April 2019: Frosty Forest

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Area of the Month for April 2019 is Frosty Forest!

A template format for your review is below; click 'edit' at the top of the page, copy-pasta from the ---- to the next ----, and fill in the gaps!

(Yes, a wiki account is required to edit the page and therefore post your review, but take heart: The wiki is hosted by the Cleft itself, not a third party!



Player: You!(Class/Level)

Review Date(s):


Descriptions: X/10

How does the area's room descriptions(descs) work for you? Do they give you a good idea of the area? Do things that stand out in the desc and NEED explanation GET that, either from flavor text(extra-descs) or NPCs in the room or anything?

What about mobiles(mobs) and their descriptions? Can you get a decent mental image of who or what this NPC/monster is? Do they respond when you talk or interact with them?

Some areas have interact-able objects like fountains. Do they stack up well also?


Balance: X/10 (OR N/A)

(NOTE: combat will be most accurately gauged when your character is in the area's suggested level range.)

If this area has combat, how does it feel? Does anything jump as horribly overpowered and impossible to deal with? What about the flipside, anything far too easy to beat?

Are purchased or rewarded items at the appropriate strength levels? Is the effort required to obtain rewarded items reflected in their usefulness (or uniqueness and fancifulness)


Attractions: X/10

Why would you suggest someone come to this area? Is it just a good place to grind experience(lots of mobs)? Does the area provide a chunk of good gold and loot?

What about the quests? Does this area's quests feel properly done, or is there some part of it that you feel needs work?

For towns, are the shops good? Any other non-combative attraction for the area?


Connections: X/10

How easily and well does this area connect to its nearby areas? Does it make sense thematically to be connected to the areas it is?


Personal

Any comments you'd like to make that you don't feel apply to the other sections can go here!



Player: Slidge (Ninja, L55, 1 remorts) -Token'd!


Review Dates (4/1/2019-4/1/2019)


Descriptions : 8/10

Came here for the first time on my Gladiator and again with my Ninja and loved the zone a lot. It has great descriptions of the rooms and the NPCs. You can almost feel the cold around you as you travel around the zone. The color schemes for the Mobs and the room descriptions almost perfectly match the feeling from Secret of Mana. Todo village is well described but potentially a little bland. A map of the village may help some, but it is so small probably not needed. The turtles I am exceptionally found of in the zone because of how they change name and text color when they enter their shells during combat. Overall the zone is well described, it can feel a little but of a maze at times but I do think that does a good representation of the source material as I remember getting lost in Ice Country as a kid.


Balance: 8/10

All in all I think the Mobs in this zone are well balanced outside of La Funks. Never playing a caster coming through this zone they are quite infuriating at times, but playing as a caster in this zone they may be the Mob to farm. The Boreal face fight is exceptionally fun I feel as well, if maybe a little under tuned for a mini-boss. I love the fight though having all of the vines join in on the fight when you engage. Howlers are numerous and probably the easiest Mob in the zone to farm and pebblers feel like they have a tough hide and are harder to kill quickly. Overall the mobs in this zone though are great to level on starting in your mid 40s.


Attractions: 10/10

This zone has at least one really good attraction in the zone. Cap you can get is a really good reward from a hard fought and fun quest. Took my a couple tries on my first incarnation so much so that I kept it when I remorted. The main attraction to this zone though is Mob density. You can get a couple really good items off the Mobs in the zone that are really good, the howler pelt was a really good upgrade and the Canteen you get was really helpful to a reploid. This hands down though is a really good leveling zone which I feel is the main draw, also you pretty much have to go through here to get to important areas in Madra and Phendrana, but this is no filler zone in itself.

Connections: 9/10 This zone is far north of the continent which is about perfect. You come down from the mountains and you are fully immersed in the icy forest. The boat ride over to Madra I wish you could skip at times and maybe you can in some way I wish you could fly over the river instead of having to use the ferry every time. The sign marking Phendrana is super important, I wandered in there which was a huge mistake. Fairly easy to get to and connects to important areas.


Personal

This was and is one of the best leveling zones. It has a huge mob density with 3 really good mobs to farm and one that is annoying but doable. The Miniboss you can kill on respawn and get a huge boost of XP which is really nice. You have a couple of really nice drops in the zone that are used almost to 100. One of the quest rewards in this is zone is really good and is not to hard to obtain. Bottom line, this is an amazing leveling zone with a few items that are really helpful.



Player: Abaril (Level: 100, Class: All of them, Remorts: A Few)

Review Date(s): April 30th, 2019


Descriptions: 6/10

On my first walkthrough of the area, I would give the descriptions a little higher than a 6 because they do a good job overall of setting the feel for cold, foreboding forest. I did knock a point off after giving the zone a second look simply because there was a little bit too much copy/paste for some of the rooms. The Boreal Taiga area, for example, has basically the same description for every room. I also docked a point due to lack of extra descriptions in rooms which I felt should have had them. If the room has a massive crystal statue as the central focus, then you should be able to look at the statue to learn more about it.

The room and mob descriptions are solid overall and are able to effectively convey the theme of the area. They could probably be freshened up some, especially with the addition of the Reindeer Farm in one of the corners of the forest. Possibly a few hints that it exists along the way? If not that, at least acknowledgment of the exit leading towards it once you get to that spot on the path.

The NPC's that trigger two of the areas' named quests are well-done, with flavorful and amusing talk programs. And the random Todo villagers and Guardia citizens at various stations throughout the forest are a nice touch.

Balance: 7/10

For my first few remorts, I would have definitely given the balance to the zone an 8 or a 9. The four main mobs there (Howlers, Pebblers, Turtlances & La Funks) are all well-designed and have some useful and interesting drops. They aren't pushovers by any means, but they aren't aggressive nor do they assist and overrun you like mobs in some other areas are prone to do. The mob density is solid, meaning you get lots of bang for your buck when you go there and can expect to earn a few levels clearing out the zone at low remorts. As your remort count climbs, however, the mob density doesn't make up for lack of mob variety, and bodycount is not your friend in Frosty. Therefore it becomes basically obsolete once you hit double-digit remorts, if not before. That cost the zone a point or two in score for balance.

Sidenote: as a fresh or low-mort summoner, Howlers make great pets for players throughout the 50's and into the early 60's. They can deal solid damage and serve you well until you're morted high enough to really never go back to Frosty except as a path to somewhere else.


Attractions: 7/10

For new characters and early-morts, Frosty Forest is basically a must. As a place to level, it easily outclasses the (very limited) other 51-55 areas, simply because it is easily accessible, has better mob density and isn't locked behind quests. There are not enough places for newbies to go in this range as it is, and one of the areas listed has been temporarily unlinked for the past six months or so.

The drops in Frosty are serviceable but not outstanding. Each of the four primary mobs has at least one useful item, some of which continue to be useful even after multiple remorts. The La Funk Canteens are the most practical container available outside of limited events that I'm aware of. Smoked salmon has a variety of uses beyond just satiating a player's hunger. And the Power Bands are easily one of the best items in their level-range and gear slot.

Of the three listed quests for the area, it's a mixed bag to say the least. "helped out a jolly red reptile?" is a very well-done quest which leads to the potential for a nice piece of gear to drop and is definitely worth doing at least once. It's easily the most useful quest in the area and probably the most fun. The second, "brought the holiday spirit to someone?", is interesting and definitely worth doing once, both for the end reward and to demonstrate how interconnected the quests and areas of the Cleft are. As for "looted little koopa treasures?", it's basically a waste of a qflag and three object VNUMs in my opinion and something I absolutely do not even bother with.


Connections: 10/10

Connections are what make Frosty stay relevant throughout your entire run playing in the Cleft. Linking Loftarasa and Todo Village to Phendrana Drifts and beyond, there's almost no way to avoid at least passing through Frosty every life, even once you've outgrown killing Howlers or needing a new canteen. Without a player house, it's the only way to get to Todo, which leads to another very important sector of the map. Frosty even has a Cannon Travel Center if anyone is so inclined to use it. (Hint: they probably aren't)

Personal

Even though I primarily only use Frosty Forest as a way to get from point A to point B nowadays, it definitely once had high value for me. It was the place to level after Orbonne and Guardia had run out of steam, and as mentioned previously, Howlers were essential pet upgrades. I tried to base most of my review on those memories, and I do think that Frosty is a good and a useful zone on multiple levels. It could definitely use a new coat of paint in some areas and some typo attention, but overall it is well done.