July 2018: Faron Woods

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Area of the Month for July 2018 is Faron Woods!

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!

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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: Emouse (Dollmage, L100, ~4 remorts) --Token'd

Review Dates: 8/14/2018-8/15/2018

Descriptions: 7/10

Disclaimer: I have unrealistic standards for frequency of roomdesc responses.

The descriptions and items here are good, but not incredible: The first few rooms heading west from the Zigolis Swamp entrance have one interesting things to find, and the lead-in to the main spidery area has some neat descriptors, but the swampy rooms are sparsely described and there are a few things that I was curious about but have no description:

The spidery cave area has a few things like eggsacs and captured prey that feel like great excuses for extra flavor/detail/interaction but go unused.

Speaking of the spiders: Phase Spiders, Sword Spiders, and the miniboss spider all attack when 'talk'ed to. This is a common enough result, but there's no extra flavor text about their reaction before/in the process of attacking, like some other mobs in other areas. Worth adding?

The Ranch Entrance room has a few interesting tidbits that could have more detail (gate and vines/briers, mostly), and the desc for the orchard's olive press is missing the "bucket" keyword used as part of the object in the room desc.

Really, everything here is functional and present, just a bit sparse after the first few rooms.

Balance: N/A; estimates below

I can't comment on combat balance due to being, uh, well out of the level range. Sorry. But I can try to comment on the loot:

Item Balls and their occasional Surprise are pretty neat. A fair resource for early-game supplies. I think these are good as they are.

What I've seen of drops from the Spiders are interesting and appropriate for the level. I like it. Although I am confused by the sword drop being an exotic weapon...? well, it does make some sense under the circumstances.

But I don't like the current version of the Manly Fish. The level 0 equipment that they carry and drop produces lots of heavy, low-value clutter you're really better off ditching, but ends up in every body of one of the most frequent mobs in the area. Very annoying. It's tempting to let them drop generic level 5 gear as from Crystia so the loot is worth lugging off to sell or use if you get the right kind, but I don't know if that would make them too dangerous or lucrative for the area. On the upside: their bonus wand drop is wonderful on multiple levels.

That said, after writing that, I encountered a few level 6 equipment drops from the Beastman Mender, Clockwork Knight, and Territorial Ossier that are comparable in effectiveness and lower in price - aside from the increased hassle to obtain them, I think these are nice.

In terms of aesthetics and combat complexity, I do like that the Mender/Clockwork Knight spawn and operate as a group - there are very few team battles in the cleft that don't turn into a dogpile or utter chaos. Probably really easy to break, though...

Attractions: 3/10

Faron Woods is... nice to check out once, but has no real staying power. The main quest and descriptions are nice and it's good for resupplying at low levels at a low cost, but once you've seen it once there's not much reason to look back. The other loot and mob density in Faron are both poor, making it lackluster for XP and unreliable for equipment pickups - in a lot of ways it's better to just level up elsewhere and catch up on gear in a higher-level zone. Faron Woods is an area you pass through, not an area you stay in. Do we want to change that?

The fact that nothing here carries silver to loot doesn't help, either.

That said: The Lantern Refill for sale is a very unique attraction. I don't know of any other source of Phlogiston currently available, though I suspect it was implemented as a qskill without being finalized in helpfiles or wiki data. From the current casting level of 1 I saw it restore 12 hours to a level 80 light source... I don't know whether level affects its potency or not, but I do like having the option available for recharging rare lights. With the risks announced in the helpfile, of course. It's very distinctive, but it doesn't feel like expanding the scale of this is an appropriate way to make Faron stand out more.

Connections: 9/10

For theme and environments the surrounding areas all work well. My only complaint would be the transition between Faron Woods and Midnight Gardens being abrupt - a little more hint about what you're heading into/out of in the one or two last Faron Woods rooms would be nice. I wish I could better navigate the route to reach Carnival Night Zone vs. Midnight Gardens, but I think that's my own fault...

Bugs/Exploits: (because this is me)

Corporal Wolfdog is involved in quests here, but can be attacked and is not immune to Summon/Charm. He's currently being held hostage in my player house. (Kind of.)

As much as I love the idea of having an actually coordinated opponent group, neither the Beastman Mender or the Clockwork Knight are immune to summon/charm. Haven't seen what happens if you drag one off without the other but I doubt it's been accounted for.

    • Made above mobs imm charm/summon

Overall: C+

Faron Woods is in a messy spot: The only other 5-10 area near Viorar is Luon Trail, so it ends up with little competition for the time for equipment, supplies, and quests. However, it's also a short-lived path from point A to point B for several other zones in the area, so it can't afford to be very complicated or involved, either. That in mind: It looks like it's functional as a resupply/minor loot area while going for more serious battles in Kakariko or Midnight Gardens, possibly with curbstomps in Zigolis Swamp. Where Luon Trail is well-populated and provides food and water with reliable silver income, Faron provides healing items and equipment from combat without questing. It's servicable as an intermediary area, but is a bit lacking in, ah, spice to make it stand out and be worth sticking around in.