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Dragonfable: Critique on the Release of August 7, 2009

Posted by perpetualenigma on August 12, 2009

New chapters of old legends (and things that will become old legends) are opening east and west of Lore on this week. Away to the east, Drakonnan is integrating new and terrifying beasts into his campaign, and Yulgar’s camp receives a new name (you’ll never guess what it is).  Meanwhile in Falconreach, our character begins to take the first steps to recover the colors of Surewould Forest, though at the expense of Dr. Voltabot’s ire, and their own safety.

Battle for the Eastern Hills

About:

In Yulgar’s camp to the east, Aria has just been discovered by the blacksmith, who had explicitly told her to stay in Falconreach; it was far too dangerous for her to be here. And no buts either- she was going back on the first caravans home.  Aria makes a face and states that she just wants to help out. But in the end, she sees Yulgar’s point and agrees to go back to Grams. (The senile woman has probably forgotten where she had put the Gorillaphant feed again…) Then our character comes to Aria’s rescue, and remarks that with the constant barrage of fire elemental attacks, it would be too risky to escort Aria out of the camp. She would be here a while (and with that, Aria lets out an internal whoop). Our character continues regardless: the people of Ashenvale have settled here in the camp, as they have nowhere else to go. They would need weapons from Yulgar to help protect this new town. The blacksmith replies that as long as he has strength in his arms, he shall help. Reens, in her updated look, then calls the trio over; it looks like the town is ready to start.

In one corner of the camp, with Galanoth kneeling silently by the grave, Artix delivers the eulogy for Demento’s funeral. Demento had given his life to warn them of the new threat Drakonnan had become, and in the coming days, that threat shall grow. More will give their lives for the sake of good, but in order to save the world, they must all battle on. That is when our character pipes up, asking what the new town ought to be called. Yulgar gives the answer after a moment of quiet: Battleon. It’s fitting, declares Artix. Just then, a brilliant streak of lightning erupts from the foothills of the East.

The scene shifts to those very foothills, where Drakonnan is standing over a pit blazing with energy. Xan then appears in a flash of fire, and demands to know what he is doing, when he should be assisting him in taking down Warlic. And not only that, but he has killed the spy Demento, and stayed east for weeks. When Drakonnan remains silent, his mentor’s hands burst into flame; how dare the apprentice disobey him? Then said apprentice, without turning his back, unleaessh a blast of flame in the air between them; no, he did dare to disobey his master. He was an ungrateful little thing, began Xan, but Drakonnan let loose another burst of flame from his body, knocking Xan further back. The man formerly known as Konnan then rages at his teacher: he would deny him his revenge to chase down the Blue Mage. He would NOT BE DENIED! But his mentor laughs at him; Drakonnan dares to threaten him? He, who held the pyronomicon and controls legions of his own fire monsters? It looks like all the volcanic gases had gone to his head. That is when Drakonnan unveils the Fire Orb in his possession, and absorbs Xan’s flames. The pyromancer is aghast; how had he procured the Fire Orb? Drakonnan coldly replies that the student has surpassed the teacher. The orb had found its way to a true master of fire, and with it, he would build an army greater than Xan could ever control. Even now, his minions work to protect his newest recruits: enslaved plasma dragons. Xan calls him a fool; wouldn’t the heroes at Battleon learn of this? The new fire master lets out a laugh; he is counting on it.

Our character, with the help of some new adventurer NPCs, travels to the Eastern Hills to discover the source of the mysterious lightning, fighting through a variety of fire monsters, including the Fire Golems and Enslaved Plasma Dragons. One by one though, we lose our companions to the darkness of the hills as we battle. We finally arrive with Yulgar to the spot where Drakonnan had once stood, and peer down at the pit of energy. Our character muses that plasma dragons are now working for the rogue pyromancer; and by the way, has the blacksmith seen Dain Lorilann, Mennace or Elgert, the missing heroes? Slowly, Yulgar answers that he has not seen them, but they are not the only ones lost in the chasm.

Pros:

This quest proved to be quite a change from tame little Ashenvale last week, and managed to raise the bar back to its original height for the Great Fire War, which is very high indeed. The quest started itself off with a significant amount of light-heartedness: Aria receiving a lecture from Yulgar (we all knew that she couldn’t get away with sneaking in). Her change of facial expressions (and irreverence) was adorable, but the main point of the scolding was to show that these chaotic times could draw out the best from the hearts of even the youngest. This smoothly paved the way for the darkening of the plot, when we get to honor Demento’s sacrifice, and name the new town Battleon as a tribute to all heroes fighting for peace (which we all knew was a long time coming). No one’s sacrifice will go unnoticed as they all fight in this Great Fire War. What was well done about the poignant naming of Battleon was its simplicity and brevity; there was no melodrama involved, making it all the more stirring, and it did not obstruct the fast-pace of the plot. Standing center-stage in this chapter of the War, however, was the betrayal of Xan by Drakonnan; this was again something long-anticipated, and again simply, yet deftly done. Xan could have been incoherent, and Drakonnan could have been a excessive monologuer, but instead the tense exchange between former-master and rogue-apprentice was concise and straight-forward, mixed in with a solid amount of action as Drakonnan finally revealed the Fire Orb. Xan, one of the central figures, in particular was portrayed accurately as he fought to retain control over Drakonnan; fuming, then desperately laughing, and finally defeated, but never once exploding into a maniacal rage we are all accustomed to. This added a new depth to his previously two-dimensional character, and actually made him seem sane for a change. But crazy or not, the fact remained that Drakonnan had now completely snatched the reins of control from the old pyromancer, and was urgently picking up the pace of the plot with a diabolical new scheme. That however, remained partially a mystery, but it was obvious that the lightning was a lure, and the heroes who disappeared in the chasm would meet with a sinister end. The new NPCs accompanying our character made a welcome change from the older and far-weaker ones we were used to, and turned battling into a more challenging experience as we sought to juggle the multiple sets of skills. And their disappearance into the darkness was a shocking and disturbing twist to the plot; we learnt not to take our allies for granted, for none of us were invulnerable to the plots of the new villain. Not even in regards to straightforward battling, which, against the new well-drawn and animated Fire Golems and Enslaved Plasma Dragons, was a sufficiently difficult experience.

Cons:

For these sorts of well-designed quests, I have very little to complain about. There were still a few things that were difficult to miss though. One thing was the lack of drops in the quest; neither DA-holders nor free players received anything from this story, other than the satisfaction of a good plot. Another thing would have to be the G-rating of Aria’s scolding; to say that she needed to respect her elders was laying it a tad heavy on the preaching, when a simple ‘Alright, I’ll stop’ would have sufficed. I was also a little disappointed to find that Galanoth made a very limited appearance in this quest, contrasting with his role in Demento’s death two weeks ago. He could have been the one delivering the eulogy for the funeral, provided he wasn’t too grief-stricken to do anything else than kneel by the grave. Lastly, the plasma-dragons proved to be little more than re-colored variations of the Enslaved Red Dragons; while this may be faithful to AdventureQuest, changing their attacks would have at least been appreciated, considering their different element. Or better yet, a more original design of the creature could have been made, especially for something that was exceedingly rare.

Grade:

Every quest would be harried by a few flaws, but it really depends upon how great those flaws are. In this case, they are trivial, just like the better quests of the Great Fire War. I will have to award this part of the release with a satisfying 8.75/10.

Dye Another Day

About:

We return to Robina and Sneegol by the waterfall, and relay to them the story of Dr. Voltabot’s ineptitude. The first thing we would need is dye, and then to find some non-Gnome help. If only Sneevils were engineering geniuses… At this, Sneegol interrupts and claims that Sneevils were box-smart, first and foremost. Our character then wonders if there was one eccentric Sneevil out there that prefers mechanics over boxes, but oh well. We’ll think about getting help later; first things first, the dye must be found. Robina then suggests the Sneevil Dumpsite, and our character races there to hopefully find some random dye to re-color the woods. And after fighting through the inhabitants of the Dumpsite, we do find a few bottles of color. We then return again to Robina bearing good news and a lot of complaints on the scrapyard; she patiently hears us out, and finally asks us about the broken machine. How are we to fix it? Our character doesn’t need to explain very much to the perceptive ranger, but what we plan to do, Dr. Voltabot won’t know what hit him: we’re off to Popsprocket!

Pros:

Like its predecessor, this was a simple and decently done quest. The plot was straightforward and left little room for confusion. The battles weren’t bad, and we got to see some real denizens of the dump that had been AWOL from the game for a while. There was also a sufficient amount of levity, especially in regards to Sneegol, the interesting bits of trash strewn about and our character’s complaints, without really undermining the seriousness of the quest to restore Surewould’s colors. On top of that, the weapon drops were quite powerful for their level, and well-appreciated by the free-players.

Cons:

First of all, why exactly were we procuring dye for Surewould, when the colors would be restored once we find Dr. Voltabot an intelligent colleague who was not a gnome? The quest for bottled colors thus felt like unnecessary filler, when we could have travelled to Popsprocket first to recruit a gnome or two, just as we planned, and then reverse the effects of the machine. Another flaw would have to be the lack of a decent boss monster; all we received was a large Burlap and an oversized Thisslock, when something like a Trash Golem would have been more appropriate. Lastly, the weapon drops really seemed out of theme, for I cannot think of anything connecting it to the quest other than having water as the natural enemy of grime. It looked like the team was just under pressure for providing new water weapons to the players, rather than waiting for the right moment, and designing something that looked anything but cheesy.

Grade:

It was a simply battling quest with a sprinkle of humor, but otherwise, that was it. This no longer had the immunity of its predecessor in starting off a new saga, so it will receive a 6.5/10 from me.

Final Grade of the Release:

It’s great to see the Great Fire War back to form, but the second quest really seemed like filler, especially now that is already the second in the chain. This week’s release, by slightly-altered average, receives a 7.75/10 from this c

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2 Responses to “Dragonfable: Critique on the Release of August 7, 2009”

  1. perpetualenigma said

    My apologies to all of you; a new school year had just begun, and I’m getting a little rusty in managing my time after weeks of idleness. Again, I’m sorry; this is unlikely to happen again without me posting a warning beforehand.

  2. lemmy7003 said

    Good post PE!
    I agree, the Colorless chain is shaping up to be my least faveorite chain yet.

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