Oct 2009: Lelanol's Lair

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Builder: Lilly

Source: The Halfblood Chronicles



Okay, Kolem here, having played through Lelanol's lair as Mazarti, a level 77 merchant. I'm going to be very bare-bones about this review, primarily because lelanol's lair is, quite possibly, one of my least favorite areas in the entire Cleft of Dimensions. My usual in depth mob analysis is going to be skipped this time; as, quite frankly, LL has much, much bigger fish to fry than combat issues.

Let's start with the area descriptions. The rooms break objectivity from the very beginning, asking the player if he dares proceed, or if he would do this or that, or consequences of actions that are impossible to take, E.G. jumping off a cliff. This isn't just bad voice; it distracts anyone who reads it and actively causes me to not WANT to read the room descs. This is not a good thing, put gently, and the problem is deeply rooted in Lilly's writing style for the whole zone. (I'm sorry, lilly, if you ever read this. The bar is higher now. My bar is higher. I don't mean to offend you; hopefully you've gotten better since you left before my arrival three to four years ago.) I don't actually MIND the couple look descs there are, even the ones that take up the entire screen; flavor is okay in obscure areas, and I used it to some effect in my redescing of monstro town some while back--but they are entirely inconsistent. The hall of traditions is a slightly more specific target here.

This takes us to the mobs, which are quite probably the--emphasis important--most poorly described mobs IN THE ENTIRE GAME. Now, I'll grant you, there are a few areas I have not actively explored. Angel tower is one of them; so is the mythic Immortal realm, as well as naturally anything under development. Let me break this down for you... I recently suggested to age he put a wandering npc or two in Viorar. He did, and it was well implemented, fun, and neat to play with.

If it was at all possible, I would rip every single dragon out of Lelanol's lair, all the half elves, and wipe them out of existance. Why, you ask? start with two to three paragraph descriptions with information the player has no possible means of possessing, such as relationships, histories, virtual biographies of the creatures in question. This is not what look descs are for. We do not SEE your relation to your cousins or your lifemates or your kids/parents/uncle bob, WE SEE YOUR TEETH. WE SEE YOUR EYES. WE SEE YOUR SKIN. Look descs should give visual details--not life stories. And when I say 'EVERY SINGLE' dragon, let me explain something. There are no fewer than 21 mobs, each with their own name, personality traits, and relationships in their lookdescs. 21. TWENTY ONE. And every single one of their names is more than eight to nine letters long, and impossible to remember or distinguish from each other's. This would be a grave enough offense by itself. It would be a DEATH KNELL to any other area. As it is, it pushes the boundries of acceptable building through the floorboards, past the septic tank under the house, and into the tar pits. But there's one more thing that makes this area, this whole area, even more offensive than that. Are you ready?

There is a quest in this area in which you need to collect a set of toenail clippings from each dragon (save the half-elves, which I will rant about some other time). You must go around, asking each dragon *individually* for their clippings; each set of which is distinguished by its originator's name in your inventory. MANY DRAGONS WILL REFUSE TO SIMPLY HAND THEM OVER. This means you must devote 21 item carryslots in your inventory and keep a checklist of all twenty one similar names if you even want a prayer of completing it.

This is not merely a 'fetch quest' in the traditional sense of the word. This is masochism. The design of this quest is so incredibly poorly thought out that it approaches being the literal antithesis of what my thought of a fun activity in the cleft IS. I literally enjoy myself more waiting for the airship or the Zelbess; I had not previously realised it was possible to have negative fun--un-fun; as it were, or quite possibly WORK. I would rather run the luon trail quest six times in a row than attempt this quest ever again.

POSITIVE SUGGESTIONS:

  • read the descs of the rooms and mobs. Keep only what is needed.
  • revise or completely toss out the clipping quest, which is a disgrace to the cleft entirely
  • Consider axing half the characters. Or 3/4ths, even. You could literally abandon six or seven and lose nothing in the transition.
  • Look into better connecting this area with others. It's currently airship-only, both coming and going everywhere but Angel Tower.

Kolem 06:02, 2 November 2009 (UTC)



This area has been updated since the above review.