For anyone out of the loop

First things first: my unsaid expectation of 30 minutes of story followed by shite has not been fulfilled. I’m not going to dismiss this expectation not being fulfilled by saying how it was a low bar, because being a cynical cunt is also a low bar. So I’ll be just glad that this little devil on my shoulder wasn’t just wrong, but was utterly so. Great.

Also great: amazing what they managed to do with nothing.

And that’s the interesting part. Clearly there has been very little budget been involved. Mobs are all just reskins AGAIN, the only new design is the Wizard’s Tower and even that has been re-used immediately, hilariously enough. I appreciate the humour in that.

Also, once again NCNet shows that they can’t design a game while they’re being carried by their arts devision. Rifts are a clunky, boring and repetetive low-effort gameplay loop that spawns its enemies far to much spread out, relics are an actual grown-up disrespect towards everyone with half a brain cell, getting kidnapped by ley-lines is just one of many “how the fuck did that get past design phase” moments, same with nuking dailies from orbit. “Hey”, an NCNet developer said at the table with 20 others, “know what people would love? Not being able to pick and choose how they’d like to do their daily stuff!” After a short moment of stunned silent, everyone cheered and the guy got a promotion.

I could go on, but the picture is the same picture as usual. The good stuff is where it’s at, actually.

No new mobs, no new mechanics, no new actual features - NOTHING. Like, actually, fucking zero new stuff. Rehashes all around. Yet they managed to do so much with it.

They stretched the story from like 30 minutes to several hours by talk and re-using maps alone without spreading it too thin. The “what if” scenarious and the morally dark-grey backstory turns the cannibalisation of old content in something close to new and paints over with how little they actually had to work with. They limited themselves to one mount and did nothing with it but make player abilities work on it as well, but managed to change quite some gameplay with that alone. Infight-mounting and fireballs have more of an effect than expected.

I could go on here as well, but as with the bad, the general picture should be clear.

It’s actually a fascinating case study and I wonder what the reason behind that great work with shite materials is. Clearly NCSoft didn’t just install some random scab after they ousted the old leadership. Is the NCSoft-approved lead trying to keep up the tradition with what little is left and seeing himself as some sort of guardian of the remnants? Or he use the opportunity to stab the old vision in the back and finally get his own ideas going?

In general, the seaon 4 finaly will stay the true ending of OldWars, with NuWars having started with SotO and IBS/EoD having been the symptoms of a short, tumultuous coup.

Speculations aside, the new “”“expansion”“” cements that old heights have been reigned in and down to what NCSoft is willing to provide that low-earning title. that things will stay on that level and that there is nothing more to be expected. However, it also shows that it’s still a labour of love for certain forces behind the curtain, and as tragic it all is to witness, it’s also impressive how those forces managed to create so much with so little.

I wish they had the funding and freedom of ye olde days.

  • BreadGar
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    11 months ago

    To me this expansion was one of my favorite to date.

    People keep complaining about asset reuse, but you know what they made it for inside the story. Map 1 are fractals, so slices of history brought back.

    No new mechanic? But making map traversal use the skyscale, and using all the tools available to the skyscale is pretty new.

    But to me it’s the story. I felt I connected more to the characters in this expansion than the others. They gave them a purpose some backstory, and if you were scared of reading there was plenty to learn from all the books and journal lying around.