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Dragonfable: Critique on the Release of August 21, 2009

Posted by perpetualenigma on August 22, 2009

Now that Drakonnan has upped the stakes of the war, we have no choice but to rise to the challenge. And this week, we have: the way to General Varax has been cleared, and the one and only Ice Katana has been forged to take down the demented pyromancer (not Xan). It’s now time for us to go on the offensive.

General Varax (Battleon Burns Boss Monster)

About:

Drakonnan’s waves of fire monsters have been defeated, though at the cost of the ruination of Battleon. Nevertheless, we make our way to his general: a fire djinn named Varax. He claims to have completed his mission of destroying the town, and perhaps if he took our head, his master would reward him with his very own fire orb. Not that we would ever know; we aren’t even worthy enough to serve Drakonnan as a mindless slave. Our character stalwartly responds that we would never serve Drakonnan. Konnan may have been a friend, but he had been lost to a twisted evil, which now must be stopped. Varax then demands that we be silent, and moves in to finish us off; we had caused his master enough trouble. Once we manage to defeat the general, this quest drops powerful fire weapons of the Burning Signs and even Defender’s Medals, as well as a terrible hint that lots of friends are missing…

Pros:

General Varax proved to be a reasonably-challenging boss monster, with formidable multi-hit attacks and a very high level of endurance, not to mention only a slight weakness to ice. He was also very well-designed (a buff genie with a big hairdo? Classic.) and even animated when stationary to seem as though he was breathing. His defeat was not in vain either, for the weapons (and Defender’s Medals) dropped are among the most powerful available to non-DAs, and were elegantly-designed within the theme. This quest did not simply revolve around a boss monster and weapon drops though; at the epilogue of the quest lay a dire hint of worse things to come: the fate of our missing friends. It seemed as though this element of the plot is finally coming into play ever since the incident in the Eastern Hills two weeks ago. And if Varax’s words could be trusted, like those of most diabolical villains certain of their victory, we may already know what is in store for our lost companions: the life of a mindless thrall.

Cons:

The only real flaw of this quest was the relative ease in which we could defeat the general. There just wasn’t very much to distinguish Varax from other boss monsters, other than having a high endurance and multi-hit attacks. No DoTs, no critical attacks, no major resistances or parasitic regeneration; he was a little too straightforward, and it didn’t require an awful lot of strategy to defeat him, especially when aided by Xor Vralin II and Cranix. On the side, I would also have to say that there was no need to drop Defender’s Medals from the boss fight, especially since the ordinary war waves could already do so.

Grade:

There wasn’t very much that really galled me about this quest: Varax was a decent challenge that remained in character, the drops were mostly well-appreciated and an ominous suggestion has been dropped at the end. Overall, this quest deserves a 7/10.

Assault on the Enemy

About:

The scene opens with a fire elemental crumpling to the ground and burning itself out; thrown by our character, who claims that it is the last one. Meanwhile at the forge, Yulgar raises the finished Ice Katana from a water trough with a hiss of steam. The weapon is put alongside the other swords, and two guardians willing to give their lives for justice have been stationed to protect it (for that is what they do). Yulgar and Warlic seem satisfied, and they turn to our character, who claims that the deed has been done: the war is over. With General Varax defeated, the blacksmith believes that it should keep his forces at bay for now. However, we express our doubts about that statement. Warlic flatly disagrees; he could feel the disturbance on the elemental planes. Fire is wildly out of balance as Drakonnan uses the Fire Orb to increase his army and power… The Blue Mage cannot see everything, but he knows that if we don’t put a stop to the madness soon, we may never be able to. Yulgar remarks that their numbers are dwindling as well: Elgert, Mennace, Dain Lorilann have been missing since they investigated the Lightning Chasm, while Cranix and Xor Vralin II have been lost from sight when fighting the waves. And on top of that, Warlic claims that many of the people seeking refuge in the camp are gone as well; it is possible that they had moved to a safer place, but he wonders… Our character then states that we cannot sit around and defend any longer; we must stop Drakonnan. Warlic tries to assuage our guilt; Konnan’s fate was his to walk alone. But nevertheless, we are determined to stop him. So be it; the Blue Mage then suggests that we go and scout ahead while he and Yulgar plan the first mission.

Meanwhile, the two guardians who are protecting the Ice Katana have been mysteriously knocked out, and a very distinctive gauntlet reaches out for the prized weapon…

We venture into a chain of volcanoes and fight our way through the Fire Manti that inhabit the caverns… as well as a few old friends who had turned against us: the three who had disappeared in the Eastern Hills, Cranix and Xor Vralin II, and a myriad of other heroes who had gone missing in the razing of Battleon. When we defeat them all in battle, we find the Shadowfire Knight waiting for us at the very end. But upon securing another victory for ourselves, we discover him to be no other than Artix von Krieger. The paladin seems disoriented at first as we run towards him. Our character (who’s just as confused) demands to know why he is working for Drakonnan, but the last thing Artix clearly remembers is fighting through the Lightning Chasm, and meeting Drakonnan with the Fire Orb. Then it all comes back to him. Artix thanks us for saving him, and gives his deepest apologies. When asked what happened, he replies that though his head is still foggy, it is clear that Drakonnan has become far more powerful than any could have imagined: he knows how to use the Fire Orb to corrupt the minds and hearts of their fellow heroes. He is now working his way through the prisoners captured during his rampage, and turning them into his mindless minions. The paladin apologizes once again, but our character assures him that he is not to blame; at least he and the others are back now. Our forces have regained their strength, and the Ice Katana has been forged to give us a fighting chance. But then Artix lowers his head and gives us the stark truth: there is no Ice Katana. While he was under Drakonnan’s control, he took the Katana. Now it lies in one of Drakonnan’s deepest dungeons. It looks like we would have to storm that dungeon to free the rest of the prisoners and recover the weapon, but for now we must all go back to Battleon and plan our next move.

Pros:

Chalk up another great quest for the Great Fire War, for once again, the focus is on the storyline rather than the actual battles (or rewards for that matter). The case of the missing heroes (and townsfolk) was finally and fully acknowledged in this quest, and rather than deterring from the main objective of defeating Drakonnan, it was smoothly integrated into the plot as another major setback involving the loss of the Ice Katana. They were not exactly surprising, but the revelations were nevertheless a powerful development in the story, especially when delivered through a distraught Artix upon recovery. The fact that the paladin was able to fall sway under Drakonnan’s command is simply a testament to how terrible and pervasive the pyromancer’s power really is, which adds yet another element of urgency into the story. Especially for our character, who still held ourselves responsible for Drakonnan’s madness; if only we had stopped Akriloth in time, or at least saved the villagers first, none of this would have happened. This added a new layer of depth to our typically blithe character, who was realizing the true prices and pitfalls of being a hero: the occasional failure and loss of friends. In addition, the cutscenes that portrayed the interplay of grief and regret in the story were of a very high quality; the events flowed seamlessly with one another, and very few characters remained static throughout.

Cons:

As I had stated, there was little focus on the battles themselves. For other than the PvPs, there was no variation in fire monsters. It got a little tiresome to fight the same type of foe over and over again, especially when the Fire Manti were the only ones providing gold and Exp. On top of that, not even the lower leveled of the new evil-element weapons to be dropped were available for free players, which certainly would go missed by us.

Grade:

It may not be a new plot, but its application was done very well indeed. It’s just a shame about the battles, thus giving this quest a nevertheless decent 8.5/10.

Final Grade of the Release:

A great week; this was some of the best material to be released for free players and Dragonlords alike. All in all, this installment of the Great Fire War deserves an 8/10 from Perpetual Enigma.

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4 Responses to “Dragonfable: Critique on the Release of August 21, 2009”

  1. Great post as always PE.

    I have to say, this week set up the final battles of the Fire War perfectly. From displaying just how incredible Drakonnan’s power with the Fire Orb is, to giving us a glimpse at the weapon we may (Or may not, depending on the change in timelines) use to cut down the evil pyromancer, this quest had it all.

    I’m concerned with how people might react to having two wars in such a brief period, which is why I hope AE takes a short break to work on other endeavors for at least a week. Then, with other wars in the other games wrapped up, the final battle against Drakonnan can begin.

    The rewards were also very nice, I must admit. It’s good to have an Element X weapon that we can rely upon to take any enemy down regardless of elemental affiliation. The looks are.. Somewhat odd, I’ll admit, but they do hold true to the overall theme of the weapons, and the quest itself.

    Anywhoozle, I’m gonna hive this release, as you said, an 8/10. I’m looking forward to the future, trust me. 😉

  2. StJason said

    I think you need to take a point off your scores. Why? No skip button.

    Imagine, if you will, getting trounced by one of the PvP characters. You start off right before all the storyline and have to click all the way through it just to get to the point where you can turn around to go back and replenish your potions. Annoying. Tedious. The other chapters of the fire war have this problem as well.

  3. perpetualenigma said

    @ Alabamapitty
    Thanks; I’m also looking forward to next week. Things are shaping up to be seriously epic.

    @ StJason
    Hmm…
    I do recall finding a skip button from the beginning of the cutscene (though the other chapters of the Fire War don’t exactly have the same), so that should be able to get you to the point when you’re about to enter the cave (caverns?). Plus, there are a couple of full-heals strewn around the battleground, including one at the entrance.
    As for potions, it’s possible to just leave the quest at that point and run to Reens in Falconreach to replenish yours. Then you could return to Yulgar’s forge, skip the cutscene again, and wind up back at the cave entrance.
    At least, that’s how the quest went for me.

  4. orf said

    man, pvp is super hard.
    fun, but seems impossible…

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