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MechQuest: Analysis of 7/31/09 Release

Posted by The Peanut Master on August 2, 2009

This week’s release brings new content to Westion Part 2, as Lord Valoth has cleverly planted explosive bombs all over Westion and it is up to us to defuse as many as possible. Of course, things don’t necessarily go entirely as planned…

Defusing Bombs: Bomb Squad

About

In the first part of this release, Sheriff Grif’th hands us the task of finding and defusing ten bombs scattered around Westion. What does defusing these bombs entail, you ask? Well, each quest for a bomb pits you in the desert with three possible locations for where the bomb can be located. Each area is guarded by a ShadowScythe enemy, and after fighting your way to the bomb, you have to attack it with your mecha and hope it is defused and not exploded. If you successfully defuse it (which is based on a random hidden roll), you beat the quest and continue on your task for 10 defused bombs, but if it explodes, you must restart the quest with the bomb hidden in a different random location. Defuse 10 and the job is done.

Pros

The idea of the ShadowScythe secretly hiding bombs seems like something they would definitely do: It is effective, relatively easy, and reduces the chance of being massively massacred in a full-scale assault. Having the bombs as an object to directly interact with was great to see as well, and I’m glad there isn’t a 100% success rate. While this specific aspect of the release did not include any new enemies, there was a nice variety in the ones used, which is always nice to reduce repetitiveness.

Cons

The quest itself was very repetitive, boring, and unoriginal, and could have been spiced up a bunch, especially in relation to the defusing process. This task itself could have been turned into its own minigame to some point, and I hardly doubt attacking a bomb with a full-scale mecha is the safest way to defuse one. In addition, a ticking timer would have definitely helped give off the impression that we are under a time constraint to defuse the bombs before they go off. The bombs certainly aren’t going to wait for us to find and defuse them, are they? Overall, this quest did not deliver in the way it easily could have, and for that it was a disappointment.

Grade of Release

6.5/10. Uninspired, unoriginal, and repetitive is what made a promising repeatable quest into an underwhelming one, and is thankfully compensated by the next quest in the chain. However, as a sort of introduction to the next quest in the chain, it served its purpose well enough.

Mine Explosions: Khaeldron Mine Bomb Defusion

About

The ShadowScythe have set off multiple bombs down in the Khaeldron mines, with a dual purpose: Not only would it knock out a severe portion of Khaeldron if they go off, but they would also tremendously help Valoth in his search for the sunken SS starship buried beneath Westion. For both these reasons, we must defuse them. Thus begins the quest to defuse the underground bombs STAT. In the quest you progress through the windy mine, fighting through multiple SS enemies protecting the bombs until they go off. Much to our surprise, the last enemy we beat (the new Trog model) regenerates on the spot and runs to activate the final bomb only a few feet away.

The explosion decimates everything in its vicinity, and the next thing we know we are in the presence of Tikala, high priestess of the Vul’Kharim, who saved us from the explosion and healed our wounds. It becomes evident that the ShadowScythe now believe our character is dead, which can obviously work to our advantage. Tikala also explains how it was initially thought we would be the one to awaken an “ancient evil” (the ShadowScythe) to the land, but that now it seems the ShadowScythe are to awaken the beast that lurks within the depths of Westion. And it is up to us to stop this beast, which the Vul’Kharim believe is an ancient guardian that lives in the deepest reaches of the planet. After this… interesting altercation, we get another glimpse of Lord Valoth, who assumes we have died in the explosion. He sees things going exactly as planned, and continues to talk about this present he seems to own. The scene then cuts to a few ShadowScythe ships dragging what appears to be a crystal asteroid behind them… *cliffhanger*

Pros

There was storyline abound in this jam-packed quest, and I loved every second of it. Our meeting with Tikala proved to be informative and interesting, and the ever-growing presence of a third faction (who is this Magma Lord?) is setting up a massive conclusion to Westion Part 2. I also really liked how it wasn’t all good news in the quest; the bomb did end up going off, and not only did it probably devastate much of the desert, but it also brought Valoth and the ShadowScythe closer to retrieving the sunken starship that they so desperately desire. This, added onto another possible faction entering the picture added onto this mysterious crystal asteroid present of Lord Valoth’s equals mega suspense/cliffhangers, and I am extremely excited to see where this goes. Additionally, the new Trog enemy was a welcome sight, proving to be a formidable enemy with its DoT-centered setup. The rewards, while nothing truly special, also fit into certain setups well and the FA-BA combo was a nice addition. Overall, I was really impressed with basically everything in this quest, and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

Cons

The rewards were a bit bland and expected and I’m still disappointed in the lack of a timer with the presence of bombs, but other than these small quips I’m shut out in this section. Well done, AE. πŸ™‚

Grade of Release

9.5/10. A fantastic quest from start to finish, helped tremendously by the superb, jam-packed cutscene with plenty of dialogue.

Overall Grade of Release

8.0/10. Two quests were released, one fantastic and one… not so much. I’m putting equal weight on both quests, thus the 8/10 final score. Overall, I was definitely satisfied with the release, while not without faults, and it continues to set the table for an epic Westion Part 2.

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4 Responses to “MechQuest: Analysis of 7/31/09 Release”

  1. orodalf said

    A few things:

    Defusing, not diffusing. They’re quite different. In addition, there isn’t any “hidden random roll”; if you score a critical hit, then the bomb is defused.

    Good critique; I agree with you on most of your points.

  2. Thanks for that correction on the diffuse-defuse thing. For some strange reason my brain told me to write the other form of the word, which looking back makes no sense. πŸ˜›

    On the defusing issue, you do appear be right on the critical hit (although AFAIK that hasn’t been officially confirmed anywhere, therefore it can’t be assumed), but for all the attacks that don’t involve criticals there has to be a roll somewhere, as I’ve both defused and exploded bombs in those situations.

  3. Well once again, the cutscene makes the release.

    AE is doing a really good job of improving releases by adding cinematics, and it’s no more evident than in MQ.

    Anyway, I loved the actual mine portion of the bomb squad quests (Wasn’t thrilled by the first defusing series). I absolutely love the new Trog mech and its vast array of powerful DoT’s. Personally, I’d like to see that model as a reward soon, rather than these somewhat lackluster weapons.

    Great analysis Peanut, I’m looking forward to what they’ll do with Westion next week.

  4. Kangi said

    I loved it, I can honestly say that this series has got me interested in Westion agin. Though I do have a feeling that AE is about to whipe the planet off the face of the solar map. Which would explain why the Drakel are on Lore in AQ. As well as their advanced tech.

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