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All That Glimmers Series 20 - 52


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All That Glitters

The All That Glitters Series explores the fallout of new Praetorian tech and ex-patriots in Paragon after the fall of Praetoria; the premise is that surely some gang will try to gain advantage because of this. The series levels as it progresses, with 4 trilogies of arcs that tie together, and all build to a big finale. 

 

The idea was that a Vigilante can start with this at level 1 and grow with it (among their other missions of course too). I set the missions in the zones that were (approximately) level appropriate to make it feel like it all fits naturally into the world.

 

All That Glimmers

Well, Glitters is complete now, (other than fixes players may send in or small tweaks). So my mind wandered to the magic side of the same story. Magic in Praetoria was purged by Cole, except for those survivors in First Ward. So unlike All That Glitters that starts at level 1, this series picks up at level 20, with the Citizens of First Ward making a home for themselves in a previously, and still, dangerous place, Astoria - now that the threat from Mot is over.  

 

And here is how it shaped up: 

 

2.x The Doomsday Contest

  • 2.1 Death in Light Astoria (20-29) - Final
  • 2.2 Drowning In the Vigilant Isles (25-30) - LFF
  • 2.3 Destruction in the Shadow Shard (25-33) - LFF

 

3.x - The Spirit Realm

  • 3.1 Shunting in Croatoa (30-39 ) Final
  • 3.2 Banished in The Spirit Realm (34-39) Final
  • 3.3 Incursion in Oranbega (35-41) Final

 

4.x - When It Comes To Paradigms, Shifts Happen

  • 4.1 Summoning in The Archipelago (40-44) Final
  • 4.2 Ninjas in The Wind - (45-52) Final
  • 4.3 Gods in The Planes - (45-52) Final

 

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Edited by Ankylosaur
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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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As mentioned above, this story begins with a fork in the All That Glitters series. All That Glitters 1.3 involves a lot of magic that only has a small element in the rest of Glitters.  So we pick up the story after that magic bit is resolved. The bridge really is just the connections made with the Legacy Chain for now.

 

The premise is that with Mot contained, Astoria is ready for the reclaiming. Meanwhile, out on Refugee Island that is in the New Praetorian arcs, there are a lot of ex-pat Praetorians looking for a home. Anna Palatine of First Ward and the other residents of the area (e.g. Carnival of Light, Forlorn, Shepherds, First Ward Citizens) see an opportunity to help reclaim Astoria so offer to move on in if they can have the area as their new home. They're used to fighting to survive, and its better than being penned up on the island.

 

2.x The Doomsday Contest

Several groups all seem to be pursuing a different end of the world event. Can you stop them?

 

 

2.1 Death in Light Astoria (or Death from Light Astoria, or Living Abroad in Light Astoria) - 20 -29

Banished Pantheon Soldiers and Coralax are coming up out of the ocean on the Astorian peninsula threatening the New Astorian's home! Will you help these Praetorian ex-pats?

 

 

Spoiler

 

Old magic lingers and not every Praetorian likes how they have been treated here on Primal Earth...

 

I first got an idea to work from this "finding a new home for first warders" area while doing my When Carnivals Collide arc. I have since realized much of the lore in that is a bit off, so I am going to pull that down. However, the idea of using the Carnie outdoor maps gave me a good home for the Carnival of Light. I then came up with it being in Astoria. 

 

There are several magic groups in this range that I had not done anything with, and the Banished Pantheon is one of them. Like All That Glitters I wanted to use this long multi-arc leveling format to bridge stories from low levels to high, and the fact that the Banished appear in different incarnations in each aids that.  And at this level 20 range, there are some good things to be done with the existing magic groups at this range.

 

Unlike All That Glitters, that I wrote a bit episodically then backfilled some episodes along the way, I am trying to be a bit more planned and intertwined with each group of three arcs. Trying to improve my approach anyway 🙂 For example, the whole 2.x part involves a contest and each arc then focuses on one group of that contest, but also an overall thread that leads into 3.x  The same is true for Glitters, I'm just a hair more organized about this go round. 🙂

 

 

 

 

2.2 Drowning In the Vigilant Isles

A lead on the another contestant group leads you to...

Spoiler

 

the Vigilant Isles! The Rogue Isles of Praetora. Big spoiler - 2.2 will be a significant reworking of Save the Diver Save the world. A lot evolved in game (heroes can just go to the isles and fight coralax whenever they want to) and lore (Did you know Merulina is dead?!) since that 2011 arc and the story is a little off. Part of what evolved is my storytelling approach too - I'll use less forced direction from an omnipotent contact and more discovery for the player. 

 

This will definitely tread some familiar ground for anyone that already played that, but will hopefully feel fresh and new in other ways as a lot will be revamped.

 

 

2.3 Destruction in the Shadow Shard

Finally a lead to the last contestants plot and it is out of this world!

Spoiler

 

Some early thoughts here, but my first idea around a group from another world needing to find homes here was pre-Praetoria! I wondered how the Rularularian would assimilate. (Play Rularularian if you don't know who they are 🙂I have been also been wanting to use the Rulu-shin for a while. 

 

Put em together and what do you get? Bibbity Boppity Rularuu.

 

Plus I have plans to reveal who is really behind this Doomsday Contest and maybe a glimpse as to why...

 

 

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Edited by Ankylosaur
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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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3.x The Spirit Realm

Now that you have foiled the Doomsday Contest, the magical potential lingering in the air is high. Things seems to be crossing the veil to our world, but are they coming on their own or is someone drawing them here to a greater purpose? 

 

3.1 Shunting in Croatoa

Archmage Hellewise thinks the veil to the spirit world is thin enough in Croatoa that she can modify her Night Ward shunting spell to work there. Help her out?

 

Spoiler

 

With a new villain behind the scenes revealed in the 2.x, you start to see that their plan was not to summon those gods, but to start powering up the magical potential in Primal Earth. As more magic is unleashed, more magical potential is too and that can fuel more and more magic. 

 

That magical potential tugs at the veil in Croatoa, which is thin enough that beings from the spirit realm are drawn here to do what they do.  This lets me bring some of the more spirit realmy things from Night Ward into Paragon - namely the drudge and the spirit stalkers.

 

I also had fun throwing in Percy - as a nod to his Praetorian equiv Master Midnight. 

 

 

3.2 Banished in The Spirit Realm

The spirit realm is breaking through at magical nexuses, Astoria finds itself under attack! 

 

Spoiler

Drudge want to ferry ghosts beyond the spirit realm and are collecting them from anywhere - Midnight Squad Spectres, Tsoo Ancestor Spirits, and just your friendly neighborhood ghosts.

 

You find yourself in between fighting and working with the tsoo, and discover the harbingers are further evolving in ways that seem familiar into a group called The Banished.

 

This one took a lot of work because of all the customs (my core mobs don't appear at these levels in AE) and extensive clues but was pleased how it came out.

  • Carnival all custom
  • Forlorn all custom
  • Midnight squad all custom (though there was a lot of reuse from an older version - I expanded them for this)
  • The Banished are new customs since I gave them the upper level Banished Pantheon bioluminescent skins. (With the Harbingers only a few bosses have them but now Minions and LTs do too).
  • Loved how the Dark Astoria and extra city map let me further extend the spirit realm - adding Astoria as a magical nexus on both sides of the veil.
  • Needed a "not quite the main leader" and my main boss' love of wandering the spirit realm fit well! I liked making her costume which incorporates the The Banished bioluminescent skin plus some Mu-esque belting on her legs.

 

If I were not so commited to my going up in levels though from mission to mission - I could probably have made this sub-33 and not had to make the custom mob versions. 🙂

  

3.3 Incursion in Oranbega

The spirit realm's incusion extends into Primeva through itsmost powerful nexus. 

 

Spoiler

 

Can you stop the flow? Will The drudge get what they are after? And does someone benefit from all of this?

 

Probably. Likely. Of course!

 

 

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Edited by Ankylosaur

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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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4.x - When It Comes To Paradigms, Shifts Happen

What just happened speaks to huge changes in who holds the most sway in the magical world. Can you influence these shifts in power?

 

4.1 Summonings in The Archipelago (35-44) WIP

The victims make a last ditch effort to turn things in their favor. 

 

Spoiler

 

With the CoT fairly beaten up by the Drudge in the last one, the power shift between them and the Mu is becoming more pronounced, but its not like the Oranbegans to take it on the chin. 

 

Most of the really meaty stuff in the Circle of Thorns mob happens around this level, with Lilitu and more. Plus I found some creative ways to illustrate the spirits of the CoT that were displaced from the bodies they possessed, and some ways to illustrate they are possessing people again.

 

Fun action-packed series a you go from battle to battle. Found some fun ways to drop in some of the locals, like Psimon and Crimson Revenant and even Granny Beldam who hangs out nearby.

 

 

4.2 Ninjas in The Wind - (45-52)

New players on the magic scene shake things up!

 

Spoiler

This was an arc that I originally did as a one-off, and it turned out really well. But, it also did something that has been part of the MO of our villain all along - use someone else to exact that plan he needs.

 

For a totally unrelated reason, a group wants what Ice Mistral and Scirocco have - essentially eliminating them for our villain and giving him a path to take over the Mu from Scirocco and earn Recluse's patronage. 

 

It also had the benefit of using Recluse's tower map, but the Conference room is not part of the action, so I was able to use it for a cut scene you can listen in on. I mean you could go in and fight them if you really wanted to, but it will be tough...

 

4.3 Gods in The Planes - (45-52)

And the ultimate plan is revealed....

 

Spoiler

But that's not all they want. The reason all of these disaffected Praetorians embraced the magic of the banished was for power and revenge - and in the revenge category would be bringing back the old banished pantheon to turn this planet into a one subjugated by the gods - even at their own peril.

 

Partnering with the Mu, who wanted to bring back Hequat, was a win-win.

 

And if you are going to fight gods - it's good to have a few on your side - and fortunately, you can gather all those that you have defeated across the series to help ending in a god on god showdown of epic proportions.

 

I'm running low on maps I haven't used, and I try not to reuse, but kind of like Maria Jenkins and Unai Kemen, traveling dimensions or "planes" gives you a bit of free reign to fit in just about anything.

 

 

Edited by Ankylosaur
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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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  • Ankylosaur changed the title to All That Glimmers Series 20 - 52

Well, I'm pleased to say I finished what I set out to do - place the First Ward, magic using ex-pats in our world and see what happens. I am sure I will tweak it a bit, but I can call it done!

 

Like the All That Glitters series, this series changes the game world, so I am considering doing a single 5.0 to tie the Glitters and Glimmers paths together in a bit of a capstone or epilogue. We'll see if I get around to it...

 

All in all it was a very fun writing/creating experience. I planned this one out a bit more than I did Glitters, so it was a lot less haphazard in how the story evolved and its construction. I think overall it is probably tighter as a result too.

 

If you give it a whirl, as usual I'm open to all feedback to make it the best it can be. 

 

Enjoy!

Edited by Ankylosaur

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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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Commenting on 4.3 Gods in the Planes

  • First mission send-off has a broken <br>-tag, right after "TUNNEL".
  • A little confusion in the first mission when a random Spirit got attached to me after I found the main objective, and the target for the escort changed. But I sorted it out.
  • Considering that Marchand seems to be mostly conveying information from Nadia I wonder why our contact isn't Nadia directly, but that's just a minor questionmark.
  • Getting used to the spirit guides in mission 2, they can be helpful to find the things I need to click... clever trick I might have to steal! 😛
  • Tormented Souls (helpers?) in Hell have the default description that says they are floating in the streets of Paragon City and are angry with us.
  • In various clues in mission 4, you pluralize "shaman" as "shamen" - it's actually "shamans". I've made this mistake myself, too many times.
  • Nadia's email (clue) is written as if she's writing with an accent? I doubt she would spell "of" as "o'" or "old" as "ol'" - but maybe that's just me.
  • Mu'Drakhan says "with the The Stray as my right hand" in the fight, there's one 'the' too many.

 

This felt like a suitably epic conclusion to the magical arc, and even if I'm not sure about your interpretation of the canon deities and spirits and their relationship, canon itself is so muddled that any interpretation is almost equally valid. Also, just because the Mu wrote something in their magical tomes it doesn't make it true.

 

Check out my stories in the Mission Architect. Just search for "@Take One" or "SFMA". Here are some enticing titles:

  • Praetoria-related: Earth Revolution Red, Earth Revolution Blue
  • Mercenary Action: West Libertalia: Born And Raised, West Libertalia: Global Empire, West Libertalia: Love And Rockets
  • Soldier of Arachnos Arcs: The Tangled Weave, A Taste For Evil, Faultline By Night, Fear And Loathing On Striga, The Warburg Connection,
  • Various: Project Dragon, Evolve Or Die, The Murders in the RWZ Morgue, The Last Crystal Out Of Cimerora

These are just a few, and more to come...

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Thanks for giving this a run and for the feedback! All of your feedback throughout the series has been super helpful, and as you know, even influenced some things.

 

As to Marchand

I struggled quite a bit on who should be the contact. Originally it was going to be the spirit world Vanessa DeVore since she bookends the Carnival of Light's involvement, but then she couldn't hand you the things you needed to compel the gods. Then it was going to be Hellewise since she has all the magic knowledge and knows about traveling dimensions/planes, but she has been a bit out of the picture to step in and take charge. In the end, I thought back to 4.1 and how Marchand is coordinating all of the special ops related to this, so he would have been in charge when Desdemona and Pendragon went missing on their op, and consequently - even though he doesn't know much about magic - he would bring all the resources to together to solve the problem. That's just who he is... It also helps bridge the slight left turn that 4.2 is. So as he is coordinating the ops he reaches out to specialists: Hellewise knows about the magic of the planes, Nadia about charms and compelling gods, and Archivist Jaena of the midnight squad about the history of the gods on Prime, the banished pantheon, and the Mu - it takes a team!

 

Interpretation of the Gods

Way back in 3.1 Hellewise talks about this interpretation of the gods. I'm with you though, its far from perfect - even just the Mu history alone has many different beings / dieties / sources of magic and sea gods seem to be around in different forms with Merulina's history suggesting she's not even a god at all but an alien. But, as you say, just cause the Mu wrote down with their interpretation does not mean its true - and I think its "true enough" for the purposes of this. 🙂

 

As to the fixes and typos - thanks so much! Will get to those fixed post haste.

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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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  • 9 months later
Posted (edited)

The gifts from the latest update impact Glimmers too, in significant, though much smaller, ways.

 

  • In 4.2, Ninjas in the wind, which has to do with the order of the wind and much more, I was able to replace my custom Levantera, Borea and Dark Watcher with the real deal! Now they won't be quite so squishy!
  • In 4.3, in place of the Vaults of the Mu, which is the very final map, I was able to use the Ziggurat map because its more awesome by all measures. I think it will be more satisying - the final fight in the Vaults of the Mu map that is replaced is in a little cave and it does not feel very epic or grand.

 

Edited by Ankylosaur
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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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  • 1 month later

Made some updates to 4.3, which sits out there at 4 stars 😕. Without any specific feedback, I had to try to suss out why people might react negatively. I came up with a few things...

 

Spoilers...

  • Spoiler
    • First three missions involved getting an escort and leading them out. That escort does not fight for you, which can feel tedious.
      • Changed it so the escort fights with you to make the exiting more fun and include more risk.
    • First two missions were on other "planes," but I was using maps with war walls which breaks the premise a little. Additionally, though it never happened in my testing, I realized your escort in M1 could appear in places that would be a slog to lead to the exit.
      • Used Johnny's hell for M1, instead of a graveyard, with new mobs to make it a "Womb" - much tighter map too so it goes faster. Also tried to establish the spirit guides a bit more clearly.
      • Used the new winter map for our pastoral plane instead of a forest. This also let me do some better things with the ally spirit guides which will be helpful on this largish map.
    • So - between the final mission map being updated previously, and these changes, 3 of 5 maps have changed (for the better) and there is more consequence to the combat. Hopefully, it helps make for a memorable and fun conclusion!

     

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  • Dev's Choice:  All That Glows 4.1: Nictus Evictus - 40-54 | Rularularian - 41-54 | The Serpent Beyond the Horizon - 46-52  | Robolution - 25-34  |  Adventures in Wonderland - 25-54 The Genesis & Geneticists of The Coming Hamiggedon -  41-54 
  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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I haven't played this yet, but a comment on this:

On 10/16/2022 at 5:46 PM, Ankylosaur said:
Spoiler

First three missions involved getting an escort and leading them out. That escort does not fight for you, which can feel tedious.

  • Changed it so the escort fights with you to make the exiting more fun and include more risk.
Spoiler

Personally, I really dislike escort missions.  The only thing worse is when the escorted NPC tries to fight along with me. :)  The AI is so wonky that they tend to run off and get themselves dead fairly often.  I'd actually rather have the NPC not fight (unless I'm squishy and the NPC is powerful).  

 

Not having done the missions, though—is there any reason why they can't just be rescued and not escorted out?

 

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14 hours ago, Zhym said:

I haven't played this yet, but a comment on this:

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Personally, I really dislike escort missions.  The only thing worse is when the escorted NPC tries to fight along with me. 🙂 The AI is so wonky that they tend to run off and get themselves dead fairly often.  I'd actually rather have the NPC not fight (unless I'm squishy and the NPC is powerful).  

 

Not having done the missions, though—is there any reason why they can't just be rescued and not escorted out?

 

 

Good feedback - probably my original thinking - especially since you can't fail it that way, but I did put in fail text that accommodates it.

 

They can be non-combat, which is how it originally ran. But this might be mitigated by the unless I'm squishy and the NPC is powerful part - the premise is you are compelling gods to fight for you in a bigger fight later so gathering them.  The escorts are AVs - so pretty powerful. (Adamastor and the OG Woodsmen) Admastor lumbers slowly so his smaller map will help make that less tedious, and in the other, you have two AVs for a speedy plow through and exit.

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17 hours ago, Ankylosaur said:

They can be non-combat, which is how it originally ran. But this might be mitigated by the unless I'm squishy and the NPC is powerful part - the premise is you are compelling gods to fight for you in a bigger fight later so gathering them.  The escorts are AVs - so pretty powerful. (Adamastor and the OG Woodsmen) Admastor lumbers slowly so his smaller map will help make that less tedious, and in the other, you have two AVs for a speedy plow through and exit.

 

I ran through the first couple of missions of this arc and have a few more thoughts:

  • I do think these would be fine (better, actually, IMO) without the escort aspect.  The missions already involve finding glowies to summon the AVs and then "free" them.  At that point, leading them to the exit is at best anticlimactic and at worst a PITA.  (And while the first map is short—a good change, IMO—the second is very much not.)
  • The "helpers" (or "guides") don't seem to offer much help or guidance.  From what I can tell, all they do is follow you around and clutter the map.
  • In the second mission, I thought it was bugged for a while there, with two AVs to "rescue" and lead to the exit.  Clearly I didn't read closely enough, but making the objective text have two different goals (like "Rescue the Life Spirit" and "Rescue the Earth Spirit") could have made things clearer.
  • And oh gods...that Baby New Year Croatoa map.  Ugh.  Just...ugh.  Too many memories of escorting an ugly-ass BNY in that map.
  • I suspect that the Lichen colonies may be part of the rating you're getting.  Those things are annoying!
  • If you must have escort missions, fighting escorts are definitely worse than non-fighting escorts in the second mission, IMO.   All those lichens that spawn?  The Finn MacCools both want to stop and fight them all.  Dragging those guys to the exit point was a pain, IMO.  They also seem to have a low perception radius and their "Hey, I'm lost" text is just a grunt.

Those are just my opinions, obviously, based on my own preferences.  But some of those might be part of why someone gave this a not-so-great rating.

Edited by Zhym
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Great feedback - thanks! 

 

  • The original approach was non-combat, so none of the ratings were based on them fighting - getting them to fight was an attempt to bring more action to it. But it sounds like it was not an improvement in your experience. 🙂
  • The spirit guides are escorts that help by marking the map for your destination, that's all. They're there to make finding the glowies and the objectives easier. It's kind of pointless on M1 now, but at least gets you used to the idea. On M2, I would think they're pretty helpful since the glowies can be in a big area and the escorts in a cave.
  • I can pull the Lichens easily enough too. I thought they were a little novel, but they may have worked a little better in the original map or at least before the escorts tried to chase them.
  • Sorry to trigger BNY PSD. 🙂

 

So I am going with the simple option - just rescue them - and they are immediately under your thrall and they run for the exit. Feels a little more straightforward, but am sure it will be more fun and improve the pacing as a result.

Edited by Ankylosaur
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4 hours ago, Ankylosaur said:

The spirit guides are escorts that help by marking the map for your destination, that's all. They're there to make finding the glowies and the objectives easier. It's kind of pointless on M1 now, but at least gets you used to the idea. On M2, I would think they're pretty helpful since the glowies can be in a big area and the escorts in a cave.

I guess I'm not seeing how they were supposed to work.  In the first map, the "guides" just floated around and followed me.  They didn't lead me anywhere.  In the second map, the wolves (it's the wolves who are supposed to be the guides, right?) just stayed where they were.  Were their locations supposed to lead me somewhere?  My character has 85 ft stealth, though, so maybe that was a factor?

 

Also, one (but, for some reason, not both) of the glowies was marked on each map.  In the second map, I just found the second glowy by looking around for it and listening. 

 

4 hours ago, Ankylosaur said:

I can pull the Lichens easily enough too. I thought they were a little novel, but they may have worked a little better in the original map or at least before the escorts tried to chase them.

They are novel!  I like the idea.  But in the mission, the lichen colonies spawned so many lichens so quickly that I was practically swimming in lichens in no time. 

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I am sure the stealth impacted the guides.

 

The guides are non-required, non-combat, escorts. Like any escort, they mark the destination location on your map and usually in your display too. And like any escort, they don't really lead you, they just mark where to take them, and that goes away when you leave them. I set them to wander when they arrive (if you took them to their destination). They are there to help a little and for flavor.

 

I think the rescue is a good change.

 

I think I am going to update another thing that for some reason I did not do. Normally, when I have multiple contacts I integrate them in the text - will take a little work to get Jaena, Hellewise, and Nadia all into the text instead of the clues, but their dialog usually makes for more dynamic storytelling/convesations.

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On 9/13/2021 at 5:43 AM, Take One said:

Considering that Marchand seems to be mostly conveying information from Nadia I wonder why our contact isn't Nadia directly, but that's just a minor questionmark.

 

 

Quote

 

As to Marchand 

I struggled quite a bit on who should be the contact. Originally it was going to be the spirit world Vanessa DeVore since she bookends the Carnival of Light's involvement, but then she couldn't hand you the things you needed to compel the gods. Then it was going to be Hellewise since she has all the magic knowledge and knows about traveling dimensions/planes, but she has been a bit out of the picture to step in and take charge. In the end, I thought back to 4.1 and how Marchand is coordinating all of the special ops related to this, so he would have been in charge when Desdemona and Pendragon went missing on their op, and consequently - even though he doesn't know much about magic - he would bring all the resources to together to solve the problem. That's just who he is... It also helps bridge the slight left turn that 4.2 is. So as he is coordinating the ops he reaches out to specialists: Hellewise knows about the magic of the planes, Nadia about charms and compelling gods, and Archivist Jaena of the midnight squad about the history of the gods on Prime, the banished pantheon, and the Mu - it takes a team!

 

 

 

 

I think I am going to update another thing that for some reason I did not do. Normally, when I have multiple contacts I integrate them in the text - will take a little work to get Jaena, Hellewise, and Nadia all into the text instead of the clues, but their dialog usually makes for more dynamic storytelling/convesations. 

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2 hours ago, Ankylosaur said:

I am sure the stealth impacted the guides.

 

The guides are non-required, non-combat, escorts. Like any escort, they mark the destination location on your map and usually in your display too. And like any escort, they don't really lead you, they just mark where to take them, and that goes away when you leave them. I set them to wander when they arrive (if you took them to their destination). They are there to help a little and for flavor.

Okay—I'm gradually figuring this out.  The markers I saw appeared when I "rescued" the guides (or met up with them—I actually can't remember if I defeated mobs or not).  That makes sense.  And it's a pretty clever mechanic. 

 

FWIW, that mechanic might be clearer with some objective text (e.g., "Lead the Spirit Guide to the summoning stone").

ETA: Although "Lead the guide to the summoning stone" would imply that there's an escort requirement, when that's not actually the case.  So I don't know—something else to indicate that the guide just put a marker on the map?

Edited by Zhym
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2 hours ago, Zhym said:

And it's a pretty clever mechanic. 

@Ankylosaur does clever mechanics very well!

 

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10 hours ago, Ankylosaur said:

I think I am going to update another thing that for some reason I did not do. Normally, when I have multiple contacts I integrate them in the text - will take a little work to get Jaena, Hellewise, and Nadia all into the text instead of the clues, but their dialog usually makes for more dynamic storytelling/convesations.

One suggestion on this, too: in 1.1, I found the multi-character mission text boxes kind of jarring for some reason.  I'm not sure if it was having "said <character>" in the mission text—which kind of breaks from the comic-book style usually seen in CoX—or that the dialog wasn't in quotes.  There's definitely an art to working multi-NPC dialog into one box, though.


Let's take this as an example:

1963209069_ScreenShot2022-10-21at8_20_07PM.png.4c321f6c52fea80438031b316c763bcd.png

 

Here's one alternate take on that:

Quote

Hornet puts the flier on autopilot and spins around in his seat to face you.  "Well done," he says.

 

"Yeah, thanks," adds Burke.  "Glad to be rid of that place.  Look, you held up your end of the bargain, so here's a little tidbit for you 'til you get me to the mainland: you know Dr. Cohen from Praetoria?"

 

"You mean Antimatter's right hand?  Helped design the Clockwork, Warworks, the lot?"

 

"That's the one.  Guess what?  When he made it to our Earth he somehow escaped Refugee Island by joining Recluses's 'Destined Ones' program.  He's somewhere on Mercy and word is he's looking for a sponsor."

You get the idea.  The colors code who's talking, so not every line needs a "says Hornet" or "says Burke," which can get distracting as more characters get involved.  Just something to think about (and I hope I'm not nitpicking too much).

 

Edited by Zhym
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  • 2 weeks later

Thanks for the suggestion - and for running through some of ATG! Unfortunately, I've done way too many of these to redo the approach. 🙂

 

The big limiting factor is that a single color tag takes up 23 of your limited characters - doing it twice for one person's comment is a lot of characters.

 

Long ago, when I first tried this with Rularularian, I experimented with quotes too but decided it felt redundant in the end. Again - leaving them off was a way to scrape a few more characters out of the limit.

 

I left the characters name in because while the color is a visual queue to who is speaking, I didn't want the reader to have to remember each color code without the support of the character's name.

 

And not nitpicking - all ideas and feedback are welcome. 

Edited by Ankylosaur

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