Dec 2009: El Nido Triangle

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Builder: Ageatii

Source: Chrono Cross




Player: Kolem (Playing as Mac, level 29 Warrior)

Date: February 20th, 2010 (Later Review)

Area: El Nido Triangle, 28-37

All right, it's been a while since I've done this, so let's get this ball rolling! Nido is what I consider a 'hidden' area--an area that no player can ever just pass through and casually poke into. Spirit Temple and Gorememu swamp fall under this category; you need to actively be exploring to discover this zone. That usually results in a couple things--items found are more often more potent, equipment found is more interesting, and treasure found is either more useful or valuable overall. This is an effective formula, if you ask me--a player should be rewarded for actively exploring the MUD. With that in mind, I'll be appraising the zone as a whole carefully.

As per my old format, scores for each category will be on a ranking from one to ten. A score of five means that a zone is passable or average in some regard; a higher score corresponding to more impressive elements and execution and a lower score signifying problems.

SO!


Descriptions:5

Descriptions of both the above water and below water areas are adequate for the purpose. There are a couple scattered lookspots that reward the observant player considerably. There are also alternatives to the most significant casual linkspot that is implemented in a way to reward the slightly more experienced and braver player, one who has experimented with other treasures--but that's neither here nor there.


Balance:8

You'll probably ask me what the devil I'm talking about when I rank an area like this one as this high, and I can answer this way: Some monsters in here are EXTREMELY resistant to my class's approach, but EQUALLY vulnerable to a different approach. Furthermore, monsters that say they can kick my ass with consider often do--something that often slips, since consider is no guarantee. Monsters of higher levels 'feel' tougher, and each monster has unique and distinctive attacks and moves that speak of what kind of creature they are. Dinofish demonstrate eating enchanted food/fish in fights, but hopefully the player is familiar with things like this by now. Still, it's a nice touch, and one I think helps raise the bar on what a so-called 'trash mob' can be or do.

Attractions:9

This is an area in which El Nido Triangle stands up, raises the roof, and screams out. Nido is jam-packed with interesting equipment with drawbacks and advantages, fishing and mining spots, treasure, and interesting monsters. There are miniquests that are zone-limited, which is a nice thing, and full quests which tie into at least two different areas, which is better than nice--it's just plain impressive, and I wish it was the sort of standard we saw more of. It also gives a genuine impression of exploration--the descs are a little short for it, but the intent is there and it shows. Above average marks here both fought for and earned; and I can honestly say every single player would probably benefit from an eventual visit here, whether they discover all the secrets of El Nido Triangle or not.

Linkage: 5

As I've stated, I regard El Nido as a 'hidden' area and something of what would normally be a dead end. Despite this, an overhaul recently hooked it back around into a small 'loop' with a recall portal on a tiny cute island of its own; which gives it a bonus point. This zone also has a possibility for further linkage, considering how you get there... at least, approaching it. There's also an enigmatic passage somewhere inside the zone that I've never been able to open, so I might be missing something.

Personal:7

It's hard to express how I feel about El Nido Triangle simply. There are problems with the zone--but these problems are mostly gloss and personal preference. The whole zone is very much mechanically sound, and interesting to play through--genuinely interesting to play through. There are Secret secrets here, the kind you need to explore the whole of the world to glean and that nine out of ten players will never find without a nudge--myself possibly included. There are also treasures here--this zone rewards you extensively for exploring it and playing around, with gold and treasure and the experience itself. This is the kind of zone I smile on, and come back to even if there's no experience to be gained but the personal one.

Personal irritants follow: --I still haven't found where the sealed passage goes to or how to open it --DAMN YOU CORSOLA DAMN YOUUU artifice shines here like nothing else --Room descs feel a little brisk to me, maybe brief--but then I've been stuck in AT and the Pillars lately, so maybe it's dissonance. They're functional to be sure, and do their job okay. Still, I'm underwater! SCUBA DIVING SHOULD BE BEAUTTEEFFULLL

Personal Bonuses follow: El Nido Triangle was redone considerably between the first time I visited it and the time I reviewed it, and the improvement was beyond evident--it was out in force. The monsters, zone, and items involved have all become far more interesting than they once were, and this constant revision and improvement helps me keep close to the Cleft. I love seeing the game develop, and it is a refreshing breath of fresh air... or... well, water... getting back into this reviewing business after tackling the train wreck of the Murky Mountains. I tried my hardest not to let that gratitude seep into my review, though.