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[Rogue] The Game of Thorns - Murder, Mayhem, and MMOs

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An ancient world. A people divided. A legend, waiting to be forged.

Join the Mu Rebellion or cast your fate with the Oranbegan Loyalists!

Adventure awaits you in.....




Circle of Thorns Online, the hit MMO from Abraxas Entertainment, has ground entire economies to a standstill. More addictive than high-grade narcotics, more popular than Pocket D and more contagious than the common cold, the game boasts a playerbase in the billions. And some people take it very, very seriously....

Your blissful ignorance of the Massively Multiplayer Roleplaying world comes to an end when your S.C.U.M.B.A.G. app (Sociopath Criminals Undertaking Morally Bankrupt Assignments Gladly) receives a curious job offer: make the standard assassination fee, simply in exchange for ruining a rival guild's in-game event.

What could possibly go wrong?


ArcID 17374: The Game of Thorns is a Rogue-aligned, story-focused mission arc with a 40-54ish difficulty curve tuned to be workable at lower levels. It contains a lot of words. It is not as good as this post makes it sound.

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(I'm looking for mechanical feedback on this one.  I've tried to make it an engaging experience, challenging without being punishing, tested it with a range of levels and characters, but there's only so much you can do.  If you found parts too difficult or too easy, if something really didn't work or really wasn't intuitive enough, shoot me a PM with the info and your character details, and I'll take it into account for future updates (or tell you there's nothing I can do because the AE is a nightmare world that exists to torture creativity.) Thanks in advance!)

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So I gave this a try on my twinked-out Fortunata, set at +2/x6.  As one does.  Not too bad. 


Mission 1: Seemed okay.  The NPC "helpers" are pretty useless, but again, I think that's supposed to be on purpose, and it's not like it's different from what happens to helper NPCs when I run normal missions.  I actually did this one twice as I got called away mid-arc the first time I tried, the second time, for whatever reason, the various combat quips didn't fire.  I dunno.  There are also a ton of clickies scattered around the map that give a "you can't complete this yet" error.  Not sure if they're meant to be used for something, or just decoration, but I never saw them become active.


Mission 2: The Marrowless Ones looked cool...from the little I could see of their appearance, anyway.  I liked that the NPCs at the end appeared to be shoehorned into the 'trinity' of DPS/Tanks/Heals.  Verity was useless again.  On mechanics, dunno if it was due to randomized-type spawns or not, but at the first four-way split, I initially went east, past the corpse, and its placement right in the doorway was such that I couldn't get back out again (I had to Ouro then return).  The corpses also get up and attack if enemies get close enough to draw their aggro, which I'm assuming is also just a thing that happens.  Finally, there are once again a few "objectives" that don't seem to do anything, though in this case, they were destroyable objects that I could still actually destroy, at least.


Mission 3: D35TR0Y3V5KY made me laugh out loud, though he and his buds aggroed on their drunk buddy.  I don't think that was supposed to happen.  Once again, there's the "is this supposed to do something" factor with items that can be defended.  I managed to "save" the desk and the "art" but nothing happened; the workbench was destroyed thanks to me aggroing 3 mobs at once in that fight.  On the story side, I didn't like this mission much, though.  It seems weird that the one in "real life" is the one that auto-exemps you, but the biggest offense was the whole "just straight up murder a kid" factor.  It left a really bad taste, even (or perhaps, especially) for a "Rogue" arc.


Mission 4:  Shorter than the last couple.  I liked the setup, but being set up on the previous mission meant it kinda couldn't shake the issues with the story that was left by it, either.  Black Scorpion showing up at the end was a little...out of place?  Like, I'm not sure why he was there.


Mission 5: This one has a cool map.  Sorta explains the Black Scorpion thing, but not really why he just appeared randomly on the previous mission map.  Also, why does he have asthma now?  I'm not sure if it's by design that the enemies actually felt tougher than the ones in the first two missions, but, well, they did, by quite a bit.  The NPCs still had a hard time surviving, which made the "twist" sort of awkward, since one of the people involved in it had died by the time I got to the person they were supposed to interact with.  After the first couple, I figured I knew what the 3rd was gonna be, but it was not what I was expecting and admittedly made me laugh.  No major issues here, other than the difficult mobs and the fact that the important NPCs all got killed too fast.  Oh, and the old "clickie that can't be completed" factor was back again, though in this one, it definitely made sense that you'd want a few random arcane bits for decoration.


Overall: I liked it.  It was a fun arc with some good quips, and though it occasionally skirted that fine line between being a parody of something, and sort of turning into the thing it was parodying, it typically stayed on the entertaining side of said line.  I went in hating pretty much all the NPCs except for Verity (who just made me roll my eyes), but I think that was intentional, and once certain late-arc elements were established, even the "annoying" bits were pretty fun.  Although, I have one question:

Was Jace supposed to be someone else, too?  I don't think that ever came up.


The biggest negative was definitely the 3rd mission story.  Even after certain later things gave a bit more context that kind of made sense, the whole bit with murdering a random innocent person just really brought down the entertainment value.  I really feel like in an arc as tongue-in-cheek as this one, changing it to just beating him up, or coming up with a better excuse once the mission starts...there's just gotta be something better that could be done with that.  The only major "mechanics" issue, as noted throughout the mission breakdowns, is the confusing presence of mission objectives that don't seem to do anything, nor seem to be possible to make do anything.  As noted, in the last mission, it made sense to use them for atmosphere, but in the others, it left me more confused, than anything.

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Hey, thanks for taking the time!  This is all good info which I'll file away for future edits, but I'll just respond to few salient points. 

  • First of all, Jim Slithers is... he's fine. He, uh, he's just sleeping. In the trashcan.
  • Black Scorpion always had asthma, being bullied for it is what turned him into a brutal, unfeeling monster. He doesn't show it in the patron arcs, but on the inside, his iron lung is quivering. He shows up because he's not as dumb as Arbiter Kruul. I'd have put in more explanation, but the character limit is really harsh, and I decided describing him eating a hot dog was more important than filling in potential plot holes.
  • Regarding extra objects and defendable objectives: essentially, if its not on the quest list, it's background. The objects in the Freak mission are just there to be smashed and add roadblocks as the Freaks start fights with you for no reason. The place is a dump, nobody's going to care if it gets even more trashed. 

Mission 3:  It seems weird that the one in "real life" is the one that auto-exemps you, 

That was 100% unintentional and has been corrected, so thanks!



The NPC "helpers" are pretty useless,


At +2/x6, they definitely are. The allies are mostly there for character and to make the arc less punishing for lower level or underequipped players. Verity still gets caught on every piece of terrain in Oranbega, but then, so do I.


And to answer your question: sadly, Jace remains an enigma. We may never know what 400IQ genius lies behind that unassuming, pantsless avatar. But I bet it's someone cool.

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