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Old 03-27-2005, 01:52 PM   #1
Wyvern
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
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It was nice to finally get my mouse on the demo. We've all been waiting a long time and I haven't had a game that I really enjoyed in ages and ages.

A simple command sheet should have been included for players to print. You do not want to be reading the help screen when a dozen wolves are attacking.

Life one:

DL has nice eye candy - Even though you can't reset the resolution in the demo I was very satisfied with the appearance of the game world.

The interface demands a huge learning curve. They added to the joy of learning a non-instinctive interface by starting you out in the dead of night. I believe this is to foreshadow that in the real game we are all going to die and die a lot!

Even with the game settings on EASY - your lone character can be overrun by masses of monsters who do know what they are doing while you're still struggling to figure out how to equip your sword.

No, it isn't "I" for Inventory, it's "E" for Equipment - oh, too late, you're dead.

Life two:

Turning to face your attackers is a real pain. I use a trackball and while I'm trying to turn around

Life three:

Okay, I've reset the keyboard commands so that the number pad 4 and 6 will turn my character - these will also work WITH the mouse or in my case the trackball to make turning faster which is a very good thing because these swarms of monsters seem to like to surround you and attack from all si

Life four:

With my back to the nearby ruins, I manage to fight off the initial rush of monsters. If I had known that there really wasn't any point in talking to that NPC by the fire (and there isn't any reason to - has nothing to do with the demo) I could have avoided

Life five:

Unlike the mighty stamar, I didn't get into using magic until much later in the game. I did manage to make it to the city gates where you can have another meaningless conversation with the NPC Guard. He'll tell you that the city is closed until the Lord's daughter is found so naturally I thought that would be the goal of the demo - nope.
After killing off a zillion rabid rats we manage to follow the strange goblin to the entrance to the sewers. Actually, I lie, we manage to follow him over to an ambush by a zillion goblins

Life six:
We enter the sewers! and it's VERY dark! I mean extremely dark - too dark to be considered "fun". One good thing, even in this utter pitch darkness the lever to open the sewers is so large that you are sure to smash your nose on it sooner or later. Read through the help screen again to learn that you have to use the SHIFT key to activate - sewers are now open!

These sewers remind me of others I have wandered - one set of sewers in particular but I'm not sure if that was M&M or something else - whatever. There are areas within the sewers that you are not meant to access in the demo but of course you don't know that so you do try.

After a bit of exploring around, learning to disarm chests, fighting hordes of monsters that threaten to introduce you to your next lifetime, you happen upon your first LADDER -

How I have waited to see how HP handled ladders in DL after choosing to not handle them at all in W&W (which does not mean that W&W didn't have ladders - it had a lot of ladders, just no effective/worthwhile means of actually using them - fall/splat). You can use the SHIFT key to go up and down ladders! YAY!!

Naturally the first ladder places you on this narrow catwalk which has lovely obstacles at every corner and monsters attacking or shooting arrows at you long range - splash.

Dispite the appearance - the catwalks have a fuzzy edge - you can only be partially on the catwalk for it still to count. That's a good thing considering how badly they are designed if you had to be completely on the catwalk.

BOWS are actually effective in this game! Don't faint - it is true. But how to quickly switch to my bow, read help screen - ooof - splash - That goblin is HISTORY NOW!!! After dispatching the goblin archers (and I didn't bother to go see what loot they dropped) I head off into the upper area of the sewers.

There's quite a pool at this point - you get to do some swimming and have to relearn how to climb out of this mess (I don't even want to know what my character smelled like at this point).

Lots more goblins as I near the drop bridge. It was at this point that I felt compelled to learn how to use magic.

Life seven:
After locating the Bridge Key I finally gained access to some area beyond it - which looks rather like an abandoned building of unknown purpose.

By this life, I have almost completely reassigned the keyboard commands to that the most important actions can all be done on the number pad. These changes help a lot! My biggest complaint/difficulty remains the games tendancy to shift perspectives. While it may be realistic that when you receive a blow from an enemy that you get "knocked back" this game takes it to extremes. You have to face what you are trying to hit and you find yourself constantly struggling to do so. One command that I would really like to have is a fast "turn around" for when the monsters sneak up behind you and

Life eight:
You get a lot of practice smashing crates and opening chests. There is no relationship between the difficulty of the chest and the loot there in. Not that you have any use for all this loot within the demo anyways - but really if you can manage to disarm a level 4 lock you should get better goodies.

This abandoned building rather resembles a maze so I presume that it must at one time have been an amusement attraction but the mirrors are gone. Eventually you come upon a lift with a broken handle and another lift that appears to be complete but just doesn't work. After fixing the lift with the broken handle you manage to make it to the theatre area.

Lives nine and ten and eleven and twelve -
There is a War Troll here and some goblin with some nasty magic to toss at you.
You get a lot of experience from defeating them which of course is very nice but they seemed a bit strong/difficult for the demo. I did manage to off them and it really didn't take a number of lives to do so, just a lot of fireballs.

Killing the main goblin you get the Theater Key which - when you use SHIFT on the correct door will tell you that you have completed the demo.

I would have liked to have completed some quest - not just managed to survive to get to some location.

I don't like the fact that when you choose to walk backwards (which is a very good thing to do when you are shooting slimes with your bow and want to keep some distance) that you walk like a 90 year old with a walker out for a stroll in the park. Backstep is so slow it's painful - quite literally because the monsters catch up with you far too easily.

By the time I got to the theater and with my reassigned keyboard commands, I was getting much better with the game interface but I'm not happy with it. I didn't bother to even examine all the different camera angles that are explained in the help file. I don't want different camera angles. These may be included for players who come from overhead view games such as Baldur's Gate but I prefer to be looking from my character's point of view.

Along the way I earned enough experience to advance my character many times. There are a LOT of options and you seem to have to buy everything. I'm hoping that in the real game we may have options for increasing some skills/stats with guilds and temples. If everything must be increased on this character stat page from experienced earned, it's going to be difficult to figure out where to put my points.

I have a lot of questions about how the real game will be. I do not feel that the demo gives a real sense of the game. The monsters and chests were all very "Monty Hall" (overly generous with loot) that I cannot believe the real game will be similar. The demo is very Monty Hall - you start out with so many spells - is the real game like that?? I doubt it. I read one comment that said that the demo was very much like the "press build". I think it's been designed to look more favorable than it might have if you did start with the real begining of the game where your character is a total newb.

I'm also a bit concerned about some of the tech issues and solutions - this is a game that is supposed to be released next month. There is a warning with the demo not to use the last three save slots because they are known to corrupt data?? I was using 3 save slots and anytime I saved to the second slot after creating a save in the third - the third save wouldn't show up. It was still there but it shouldn't be disappearing from the menu.

I rather have the feeling that this game is being rushed again - which isn't to say that they haven't had a lot of time to put the game together. I'm just wondering where that time has been spent.

I've had my preorder in for DL for quite a while and I'm looking forward to having the whole game.

[ 03-27-2005, 01:52 PM: Message edited by: Wyvern ]
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:32 PM   #2
Bungleau
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Interesting thoughts, Wyv. I'm running through with my second character (trying a mage, but he's turned into a fighter). Bows and swords are very, very handy

Although it doesn't pay to spend too much time outside. Number two was attacked by skeletons, wolves, and what looked like a giant scorpion that came in, hit him once (enough to kill him), and then disappeared. Gotta love that "Revive" stuff...

Spells are nice... a locust swarm took down that war troll. Also nice is the chance of losing the spell if you're attacked while casting -- reminiscent of real AD&D rules

The sewers... were you thinking of MM9, with the sewers under... Throndheim, was it? Where you had to retrieve Ludwig Van's manuscript? I didn't think about that until you mentioned it.

I agree, as well, on the technical issues. If this is supposed to go gold next week, it's awful late in the process, and very buggy for it. It's even got the W&W "don't alt-tab or you die" issue

I also agree that the "room" area is kind of like a funhouse. I've found the broken lift, but not the repair item. Now that I know it's not in the room that my fighter jammed the lock on, I'll head back to his savegame and do some more action to try to find it.

Did you ever get the other locked doors to open? The ones that say "something is needed"? They're annoying me at the moment...

Ahhh.... well, those are my immediate thoughts. I'll be heading out to game soon...
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:36 PM   #3
the mighty stamar
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Ya you need a few keys to open the doors. There is one you have to swim too and there is one you need to kill the goblin magician to get.

there is also a bridge key not far from the bridge.

late in the game you also get a skull key but there isnt any door for it.

[ 03-27-2005, 09:37 PM: Message edited by: the mighty stamar ]
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Old 03-27-2005, 11:05 PM   #4
Kynaeus
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Hey, how do you guys disarm those trapped chests? I tried everything I could think of but it hasn't worked for me yet =(

Ok figured out how to open those chests, I can't get that lock yet though (even with the level 3 lockpick)

[ 03-27-2005, 11:38 PM: Message edited by: Kynaeus ]
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:10 AM   #5
Bungleau
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I got that lock with my second character. The first one jammed it...

That lock is a case where Mama Hissy's words ring true... Save early, save often, SAVE BEFORE, save after. Save before attempting the lock, and when you fail, reload. I only had to do it about three or four times... and I used the level three lockpick as well.

You basically have to do it the same way as the chests -- click on the correct tumblers when it they're active.

BTW, I have discovered something rather annoying -- when you've got level 4 lockpicking skill, your odds on a level 1 lock are 99%... and the little red activation bar CRAWLS across the screen! I mean, if the tumbler is the last one, you could click disarm, get up, go to the bathroom, come back, and it will almost be there. It's almost as bad as Sebastio talking!

I also have a combat tip that I've found useful against slimes. If they gas you, it takes a few seconds to cough and gag it out of your system. If you're next to them, however, they will keep attacking and may gas you again. What I do is to double-tap the forward key (to launch into a roll) several times, changing directions if needed. They will chase you and won't gas you until you're close again. The roll gives you more time to get away and recover... typically, it takes about three rolls from what I've seen.

Which key do you have to swim to, mighty stamar? I've got the theater key and skull key, and I'm wondering if I missed something.

Oh, BTW... I mapped out most of the sewers last night so I could stop getting lost. When I get a chance, I'll transcribe it electronically and post it somewhere. Much easier after mapping...
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:25 AM   #6
jsalsb
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(sigh...)
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:15 AM   #7
Wyvern
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aw Jon - wish we could make it run for you!!!

Bungleau - I learned to try to move away from the slimes and then use my bow on them. Kept meaning to try doing a backflip but always forgot to do it.

I think there are a lot of doors which "need an item" that isn't provided in the demo.

For the sake of the demo and the press build - I think they chose this area because they can show several different types of environment in a relatively limited area. I really would have preferred having 1 quest that I could complete within the demo. Other demos I have tried do just that - which gives a sense of accomplishment that I didn't feel with this one.

It worries me that this game doesn't work WITH Windows - not just ON a Windows system, if you understand my meaning. Alt-Tab should not be a game killer. Of course, I'll still be able to play the game but by this time HP ought to be working WITH Windows.

SEWERS - I never played M&M9 so it couldn't be that game. I'm sure it wasn't Dungeon Siege and I don't think it was Wiz8. There was just something so familiar about the feel and look of those sewers.

Level 1 chests - snore - I guess within the real game we'll probably not be finding many level 1 chests when it is pretty safe to assume that players have improved their disarming skills - but there has to be a better way to handle a more advanced character disarming the level 1 chests than to drag it out for so long. That's a counter "fun" move.

IF, in the real game, a more difficult chest will contain more valueable loot - we'll probably all get to the point where we just skip any level 1 chests as not worth the time. The demo doesn't demonstrate that though - I saw no relationship between the difficulty of the chest and the goodies inside.

It also seems that when you find a duplicate weapon you do not bother to pick it up (rusty sword discarded). That may be a good thing but on the other hand I was thinking of all the money I would loose by not having those items to sell and figured that in the early game I would be wanting every piece of gold I could lay my hands on. You really can't tell from this demo.

On a side note: I had to check out the save files just to see what could or could not be done:

Stats are hackable - at least the basic ones like strength, vitality, etc. Life points seem to be stored in some sort of "double checks" system, so I could up the life points but they would end up being reset if I did any character increases but the basic stats would remain as I had hacked them or accept an increase if I spent my points on buying an increase.

I did not find in the save file that items are stored as they were in W&W so at this point, I'm not sure if I will ever be able to help someone with lost items.

I really haven't devoted that much time to looking through the save files to see what can be done. I'm sure I could probably figure out how to make more extensive changes but I was exploring this more out of curiousity than any thing else.

I missed the Skull Key but, given the comments that it doesn't open anything, that seems to be of no great importance.

I did find that I pushed forward a lot more aggressively than I do in a real game because there were no "safe" options (such as returning to a town) to use. I didn't explore everything as thoroughly as I normally do.

And as with any game: SAVE SAVE SAVE

I really didn't die as many times as my previous post might have indicated - I just thought that was a funny way to present the whole topic.
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:25 AM   #8
Bungleau
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I did like your approach in the previous post [img]smile.gif[/img] It really highlights the process in oh so many ways...

I agree with you that it appears to be a Monty Haul scenario. I mean, complete one dungeon and advance seven levels? Puh-lease! And Gruhntt (my rogue) now has over 200 healing potions, despite using them liberally? That'll take the challenge out of it.

I also started taking notes on the stats and what they do when you increase. DEX directly affects Strike, and VIT is almost a 3:1 ratio for Life. I'll play around a bit more and post my results in a day or two.

Also, I've never gotten the backflip to work. I can do a front flip, as well as side flips (on a good day), but not the back flip. All I get is that 90-year-old-missing-a-walker shuffle...

And jsalsb, I started a whole new thread in your honor -- Tech Problems. Let's see if we can get you playing.
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:52 AM   #9
Wyvern
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Thinking back on it now -

I recall that some of the better armor that they included with your character at the beginning of the demo is used at a penalty. This seems rather odd to me. Given that they were so generous in supplying spells, why include armor that actually slows you down? hmmm

I'm almost always attacked right off the bat in the demo - so felt lucky if I had time to equip what was available - certainly didn't feel like I had the time to examine it well enough in the heat of the moment to notice the penalty.

This again adds to my feeling that this game is being rushed.
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Old 03-28-2005, 03:31 PM   #10
Bungleau
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Actually, Wyv, they started me out with non-penalty armor -- lightweight stuff that I could use. They *also* gave me better armor that I could choose to use... something that's preferable in my mind to discovering a cool set of armor and not being able to use it at all.

Fortunately, as soon as you go into the Equipment screen, time stops [img]smile.gif[/img] But I've also noticed that that silly traveller at the beginning has picked a really lousy place to set up his camp...
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