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Eschalon: Book III

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Minttunator, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    The insane haters are less likely to get sued by indie developers as they don't have armies of lawyers backing them up.
     
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  2. Gord Arcane

    Gord
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    Did never hear about anyone getting sued for putting a negative review on gaming forums. Banned and the thread deleted, maybe.
    Might be that with indie games those threads stay up as indie devs lack the reach/power/interest to get them taken down.
     
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  3. Loriac Arcane

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    in libel, truth is a defence
     
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  4. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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    OK bros, how the heck do i enter the Astral Range? been rampaging all over that northern border, every pass is sealed with walls i cant blow up.
     
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  5. Xeon Augur

    Xeon
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    Show Spoiler
    If you travel east from the Old tree you'll eventually see an alter[?] with a man stuck to it, West of that you'll see a hidden path thru the mountain guarded by spiders that leads to a skull shaped cave.

    If you met Lilith a second time in the eastern beach camp she'll tell you about weird parts that you'll need to continue.
     
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  6. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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    ah, those things, spring, a fence and a cog, right?
     
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  7. Xeon Augur

    Xeon
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    Yes, I think you'll need 5 parts. Currently missing one and still looking.
     
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  8. Gord Arcane

    Gord
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    Bought it today, despite the mixed reception.
    Given the current exchange rates it's anyway only ~13€ on GOG.

    Hope I manage to put a few hours into it over the weekend.

    Edit:
    Some people suspected that the content of treasure chests is scaled to your level, which the dev denied, but here's an interesting post by him, seems some are currently bugged:

     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  9. Minttunator Arcane Patron

    Minttunator
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 RPG Wokedex Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Just finished the game a moment ago. I have to say that Book III was a bit of a disappointment when compared to the previous game - the ending, especially, was fairly anticlimactic.

    Still, I've had quite a lot of fun with this series overall and Basilisk Games definitely deserve praise for making turn-based RPGs, especially during the 2007-2013 period when very few other companies were - I'm looking forward to their next project. :)
     
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  10. Xeon Augur

    Xeon
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    Source
     
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  11. Gord Arcane

    Gord
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    Played around 10 hours now.
    Have created a Paladin/Cleric-like char, with blunt weapons and Divination (plus the usual stuff)
    Overall I think it's not bad - I was afraid it would be worse after the mixed impressions.
    It has a bit more polish than Book 2, and as far as I can tell, a slightly higher density of riddles and such.
    Exploring around will often yield some small treasures or the solution to some side-quest.

    This time, there also seems to be some branching in the mainquest
    Edit: Well, not really, little more than a Biowarian fake-choice, I guess
    Show Spoiler
    seems you can refuse to kill the chief and also abandon the quest after talking to him - but the result is simply that you get send to some dungeon where you find another McGuffin, instead of getting it from killing him.
    Unless there's a third way of gaining the trust of the warlord, which I don't know about.

    but side-quests usually are fedex and quite linear (find x of item y, deliver a to b, kill z), just as in the other parts - at least so far.
    Often doing a side-quest will unlock training from an NPC (most trainers offer up to three skills for training).
    Since the quests are a major source of XP, esp. in the beginning, I guess that one could run through the game quickly by focusing on the mainquest and doing some quick side-quests along the way, ignoring the optional exploration stuff.

    Most issues that troubled the earlier parts still remain.
    While some skills have been tweaked a bit, the overall setup remains the same. The system is still exploitable, with books and trainers offering an easy way to become a jack-of-all-trades. Combat is still a bit simplistic. So far I've not felt any need to use stances, and the skill feats mostly remain a no-brainer to use.
    Can't comment on magic much, yet. Aside from a few Divination spells I have not used it much, but I think it will remain similar to the old parts (with all ups and downs).

    I will wait with my final verdict until I've finished it, but so far I'd rate it a little below Book 2, since that one had a slightly more interesting setup and a few more atmospheric dungeons, imho.

    Overall its more Eschalon. If you liked it, you might like Book 3, as well. If you couldn't get into the older games, this one isn't for you either.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
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  12. Gord Arcane

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    Finished it. It left a somewhat mixed impression.

    On the one hand, the world design was solid and it was mostly fun to play. It also took me ~20 hours, and I've still not explored all locations, let alone found all the secrets. My guy was level 18 in the end, I guess that level 19-20 should be easily doable with thorough exploration.
    The small twist in the story was a nice touch (although the resulting uncertainty to the ending is probably not the best closure for a trilogy).

    On the other hand however, I felt that it was not only missing some of the memorable moments and dungeons like Book 2 had, of course there's also the matter of the pretty disjointed endgame:
    The way you get thrown into the final battle was rather lame - no wonder some people say the game felt rushed, considering that the whole setup looked like you would have to play a couple more hours after, instead of finishing it so suddenly.
    It's also strange/bad design that you can't finish some inconsequential and minor sidequests you receive in the early midgame until you reach the last few maps (and then you still need to return to Moonrise rather than simply finish the game in the next map).
    Considering that they didn't exactly improve much over book 2, it really makes you wonder what took them 3 years to produce it.

    Overall I'd still recommend it to fans of the series, but if in doubt, one should probably wait for a sale.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
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  13. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Thanks for your impressions. Book 1 and 2 were almost 0-day purchases for me back in the day, and did not disappoint. Now, however, have I not only played the demo of Book 3 and been unimpressed, but I've also replayed Book 1 and found it to be in a shoddy state. In fact, bugs that I ran into 6 years ago, and bugreported on the official forums, have not been addressed and fixed. As a result, Book 3 is sale fodder for me.

    There is one ray of hope: The release of the devkit may have fans come in and fix the inherent problems with the games, elevating them to a higher level.
     
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  14. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    Right, so I've played through Book 1 and 2, and started on 3. There are changes throughout, but most of them are quite subtle, except for the one that is the literal blow to the head.

    Between Book 1 and 2, the skill system received some changes, mostly to try to put a leash on the magic-user monstrosities. Limitations on learned spells, etc. For Book 3 it's the armour skills. Previously you only took 1 skill level to lose the penalties, or at most took 4 skill levels to gain some basic Damage Reduction. Now it's arranged so that certain pieces of armour now require certain skill levels. I want to wear Leather Leggings? I need Light Armour 2. (Hide Leggings that give the exact same AC bonus don't have this requirement, so WTF?)

    Another added layer of difficulty is in the monsters themselves. Those blobs that throw slime at you? They now take only 50% from bludgeoning weapons. One of the new status ailments is an absolute bitch, and I'm fully expecting to see every enemy doing this to me in the future: Concussions. Being concussed means ALL your skills go down 50%, rounding down. That means if you have Divination at 1, you can't cast Divination spells anymore. So how do you cure it? It's only mentioned in passing in the manual that it counts as an Ailment, so the spell Cure Ailments or a similar potion will fix you up... provided you have access to it, of course. I haven't found a Cure Ailments potion being sold anywhere so far, I have a sick feeling that this is going to be like getting your hands on Ambergris in Book 2: Bloody impossible, and deliberate design.

    I'm gonna go as far as to say that the designer finally noticed that a certain build will steamroll the Eschalon games (Atheist magic-user with Bludgeoning weapons on the side), and he made arrangements to specifically nerf that one build, while leaving the rest of the game mostly untouched. Not exactly brilliant bit of game design, and about 7 years too late.

    So what other things have been changed? Sounds and graphics, mostly. To be honest, I don't see a reason why these needed to be changed, both were decent in Book 2, so why spend all the extra time on them? And yet the game doesn't support modern screen resolutions. Another problem is consistency in terms of the intros and main title screen. The first one has a rolling sky of stars, followed by a rolling background of trees and some neat music. The sequel retains the main music theme and improves upon it, but the main menu screen is a desolate wasteland with a foreboding skull. Then the third game loses the main music theme, while the menu has a landscape portrait with a hero standing there all... well, heroic. It gives the series a big vibe of "mish-mosh pulled together frantically".

    I'll probably have more to say about Book 3 as I progress.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
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  15. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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    well, that ending i saw some days ago was....i dunno, "missing".
     
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  16. Gord Arcane

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    Well, it does give you some reason to actually put a few points into armor. Also the damage reduction is increasing a lot with higher levels in Heavy Armor, so at least with my Paladin-like build I didn't have too many issues with finding armor pieces I couldn't use, while making him relatively tough together with some Diviniation magic.

    Ah, that's why they have been such a PITA with my mace-wearing char...
    There's also swarms, which are resistant to daggers, I think. I don't think it's such a bad idea, though, even if it means that you might have to raise another skill by a few points only for the few cases when you encounter resistant enemies. Dunno if it extends to magic, though- probably not, which yet again means that magic is superior.
    By the way: You can now delete spells you don't want to use anymore to make room for new ones.
    Regarding the concussion: I got a concussion exactly once in the 20 hours I put into the game.
    Since the debuff from it is a bad joke and I had no cure available, I reloaded and luckily never saw it again. I think you'll have to cure it either with a potion, or by finding a priest, but there was also some kind of bug to it, from what I read on the forums.
     
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  17. quasimodo Augur

    quasimodo
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    I also only got concussed once in the game. The witch/healer will cure it cheaply and I didn't see a shortage of cure ailment potions.
     
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  18. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    OK, more progress and more observations:

    # Book 3 really puts a greater emphasis on exploration. In previous games you might be rewarded with a chest with some (random) loot in it if you go off the beaten path, but with the new "secrets" mechanic there are now more various kinds of loot like stat boosts, XP, hidden messages and small jokes (Anyone found the "You're not supposed to read this - cheater" message?). This makes Cartography a slightly more important skill, and fortunately it's been tweaked so that fewer ranks are needed for a better map.

    # You'll quickly run into the "natives" of the area, a race of primitive frogmen that look suspiciously like the Battletoads, right down to the shoulder pads. That fact just makes it more enjoyable for me to squish them. The "warrior" type of Frogmen love to give me concussions.

    # Level design has improved drastically from the prequels. There are now tactical situations about, and some clever puzzles. In Book 1 there was ONE instance where you had to shoot a lever to progress (in an optional area) but in Book 3 there are plenty of times you must do this... and sometimes the circumstances are quite bizarre. As for the tactical situations, one early moment is where two archers are behind a barrier, pelting you with arrows. While you can run past them to pull a lever and get within melee distance of the archers, I immediately noticed that there was more to it: The barrier had torches on it, so I took those down and hid myself in darkness... and this is one place where Book 3 shines.

    In Book 1 it was a very viable tactic to invest decently in the Hide in Shadows skill and use the Predator Sight spell to bash monsters in with little to no fear of retaliation, they'd just wander aimlessy around you, unable to find you. This was nerfed in Book 2, but seems to have been buffed again for Book 3. The penalties for fighting in darkness are 3: Partially hidden for a -20% to-hit penalty, well hidden for a -50% penalty, and concealed in darkness for a whopping -90% penalty! The Shipwarden's Guild became a breeze when I noticed this. Enemies will have about 6% chance to hit you if you pull this off right, making most combat situations rather silly. Of course, while I've never encountered a monster in the Eschalon games that could see in the dark, Book 3 is the most likely place where I will find one.

    # Book 3 was patched over the weekend, it's up to 1.02 now. They're still planning an "expansion" a lá Fathamurk from Book 2, so that's something to keep an eye on. Who knows, maybe they'll fix the ending while they're at it?

    My opinion at the moment: Book 3 takes a little while to get going, but it's easily on par with Book 2 right now. No major speedbumps encountered, but I get this strange feeling I'm gonna run into a dragon...

    EDIT: Found a monster with nightvision; the aptly-named Deathbringers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
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  19. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    Wow... that was unexpected. Even though I guessed correctly at the nature of Karamiklan, what happened next was unexpected, despite me being aware of the "rushed, anticlimatic" ending. It was so rushed, in fact, that I did both endings in less than 30 minutes. And I hadn't even finished exploring Wylderan, and three sidequests remained unsolved.

    I'lll revisit Book 3 and finish everything else before triggering the endgame, but the damage is already done: The ending is so horrible, so pointless that it ruins not just the third game, but the entire trilogy. THERE'S NO FUCKING POINT IN PLAYING THE GAMES IF THIS IS THE END RESULT.

    A few minor notes:

    # The Omantor Temple is one big Quadruple Lock. I've mentioned this concept in game design countless times; it's cheap filler, a speedbump. The whole dungeon (and the hunt for the "keys" needed inside) can be removed without it affecting the game in any way.

    # I've discovered one of the methods Book 3 was made "harder" than the prequels: HP bloat. A Goblin Soldier is suddenly worth 400 XP when it was 80XP in the first game. There are spiders up in the mountains worth 800 XP!

    # Of the 30 secrets in-game, I had found 27 when I stumbled upon the ending. One of them being a fight against a cheesy monster with an insta-kill attack. This monster is so special, you get a special death message if you die by it.

    Basilisk Games should be ashamed for putting the game out in this condition. This IS Mass Effect 3 all over again. :(
     
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  20. Gord Arcane

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    Indeed - the whole setup with Karamiklan felt as if they originally intended to continue the story after you met him.
    Basically as if he should just have been a waypoint during the mainquest, not the point-of-no-return. In fact everything that usually helps the player identifying him as such was missing - nothing like the usual "prepare, you might not be able to come back".
    On top of it, at least two side-quests have to be finished one or two maps earlier - of course I was thinking that I might as well just meet with Karamiklan while I'm there instead of returning to Moonrise to turn in inconsequential sidequests.

    I don't feel as strongly about it, but yes, the ending could have been resolved better.
    I think the uncertainty about which side to trust was nice, but a) not really explored much, especially in terms of potentially branching storylines and b) not such a great thing to end the trilogy with - some actual, real resolve would have felt better.


    It seems you can pass it with just two of the widgets (I think the first and the last one) and
    Show Spoiler
    open the other two doors with explosive barrels. That might actually be a bug, though.


    And I agree that this is one of the weaker parts of the game insofar as it only serves as a way to force the player to explore locations that would otherwise have no real connection to any parts of story or quests. It looks a bit as if they had finished the maps, but no actual content for it and just designed the tempel that way so there was any reason for including the maps in the game.


    Spiders worth 800XP are not really a problem, since they are late-game enemies that offer some sort of challenge (at least in larger numbers), imho. Goblins are a nuisance though, since they tend to show up in large numbers.

    This one is pretty much trolling the player. But with the right preparation and luck it can be killed and you can escape, afaik. Without said preparation your fucked, however.

    I can only agree with the common sentiment that it's strange they took three years (including several delays) to finish a game that uses mostly the same engine as the previous games, has only minor graphical and gameplay improvements/adjustments and several maps that are, while well made, strangely empty.
     
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  21. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    My preparations were the following:

    Show Spoiler
    # Ensuring that the first double door was fully open. I did this by using a fused keg to trigger the inner door.

    # Ensuring that the combination lock door was open. Since the combination is written on the plaque beside the door, this was a no-brainer triviality. :retarded:

    # Casting Predator Sight.

    # Saving, then "activating" the secret.

    # Running to the other end of the cage to that the monster spawned and hid myself in the corner. Now I'm in the dark where it receives a penalty to hitting me, but I don't. One Focus Power Attack and one Devastating Blow attack later, it's below half health. A few more whacks and it's dead.

    # Upon death I get 1000 XP and the key to exit the cage. After that I just stroll out without anyone giving a damn.


    In short, I spent more time ensuring I could leave than killing the monster. Luck is a HUGE factor in this fight, though. That insta-kill attack can occur at any time and is a ranged attack.

    In the Omantur temple, I abused kegs to get out of a tough fight and put a barricade between me and the monsters. Then I just picked at them with the bow.

    This game needs a do-over. Nothing justifies this game taking 3.5 years to be shoved out the door and still being unfinished.
     
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  22. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    And... that's a wrap. All maps explored, all sidequests completed, and I even found all the secrets. Also found out that only 2 NPCs appear in all 3 games - Erubor the wizard and Captain Morgan the drunkard.

    I did find one thing that I guess many people will miss - the second level of the Rockhammer mines becomes accessible once you clear out the roaches and scorpions. If the third level is accessible, I didn't see how. Scored a cool hammer down there, so it's well worth a visit.

    Unless the "expansion" reworks the last part of the game, I think I'm good and done with this series. As there's a lot of potential in the system, the devkit's release might breathe new life into the Eschalon series, but beyond that it's done.
     
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  23. Jedi_Learner Liturgist

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    Show Spoiler
    Am I the only one bothered with the fact that the metallic wand that Malkur uses at the end of Book II never makes an appearance in Book III except for the opening cinematic? Why does he just give up at the end after spending years to obtain the Crux stones?
     
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  24. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    Warning, end-game spoilers within:

    Show Spoiler
    It's worse than that, both endings lead to an almost identical conclusion, one side packs it up and exiles themselves to the lands "beyond the Great Western Ocean", while the other one scoops up the Crux Stones and goes about their business. Meanwhile, the protagonist (you) stand there like an idiot asking "Who am I?" and decide to go buy a boat and sail across the Great Western Ocean, completely ignoring the bigger issue that is the fate of the world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
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  25. Gord Arcane

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    If I were to guess I'd say they will explore the fate of Eschalon in future games (unless they decide to be over and done with the setting now).

    The premise of having this two conflicting opinions behind the conflict is not bad, although it should have been brought up earlier and explored more thoroughly.
    Give the player (the possibility to dig up) some more informations - what does each side think about the consequences the other side is so afraid of? Or is it really just a game between Erubor and Malkur? If there's more to it than that, what is each side's backup plan in case the other one turns out to be right?
     
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