December 2018: R-Y Factory Ruins
Area of the Month for November 2018 is the R-Y Factory Ruins!
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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)
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?
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?
Any comments you'd like to make that you don't feel apply to the other sections can go here!
Player: Emouse (Dollmage, L100, ~18 remorts); used alt Erik (Knight, L21-23, 0 remorts) - Token'd
Review Date(s): 12/27/2018-12/29/2018
The room and mob descriptions seem serviceable at a first pass, though extra descs for extra details in a room (useful or not) seem to be pretty minimal. I do appreciate that the buttons specify the relative height of the floors if you look at them, at least. All things considered, it's... serviceable, but very minimal. Room descs and flavory extras are not the strong point here and could be expanded on: A lot of the things in the lab could be fun to describe, but get no real explanation. Would that be an unnecessary distraction? Maybe.
Interacting with things in more detail, the extra Roomba gimmick is cute (though I'm not sure how effective it is?) and I do like the Shy Guy researcher, flavor-wise. Combat progs are all flavorful and appropriate to the situation. The mobs here are pretty solid, I think. Dropped items all have functional descriptions, but not spectacular.
Your guide R66-Y is pretty alright, too: While arguably annoying, the frequent quest tips are appropriate for a guide on a lower-level, introductory quest. He shows a modest amount of personality in the dialog, as well, and he's good support for fighting through the area. But he doesn't seem to have any combat progs to make life more interesting... something for that may not be a bad idea. Perhaps something to improve his survivability, considering the danger he gets in during the final ambush of the area. Defend? Cure Beam?
R66-Y could also have more use as a tutorial guide... I don't recall the game really having a tutorial about "hey sometimes you get attacked with no warning", and R66-Y certainly seems like a helpful-but-not-entirely-handholdy guide. A warning as you approach the entrance that the enemies there will attack on sight could be appropriate, perhaps with a guide about whatever support skills may be proper to add to R66-Y.
(Not sure it fully counts as part of Sulfataska or R-Y, but the plasma wisps on the way don't have any talk script or real activity... should they?)
The consumable loot here is kinda nice to have, considering how the place feels slightly dangerous solo without a decent pet as support. Of course, since you're expected to come in here with that pet, that's to be expected. As long as you only get into solo fights... encountering twin RX-series at the generator entrance is kinda nasty for someone not heavily armed. Though I DID only use one healing fernet, of several found in the zone already. That was probably more resource management than anything.
Cash drops of Always 0 is kind of a shame... the drops here do sell okayish for the level, so I'm not sure whether it's a good idea or not. Adding cash drops may take the edge off for people with bloated inventories or not familiar with selling things at Truce... maybe only some enemy types?
The 'final boss' fight of RXes ganging up on R66-Y is... less pleasant. The action there is entirely fitting and appropriate, but it makes actually saving him really hard without coming in overpowered or having a way to heal him. Toss isn't really an option, since the quests for that require visiting much higher-level areas, and Rescue as a knight failed me due to the current-target-only limitation on its effect. Although since he counts as a pet, he could be ordered to drink them... maybe a special script to have him go into Defend mode in that room and beg you to heal him, with using "give me fernets and an order to drink them" as a suggestion, especially if you aren't a priest? Could function as a tutorial for the kind of things you can do with Order...
Most of the equipment drops here are... not great, but okay? Compared to the medium armor in Wutai, the drops and quest armor are mostly at least comparable, and better in some areas (mostly weight). But there are a few outliers I'm not as sure about: The lab coat from the researcher seemed to be well below par and worthy of a modest boost, the rod quest reward for "a wandering spirit" is the only rod for the spell I can think of but I'm not sure it would be helpful, and the Mirage Hand is... REALLY good. Aside from those three, everything here seems pretty usable without being overpowering. There's not a whole ton of variety, though... each mob type just has one equipment drop, there's only two or three items of use I saw available out of combat, and if those aren't something you can use, well, you're SOL. Additional non-combat hidden items for other slots of similar strength to those that exist would be a nice addition, or a second set of per-enemy equipment drops for another chance to roll the dice and get something nice.
R-Y is kind of a gamble to try and figure out your first go around. The stuff there is really only useful at the levels listed by the zone, and it isn't the most trivial to navigate or puzzle out. Between the aggro enemies, risk of being teamed up on, and imperfect chance of useful drops, the place is only really nice if you go into it knowing what to expect. If you do, it's a nice romp and a way to get select gear on a budget, or a VERY nice melee weapon worth considering for remorting. If you don't, it's a treacherous den of ambushes with potential for getting teamed up on and 0 direct cash drops - not especially enticing.
The place is nice to visit and it's helpful to know about stuff worth getting there, but the limited mob variety/population, unreliable item availability, lack of cash drops, and pet-slot restriction on the main quest are all deterrents from making it a regular visit. As it stands, R-Y is really hit-or-miss in value depending on what you get when you first investigate it. Making it a little more 'hit' on finding something nice even if you don't get through the whole main quest debacle is probably a good idea.
R-Y Factory is referred to as being in lava vents connected to Barrel Volcano, and its relative location fits this, but aside from those mentions the area is very self-contained and almost overwhelmingly consists of Chrono Trigger references. The factory IS supposed to be functionally abandoned, though, so creating more connections is a dicey affair. Hmm... unless it's a new subregion that was previously unavailable or undiscovered, I suppose... or other dead adventurers. It'd be nice to see more variety on this front as well, but it's hard to do more than what's been done without significant changes.
There's a button here you can press here that, like a certain other infamous Button, spawns enemies that attack. Unlike the level 90 enemy button, however, not only does this one spawn two enemies, but there's no limit to how many you can get in a room. Smacking it enough times before using AoEs can get you dozens of kills at once. It's low enough level and there's no cash drops that the implications of this are limited, but it's still very silly - especially if you conjure up enough to get yourself disconnected due to the amount of text it would feed back! This COULD be tamed the same way as the 90s button (don't spawn more enemies on bad press if there are X others in the zone/game/whatever) but I don't know if it's a serious concern. Haven't tried too hard to like actually ACTUALLY crash the game with mobcount or one-round text output or anything, but it may be a consideration if we get someone particularly malicious.
I've gone through the quest flags already, but it's possible to neglect returning to Cain at the end, let the region repop, and collect multiple Mirage Hands without completing the main quest (which results in repeats of R66-Y and the Mirage Hand becoming unavailable) - is this intended behavior?
R-Y Factory is a low-to-medium difficulty/complexity quest and equipment area with a somewhat straightforward overarching quest and some guidance, but no free rides. The quest rewards are modest but reasonable for the difficulty, and the equipment is decent for its level but doesn't have a long-term niche. It's a good zone, but it's not great. Some more variance and detail in the flavor and reliability or staying power from the items and loot could be a significant help, but it's very servicable as-is.
Recommendations: I went over some of the (perceived) problems above and snuck in some possible solutions but let's start giving it its own section.
- Expand R66-Y's role as guide and support:
- Use the semi-guided nature of this quest/zone as an excuse to teach about handling pets and slightly more advanced game mechanics like the order command, aggro enemies, and follower behavior
- Give R66-Y in-game skills and flavor to match the source material ('Cure' for Cure Beam, 'Darkside' for Laser Spin, and maybe 'Bash' for Robo Tackle fit Robo's early in-game skillset; pick and choose what would be appropriate!)
- Make loot more reliable:
- Adding cash drops to some of the mobs would give a near-guaranteed failsafe for coming out of the place with something, which is a comfort. I'm thinking RXes, Phantom Researcher, and maybe roombas... not the stuff you can summon infinitely with buttons.
- Include more standard equipment for the area with similar item quality using other equipment slots or stat specializations, to make it more likely to get something nice if you aren't using Projectile, Melee, and/or a shield. These could be added to the existing mobs' drop tables or hidden by other means (secret containers, social responses, new hidden rooms, etc)
- Expanded connection/lore and details:
- There's missed opportunities for extra descriptions and hidden things in here, especially in the lab areas. Which are worthwhile I won't guess at, but it would be a low-impact way to add flavor to the area.
- Expanding on what happened to the factory after arriving in the Cleft and things from behind the scenes or caused by adventurer antics would be a way to shake things up or even add a sub-area to the region if it's considered worthwhile: Finding a way deeper into the actual testing/development workplaces of the labs (instead of just the generators and computers) for a wider variety of phantom researcher/security bot antics beyond the Shy Guy researcher and current robots could be an interesting way to show what else has happened here. Alternatively, hiding a few things in the remains of unfortunate adventurers that made mistakes you should probably avoid repeating could operate as a subtle quest hint and extra reward for paying attention. I'll leave the specifics to you guys at this point...
Player: Kaze (Ninja/25) (Also: Ibo: Priest/25ish and again at 35-40 to actually beat it. Later on remort a zillion times, but those don't really count; Took a nomort Warrior to review at 23 (Alundra)) Review Date(s): 12/13/2018 Mostly around this date, though impressions going back a ways are mentioned.
They are pretty clear and distinct from each other, both. A smidgen more continuity might be in order to help give a feel for location. (That is, things like "You can see a yellow barrel blocking the path down below" or something would make sense from the monitor station. More signs of depth when under walkways and stuff in the descriptions could be good, also. Seeing the conveyor from the catwalks above, for example, also make sense.)
MOBs are decent. You can get a rough idea what things look like. The Roombas particularly amuse me.
(From time to time the buttons used to reorder. Hasn't happened in a while, so I think that got fixed. It would help if the buttons help clarify which button they are and be targettable by "F1","B1", or something like that... aaaaand that's fixed, now, too. My bad.)
It's not an easy area in level range, at all, at least not on first cycle for the weaker classes. Ninja had trouble. Priest had fits. Warrior is struggling hard at 23. Going to try with some better gear on that last one. (ed: Came back with some good gear and it was still hard, but I beat it.)
It takes a pretty well equipped warrior type to punch through the defense of these guys with any real speed. Magic helps if you survive long enough to use it effectively. That's irritating primarily because the conveyor and claw events.
The gun pod swarms build up really quickly into nasty death clouds.
The conveyor is particularly frustrating. Unless you can sustain sufficient DPS, it's literally impossible. Sneaking past was once an option but that's long since been removed leaving sheer overpowering the only option. Generally, you need to be high enough level to overpower them that EXP isn't terribly good... if you get any. That's a balance issue.
The maze is fine. I like it.
Story is fun, for what is present. Equipment drops are good for the level claimed. (see balance for the problem with that)
The ghost is really weird. If there is something that makes it make sense, I've completely missed it. I don't know what's up, there. Fixing it could involve fleshing it out (hee) and providing some more hints. Ghosts can't escape the cleft, I've been told, so that's something to consider.
I'd prefer some more interactions with the area, overall. Preferably not Mana quest locked in any way, but maybe linked to the Barrel quest line in some way, given proximity. Thematically the Magmoore stuff could possibly interact.
Just building on what's there, Cain could set up a research station in the area to develop his understanding of robotics and need tools and people to assist. That links well with Shrike. Oh, hey: A time rift quest could be interesting. Cain could stumble into a time portal a la Chrono Trigger and begin his work in the past, perhaps attempting to prevent the Sigma Virus from that vantage, except he's stuck in the Cleft.
Robo Resurrection could be a fun storyline, too.
That comes from many varied runs through it. As a non-remort priest, I couldn't take it anywhere *near* level. As a Ninja, I snuck through... After remort it became something I could do below level, if only Cain would allow it.
How easily and well does this area connect to its nearby areas?
It is a hassle to get to & from anywhere but Mabe, but this is fine. It's appropriate that it's out of the way.
Does it make sense thematically to be connected to the areas it is?
Fairly well. It's work even better if the quests and corresponding story addressed that.
Entry: Shouldn't need a pet slot free to start this quest. Robo could simply follow you, methinks. It'd be nice if there was a bit more flexibility in starting the quest (though maybe just for remorts to help protect the new players)
Conveyor is annoying and excessive. Dropping it to one or two slots would probably give a better feel, reducing, as it would, the amount of successive luck required for those classes which have trouble punching through. Alternately, some clever extra exploitable (even if a hassle to discover hidden on some plans in a backroom or something could allow "clever" to be an option. Heck, just a switch to turn it off to give yourself five minutes without the crane and refreshing would be nice and, frankly, make sense, given you ARE in the factory.)
The ghost event seems out of place. If it fits, I don't know how just from playing through.
Robo is foulmouthed which isn't characteristic. I figure that was for comedic effect, but I found it incongruous.
Player: Aelys. Class: Surgeon, 11th Remort. Date 28-12-18 -Token'd
Descriptions 7/10 While the Room Descriptions are fitting to the area, and create a good visual image, they consistently lack Extra-Descs where you might expect key-phrases to have them. While not necessary, their lack does lower the overall Score for the otherwise complimentary Desc work.
Mobs are also well designed, both in appearance and including basic talk-responses, while the other interactables are fitting to their spots and blend in nicely.
Balance 8/10 R-Y is likely to be one of the earlier places people run into multiple mob gang-ups, in that in quite a few spots you get ambushed 2 vs 1. This seems ill-balanced, but is suitably balanced by the mobs themselves providing you the means to survive said fights, via their drops; Restoratives for both Health and or Mana. At level, the mobs are well-balanced singularly, and a challenge but survivable via the afore-said Restoratives when you have to fight them several at a time. Beyond the Restoratives, the rest of the drops also hold quite a few worthwhile additions to an Adventurers arsenal, in weapons and armor.
Attractions 9/10 Once you learn how the place works, R-Y Factory is a great resource spot, the Restoratives remain useful for quite a while, the drops are either useful or sell-able for profit and the place is a decent source of EXP in itself. The main-quest for the Area, also has a wonderful reward, and even more so if you complete it entirely, which is all that can be said without going into [Spoiler] Lots to find Loot-wise, good Quest-reward, so Excellent Attractions.
Connections 9/10 Lava-tubes, in the region with most recognized volcanic activity. Makes perfect sense for where it is. Only reason not 10/10, is it could use more connectivity with other lava-tubes, like back towards the Volcano itself.
Closing Personal Note Sofar the Good Stuff, but R-Y is not perfect. The main-quest activation, requires you to be Pet-Free, when all you get is a Temp-Follower, so all you would need free is just the basic Follower-slot. Also, without going into Spoiler's, complete the main-quest 100 percent, is next to impossible at-lvl, and dependent on Class, exceedingly difficult even over-leveled. The Reward is compensatory That-Good for doing it, but it might use a small tweak to make it less hard All that said, it is still an excellent zone, and highly recommendable to visit. It works wonderfully as is, but could use some minor work to make it that much more enjoyable.