Sacred 2 Initiation- Part 3

Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

Epiphanies are beginning to slow now as Tiffany and I have a pretty good foundation in the game's conventions. There were a few surprises today, though.

We just learned that the skills menu has multiple pages! I almost took the riding skill on a recent level-up, but I was afraid it wouldn't do me much good since my partner doesn't have the skill. There's nothing more frustrating than moving to the edge of the available screen and being unable to move further. I can imagine increasing my movement speed would exacerbate that problem to near-maddening levels.

We were far from Sloeford having just completed a side-quest. We both needed to sell some loot and restock on potions. I thought we could teleport back to the monolith there. It was at this point I learned that monoliths do not do teleporting; there is a separate object called a "teleporter" that takes on that responsibility. Who knew?! Unfortunately, we had not activated the teleporter in Sloeford and had to travel back on foot. I am also now discouraged to learn that teleporters are even more sparse than monoliths. Oh well. Traveling by foot in this game is certainly not the worst thing I have been forced to do in the scope of my gaming career.

We also had our first opportunity to see what the Runemaster is all about. We had been forgetfully (or lazily... or both!) selling our runes at the shop. I remembered running the runemaster "tutorial" quest and realized we could trade unwanted runes to him for those we could actually use. I took four runes that were of no use to my Inquisitor or Tiffany's Dryad and traded them along with 500 coins for a very nice Inquisitor rune I had not yet acquired. (For anyone curious, it is the one that creates a doppleganger--very useful.) Tiffany had one rune she wanted to trade away. She got that trade set up before realizing her trade would cost 125,000 coins! We are both newbies and are sitting on 2,000-3,000 coins each. Needless to say, this was out of the question. We found that trading two runes brought the price down to 25,000. Apparently, you are intended to trade four runes each time as the prices for the other trades are outrageous.

We are becoming much more proficient at combat. We didn't wipe a single time during this session. In fact, we only had one death between the two of us which is a slight improvement over last time.

One more annoying bug reared its head this session. We traveled to complete a side-quest called Pesky Pirates. The world map showed the quest objective in a cave. We entered and cleared out the cave and found nothing. I opened the world map from inside the cave and noticed the quest objective had moved much further southwest! I suspected we had uncovered something in the cave that revealed we needed to be in a different place to complete this quest. Upon exiting the cave, we checked the map again. It had placed the objective marker back on the cave we just exited! We decided to save and trying again later. The game is definitely buggy, but it says something for it that the bugs, although numerous, are not enough to push us away.

It feels like we are nearing the end of the learning curve. The game's approach to teaching has brought a question to mind: Which way is better? Is it more effective to run through a tutorial at the beginning of the game that holds the player's hand through manipulating all the game's various systems, or is the Sacred 2 approach of, "Here are the tools. Now, go to it!" more effective. I feel a greater attachment to the systems since I feel I have discovered them mostly on my own. I'm beginning to wonder if that will make them stick better. I have played plenty of complex games with comprehensive tutorials that have left me forgetting how to use certain functions soon after the tutorial is complete. Perhaps this dilemma instead points to the fact that the game is overly complex to begin with and could stand some revision. What do you think?

#1 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

Epiphanies are beginning to slow now as Tiffany and I have a pretty good foundation in the game's conventions. There were a few surprises today, though.

We just learned that the skills menu has multiple pages! I almost took the riding skill on a recent level-up, but I was afraid it wouldn't do me much good since my partner doesn't have the skill. There's nothing more frustrating than moving to the edge of the available screen and being unable to move further. I can imagine increasing my movement speed would exacerbate that problem to near-maddening levels.

We were far from Sloeford having just completed a side-quest. We both needed to sell some loot and restock on potions. I thought we could teleport back to the monolith there. It was at this point I learned that monoliths do not do teleporting; there is a separate object called a "teleporter" that takes on that responsibility. Who knew?! Unfortunately, we had not activated the teleporter in Sloeford and had to travel back on foot. I am also now discouraged to learn that teleporters are even more sparse than monoliths. Oh well. Traveling by foot in this game is certainly not the worst thing I have been forced to do in the scope of my gaming career.

We also had our first opportunity to see what the Runemaster is all about. We had been forgetfully (or lazily... or both!) selling our runes at the shop. I remembered running the runemaster "tutorial" quest and realized we could trade unwanted runes to him for those we could actually use. I took four runes that were of no use to my Inquisitor or Tiffany's Dryad and traded them along with 500 coins for a very nice Inquisitor rune I had not yet acquired. (For anyone curious, it is the one that creates a doppleganger--very useful.) Tiffany had one rune she wanted to trade away. She got that trade set up before realizing her trade would cost 125,000 coins! We are both newbies and are sitting on 2,000-3,000 coins each. Needless to say, this was out of the question. We found that trading two runes brought the price down to 25,000. Apparently, you are intended to trade four runes each time as the prices for the other trades are outrageous.

We are becoming much more proficient at combat. We didn't wipe a single time during this session. In fact, we only had one death between the two of us which is a slight improvement over last time.

One more annoying bug reared its head this session. We traveled to complete a side-quest called Pesky Pirates. The world map showed the quest objective in a cave. We entered and cleared out the cave and found nothing. I opened the world map from inside the cave and noticed the quest objective had moved much further southwest! I suspected we had uncovered something in the cave that revealed we needed to be in a different place to complete this quest. Upon exiting the cave, we checked the map again. It had placed the objective marker back on the cave we just exited! We decided to save and trying again later. The game is definitely buggy, but it says something for it that the bugs, although numerous, are not enough to push us away.

It feels like we are nearing the end of the learning curve. The game's approach to teaching has brought a question to mind: Which way is better? Is it more effective to run through a tutorial at the beginning of the game that holds the player's hand through manipulating all the game's various systems, or is the Sacred 2 approach of, "Here are the tools. Now, go to it!" more effective. I feel a greater attachment to the systems since I feel I have discovered them mostly on my own. I'm beginning to wonder if that will make them stick better. I have played plenty of complex games with comprehensive tutorials that have left me forgetting how to use certain functions soon after the tutorial is complete. Perhaps this dilemma instead points to the fact that the game is overly complex to begin with and could stand some revision. What do you think?

#2 Posted by ZombiePie (5662 posts) -

Hmmm, well I do find this series of blogs extremely helpful in that I now realize that Sacred 2 is not a game for me. A lot of the difficulties you have described in your three blogs just aren't the kind of stuff I have a lot of tolerance for.

Moderator Online
#3 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -
@ZombiePie: The game would certainly be better without the bugs, but I enjoy it nonetheless. However, I can see how the notion of frequent bugs might turn you off.
#4 Edited by jakob187 (21670 posts) -

I'm sorry, but a lot of the problems you've been mentioning in the three blogs on this...they just don't match my own experience.


I'm sitting on close to 300,000 gold at this point, and I have yet to buy anything other than a mount in that game.  I don't need to worry about socketing anything because most of the stuff I get is replaced within three or four mobs anyways.  The unique items that I've gotten in the game...they've last a few levels before needing to be switched out.  I have died once in the entire game, and that's only because I was falling asleep (should've been in bed, but I couldn't quit playing) and missed out on hitting my potion hot"key".

There is a good amount of depth that I don't understand about the game, like the intracacies of stringing together a good combo.  I also don't end up using many of the skills that are available in my Combat Arts, but that's basically because my Skeletal Fortification rapes everything around me.

I just don't understand this "learning curve".  I went into the game with no tutorials, no guides, not reading the book that came with the game, and I was blazing through it within the first thirty minutes of play.

As for that bug...I can't say I agree with the way that they have set up the quest system, but at the same time, I can't say it's a bad thing either.  You have to remember that Sacred 2 is not the kind of game that is going to hold your hand and say "okay, here is where you go exactly to the T".  Many times, it does do that by having a pretty comprehensive mini-map.  Nonetheless, when there was a gold circle saying "GO HERE" and I couldn't find it, I explored.  This is a game about exploration.  That's why there is a huge world.  I mean, 20 hours in and I've explored 8% of the total map in this game?!  MY GOD, MAN!!!  Talk about MASSIVE!!!

You ask the question of whether or not the game explains its gameplay functions well.  Here's my question to you:  did you read the book or anything?  I haven't yet, but I've also played so many damn hack 'n' slash RPGs at this point that I've got the majority of this stuff figured out already.  I'll be picking up the manual to figure out a few things that I don't understand yet.  People expect that a huge level of tutorials should be available in a game, but when there is a manual with the game that's 52 pages long, you have to ask yourself just how lazy a player has gotten that they need a tutorial setup to teach them everything...rather than reading and learning it their own way.

I'd still like to jump in on some multiplayer with you, just so we can rape some online face!  = D
#5 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6655 posts) -

I'm in love with your blogs for some reason.

#6 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -
@jakob187: Such is the nature of bugs. They are inconsistent. It's great that you haven't experienced them, but, as I have said, they are far from game-breaking. The game is still shaping up to be one of my favorites out of everything I have played this year. I can see myself getting a lot of mileage out of it.

@The MustacheHero: Wow! Thank you for the high praise!
#7 Posted by jakob187 (21670 posts) -
@raddevon said:
" @jakob187: Such is the nature of bugs. They are inconsistent. It's great that you haven't experienced them, but, as I have said, they are far from game-breaking. The game is still shaping up to be one of my favorites out of everything I have played this year. I can see myself getting a lot of mileage out of it."
Definitely can't argue with the bugginess of the game.  I'm playing on 360, and between the frame-rate issues, frame freezing issues, loading times moving within 5 inches of a city, etc...yeah, there's a lot of them.  With that said, it doesn't make the game unplayable at all...just annoying at parts.  Then again, I played Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain at one time in my life...and I'm pretty sure I can endure anything Sacred 2 throws at me after dealing with THAT game.  LAWL

The only reason I mentioned anything is because it seems like the three blogs have had a lot about problems and little else.  It's good to know you are enjoying the game, however.  I was planning on blogging about this a while back, but I've been a bit lazy this past week. 
#8 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -
@jakob187: I think I understand what you're saying now. I guess I'm just better at being negative than anything else. ;-)
Seriously, though, I have trouble talking about what this game does well because I don't really feel like it offers anything wholly unique, and I'm afraid naming off all the things it has borrowed from other sources would read like a feature list. The game is great, but it's greatness is an amalgam of features that have been done in various other games. It takes the right combination of those and puts them together in a great package. I feel I can speak more intelligently and more interestingly about the few minor things the game does wrong. Plus, I'm really trying to create a sense of the struggles I had discovering the game which may also contribute to the tone of my posts. I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from playing it. More I would like to impart on them the wisdom I had to come about the "hard way" to make their transition into Sacred 2's world a little bit easier.
#9 Posted by jakob187 (21670 posts) -
@raddevon: Totally understandable.  It's interesting, though, as for all the things it does wrong, there is something it does right.  It keeps things in low numbers, creating a very balanced combat system.  Creating combos from your combat arts is pretty excellent, as it makes each character very unique.  The way they drop "talent trees" and instead allow you to focus on the individual skills is a nice touch as well.  The unique way of equipping items, combat arts, and more is awesome too.  I just feel like some of that stuff, which is wholly positive, is being left out.  Maybe you just haven't experienced those yet to their maximum potential.

Also, I went back and read the manual, and there is a WEALTH of great knowledge to be had in there.  I'd suggest giving it a look-see.

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