Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Witcher - Suiting Up

One thing I always remembered from reading Fantasy novels is how each item that a character found or was gifted was important or unique.
Frodo and Sting. Thomas Covenant and the White Gold Ring. And for the Witcher, it was his Sword.

At times the hero needed to quest specifically for that item, like Elric of Melnibone and the Sword Stormbringer.

You start your adventures as the Witcher with the basic armor.

When you finally make it to the first city, Vizima, a blacksmith has a right nice set of upgraded armor, which looks about the same as the old. Basically he crafts more slots for potions and weapons onto the armor is all.

As I moved to Chapter 5 of the game, I heard a rumor from the Witcher I had slain of an infamous Gnomic armor. Noted to be quite magical and powerful.

This quest took me through tombs and mines gathering the pieces to form the armor. I then was able to return to the blacksmith (he was a Dwarf btw. We know what wonderful armor crafters they be) who was able to take these pieces and form the Raven Armor.

This made me think on how a lot of games really push the gear centrics. Drops are a dime a dozen as you continue to get various junk from mobs or at least cool drops from bosses, yet anyone can get these.

But, nothing is considered "special" for that character.

Guild Wars has a great armor mechanic I think with their gather and make pieces as you advance system. In theory this is like the above method of getting something "special".
Take the advanced armors for Eye of the North. You had to have specific favor with various factions for the pieces you wanted.
You felt like you "earned" the armor as a badge of your capabilities.

Doing an objective based quest is so much more fun in my opinion. If i have a goal instead of a time waster then the quest seems more important. I still stick to the story line system of questing where you have reasons. The filler of most MMO's for example still cause issues of boredom for most.

More meaningful reasons to do a quest is need. Wonder if any MMO down the road can learn those lessons.


Scott said...

Any word on whether the devs have backed down on their stance of The Witcher *never* showing up on the 360? I have the demo (granted, the newer version I hear fixed a lot from the demo and from the initial release) but it strikes me as something I'd have more success playing on the 360.

Openedge1 said...

I actually am using the 360 controller on the PC to play it, so a 360 port would work.
I have not had to touch the keyboard even once.
So, yes, I could see this going that avenue.
But, no word yet.

Time will tell...and thanks to some major sales, it could work.

Scott said...

Actually I suppose you'd be the person to ask anyway: from the demo (and I think it's the original demo -- did they release a new/different one?) what all is different and improved with the new release?

Openedge1 said...

Improved performance..
Improved language support, with better matching text..
Improved loading..
Improved UI for sorting of items..
Better quest management..
Better scaling of mobs versus player..

Overall quite nice.

But, if you found something wrong with the overall game mechanics or how it played, then you would still not like the game.

Luckily the story is fleshed out much better in the new version, and they have added modules support so you can do new adventures besides what comes in the box.

Scott said...

Performance is a huge issue on the demo. Not as much while playing but those cinematics bring my system to its knees and the whole thing becomes a slideshow.

Not crazy on the control but I chalk it up to yet another example of PC devs not being able to nail third-person shooter controls, which is exactly how Witcher behaves. Then again, if PC devs port it to a console that doesn't automatically mean it will suddenly work to my satisfaction either.

Other than that, my only gripe is having to stare at the cursor to know when to attack next. It's only there for a very brief moment so I'm just staring at it. I learn all kinds of cool moves, etc. but I never get to actually see them in action because I have to stare at that cursor so I can react FAST and click the mouse during the one second it gives me to do so. I wouldn't have minded slowing down the window of opportunity there so I can actually watch the action.

Openedge1 said...

Some of your issues is why I went for OTS or over the shoulder control.
The combat is right in front of me, and watching the cursor is not such a pain.
Another note is the attacks become "rhythmic" in nature. You have a feeling that you hit attack, and you can count the beats before the next attack.
Also, I focused on magic heavily at first when leveling to make sure I could cast more spells.
This makes combat with multiple opponents move faster.
Now, if you are stating performance issues with cinemas and graphics, then that may be a different issue of hardware.
I have played the game on a ATI 3870, Nvidia 8800GT, ATI 4870, and have not had this visual slowdowns. I only had load issues.
Anyways, cheers to ya

Scott said...

I'm using a 7950GT, probably the best of the DX9 generation. The game itself plays fine. I haven't loaded fraps to get a specific fps but it's probably in the 60 range from the way it feels. But as soon as a cinematic kicks in it becomes a slideshow until the cinematic is over. That could just be a demo performance issue though.