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Game News Avadon: The Black Fortress is Out

Jason

chasing a bee
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
10,737
Location
baby arm fantasy island
Tags: Avadon: The Black Fortress; Spiderweb Software

<p>It's time to download the <strong>Avadon</strong> demo and find out if Jeff Vogel finally delivered the BioWarian RPG he always threatened to make.</p>
<blockquote>Avadon: The Black Fortress is now available for the both Windows and Macintosh! This is the first chapter in our new, epic fantasy saga. You will serve the keep of Avadon, working as a spy and warrior to fight the enemies of your homeland. Your word is law, and you must battle a conspiracy to destroy your people. <br /><a href="http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/avadon/index.html" target="_blank">Come get the huge, free demo.</a></blockquote>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
 

drunkpriest

Scholar
Joined
Jun 28, 2006
Messages
328
Why would I battle a conspiracy and then destroy my own people? Mystery!
 

Micmu

Magister
Joined
Aug 20, 2005
Messages
6,163
Location
ALIEN BASE-3
...and mechanics more dumbed down than ever.
After all that talk about doing a "paper mario" game, looks like he finally did it. What a shame. :(
 

skyst

Augur
Joined
Jul 26, 2010
Messages
294
Location
Philadelphia, PA
I made it through the first dungeon and dealt with the escaped prisoners then just didn't want to play anymore.

And I have absolutely nothing else to do with my time.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
28,023
Disappointing.

It seems like he put in a lot of effort to attract the casual crowd. The "casual" difficulty mode for people who are "new to fantasy RPGs"? As if these people would be interested in a Spiderweb game. Sure, he updated the graphics and it's the nicest looking Jeff's game to-date, but still...

It seems like he threw away everything he's learned and built over the years and started from scratch: a linear, easy-breezy Bioware adventure with a Diablo-like character system. Yay!
 
Self-Ejected

Excidium

P. banal
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
13,696
Location
Third World
Avadon stands in a sort of middle ground: It's too streamlined for somebody used to RPGs and looks too "dated" for the casual gamer.

It's such a dumb move from Vogel, does he plan to attract the new generation to a 2D turn based game? Why didn't he make a browser game or something?
 

Johannes

Arcane
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
10,469
Location
casting coach
The character system is simple but how's the combat? Are the enemies varied and interesting, do you actually have to think about what positioning/abilities to use or just follow a similar plan for any fight? On highest difficulty of course.

Only got around to fighting rats and a spider so far though...
 
In My Safe Space
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
21,899
Codex 2012
It's just sad. Vogel kept talking about how he loves the next-gen decline, but was making good Geneforge games and now this...
He declined but without going next-gen...
I wonder if Spiderweb is going to survive it...
 

Severian Silk

Guest
If he's aiming for the "casual" market he needs to program the game in Flash or something else that runs inside a browser. How does he expect the "casual" market to even *know* about the game if it's not integrated somehow into Facebook or some popular "app" store? If he wants to target the "casual" market he needs to develop for a platform that they actually use.
 

BonziBUDDY

Scholar
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
239
Location
Cyrodiil
Severian Silk said:
How does he expect the "casual" market to even *know* about the game if it's not integrated somehow into Facebook or some popular "app" store?

iPad: Coming in June, 2011.
 

Brother None

inXile Entertainment
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2004
Messages
5,673
Johannes said:
The character system is simple but how's the combat? Are the enemies varied and interesting, do you actually have to think about what positioning/abilities to use or just follow a similar plan for any fight? On highest difficulty of course.

For almost all of the game: nope. In fact, the character system is structured to discourage you from using skills, since they eat up endurance, which doesn't regenerate, while health does. I'll dive into that in my review. It's the biggest screw-up of several screw-ups really.

But one thing you won't get from the demo: it does have Vogel's traditional "difficulty spike" at the end. One fight out there gave me a good oldfashioned ragegasm.
 

Coyote

Arcane
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
1,149
Too bad, it's pretty much what I was expecting based on all the previews and talk of linearity and dumbing down.

Sorry, Vogel. I'd like to support you, but I'm not paying for this game in the hopes that you'll go back to making some more Geneforge-like games. That's the kind of thinking that leads to Fallout: BoS.
 

ElectricOtter

Guest
Oh fuck, this is disappointing. I thought it could still be a enjoyable little action-RPG, but nope, Jeff Vogel went full retard. :(

Maybe the second one will be better?
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
7,428
Location
Villainville
MCA
I have never been able to get into any of his games anyway. I can even take my ADOM and enjoy it for hours straight, but the graphics and the interface in Vogel games are just off to me.
 

curry

Arcane
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
4,010
Location
Cooking in the lab
What's the point in trying to make his games appeal to a wider audience when he's a goddamn niche game developer.
 

Hobo Elf

Arcane
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
13,979
Location
Platypus Planet
Got bored with the demo as soon as I was sent to the beginner dungeon to fight rats and spiders. What a lousy piece of shit game.
 

daktari

Novice
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
11
Hobo Elf said:
Got bored with the demo as soon as I was sent to the beginner dungeon to fight rats and spiders. What a lousy piece of shit game.

This very much and I absolutely loved Geneforge V so normally I have no problems with Jeff's style.
 

Elwro

Arcane
Joined
Dec 29, 2002
Messages
11,743
Location
Krakow, Poland
Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
The Chitrach caves in Avernum 4 are more engaging then Avadon's demo.

Eh well, I'll at least give it another chance in a few days.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
6,207
Location
The island of misfit mascots
Vault Dweller said:
Disappointing.

It seems like he put in a lot of effort to attract the casual crowd. The "casual" difficulty mode for people who are "new to fantasy RPGs"? As if these people would be interested in a Spiderweb game. Sure, he updated the graphics and it's the nicest looking Jeff's game to-date, but still...

It seems like he threw away everything he's learned and built over the years and started from scratch: a linear, easy-breezy Bioware adventure with a Diablo-like character system. Yay!

Precisely. The last time I actually had to think about marketing was studying it as an undergrad many many years ago, but you're in marketing (from what I gather) - would the principle still be that this is a pretty dumb move? I.e. that if you're an indie going up against much wealthier competitors, you're best off going for an avoidance strategy by taking a niche that the big guys can't/won't cater to, rather than going for the mass market where you're always going to be the 'less shiny'' cousin?

I just can't see why the casual crowd would want to buy this game, unless they have literally run out of other casual story-based Biowarean crpgs to play. And they won't have done that, because...they're casual.

It would be completely different if he was a superb writer, as opposed to someone with a talent for intricate factions and C+C. If he was a great writer, then that could be the selling point in itself - 'like Bioware games, but hate the goddawful romance writing and the perpetually teenage characters? Here's a game for you!' But the dialogues and immediate plot the games (as opposed to themes and choices) have never been his strong point. He doesn't suck at it, but it's not something you'd buy a game for if you were relatively new to crpgs and tossing up between Avadon and Dragon Age. And it isn't like he charges hobby-game pricing either - he makes full-size crpgs and he charges an appropriate price for them. But that's not a price that uni students and kiddies who would appreciate the simplification are going to throw at him just because they've run out of similar games to play. His customers pay his prices because they're used to getting more value than they get out of the average AAA title, not because they want to pay 2/3 of an AAA title (or more than a second-hand AAA title) for a game that's 2/3 as good as an AAA title.

It's like he just crossed the line from 'only guy around who targets a niche market, and serving it reasonably well', to 'guy who makes products that are good for a one-man-company, but aren't good by any objective standards'.

Maybe I'm just being too harsh because of the contrast with his previous games. But even G3 - easily 'the stinker' of the Geneforge series, never made me feel like I was wasting my time. Every demo in the Geneforge series (and those demos were often fricken huge) would have me playing right through to the demo-cap, trying different options and different builds and getting excited as hell for the full game. This is the first time that I'm in absolutely no hurry to do so. I'd probably be a lot more positive if I just found this randomly on the web, with no back-catalogue to compare it to.
 

Monocause

Arcane
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,656
Yep, Jeff fucked this one up a bit - although not as bad as some people put it. Give him some credit, go to TPB and help yourself. While I almost always considered this unethical for JV games this time it's a necessity to make an informed purchase.

Why did he fuck up? The demo area is small and extremely crappy. I was playing on hard and never had any trouble with combat, nothing could scratch me - the wretch warrens to which the dragon sends you had the first difficult encounter I had (that "Orghrotgh" fellow with a shaman and wolves, if it weren't for good shaman abilities use I'd be dead). From the SW boards I gather that the easy ride comes to an end that moment.

I started to get into the game after the Wretch Warrens. Try it too, guys. Combat system is definitely better than the one in later Avernums - actually I think it's the best combat Jeff's ever designed yet. Just, like I said, help yourself on TPB and get through the first main quest. And - as with almost all JV games - don't play on normal, choose hard or torment.

Even if the game turns out to be poor on the whole I think it's a decent idea and that Jeff's gonna nail it in the sequel.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
6,207
Location
The island of misfit mascots
Monocause said:
Yep, Jeff fucked this one up a bit - although not as bad as some people put it. Give him some credit, go to TPB and help yourself. While I almost always considered this unethical for JV games this time it's a necessity to make an informed purchase.

Why did he fuck up? The demo area is small and extremely crappy. I was playing on hard and never had any trouble with combat, nothing could scratch me - the wretch warrens to which the dragon sends you had the first difficult encounter I had (that "Orghrotgh" fellow with a shaman and wolves, if it weren't for good shaman abilities use I'd be dead). From the SW boards I gather that the easy ride comes to an end that moment.

I started to get into the game after the Wretch Warrens. Try it too, guys. Combat system is definitely better than the one in later Avernums - actually I think it's the best combat Jeff's ever designed yet. Just, like I said, help yourself on TPB and get through the first main quest. And - as with almost all JV games - don't play on normal, choose hard or torment.

Even if the game turns out to be poor on the whole I think it's a decent idea and that Jeff's gonna nail it in the sequel.

Can you tell me what the freedom/C+C is like in the full game? My biggest worry isn't the combat, but the railroading. As you could probably tell from my post, I'm more a fan of the Geneforge (C+C/faction-driven rpg) series than the Avernum dungeon-crawlers, and the demo gives the impression that it's a turn for the generic compared to his previous products. Can you give me some indication of the degree of choice and effect in the gameworld? Is it like the later Geneforges, where factional or subfactional affiliations determines whether an area is a quest hub or a dungeon, and different builds make different zones viable, or is the player going on the same path regardless, with a good/evil/neutral choice at the end?
 

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