Jan 2018: Truce
Jan 2018: Truce
- The actual article for this area is Truce
Source: Chrono Trigger
Review Date: 12-17-17
Descriptions 9/10 Each room in Truce is described in a clear and concise manner, without leaving anything to the imagination; it's quite easy to visualize the town, even if you've never played its source material.
Balance 7/10 Truce has a variety of things to do, and they also encourage players to explore the surrounding areas while rewarding them. As for actual difficulty of the location, it's fairly low, as it should be. It's the perfect location for players to ease into the world. My only complaint is that some of the items that are rewarded for quest completion don't match the level that I personally would do the quest at.
Attractions 8/10 There's a lot to do in Truce, and even after nearly reaching my evolution there's still stuff I haven't done yet. Plus, there's something for everyone; puzzles, fetch quests, and just regular old "go here and kill this guy" quests. Overall, much more fleshed out than some other areas.
Connections 7/10 Truce's climate is fairly accurate. There's not a lot to say here. It's mild, presumably due to the fact that you've got such diverse biomes surrounding it.
I don't have many issues with Truce, and it seems to be a fairly popular area given it's a hub town. Overall a great place to jump in to the game, or just hang out with other people.
Review Date: 1/26/2018
Descriptions: 9/10 The town of Truce is described in just the right amount of detail, enough to hook and engage the player with the locale while not being too detailed to jumble up the important details with text fluff. Extra descriptions are used quite a bit in this area, often to award the observant player with either something neat or a good joke.
Balance: 9/10 With the exception of Gato, there's not really much to fight in Truce. But when I give Truce a 9 out of 10 what I mean is that all of the items, weapons, and armor have a purpose. The equipment upgrades are a tad bland but it is the early game so that's a none issue, and Pandora's shop offers a nice selection of various stat-changing armor for low level characters so that's a plus. There are multiple tiers of food, lights, and other utility items that give you exactly what you're paying for them. Apples are a very low cost food but don't fill you for long, while jerky cost a fair deal more and lasts much longer.
Attractions: 10/10 Truce has a surprising amount of content for what you'd expect from a starter town, it's not some dinky little village but a sprawling medium-sized city. It has the whole cast of shops and services you would normally need, as well a few extras. There's a pet shop that introduces the concept of pets to new players, and there's even a book in Truce that teaches players about Slime taming (which is another for of pet that the player can acquire). There are a few quest that test your ability to navigate the areas surrounding Truce and complete certain objectives, or demand you to use your attentiveness to details to find the more hidden nooks and crannys of the town. This doesn't even mention the Tent of Horrors, which are a collection of puzzles and minigames that can even be challenging for those adept with the game.
Linkage: 9/10 Truce fits into the world wonderfully in regards to the areas surrounding it. This is partly due to Truce being the area with the most lore behind it in the game, all of the areas directly surrounding it are tied to it's backstory and overall feel. This easily gives this spot on the Cleft the most area cohesion that no other group of areas has matched quite yet. The northern and southern exits lead you on the paths to the various reaches of the Cleft, while the western exit and the port to the east give you access to smaller collections of areas.
Personal: 9/10 Truce to me is one of the best towns in the Cleft, the way it was adapted to a more focused and MMO-friendly town from the source material of Chrono Trigger was handled expertly. This is the town where people will go to idle around the fountain, and this was the RP capital of the Cleft back when Rp was very prevalent on the Cleft itself. Overall I give this place a solid and well earned A+ rating; there is nothing that needs to be changed or fixed about this area, but anything new added to it would be a welcome addition.
Descriptions: Good, concise and to the point, whilest key words in them, lead to Extra Descs more often then not, allowing inquisitive Newbies to get into the habit of looking for extra descs and thus Clues.
Balance: For a starter town, it offers what it needs, while the few things not offered, are in close-by towns, actually encouraging a little light exploration. Quests offered initially are encouragement to explore the surrounding areas, while there are a very few, tie ins with later areas back to Truce. That last one, is a nice touch and we could use more quests like that, find a MacGuffin somewhere else return it to Truce, to re-enforce the Hub like nature of Truce.
Attractions: Its got a good set of starter quests, shops work. Could maybe use a few more varied mini-games to tie in further to the Chrono Trigger fair, but on the other, what it has works well.
Linkage: As a hub, its well centered for Guardia, though personally, I find the West Gate could use more expansion, feeling somewhat dead-ended ending so quickly with Rocket-Town; its NWern expansion being shared with the North-gate. The port ferries are good, it being a small transit point more then a big port itself.
Personal: As a high remorter, I dont use many of the Truce services, so it feels somewhat redundant beyond a point to pass through, but given its meant as a starter town, that makes sense. Maybe add in some items with the new Remort Tags, to keep it relevant to higher players aswell.
Descriptions: Being familiar with Chrono Trigger, Truce is a fun place to explore. Each room is described well, and while it is nice to know the game, knowledge of the source game is not required to succeed in it. That being said, there are plenty of changes, quests and events to keep it interesting. Even now, years later, I am still noticing things I did not pick up on my first play through.
Balance: Truce definitely feels slanted towards the lower level characters, which as a starter town, it should. The equipment is good enough to get you started, and support you through the beginning levels; however you quickly outgrow it and must explore elsewhere to find better items. There remain, however, a number of items that remain useful (especially because of the convenience) until late levels.
Attractions: There are many things to do in Truce… and I have to admit most of which I have not done, or it has been far too long since I have done them and am too old to remember. I do remember spending hours in the area looking around and finding the quests and seeing what all is to be done.
Linkage: Truce feels very connected to the world around it. With numerous trails, ships, and the occasional portal, it never feels too far to head to most areas of the Cleft. My only complaint is I would like to see an airship port in Truce, or a ferry to Viorar, to help fill in the few dead spots.
Personal: This has always been my starter town. Even my alts that start in Viorar end up at the Truce Fountain by the end of the day. All in all a 9+/10.
Review Date: 1/31/18
Pretty much every keyword expect to be able to look at, you can look at. Lots of humor integrated in descriptions, which is my favorite way to describe things on the Cleft. There's actually a ton of stuff to look at and some of it leads to secret rooms that I would have completely overlooked otherwise. It's pretty fun to explore!
I JUST BARELY beat Gato as a level 1 dancer. Without training or practicing anything or changing my gear. That's probably fine. Like, even if he kills you, which is probably only remotely possible if you're under level 10, you keep your stuff, so it's nbd. Is there even anything else you can fight in Truce? Probably not. Not that there needs to be.
Right off the bat as a newbie you get stuck with community service! This is probably good because we can't assume everyone who checks out the Cleft has any idea what the fuck to do in a MUD so having the option of a little guidance is nice. The policeman's dialogue even highlights the map command for you if you aren't using Tuna. Neato!
There are a fair number of shops which is nice.
The dockside of things feels a little sparse. There's probably room for more buildings or NPCs there. Maybe not entirely necessary because we don't want newbies to be flooded with too much information? But it is a thought. There's room for expansion there, anyway.
I hate the lightbulb puzzle. But that's just me.
Why is scroll of recall in the tent of medicines instead of magic where the other scrolls are?
The guard stations and housing aren't really on the map. I wouldn't think this was a big issue if this was anything other than Truce, but I think Truce's map needs to be complete other than intentionally secret areas.
Housing can probably be left off actually.
It's Truce!! It's from one of my favorite games. Anyone with taste loves Truce.
Needs a minigame that awards you cats though. Lots and lots of cats. You can never have too many cats.
Player: Kolem (As Paisley, L. 5 thief)
Review Date(s): 1/31/2018 - 2/01/2018
So let's freakin' do this. Truce. Why not? It's more or less everyone's introduction to the cleft, so evaluating its current strengths and weaknesses frankly might be useful for guidance for future areas, or points of contrast. Truce is possibly the most central location in the entire game, and it takes considerable effort to change your recall from Truce, presuming you start there (as most players do.) As always with my reviews, I have a ten point scale starting at five for functional design. I deduct points from that five for issues, with serious problems worth entire points, and grant additional points for consistency or extra effort in design. Do not expect me to hand out high scores or start there; conversely, a low score (as opposed to a NONscore) points to significant issues with explicit examples.
Why such a high score, and why for Truce? There are longer, more detailed descriptions all over the cleft. There are rooms which paint an entire canvas, really dragging you into their location. But we need to consider intent in Truce, not just technical writing. As I said above, this is a new player's introduction to the cleft. Several extra descriptions and talk prompts are oriented around teaching a first time player various commands and interactions. Considering that, the brevity involved here is a positive. However, for players more willing to experiment and really try out the commands they learn here and in the NES tutorial (More on that later), there are hidden things all over Truce. Nearly every single room has at least a hidden humorous extra description, which is lovely, and many rooms have hidden rewards if you're willing to really check EVERYTHING. Sure, some of these are mostly valuable to brand new players, but that's who the area should be geared to in the first place.
All in all, base five points, no overt negatives; plus two for consistent rewarding of the look command, plus another one for humor and consistent tone. I find it hard to criticize Truce's descriptions, but I also find it hard to offer suggestions for improvements! This zone is very well balanced. I do think some areas are a bit brief in description, but I have been in truce so long it's hard to find fault with that, and it's helpful to not overwhelm new players.
There is exactly one obvious combat mob in Truce. I forgot he existed before this review, which is embarrassing, but on exploring town fresh, I have to credit the zone for making the homage to Gato memorable and positive. Additionally, he is easy enough to defeat at even level one that his presence in a beginning zone is ideal. As far as non-combat balance is concerned, refer to the Attractions section.
Whoo boy. Where do I start? At five, I think. Yes. Truce should not get special treatment out of fondness. Having said that, this zone introduces players to the game with a minor quest that has three possible outcomes, as well as repeatable minor rewards. This area has seven listed quests, as well as five or six additional unlisted tasks for those who are really willing to dig deep. Considering the small size of the zone, this means Truce is possibly one of the most things-to-do dense zones in the entire Cleft. This alone would be enough to bump up the score several points. However, Truce also has one of the most convenient, diverse set of stores of any settlement in the Cleft: a full *Three* armor shops, a flavor item shop (Itinerant trader; also used in some crafting), a weapon shop, passage to the battle arena, a fishing spot, access to four basic ferries as well as the Zelbess, three shops for food / drink /sundry items (trader, fritz, the bar), an inn with a Jacuzzi, a bank, a potion / pill shop, a wand shop and quest item shop geared especially for those level twenty and lower, and a fun (if very frustrating) pair of minigames, and a few quest links for much higher players in the mid thirties to low forties. Barring some extremely minor tidying up, there is more to do in Truce than there is in almost any zone in the cleft, including some which are several times its size. This is to say nothing of the NES tutorial.
Starting at five points, I grant two for the NES mini tutorial sub-zone--which almost merits its own entire review, but balled into Truce covers many of the more obscure commands, meshing it well with truce overall--and easily three points for the huge number of quests, chores, and adventures tied in to and around Truce. The only real issue with Truce is that at the high levels, you might have more specialized needs, but that's not Truce's fault, and by that point you will very definitely have found other suppliers. On the flip side of this coin, it is entirely possible (given enough inventory space) to prepare for major expeditions of any level in Truce, if you are willing to purchase consumables in more level-appropriate shops. Truce holds a special place in my heart as a Cleft player, but I have tried to not let that obscure my analysis of the attractions it offers. Luckily, Truce maintains its carnival atmosphere from the source material, and there are very, VERY few rooms in the entire town where there ISN'T something to do. The few suggestions I have are extremely minor, and do not impact enjoy-ability of the area as a whole.
Starting at a basic five points, Truce has in effect four major exits: North, South, West, and the Docks. It is hard to determine exactly what score to give Truce; since it is the heart of so many player experiences. However, looking at the city objectively, it has:
--The level inapplicable Arena
--At the docks, links to Wutai (10), Alfador (25), Shrike (35), Kakkara (50), and the Zelbess (an alternate passage to Viorar for the patient.)
--At the south gate, passage to the newbie area G. Fields, as well as Crysta and the mountain pass with adjoining areas
--at the north gate, passage to newbie area Truce Canyon, as well as Cosmo Canyon, the Lete, ect.
--At the west gate, passage by Booster Tower, Rabite Forest, and Rocket town and adjoining areas.
Many of these subareas link to each other in ways that make the area around Truce feel very fleshed out and geographically consistent, and while Truce itself has only a minor role in this, it is hard to deny that Truce is the heartbeat of the general Guardia Region. The surrounding zones have organically grown out and interconnected through various building projects over the years, and the huge variety of level offers something for the first entire half of the level list. Rather than giving Truce full credit for this, though, I think I can only award three points for being essentially a thoroughfare with many destinations, rather than one long road with a beginning and end. I have no suggestions for improvements in this department.
Truce is an old friend. I have walked their cobbles and sandy beaches many, many times. However, every time I make myself stop and really pay attention to them, from Leene's bell to the cobbles in the street, I am reminded of just how much love and care went into building and improving Truce over the many, many years it has seen people play through it.
Truce is an absolute treasure.
Some (minor) ideas for improvements: --Many of the items Pandora sells are listed as 'trash'. I would suggest changing them to Armor or Jewelry as appropriate for consistency's sake. (otherwise, her shop selling gear good only for MV is a very nice differentiation that i appreciate even at level 5) --What's the deal with the monkey and the bell? I never could figure this one out.
Final average: 8.6 (repeating) / 10, with three categories represented. Truce is a fine, fine area with a lot more going on than it looks like at a casual glance.