trying to figure out a safe moment to cross, but just kept walking forward stubbornly and getting thrown back until I got to the other side through sheer luck. This kind of brute forcing is no fun, of course, but I just can't figure out any other reliable way to do this.
- So this is the place where the secret recipes start showing up for the first time. I rather liked this idea and would probably make those special pieces of equipment play a bigger role in my strategy if the crafting system wasn't so reliant on grinding.
- I just discovered this and to be honest, I don't really understand what it is about. Some kind of inside joke? (I also wonder why I didn't think of trying to talk to potential hidden guardsmen here in my earlier playthroughs. I should have been aware of these kind of things by then.)
- Navigating the swimming log on the river is tricky but fun, although it can get a little frustrating if you're close to the end and then accidentally get sent back multiple whirls. I had no problems with it this time, but if timing is not a player's strong point, they might get stuck here for a while. (During my first playthrough, I missed out on the last treasure chest because I accidentally finished the maze without wanting to. I remember I got quite angry about that...)
- I've always liked this little episode where I get to fight underwater as Stoic. It's a very thrilling situation, which strongly motivates me to perform well. Funnily enough, though, when another player played this game on my recommendation (and is a huge fan now as well), this minigame was one of the few things he got really mad about. Turns out some people have a huge problem with button-mashing minigames. Tastes do vary, I suppose, because I never felt that way.
- I feel kind of mean saying this, but I can't decide what's funnier: Finley's silly and witty remarks or the abrasive way Stoic reacts to him all the time. These two characters are just so amazing whenever they interact with each other, be it in humorous or serious situations.
- And here we get the first glimpse at fairy politics. Giving a "save point species" its own actually compelling background is probably one of the best non-main plot related ideas you put into this game. Especially since this side content is also satire on its own.
- Zala's temper hasn't cooled down that much in all those years, it seems. I think this is an instance where you handled the glimpses of history from Clean Slate exceptionally well. There is no huge info dump, but instead the characters have good reasons to discuss the matters they are talking about, and they don't stay too obscure for the player to comprehend even without knowing a lot about Solest from other sources than MotW.
- I'm curious, how exactly does the battle against Zala works in terms of gameplay? Does the damage dealt to her actually matter, or is it just a set amount of time the player has to survive her attacks? She is very dangerous in terms of power, but I still didn't feel like she's quite strong enough to make me focus purely on defense. Also, Tranquilizer Dart is especially valuable in this fight since without Auburn, there is no way to get rid of Zala's buffs.
- Again, an opportunity to save after the boss battle would have been very welcome.
- When trying to make a conclusive statement about this dungeon, I'm a bit unsure what to say. On one hand, this is a very pleasant-looking area with a lot of action going on on the maps and a very satisfying conclusion. On the other hand, the whole dungeon just feel so very disorienting to me despite in fact being relatively linear, and some of the gameplay aspects turn out to be much less fun in practice than they could have been in theory. Without random encounters, exploration will be less annoying as usual, but other than that I can only recommend emphasising and expanding the Lodite-related mechanics, and trying to make them more engaging and less frustrating in some cases. The dungeon works well enough the way it is, but it has more potential than what is currently there.



Next time, something I had never imagined I would be doing with my life is going to happen: We will become students of religion. Yay...
I'd definitely put Eagle's Path in the bottom list of my dungeons. It's one of the few dungeons that focuses almost entirely on twitch gameplay (fast reaction time and hand eye coordination) over logic puzzles. Even though some fans appreciate the variety of gameplay in MotW since it keeps them guessing, I have had a lot of complaints from older fans that were unable to complete these sections. I also don't think the gameplay sections in Eagle's Path are very fun.

That lemon launcher gag is a reference to a Darkwing Duck episode we must have watched around the time development. I totally forgot about it so it made me chuckle when I clicked that screenshot.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
This is a bit of a short one. I hope you can understand.

Sacred River Monastery, Part 1:
- I wonder, did any of the people from Pearlton ever specifically mention that the fire in the guard headquarters was set magically? If not, why does Finley immediately suggest looking for a fire mage here? Or is fire magic so common in Solest that nobody would even think about the possibility of non-magical arson?
- I have very fond memories of the monastery section, because it's a very pleasant and calming area where you, as the player, get to learn a lot about the world of Solest. Still, there's always the feeling of some of the people around here being potential enemies, which keeps the suspense up. Let's see how this chapter holds up now that I've already played the game multiple times and know most of the lore already.
- It just occured to me that it's kind of funny that you can walk around the monastery taking items from chests with you, just after having heard that students have recently been expelled for stealing.
- Great NPCs, as always. You might want to reduce the number of joke characters in this area, though, considering the atmosphere you are going for in this place. However, I do really like that holy water joke.
- Okay, so that portion of history class and talking with Gabriella and her friends afterwards was not that long. Which is good, because starting off a new location with loads of dialogue can be a bit off-putting to some players. But the change of perspective back to Stoic and the others comes just at the right moment.
- How come that the guard blocking the path to the monastery earlier told the heroes nobody was injured during the attack, but now I'm going to talk to a wounded guard?
- Those "lessons" Stoic comes up with for Finley are one of the best running gags in the game - especially since they do not only remind the player of classic superhero talk, but also because Finley takes them so extremely seriously to the point where they become plot-relevant as he builds his identity of The Baron on them. Had you planned these lessons to play such a role later in the game at this point in development, or did that just sort of evolve as you were working on the game?
- I like that this is one of those scenes where Finley has a clever idea or makes good observation that is actually helpful to the group, especially after he has been performing less than great during the previous few scenes. Seeing how hard he tries to be useful really adds a lot to his character development and prevents him from being reduced to a pure comic relief character in the eyes of the player.
- It was a good idea to only show a few brief flashes from the scene where Cade and Gabriella study in the library together. It's just enough for the player to get the atmosphere, and the little bits of conversation shown contain enough information for the player to put the story together themselves and feel smart.
- So far, there's not a whole lot of details about this part of the game that I can go into. The writing during the monastery sections is brilliant. There's a great deal of in-depth characterisation going on here, but it also contains extremely convincing and inspiring analyses of concepts of history, religion and politics.
Still, there's just not a whole lot to do during this chapter of the game. I know there are some instances where Stoic and Finley fight enemies or Cade has to solve puzzles, but most of the time the player is either reading or walking around. While I personally don't mind that very much, I think you could make this chapter more engaging by making more of it interactive. The different classes, especially the monk training, would be a good opportunity for some playable sections.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
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It seems like this section might take me a while. There's just so much story here, trying to find and express useful points of criticism is very difficult and time-consuming.

Sacred River Monastery, Part 2:
- This section of the game would really benefit from some in-game way of tracking what the player's next task/goal is. It is very easy to get lost in the monastery if you forget exactly which class you are supposed to visit next, for instance.
- I have a question: Professor Ferril states that Arcadius' alleged interventions have always manifested themselves in very subtle ways, while Perditia actively and openly tried to influence Solest. Apart from the no longer canon events surrounding Volrath Blacksteele and Sandahar, does history actually support any such claims or is Ferril speaking from a religiously biased viewpoint here? After all, the course of the game and Solest's history in general seem to show that there can be no certainty about whether Arcadius and Perditia even exist at all.
- That scene where Ketsu speaks at the monastery is already extremely unsettling as it is. If you follow through with your idea of masking his real identity behind a superhero/-villain character in the remake, this might be the first instance where the player meets him directly. That would be a whole new level of dramatic irony, especially during any playthrough after the first.
- There is even more irony in the fact that Ketsu presents this idealised version of Lysander to the students, despite the fact that he himself doesn't even want to bring the General back to life because his personality changed over time. It makes one wonder if Ketsu is aware of how hypocritical his statements are, and if he thinks that is acceptable in the face of the "greater good."
- This monk combat training is something I'd like to be able to actively play rather than just watch as a cutscene. Especially in the context of the recent conflict between Cade and Evrind, that could become really interesting both from a gameplay- and story-related perspective.
- I'm glad I get to experience a section featuring Finley's new identity now. What I'm not sure about is whether this action sequence would be better placed right after the player gets to see his Baron costume for the first time, so that the excitement is still fresh, or if the interruption by Cade's segments only increases that anticipation and makes it more exciting. Both possibilities make sense, so I'll just assume you knew what you were doing when you delayed the player's chance to play as the Baron for a little longer.
- Also, I'm aware that I'm being a nitpicker now, but that is really not such a great hiding spot. I get that you wanted to keep the characters visible for the player, but the way they are standing behind that leafless tree just looks a bit too silly to me. I'm sure there are ways to make that look more like an actual hiding spot, such as multiple trees close to each other, or a half-destroyed wall, for example.
- For someone who is panicking and fearing for his life, Torin walks away from the scene of the crime rather slowly. Also, his battler graphic doesn't really match his character sprite and face graphic.
- As long as Shroud is not with them and Baron hasn't learned his Heal Shot yet, he and Stoic are a pretty difficult battle team to play as. There's already quite a number of situations in the game where teams are split up or rearranged, yet I think you could encourage the player to discover new strategies and explore the abilities of all characters even more by having him play some more sections with unusual team combinations. Learning how to work around the limitations of different constellations is always a great challenge and keeps combat fresh and interesting on yet another level.
- To be honest, I'm not sure how necessary that conversation between Auburn and Emma is. It mostly repeats what the player already knows about Auburn's changing perspective on her future, and it doesn't really add anything new to her characterisation. Add to that that you intended to reduce Emma's role anyway.



We'll see if I can finish up the Monastery during my next session. The gaps between sessions might be a little longer again from now on, but I'll try to keep up a good routine.
No worries, that's a LONG part of the game.

-Hmm, not sure if "non-canon" is the best way to describe that content. It's true that a lot of plot points from the original game I made 15 years ago with those characters didn't carry over but it is still believed in some quarters that Perditia's influence was involved with the Volrath/Sandahar plot and that some of her dark power was brought into the world. Still mysterious. Although I believe what Professor Ferrill is referring to there is the widely-held belief that Perditia herself taught the first necromancers, directly acting on her disapproval of the mortality of Solest's creatures. Probably not clear enough in that scene.
-Ketsu's not about to let the complicated truth about Lysander get in the way of the story he wants to tell.
-Enkur never did finish the Torin battler, but I do have an in-progress version on this computer:

-Yeah, that scene was probably written when I wondered if Emma would do anything else significant and the answer to that question turned out to be (mostly) no.