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Old 04-25-2006, 08:27 PM   #31
Imrahil
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Join Date: November 4, 2001
Location: North Carolina, USA
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Good timing. I just finished up a game with the new Xan (by Kulyok) at PPG, which I can highly recommend. A very nicely done NPC - dare I say: on par with Kelsey & Keto.

I've also got notes on Ariena, Auren, Azure, Kari, Kiyone, Kova, & Nathaniel, which I just need to write up (& soon replace this post with an addendum).

I'm a bit torn by my own stated rating system. The new Xan has extensive banters with the PC, which is un-Bioware & makes him stand out as a MOD, but they're very well done, so I'm waffling on how to rate that aspect. In any case, updates coming soon, & I went ahead & added "(by Talon)" to the first Xan I played.

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Old 04-26-2006, 03:52 AM   #32
Deathsangel
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On par with Kelsey & Keto? Who... This project, at least for me, came out of no where and then this? Kulyok herself says the romance needs work if it is to uphold the BG1 NPC Project standard.
Oh well, maybe it is my personal taste as well that I can't see an adventurer, let alone stand a possible romance, with someone that thinks all is futile.
About your grading problem. Well, you did penalize other mods for looking un-Bioware. I reckon you need to continue on that path, just to stick to general rules, but make a comment that the banters are excellent done.
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:48 AM   #33
Imrahil
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Here's the update...


Name: Xan (by Kulyok) 1.0
Characteristics: LN Male Elf Enchanter
Str: 13 Dex: 16 Con: 7 Int: 17 Wis: 14 Cha: 16
Equipment: 2 Potions of Healing, 5 Potions of Antidote, Moonblade (1-8 damage, +1 AC, +50% Fire Resistance)
Personality: A
Xan has followed CHARNAME from BG1 & seeks to aid in the quest to find Imoen. Like BG1 Xan, he's depressed & gloomy, but this version seems more stoic than melancholy. He's more resigned to his fate & less likely to just moan & complain. He has very good banters with the other NPC's (the ones with Jan, Jaheira, & Aerie are very nice) & several interesting interjections. He is romanceable for elven females. He has lots of force-talk options, even if you aren't in a romance. For a bit of fun, make sure to get your PC drunk at some point.
Implementation: A-
The best part of Xan's implementation, IMO, is that the banters with the other NPC's having voicing for the NPC's (using rare &/or ToB voice clips). This really makes Xan seem like a seamless addition to the game. He has many talks with the PC, which, while very well done, make him stand out as a MOD, which is part of what I'm measuring in this category. Some of his interjections are slightly spoilery, occasionally showing an annoying foresight into coming events.
Power: C+
As an Enchanter, Xan is severely limited in his spell selection - no Magic Missile, Fire Shield, Contingencies, Fireball, Sequencers, Death Fog, etc. You may learn the usefulness of such spells as Chaos, Emotion, & Domination, though (all of which rely on opponents failing Saving Throws, unfortunately). His Moonblade is nice, but next to useless since you really don't want him engaging in combat.
Ease: B+
Xan can be found near the entrance to the Government District so he can be added quite early.
ToB: No (although he does have some Watcher's Keep content)
Overall: A-
Xan is an extremely well done NPC. I'm putting in the minus simply because you can tell he's a MOD. If you don't mind that, however, Xan is practically perfect (although his personality may not be for everyone). In the current version, he leaves the party at the end of SoA (& he tells you several times that he's going to & why).


Name: Kiyone 1.20-Beta
Characteristics: LG Female Half-Elf Archer (Ranger)
Str: 15 Dex: 17 Con: 11 Int: 14 Wis: 15 Cha: 12
Equipment: Two-Handed Sword +2, Helm of Glory, Eye of the Sentinel (Longbow +1, requires no ammo, True Sight 1/day; upgradeable to Longbow +2, requires no ammo, True Sight 2/day, Dispel Magic 2/day), Verdant Vigil (Elven Chain, AC 3; upgradeable to Elven Chain AC 1, +2 vs. Missiles, +20% MR)
Personality: B
Kiyone is a member of the Sentinels, a Good group very similar to The Harpers but who act more overtly than The Harpers do. Kiyone has come to Amn searching for the "criminal" Kova & enlists CHARNAME's help in doing so. She has occasional banters with the party, but the vast majority of her dialogue is devoted to conversations with Kova in which they discuss the "philosophy" of trust & who has the right to judge someone. They cover a lot of the same ground repeatedly & their speech is very similar to one another, making it seem like one character is having a conversation with himself. You'll need to unravel the mystery of Kova's "crimes" to help her out, but there's not a lot of clues & you have to stumble across the right people or wait for certain timers to expire to solve the case. Kiyone's voicing isn't extensive but what's there is pretty good.
Implementation: B
The most significant detractor to Kiyone's (& Kova's) implementation is that they greatly distract from CHARNAME's story, to the point where you want to do something or go somewhere but you're constrained by their timelines & interests. Many times when talking to an NPC, you see Kiyone's interjection alongside the options to respond to the NPC, making it look like you're responding to Kiyone. The area where she indicates Kova can be found doesn't appear on your world map until you uncover it through the normal channels. Kiyone has an illegal 2 proficiency points in Two-Handed Sword & War Hammer, which an Archer should not be able to have (I'm not a fan of illegal boosts to a character simply because the author wants to dictate how you use the character). When fighting the Elder Brain in the Underdark, you can get a repeating interjection about killing it (until you actually do). Finally, why does she have green hair? This is never even mentioned as far as I can tell.
Power: B+
Archers are fairly powerful combatants in their own right, & Kiyone's illegal proficiencies make her a decent emergency front-line fighter as well. Her equipment, while not over-powered, increases her usefulness as well.
Ease: B
Kiyone will appear as soon as your Reputation hits 13, so she's fairly easy to meet early in the game.
ToB: No
Overall: B+
Kiyone & Kova are pretty interesting & make for nice additions to your party. The mystery is a nice touch, but could stand a few improvements to make it easier to "solve" if you don't already know where you should go. Kiyone & Kova's banters can get a little tiresome as they cover a lot of the same ground over & over.


Name: Kova 1.20-Beta
Characteristics: CG Male Half-Elf Mage/Thief
Str: 14 Dex: 17 Con: 12 Int: 17 Wis: 10 Cha: 11
Equipment: Navaeren (+2 Dagger/Katana [whah?], Throwing/Melee; upgradeable to +3, 5% Insta-Kill [ST vs. Death at -2], 5% Stun [ST vs. Spells at -2]), Haeloven (robe, AC 5, immune to backstab; upgradeable to AC 3, +1 Casting Time, +2 vs. Missiles)
Personality: B+
Kova is involved with both the Cowled Wizards & the Shadow Thieves & is being hunted by both (as well as Kiyone). Additionally, the City Guard is looking for him & has offered a reward for his capture. Kova is very distrustful of authority & has a disdain for the aristocracy. He's a bit of a stoic, fully expecting to be caught & executed for the crimes he's been accused of. He occasionally banters with other NPC's, but has the vast majority of his banters with Kiyone. Kova has a very nice post-Spellhold encounter - I'd highly recommend returning to Brynnlaw after Spellhold. The voicing is pretty good.
Implementation: B
The most significant detractor to Kova's (& Kiyone's) implementation is that they greatly distract from CHARNAME's story, to the point where you want to do something or go somewhere but you're constrained by their timelines & interests. Many times when talking to an NPC, you see Kova's interjection alongside the options to respond to the NPC, making it look like you're responding to Kova. He has an illegal 3 proficiency points in Dagger & 2 in Single Weapon Style. He has no spells memorized when you first meet him, but he does have an excellent, almost optimal, spell selection available. The various groups trying to capture him will spawn in repeatedly, resulting in many, many fights against Shadow Thieves, Cowled Wizards, & Amnish Guards (those organizations would likely be wiped out after the multitudes your party kills). You can pick up a stutter bug in the Underdark after talking to Visaj (& wind up with 2 Ropes). Kova has no Hell dialogue.
Power: B+
Kova fills in nicely as both a Mage & a Thief & his illegal proficiencies, Throwing Katana, & "bonus" Thief skill points make him generally more powerful than Jan.
Ease: C
You have to meet Kiyone first, so you'll need a Reputation of 13, then you have to go to Windspear & wander around the map for a bit (he's towards the northwest, near the water), at which point Kiyone will "discover" him.
ToB: No
Overall: B+
Kiyone & Kova are pretty interesting & make for nice additions to your party. The mystery is a nice touch, but could stand a few improvements to make it easier to "solve" if you don't already know where you should go. Kiyone & Kova's banters can get a little tiresome as they cover a lot of the same ground over & over. Still, very well done.


Name: Auren SoAV2
Characteristics: NG Female Human Fighter
Str: 16 Dex: 16 Con: 15 Int: 13 Wis: 12 Cha: 15
Equipment: Chain mail, Cloak of Protection +1, Shortsword, Dadrek (unknown properties, appears to be a normal Longsword, no stats given)
Personality: B+
Auren is a wandering adventurer recently arrived from Nashkel. She has several talks with the PC about his past & reveals much of her own, mentioning several familiar faces & locations from BG1. Some of her old companions show up but nothing really comes of it that I saw. She's looking to make a name for herself & see as much of the world as possible. She has a bit of a "romance" with Nalia, but it's more like a friendship since nothing really happens & neither the PC nor the other NPC's seem to even notice anything's going on.
Implementation: B
Many times when talking to an NPC, you see Auren's interjection alongside the options to respond to the NPC, making it look like you're responding to Auren. The voicing varies a bit in volume sometimes. There's quite a lot of Action Text in Auren's banters. She has no Hell dialogue & when confronting Irenicus for the final time, I ran into a bug where her interjection would fire, then the whole interface would disappear & the game would freeze. I had to resort to temporarily kicking her out of the party to get past it. The "Nalia romance" aspect is very sparse, with vague hints of attraction given. Auren has little to no reaction to clearing the Keep, running the Keep, Nalia's father's funeral, or Nalia's kidnapping.
Power: B-
Auren isn't much of a tank, but makes a good dual-wielding flank attacker.
Ease: A-
Auren approaches the party right at the "main" entrance to the Copper Coronet, so adding to your party is very easy.
ToB: No
Overall: B
Auren is a decent character with several talks with CHARNAME, good interjections, & a few decent banters with the other NPC's. There's not a lot of interaction with Nalia & there's several little things that make her stand out as a MOD. Overall she's pretty good, but not outstanding.


Name: Nathaniel SoA-v2
Characteristics: LG Male Human Kensai
Str: 16 Dex: 17 Con: 13 Int: 11 Wis: 9 Cha: 14
Equipment: Aplin-Fletcher Sword (Katana +1, +1 AC, +4 vs. CE), Kajikamu (+2 Katana, +1 cold damage), Nathaniel's Ring (unremoveable, unknown properties)
Personality: B
Nathaniel is a former member of the Flaming Fist in Baldur's Gate who left after a few romantic entanglements. He's a bit depressed when you first meet him but later runs into a few former acquaintances who can help fill in some of his backstory. Nathaniel is romanceable for human/elf/half-elf Good (or LN) Male PC's, although you probably don't want to be a Thief. Many of his banters focus on his sexuality & if you're not interested in the romance it can be difficult to find neutral responses (practically every dialogue tree has "Give Nathaniel a hug" as an option). Most NPC's are presented as very open-minded, but Nathaniel does not get along with Korgan.
Implementation: B+
Nathaniel is pretty extensive & fairly well-done, but is definitely a romance-first, character-second NPC. His interaction with his former friends is very sparse after a lot of angst & build up. Once you find out about Avery, you should go visit him as soon as possible, since if the timer expires & Nathaniel complains, you'll get stuck in a repeating dialogue loop which is more-or-less game killing since you can't move before it fires again. After you tie up Nathaniel's loose ends, you can get a repeating banter where he thanks you for your help. If Nathaniel doesn't comment on the Slayer transformation, Reload until he does, or it could mess up later dialogues. There's a few minor punctuation errors & some rare spelling issues & some of the voiced dialogue has some feedback.
Power: B-
As a Kensai, Nathaniel isn't the best front-line attacker, but is an effective flanker, but once you get him the generic Kensai-wielding-Katanas weapons, he becomes very effective.
Ease: B+
Nathaniel can easily be picked up by heading for the Docks & looking in the northeast section. You can also pick him up later at the Mithrest Inn if you don't want to add him when you first run into him.
ToB: No
Overall: B
If you're not interested in the romance, you'll find Nathaniel is not all that interesting & you'll probably have difficulty navigating some of the dialogues. There's still a few fairly major bugs that need to be cleaned up as well.


Name: Ariena 1.0
Characteristics: NE Female Half-Orc Pit Fighter
Str: 19 Dex: 15 Con: 17 Int: 7 Wis: 11 Cha: 10
Equipment: Halberd, Flail, Helmet, Ariena's Armor (AC 3, 10% resistance to Slashing, Bludgeoning, & Piercing)
Personality: B+
Ariena is a gruff, no-nonsense warrior who was raised as a Gladiator. She despises weakness in any form (she doesn't get along with Jaheira, Aerie, or Nalia) & respects strength (she'll get along fine with Korgan & Viconia). The Human half of her heritage is from an Aasimar (Half-Celestial), but she doesn't really expand on this (she talks about it a little bit with Yoshimo). You'll learn a lot about Ariena's past & she has some very nice interjections & banters.
Implementation: C
Ariena has, at minimum, proficiency with every weapon in the game (a total of 21 stars), which sets her apart from the Bioware NPC's. Her Aasimar heritage grants her 20% resistance to (Magic) Cold, 50% Acid resistance, 10% Missile resistance, & 100% Poison resistance, which is a little unsettling, especially since her Aasimar parentage plays almost no role in the character's interactions. Periodically, Ariena would leave the party for no reason, then when you track her down in her original spawn point, she acts like the PC kicked her out (this can be especially troublesome in the Underdark). There are numerous spelling errors & minor bugs (Valygar's joining dialogue gets broken, entering the Guarded Compound with Ariena can result in an unkillable Sion, broken Lady Delcia dialogue, repeating banters, turns hostile for no reason when you fight the Beastmaster in the Copper Coronet) in the current version.
Power: B
The Pit Fighter class is very similar to a Barbarian with a few special abilities thrown in. Ariena can't wear the heaviest armor in the game but her resistances make her a very effective tank & punishing front-line warrior.
Ease: B+
Ariena can be found in the far southeast end of The Docks, near Cromwell. You may need to return there several times if she runs off from the party.
ToB: No
Overall: C+
Ariena shows a lot of potential but needs a lot of clean up work at the moment. She's an interesting character, but you might want to wait until the next version is released.


Name: Kari v1-3b
Characteristics: N Female Half-Kobold Druid
Str: 9 Dex: 16 Con: 8 Int: 13 Wis: 14 Cha: 15
Equipment: Club, Sling, 20 Bullets, Quarterstaff, Healing Potion, Concealing Robe (AC 5, 5% MR, +1 ST, unremoveable)
Personality: C
Kari has had a bit of a traumatic past just dealing with her heritage & avoiding those who would hurt her. She's very meek & a bit self-loathing, but the PC can cheer her up a bit. Still, there's not a lot of interaction with the joinable or non-joinable NPC's. She has some nice conversations with Valygar & Cernd, but does not get along with Korgan at all.
Implementation: C
Kari is not very fleshed out at the moment, having little interaction & no quests. She has Fall-From-Grace's voice (from Planescape: Torment), which results in some odd phrases coming from a Half-Kobold. Her picture is very un-Bioware.
Power: B-
Kari is a single-classed Druid with no kit, so while she can become very powerful at later levels, it'll take til near the end of the game.
Ease: C+
Kari can be found in the Windspear Hills, on the far eastern end of the map, between the Dungeon Entrance & the Faerie Grove.
ToB: No
Overall: C
Kari is unique, but kind of lacking in presentation. There's no real bugs that I found, but you'll hardly notice she's in the party.


Name: Azure v1
Characteristics: N Female Human Druid
Str: 13 Dex: 17 Con: 14 Int: 11 Wis: 16 Cha: 16
Equipment: Quarterstaff, Leather Armor, Worn Out Boots, Azure's Wolf Amulet (unknown properties, unremoveable)
Personality: D-
Azure is a Druid wandering around the Druid Grove searching for her wolf companion Sharo. That's about all the information you'll get since Azure never speaks again. She has no Hell dialogue, no Tree of Life dialogue, & Salvanas has nothing to say to her.
Implementation: D
Even the limited joining dialogue contains some spelling errors. Azure has no spells memorized initially. Sharo, her wolf, spawns outside of Drush the Ogre's home & is promptly killed by the Trolls there. Even if you respawn Sharo (CreateCreature("sharo")), he behaves like a generic Summon & won't follow you to other areas. Azure can't use very many items in the game, even being restricted from Slings & Darts.
Power: B-
Azure is a single-classed Druid with no kit. Sharo would make her more useful if he could follow her to different areas. She does have the ability to cast Summon Wyvern a couple of times a day.
Ease: C+
You can pick up Azure just North of the entrance point to the Druid Grove.
ToB: No
Overall: D-
Very little point to this NPC.


- Imrahil
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Old 04-30-2006, 09:13 PM   #34
timothy trotter
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Age: 35
Posts: 603
sounds good, a question, what avatar does the half kobald use? is it a kobald?
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Old 05-01-2006, 01:50 PM   #35
Deathsangel
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I have the feel you are rating highter then normal. Looking at in example Nathaniel, you seem to be less glorious about in comparison Tsujatha, whereas they have the same grade. Just thought you might want to know.

It is unfortunate you can not add these pc's anymore to the long list. The overview from high grade to low grade was something I enjoyed.

P.s. Totally agree with you on Ariena. I am very sorry for the so many bugs. I will get her up to Kido standards. I promise. Though she does talk to more people then just Yoshimo about her being an Aasimar & has more resistance (all types of damage 10%, along side her armor), but that is nitpicking back at ya. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

[ 05-01-2006, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: Deathsangel ]
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:04 PM   #36
Imrahil
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Quote:
Originally posted by timothy trotter:
sounds good, a question, what avatar does the half kobald use? is it a kobald?
Kari uses the Female Human Mage avatar. I don't think the Kobold avatar supports enough weapons, which is why, I assume, she uses a Human avatar.

Quote:
Originally posted by Deathsangel:
I have the feel you are rating highter then normal. Looking at in example Nathaniel, you seem to be less glorious about in comparison Tsujatha, whereas they have the same grade. Just thought you might want to know.
You're probably right, but I kind of saw a similarity between Nathaniel, Tsujatha, & Tashia. They all seem to be "romance MOD's" where the character isn't very in-depth if you aren't playing the romance, so I lumped Nathaniel in with the other two "B"'s.

Quote:
... & has more resistance (all types of damage 10%, along side her armor), but that is nitpicking back at ya. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
I thought her damage resistance was due to her class being similar to a Barbarian, rather than from the Aasimar heritage. Does she gain additional damage resistance due to being part Aasimar?

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Old 05-02-2006, 01:20 PM   #37
Deathsangel
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As far as I heard Kari uses also human avatar as her cloak takes care of this, so people don't get their pitchforkes and kill her.

As said I meant all NPC's you graded now. I thought you would give Ariena lower and you seem to have quite some critics on Kova and Kiyone and still there B+. It is my general feel about your grading. The example was just an example... However, it is your grading and as such I should not be nitpicking about so much hard work.

And, yes, it is due to her being an aasimar, as Haer'Dalis also has resistances due to be tielfing (even better ones!). It does not stand in her kit

[ 05-02-2006, 01:22 PM: Message edited by: Deathsangel ]
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:03 PM   #38
Stonewarrior
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Quick question Imrahil, has Krondor become available? Just curious.

Also, does anyone know if a review of the quest mods has ever been posted anywhere? Or for that matter has anyone else done a review of this type of any other mods?
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:58 PM   #39
Imrahil
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Quote:
Originally posted by Deathsangel:
As far as I heard Kari uses also human avatar as her cloak takes care of this, so people don't get their pitchforkes and kill her.
True, that's the role-playing version of the explanantion, but I don't think the Kobold avatar could've been used in any case, due to weapon restrictions which would cause the game to crash.

Quote:
As said I meant all NPC's you graded now. I thought you would give Ariena lower and you seem to have quite some critics on Kova and Kiyone and still there B+. It is my general feel about your grading. The example was just an example... However, it is your grading and as such I should not be nitpicking about so much hard work.
No, by all means, I welcome disagreement. Upon further reflection, you're probably right. I knew where I wanted to slot Xan (A, probably A-, due to the "he's really good but you can tell he's a MOD" factor) & I knew where I wanted to slot Nathaniel (in with Tashia & Tsujatha, the "good if you're in a romance, dull if not" B's), but I also felt like Beyond the Law (Kiyone/Kova) was better than Nathaniel but not as good as Xan, so that left only the B+ category for them.

I'd probably have been better off slotting Nathaniel at B- despite the similarities to other romance-only characters (waiting, perhaps, for a bug-fix/expansion to move him into the B's), leaving myself the opportunity to put Kiyone/Kova at a B, pending a new version (which is out, btw, here, although I think it just adds some stuff, rather than changing anything that might sway my opinion). Anyway, I put Xan where I thought was appropriate, but lumping Nathaniel in with Tashia/Tsujatha may have limited my options in assigning a grade to Kiyone/Kova. I agree with you there.

Incidently, in regards to Ariena's grade, I think she'll be very good once you squash the bugs. Your track record with improving Kido speaks for itself. When I first rated Hubelpot, for example, I admit I assumed improvements would be coming, but they never materialized, so I rated him higher than I should have, but after seeing you develop Kido, I fully believe you will make a very good NPC out of Ariena (& the personality is already good, it's just the bug-squashing that's holding her back).

Quote:
Originally posted by Stonewarrior:
Quick question Imrahil, has Krondor become available? Just curious.
I don't think so. Even the link I posted a while back has become inactive, I think. But, if enough poeple bug Seifer (I had to login to get to that page with Seifer's information, so you may need to just go to Spellhold Studios main page & find some way to bug Seifer &/or others there if you aren't already registered at Spellhold), maybe he'll re-post the Beta version. Krondor is a pretty interesting NPC, IMO, quite entertaining & unique even in the version I played, so if enough encouragement is given, maybe someone, if not the original author, will take up the reins & polish him up.

Quote:
Also, does anyone know if a review of the quest mods has ever been posted anywhere?
Some have been reviewed. PPG has a Review section here, where you can find reviews of Quests & NPC's (heck, even I'm listed there). Also, specifically, SixOfSpades wrote up an excellent Tactics review here (why this isn't listed on the PPG site, I don't know - I didn't list myself on there, so whoever put me on there probably should've listed this as well - this was from Tactics a few versions ago, so there may be a newer version - someone, maybe 6oS, can correct my link - blame Google if this is not the most current version [img]smile.gif[/img] )

Quote:
Or for that matter has anyone else done a review of this type of any other mods?
Rodman49 has started compiling his reviews here, on PPG. He addresses some categories I don't, such as Portrait & Voicing, which I tend to just mention if they are off-putting or well done (IMO, of course). So far, his evaluations provide a nice comparison/contrast with mine. There's nothing I would absolutely dispute in his reviews & they're pretty in-depth. Given the time that has elapsed since his last post, I'd imagine some encouragement would be welcome. I suggest everyone check it out, at least.

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Old 05-08-2006, 05:22 PM   #40
Deathsangel
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I thank you for the vote of confidence and I'll be sure to get rid of the bugs, expand on her Aasimar side and probably do change the kit a little (I can see your point, for like you I am for discussion, but first need to learn how to create kits [img]smile.gif[/img] ) with Ariena, though after Kido version 4 (of which I am very proud and I'm sure of will let him rise in your reviews once again ).
Mayhap we can discuss sometimes more a bit of some other NPC's
Unfortunatly for him I disagree with Rodman49 a lot more then with you. Quoted from him
Quote:
my perspective is so different the reviewer's of those available
as such I am not to motivated to call upon him, though perhaps I shouldn't be so gruff. I do wonder about all the reviews he is talking about. I know some forums have there fan reviews, but still... Though I do like you both not giving to many spoilers, hinting towards to how for NPC problems can go or what the personal quest is about

[edit] I know from inside that Krondor is quite rigor mortis so to speak, though indeed it just might be rigor without the mortis

[ 05-08-2006, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: Deathsangel ]
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