|The party prepares to fight a group of extras from the "Thriller" video.|
After the last posting, which left me in the city of Olanthen, I decided to circle the map in a counter-clockwise direction and see what I encountered. I soon found myself in a depressed city called Poitle's Lock, where I completed two quests: the recovery of a wand needed to defeat a sea serpent from some skeletons, and the recovery of an heirloom that was stolen by some thugs in a heist.
The wand/skeleton crest was ridiculous. I found myself in a series of caves in which I had to travel single file. This would have made combat difficult, but it turned out combat wasn't necessary; the skeletons started falling down dead on their own, and they kept at it--most of them on parts of the map nowhere near me--until they were all gone. I never had to strike a blow. I have no idea what was causing that; my best guess is that the game loaded them up with so much equipment, they got exhausted trying to move and just collapsed.
|Always nice when they kill themselves!|
So that was a freebie. The second quest was a little harder. I had to travel a long way from Poitle's Lock to the center of a forest, where it took a while to find the thugs' fortress. The fortress was huge, and the battle took three hours as I explored every corner of the map trying to find and kill all eight of them. Once I found them, though, they were easy to kill. I've only had a couple authentically difficult combats in the game. They're just really long.
The quest system in Knights of Legend is extremely repetitive. Since I don't have a lot else to tell you tonight, I thought I'd walk you through a little pictorial montage of the process used by essentially every quest in the game.
Step 1: Get a hint from one NPC that another has a quest.
|In this case, I needed to complete the serpent wand quest first.|
Step 2: Ask the quest NPC about the relevant keyword and accept the quest when he asks "will you do this?" No matter what the quest, it will involve the retrieval of some item.
|I was going to make a Ghosbusters joke about his profession before I looked it up and found that a "lockkeeper" is an authentic profession, referring to someone in charge of a lock on a waterway.|
Step 3: Ask around town until someone tells you where the enemies are located.
Step 4: Head out into the wilderness and consult the game map to help narrow down where to search for the enemy base.
|The outdoor areas are pretty. I wish there was more to do in them.|
|That's where I need to go.|
Step 5: Probably fight a random battle or two on the way.
Step 6: Reach the general area of the enemy base, and wander around until you happen to step on the right pixel. Probably fight another random combat or two in the meantime.
|This is an annoyingly large forest.|
Step 7: When you finally find the enemy base, choose to "partake" of the combat.
Step 8: Count the number of enemies on the initial encounter screen. You want to know how many you have left to track down at any given point during the combat.
|I've yet to fight a combat in which there was more than one type of enemy. Perhaps they don't exist.|
Step 9: When combat begins, try to figure out where you are vis-a-vis the enemies. This might involve a little scouting.
|My party fans out.|
Step 10: Find a good ambush point and lead all the convenient enemies to it. (By the way, the icon used for the enemies is the same no matter what type of enemy you're facing.)
|That's it...one more step.|
Step 11: When the enemies get so far away from the ambush point that it becomes annoying to track them down and lead them back, send your party out into the field to hunt them down instead.
Step 12: Optional. You might find the quest item in a building while you're exploring the combat map. You could take it and flee, but you'd lose out on the experience and gold from the battle.
|All quest items are represented as swords.|
Step 13: Enjoy the victory screen when you finally track down and defeat everyone.
Step 14: Distribute the spoils of war--including the quest item--to your party. You need to try to be equitable with this: because there's no way to trade gold from one character to another, ensuring that everyone has something to sell is really the only way to ensure everyone gets paid.
Step 15: Head back to the city where you got the quest, but don't forget to hit a few random combats along the way!
Step 16: Heave a sigh of relief when the city gates are finally in view.
|This is a nice shot. You can definitely see the locks of Poitle Lock.|
Step 17: Turn in your item and collect your reward, if any.
|He gave me a "Coat of Courage." I thought I was pretty brave already.|
Step 18: Sell all the excess junk you picked up.
Step 19: Go to an abbey and heal any wounds that you received during the combat. If you're lucky, it won't eat up too much of the gold you made.
Step 20: Enjoy the new icon on your awards screen.
|Nine down, something like 15 to go.|
Step 21: For god's sake, save your party, whatever it costs.
|Only in a CRPG is a hotel bill bigger than a hospital bill.|
This limited process unfortunately means that there's really nothing to "discover" as you explore both the world map and the combat map. There are no special encounters, no opportunities to truly role-play, no chests to open, no puzzles to solve, no lore to find outside the NPCs in towns, no combat "bosses." There are no quests that require you to do anything truly different; the game mechanics wouldn't have allowed me to actually slay the sea serpent, for instance. The quests end up being extremely repetitive, as if you were playing Skyrim but only doing Urag gro-Shub's book-fetching quests.
I've been recording all of my battles, hoping to find a real nail-biter that I can use to illustrate the details of the tactical combat--really the only good part of the game--but nothing so far has struck me as a particularly good exemplar. Perhaps next time.
|On to the next one...|