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Things that Arena does better than Daggerfall

eli

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I've played almost every single elder scrolls game, including battlespire, and my favorite has always been Daggerfall. But I've always taken a look at Arena and just thought that it looks more like hard work than fun, and so I never tried it. But recently I decided that I really do have to force myself to play it just so I know what the game is about.

So, I've played it for a bit. I completed the opening dungeon, was directed to speak to a Queen in Hammerfell, who sent me to a dungeon to find an Elder Scroll which leads to Fang Lair, the dungeon that the cinematics were talking about. About 3-4 hours worth of playtime, so not much really.

And I've got to be honest, but there are a couple of things that Arena does BETTER than Daggerfall and I'm really annoyed that they decided to drop them! I think Daggerfall could have been so much better if they just took a few ideas from their first game.



  • Flavor/RP text
Daggerfall has some flavor text in places, but one thing that I found really helped immerse me into the world in Arena was the in-depth roleplaying information that comes up pretty much everywhere... You enter an Inn, and it describes the atmosphere, it describes you brushing off the cold of outside and the sights and sounds that greet you. You enter the palace and it might describe how the Queen was having a meeting with dignitaries from a neighboring city. These bits of info pop up almost everywhere in Arena, and I really think Daggerfall would be so much more immersive if they had kept this in.



  • Better Cities
I personally found the cities to be more interesting in Arena. In Daggerfall there are a few different ways that buildings can look depending on region, but other than the odd graveyard or circle of stores the cities are just rectangular boxes with more boxes scattered inside. Arena's cities felt much more like cities to me. My favorite removed feature was canals, I think they really add character, but I also enjoyed seeing mazes and houses that had their own walled gardens. I will never understand why they decided to make cities have so much less character and features in Daggerfall.



  • Better bartering.
Though the Daggerfall shopping interface is much better than Arena's which left a lot to be desired, I found that the bartering with shopkeepers was much better in Arena. I like being able to come back with a counter offer and the shopkeeper then coming back to you with their response.



Did I miss anything? What features were dropped from Arena that might have made Daggerfall even better?
 

agris

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to your point about cities, are they procedurally generated in Arena? A lot of what you're describing sounds like handcrafted (Arena) vs procedural (Daggerfall).
 

Daemongar

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The music in Arena was pretty good. I liked traveling while it was snowing. Very relaxing for such an old game.
 

Ryzer

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Better dungeons as well, I found Arena's dungeons to be delightfully complicated. Unlike Daggerfall, all of them are handcrafted and have unique layout and differences, although the gameplay sucks balls I liked the dungeon-crawling side of the game. Oh and it's the first and last time there are ladders in an Elder Scrolls game.
In fact, Arena has the best dungeons of all Elder Scrolls game.
 
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Ryzer

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Level up music!

and


oh yeah this dorky cheat i recall.

It's impressive what he managed to do with such old gear, each song he released for Elder Scrolls games were good. Unfortunately, He got no recognition for it. By far, it's much better than everything that was composed in Morrowind.
A true sense of adventure and wonder. No need to overuse crescendo like in Morrowind.
 
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Lord_Potato

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Experience based leveling. Only in Daggerfall they came up with the current abomination.
 
Unwanted
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Codex Year of the Donut
Experience based leveling. Only in Daggerfall they came up with the current abomination.
Leveling based on use sounds really good on paper("why does killing frogs make me better at speaking?") but I've never seen it actually implemented well.
 

Dungeon Lord

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The music in Arena was pretty good. I liked traveling while it was snowing. Very relaxing for such an old game.
This brings back great memories!
Arena was a great game! I have finished it.
Daggerfall was a great game, but I cannot remember if I played it to finish.
I finished Morrowind and while the atmosphere was great in the beginning, it was a boring, empty game.
I will not mention the 2 abomination, shit Oblivion and shit Skyrim.
Facking graphic whores.

Do you know that in the olde times they made games for the few elitist nerds/geeks, who alone only has access to a computer?
Recently they are making for the mass. Everybody has a PC or smartphone.
And the mass is a dumb stupid people.
That is why they are making dumb stupid games.
The mass has no brain and will never understand this.
 

JarlFrank

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Better dungeons as well, I found Arena's dungeons to be delightfully complicated. Unlike Daggerfall, all of them are handcrafted and have unique layout and differences, although the gameplay sucks balls I liked the dungeon-crawling side of the game. Oh and it's the first and last time there are ladders in an Elder Scrolls game.
In fact, Arena has the best dungeons of all Elder Scrolls game.

The supremacy of hand-crafted content over procedural generation proves itself again and again.
 

Fowyr

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Better dungeons as well, I found Arena's dungeons to be delightfully complicated. Unlike Daggerfall, all of them are handcrafted
The supremacy of hand-crafted content over procedural generation proves itself again and again.

All of Daggerfall's main quest dungeons are handcrafed as well.
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Dungeons#Dungeon_Blocks
All other dungeons just made from these main dungeons' blocks. Procedural generation is only in their order, not in the blocks themselves.

I remember that Dagerfall's cities had inner gardens as well, usually on the south.
Frankly, if you want to see whence Arena's cities come from, you should check Legends of Valour.


and have unique layout and differences, although the gameplay sucks balls I liked the dungeon-crawling side of the game. Oh and it's the first and last time there are ladders in an Elder Scrolls game.
Daggerfall has lifts and ladders were redundant with its climbing skill.

By the way, Arena had a great (but ultimately pointless, you could not travel through it to the another city or dungeon) wilderness with the small villages, roads and the little surface dungeons with a pair bandits and some loot.
EDIT: Fraknly, one of these days when I'll hear "Daggerfall is procedurally generated", I'll pop a vessel.
 
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Ryzer

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All of Daggerfall's main quest dungeons are handcrafed as well.
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Dungeons#Dungeon_Blocks
All other dungeons just made from these main dungeons' blocks.
That's correct but I found out Arena's dungeons to be more diverse. There were lava dungeons,crypts, temples, castle dungeons, cellars, none of that diversity is present in the same scale in Daggerfall dungeons. It's more similar to Might and Magic 4 in that area.
Daggerfall has lifts and ladders were redundant with its climbing skill.
In Arena, ladders allowed you to discover new areas and secret items, it was a cool addition.
It was completely ditched afterwards.
In an unrelated note, we could also add to OP's thread that Arena classes have forced bonuses and drawbacks with unique abilities tied to them ( different hit dice , etc...)
https://en.m.uesp.net/wiki/Arena:Classes
 

Fowyr

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That's correct but I found out Arena's dungeons to be more diverse. There were lava dungeons,crypts, temples, castle dungeons, cellars, none of that diversity is present in the same scale in Daggerfall dungeons. It's more similar to Might and Magic 4 in that area.
Yep, I liked this lava dungeon in Arena as well. But the real 3D Daggerfall's engine could not use multitude of Arena's 2.5D engine tiles. Probably lava could be introduced based on the already present water, but that's all.
Arena was based on Terminator: Rampage with its tile-based map design.
https://rpgcodex.net/forums/threads/shitty-fps-nostalgia-thread.101174/
Just remember shitty not main quest dungeons, they are much worse than Daggerfall's.

In an unrelated note, we could also add to OP's thread that Arena classes have forced bonuses and drawbacks with unique abilities tied to them ( different hit dice , etc...)
https://en.m.uesp.net/wiki/Arena:Classes
Daggerfall had different hit dices for classes as well. Just don't use a "custom" class.
 
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Daingerous

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Nothing. Daggerfall is superior in everyway and yes I do like the shitty buggy AI generated dungeons in daggerfall. The feeling that at any moment you could be irreversibly screwed from a power lich spawning out of nowhere at level 3 and trapping you in a dead end (happened at least 4 times to me) or being lost in a giant maze that can glitch out at any moment adds tension and stake to the dungeons that not a lot of other games do for me. Shit tastes, I admit. I know the dungeons are a mess but I had a lot unforgettable shitty/intense/fun memories in those maps and were probably my second favorite part of daggerfall (with character creation being number 1) Arena on the other hand didn't invoke the same feeling and was mostly forgettable besides getting raped by adderall poppin bats and seeing medusa's big boobies (and EVEN THAT department daggerfall does better)
 

Fowyr

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The supremacy of hand-crafted content over procedural generation proves itself again and again.
By the way, in addition to my previous post, monsters in Daggerfall's main quest dungeons are hand-placed as well. I remembered a method for becoming a vampire on level 1, and it was travelling to one of the main quest dungeons and becoming infected. Of course, on the first level no regular dungeons had the vampires inside.
 

Fowyr

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- the class system.
Forcing you to play a class with unique advantages and disadvantages was incline. Custom classes are decline.
It was not the incline, it was literally status quo for the most CRPGs. Most of the games had class system. Classless games usually had skill-based system, just like Twilight 2000 or Magic Candle.
 

0sacred

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- the class system.

Forcing you to play a class with unique advantages and disadvantages was incline. Custom classes are decline.

Fake news.

Classless > class-based

Fact.

class systems allow for "quirky" advantages (like Ranger having reduced travel time). Sure you can have quirky perks or something but perks tend to be very much must have or never take.

- the class system.
Forcing you to play a class with unique advantages and disadvantages was incline. Custom classes are decline.
It was not the incline, it was literally status quo for the most CRPGs. Most of the games had class system. Classless games usually had skill-based system, just like Twilight 2000 or Magic Candle.

yeah I meant it's incline in retrospect.
 

Funposter

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Fake news.

Classless > class-based

Fact.
I don't really see the point in classless systems when you end up effectively conforming to existing archetypes anyway. The only time it seems useful is during the first playthrough of a game when you might not know exactly what you want to do, or what's actually effective. Custom classes ala Daggerfall and Morrowind really seem to be the best of both worlds.

Edit: Also, Morrowind and Daggerfall's pre-made classes would work totally fine if not for the fact that they suck. Bethesda seem completely incapable of creating functioning vanilla classes.
 

Lemming42

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Daggerfall's dungeons honestly just suck balls. There is a certain appeal in going on a massive trek through them where resource management is key and finally exiting into the daylight after over an hour underground is always a thrill, but in practice they're fucking annoying and the blocks repeat so often that it just feels like doing the same thing over and over again.

It's been touched upon above, but Arena's are not only better laid out, but better themed. The Crystal Tower, for example, with the entire floor that's a zoo. Or the two outdoor dungeons with the hedge mazes and ghosts floating through the mist. Or the lava one with the Vampire crypt that everyone likes. The only dungeon that has any kind of remotely memorable theme in Daggerfall is Direnni Tower, but that theme is mostly "complete clusterfuck", and also loses all its appeal since you have to go through the fucking thing like eight times (unless you mark/recall to the exit, in which case it's four) for the main quest. The others suck - Woodborne Hall's entrance with the floating platforms is interesting (if completely nonsensical) but after that it's the same shitty brown corridors as usual. Same for Orsinium, Lysandus' Tomb, Shedungent, etc - usually one interesting unique room and then a bunch of the same prefabs and setpieces you've seen in every other dungeon. Castle Daggerfall, Senitnel and Wayrest are all nonsense, Daggerfall being the best of the bunch because it only takes about 30 seconds to run straight to the treasure room with the totem and get it over with. Oh, but Aetherius is fantastic, of course, if you count that as a dungeon.

Don't get me wrong, Daggerfall is great and I'm very glad for DF Unity, but Arena's absolutely fucking begging for a remake/update that cleans out some of the jankiness, maybe boosts the visuals in a pleasing and appropriate way, and maybe nerfs the spellmaker a bit to prevent you from putting shield + reflect up and walking through the whole game completely untouchable at level 4. I'm surprised modders haven't had a go at it - stuff like Skywind is a huge undertaking compared to remaking Arena in Skyrim, which is essentially just a case of creating around sixteen dungeons and then coming up with some method of handling the world map system.
 

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