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MechQuest: Analysis of 11/21/08 Release

Posted by The Peanut Master on November 22, 2008

This week’s major release, a war with the ShadowScythe, may very well have attained “best war” status with an incredibly superb and well-rounded release. Read on for more.

ShadowScythe War

About

The ShadowScythe have finally entered the picture once again after a relatively long absence from the storyline. They have entered our galaxy, but not to directly attack us: They are following a strange large asteroid that has just started drifting into our galaxy. There is nothing like this weird asteroid so far; it has “strange crimson crystal formations all over it”, according to Sys-Zero, military leader of the war. Current speculation is that it is some sort of energy source, and there is minor seismic activity going on within the rock’s core. Our job? To get on that asteroid and determine why the ShadowScythe are so interested in it, in addition the fast-growing forces that are moving there. This war incorporates a new war motivation ploy into MechQuest: Valor Medals, similar to the Defender Medals in DragonFable. To access the teaser reward shops released already, you just collect 10 Valor Medals. Also included in this war are new plot revelations (as stated above), three new hovering enemies with multiples specials per attack in many cases, and a Rec Room for some chilling time and an opportunity to talk with other NPCs fighting in the war.

Pros

My, my, where to start… seriously, I have no idea where to start. Honestly, like, no idea. I may say this sometimes, but this time I really mean it. There’s so much positive feedback I can give… amazing plot introduction… fantastic war motivation implementations… superb and difficult enemies with innovative new special ideas… an original new idea in the Rec Room to really provide the intimacy and interaction MechQuest needs… teaser war rewards at perfect levels… overall fantastic war polish… WOW! Well, let’s start with the plot.

AE has created some excellent plots over MechQuest’s short history, and some not-so-great ones as well. This one has to go down in the history books as one of the best, so far. I love the military and intellectual feel from the plot, and it leaves some big questions that will hopefully be answered later on in the war. With this plot, I actually wantΒ to know what’s going to happen next, and considering that this is the first interaction with the ShadowScythe in a while, it’s shaping up to be truly excellent. A job well done a fanastic war plot starter.

Next, the war motivation. This may be the aspect of the war that I feel AE did the best job on. War motivation was such a huge issue, one that I felt so strongly about it that I believed it could potentially keep MechQuest from becoming a respectable game. I made a deep post about it here on the blog and created a thread on the BattleOn Forums, which received amazing feedback and suggestions. Well, Warlic and Co. listened, and implemented based on what they heard (if that statement sounds like a broken record, that’s because it is). The Valor Medals are a greats spin-off of Defender Medals without directly copying the idea. Remember, Defender Medals are an actual currency; Valor Medals are items that are required to open the reward shops (currently at a correct 10 medal requirement), with the items themselves being purchasable by credits. I like how AE disguised the true amount of time needed to get the Valor Medals (therefore increasing motivation) by actually secretly requiring more than 10 battles; the roll at the end of the battle gives the chance of failing. Also, the superb credit and experience rewards and provide plenty of motivation on their own for the farmers of the MechQuest world.

Next up, the new enemies. More than I expected, with three new hovering enemies and countless old ones revitalized in this war. The animations are flat-out awesome: I love the flying theme. The difficulty level is undoubtedly higher; almost to a fault (which I’ll get to later on), but plenty difficult to provide a nice challenge for all players. These enemies possess a new strategic trait that makes them very unique: The possibility of activating more than one special in a turn. This provides a much more difficult fight when multiples specials are going off at once. It makes it much harder to strategize against, and provides the enemies with a new strategic idea that really works.

Next, the Rec Room. Another outstanding implemention by AE. As you’ll discover in a soon-to-be-posted post on the lack of interactivity and true personality in AE games (written by guest blogger Zamuel, with my thoughts as well), many times whilst playing AE games you feel like you are playing in a barbie doll world. Everything is motionless, and there’s no true interactivity beyond only the most important NPCs. That certainly changed with this war, as the Rec Room provides the interactivity of being able to communicate with more minor NPCs in a relaxing and laid-back environment, which provides a beautiful contrast to the frenetic and intense war environment. I can only hope these minor, but equally important, interactivity additions continue, as they really do improve the polish and feel of releases.

And finally, the war rewards. While not flashy and high-level, these classic rewards were revived at levels where weapons were needed: in the mid-level range. People will (and already have) complain about the lack of any high level equipment, but considering how much high-level players have got recently, this had to be expected and anticipated.

Cons

To follow the extensive list of pros of this war release, I will follow that with a short one-sentence explanation of the one slight fault with this release: While the enemies are much more difficult than normal (purposely made so), they almost seem to be too difficult on the normal difficulty for the casual player.

Overall Grade of Release

9.9/10. I can’t give it a flat 10 because that would entail literal perfection, and while this came as close as humanely possible, it didn’t get there. Still, there isn’t much I can say now that I haven’t said already. This was such a superb and overall well-rounded release, and AE should be so proud of their work on this war. My fingers are crossed for half as good an ending as its beginning! πŸ™‚

Enjoy! πŸ™‚ (Just to let you know, I didn’t really proofread this, so any grammar/spelling mistakes should be blamed on Scrap.)

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4 Responses to “MechQuest: Analysis of 11/21/08 Release”

  1. Rayne said

    *starts clapping* I couldn’t have said it better myself. Personally, I think the enemy difficulty is challenging, though I can see how they could be difficult for a newer player (my secondary certainly had a few problems)
    —-
    “Any grammar/spelling mistakes should be blamed on Scrap.”
    Oh no, not you too ;p I’ve already heard a lifetime’s worth of blame laid on poor Scrap.

  2. I love this War. Finally, some DM-Type things. I would say all I like about it, but I’m of to write my DF analysis now ;).

  3. Arikromus said

    This war is amazing. However…I have found that there is nothing good for fulfilling Starbuck’s requirements. Therefore, a suggestion:

    One possibility is that you get a higher chance of getting Valor Medals the more you have.
    This would be based on the “checkpoints” Starbuck gives you.

    The rationale being that the more well-known you are, the easier it is to get praise for your actions.

  4. Seriyu said

    Definatly echoing the “enemies might be a bit too difficult” sentiment, for a non SC with no nova gems they’re downright brutal, not quite tough enough to kill me every time, but rather around half the time. Not nessacerily a complaint, but even with the geekatron biped, which was highly reccomended, for the stun resist, still only has 20% stun resist at the end of the immobility lowering, even down to 0 I believe if they hit you twice with a stun lowering effect before they stun. With all that said, definatly one of their best wars so far, and glad to see mechquest improving.

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