September 2018: Safari Zone

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Area of the Month for September 2018 is the Safari Zone!

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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, ~5 remorts) --TOKEN'D

Review Dates: 9/7/2018-9/8/2018

Descriptions: 5/10

The mobs in the Safari Zone are good, but not great: The lookdescs and combat progs are effective descriptions and show some personality, but outside of that the mobs are kinda lifeless. None of the pokemon have talkprogs to demonstrate non-violent interaction, there's no text while idle or interaction between pokemon in the wild, and Todd's involvement for his quest is... minimal. And easily sequence broken - you can walk straight to the Fearow and skip the rest of his requests. Of which I remember more than the one he currently makes, so I'm not sure if it's even operating as intended. You'd also think his enthusiasm would lead him to babble a lot about the pokemon in the region if prompted when following, but that's pure radio silence as well...

Gotta say, the graffiti adds a lot of personality to the room descriptions. The river/pond region has a lot of little bonus descriptions that add life to the area... but the rest of the zone doesn't. The room descriptions in the caves and forest area are good, but there's little further details on items of interest from trying to 'look' at them, aside from one or two quest-related tidbits. Complete lack of detail on the Dustox colony in the forest and the various stalactites and water pools in the cave is saddening. It feels like the one N W W from the entrance of the caves would even be a fountain...?

Balance: 7/10?; approximated by having level 30 pet solo battles

The mostly-questing-prices Level 30 Knight-like pet that I brought here to fight could usually win solo battles before the Anger Rating maxxed out, but took nontrivial amounts of damage in the process, even with the modestly-interesting combat progs most of them had. Except against Gyrados, which is appropriate given the level jump. RIP.

In terms of drops and loot, there are some finds here that... aren't very good, but have niche uses, and the pokemon in the area drop enough cash that the 100 silver entry fee isn't a huge deterrant. However, the drops have... pretty bad sell value, and feel rare for the narrow range where it's useful. For example, I managed to clear out the forest twice without getting the Scyther equipment drop.

I'm not sure how to feel about the frequency of the pokemon food dropping from everything in the area: It's such a poor food item that it can't be used to stave off hunger, but I don't know how common it should be to have it as an option to offset the anger meter mechanic for classes that aren't damage-focused, or if it should offer much side use for players that don't. Would 1 satiation/1 fullness to make it at least count as a snack for the shameless be too much?

Attractions: 3/10

The Safari Zone is in a weird place in terms of attractiveness. If you know enough about it already and have an aggressive enough skillset, it can be a servicable levelling spot with some niche drops available, but if you haven't figured the area out already, there's no real indication that sticking around is worth it - especially since the main attraction to the area is fighting the pokemon without being caught by the warden, when both the warden and Todd appear to discourage you from fighting them. Some more guidance that "yeah, beat 'em up but be careful" is the real point would probably make the area clearer. Perhaps Todd could drop a hint that you'll need to at least provoke pokemon to get the photos he needs and let the rest happen as it will?

There are some hidden things hinted at or with requirements from other zones that are definitely worthwhile, but I don't know whether to count those as attractions for the Safari Zone, or attractions for those other zones that require you to look around further. They don't really add incentives to stay at the safari zone - just to visit briefly to get something else in an area you're already overlevelled for and might as well leave immediately afterwards. The items available are... usable, but not especially impressive outside of some distinct niches.

Outside of the purely pokemon-flavored sightseeing there's not a lot here that you can't do better at elsewhere. Tonoe and Arlia aren't much further from Viorar with significantly wider options and more relevant quests...

Connections: 2/10

Another rough spot. The Safari Zone is entirely pokemon-based aside from references in the graffiti and a few external quest things that are hard to count as the Safari Zone specifically. But... it is specifically an animal reserve for pokemon and that's exactly what the Warden would do, so it's hard to justify further connection to the rest of the Cleft.

At most, other visitors of different races/whatever as NPCs with hints or advice could be added, or adding references to external resources that the Warden would be willing to employ to try and keep the pokemon safe; hidden Monotoli-brand security cameras, for example. Still, whether the warden would have/use the resources to do this is difficult to say.

The connections for Safari Zone are poor, but adding more is also difficult to justify. Hard to say what to do with this one: Probably best left as a low priority outside of a serious zone overhaul.

Bugs/Exploits:

Something I'm not sure is a bug - you can attack and kill Todd, the starter NPC for the only real quest in the zone. No special response or acknowledgement is given for this, and he's level 0. Should he be classified as either noattack or a player ally?

Overall: C-

The Safari Zone is not one of the Cleft's stronger zones. Between the mediocre attractions there and its dead-end location it's very easy to skip over or forget about entirely, though there are some neat points hidden away if you make a point of looking. Is it worth doing more than once? Well... not really. Todd doesn't even offer a mini medal for his miniquest, which is so small and simple that's even understandable. There's not much to do here aside from get into fights to level, but the zone flavor even discourages that. It looks so promising when you start out with the river and pond areas and all the graffiti descriptions, but falls apart pretty quickly once you go further and start really interacting with the area. If anyone particularly feels like revamping things, this is probably a good candidate for it.



Player: Patapon(Warrior/25) - TOKEN'D

Review Date(s): 9/19/18

Descriptions: 5/10

Marginal typographical errors throughout the area, not bad enough to really distract too terribly. The mobs are described well, however the descs are all short and formatted inconsistently. There are almost no extra descs except for some graffiti and one random lantern that is formatted kind of crazily and seems almost cryptic and meaningful, but isn't, like most things in this area.

It's not the worst I've ever seen but it's right about bare minimum for acceptable.


Balance: 4/10

The fights are very easy, but I am also a warrior so that might be a side effect. There are a lot of mobs to fight so it's a pretty mindless grind. The anger mechanic exists. I'm sure it's helpful but it's mostly a non-issue, it's never difficult to toss a food at a pokemon, especially since they drop all over.

The random rarer pokemon are marginally harder, which makes sense.

The gear attained here is entirely ignorable. There is nothing significant that better can't be found before or at the same level, some of it from vendors. Even random drops from mobs should be better than vendor gear.


Attractions: 1/10

I immediately lost Todd in a tree before finding the pokemon he requested. Looking around the entire place, I'm not sure it even exists. The quest ends abruptly with screen spam. It could be tidied up with some delays. The quest could also be made better by not being so terrible.

There is nothing here of value or interest, except for two different unrelated things from completely different areas that you wouldn't know about just from going here.

I'm giving it 1 point because pokemon themselves are an attraction. It was fun finding the different pokemon, like gyarados. However, defeating them always let me down.


Connections: 1/10

From a straight-forward approach, the connections here are close enough to non-existent to be statistically insignificant. However, it could easily be speculated that the Safari Zone as a wildlife preserve is controlled by the nearby Fort Walla Walla, one of the only 'law and order' type establishments in this region of Fa'diel and possibly the only ones interested in preserving wildlife. Otherwise, the "don't fight the pokemon" command doesn't make any sense. As is, there is no connection, but potential exists to tie it in much better.


Personal

The way to get in is not straightforward. It says you have to pay, but what he means is you have to buy a ticket. I am not the only person who did not figure out that you had to actually buy a physical ticket from the guard via typical shop mechanics. The first time I came here I couldn't figure it out literally at all and got in by sneaking through. When I came back without sneak, it took me 10 minutes to figure out. He also says you need to put away your weapons, but you actually don't, which is lame.

This area has great potential. Even with the mediocre descriptions, the aesthetic is nice. Just by merit of having pokemon and being the safari zone, this area is okay. If it was anything else, I would probably say it was terrible.


    • Safari Zone has been updated since this review.