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AE – A Collaborative Critique: Part 1

Posted by Zeke on November 4, 2009

A note about the following “episodes”:

These are written by anonymous writers, who choose to remain so. I am merely a messenger of sorts. If any of the following posts offend you, please do not place the blame on United Lore, for it may be us hosting the post, but it is not necessarily our own thoughts.

These posts are basically critiques on AE; be it the games they host, their management, etc. It can be seen as a type of “shout out” to AE, an attempt to try and improve the status quo where it need be improved.

This first writer is criticizing the current state of MechQuest as a whole.

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MechQuest: The End of an Era

Where to start after that point, I guess the best place would be the latest disaster known as Westion Part 2, although I personally have another name for it, AE’s Bottomless Pit. The very beginning seemed promising, the return of the ShadowScythe, several brand new good-looking ShadowScythe units and a clash with more backstory on them, however, if you read what I just said, you’ll notice I posted nothing promising about Westion itself, only about the SS returning. Honestly, there was nothing promising about Westion to be happy about in waiting for the releases. The beginning was littered with near impossible reputation shops and quests that required hours of a player’s time to max out with honestly sub par rewards as the end result of this madness, and then the next week, we started all over again, in an endlessly hellish cycle that could have been completely avoided had these quests been done in a more enjoyable, varied, and separated fashion than they were.

After this trainwreck, they announced the coming of Westion’s first part 2 war, the 2nd Bug War. First off, it was a bad idea to advertise this war as they did, as the original was a complete DISASTER and was one of the worst releases in MQ history, the staff having to end the war FOR us. The war changed at 10% becoming a Fire/Bug War and getting people more interested in it, I’ll admit, this seemed a good ploy at first, introducing a larger enemy for the war and revealing a new type of enemy with a new damage type that you could gain resistance to. The flip side of this was that it required 250 ELEMENTAL EMBERS, which were a new drop item, only available from the new enemies the Mini Magmars, to max out one of the possible 2 fire resistance items, and then an UNANNOUNCED amount of Embers would be required to get the Steampunk mecha that was revealed to be the mecha at the war’s end. This move convinced a large amount of players that the war wasn’t worth it all and they refused to fight until the amount needed was revealed, which was more than 3/4 of the way through the war, and in the end, it turned out you only needed them to open the shops, not use in a merge or ANYTHING. On top of this, their attempt to somehow tie the GEARS Houses into this war was a solid idea, however was ill-planned and poorly executed, placing the nail in the coffin at this point in this entire war release, condemning it to rot in the minds of the MQ players as one of the worst, most tedious releases in history.

Soon after the end of this disaster, Warlic passed the reins of Creative Head onto Korin, a young animator who had risen through the ranks of the MQ Staff and impressed Warlic, which he believed warranted this promotion. This is potentially one of the BIGGEST mistakes in MechQuest history, as we have seen in the weeks to come, it may have been a thoughtful idea on Warlic’s part, it was an ill-considered one and it was far too early for Korin to have been given creative control of the entire game, I would have recommended giving him a trial run without telling the players, allowing Warlic to evaluate if Korin really was ready for the promotion he had in mind, which he would have seen that he wasn’t. Korin’s first few releases weren’t exactly bad, but they weren’t exactly good either. They nearly slid under the radar with how bland they were, the only semi-innovative release being the Alamonia Saloon, which used card games followed by a mecha fight as an interesting new way to gain Rep in a quest. This was the only release of Korin’s that is really worth mentioning, instead I’ll move on to the current war that plagues this game, the ShadowScythe Invasion.

As this war began, it pitted us against the ShadowScythe who were invading the planet, with 2 war meters side by side showing our progress against theirs, the first to 100% being the winner. While this is a rather solid and interesting concept, everything done after it was a step down the wrong road with no looking back. The SC Camp provided a difficult Special Mission and the same shops provided at the Non-SC camp, with the battles being rather difficult even with a very high leveled mecha. Then came the release of a second special mission at the SC Camp, to get help from the planets of Zargon and Arthuria, whom we’d helped in the past. Both revealed that they were stretched thin as it was and that there would be no way that they would be able to send help to Westion. Yet, in the cutscene unlocked at 35%, who do we find flying to our rescue? Selina and the Galactimecha from Zargon, and King Alteon and his fleet from Arthuria, a clear Deus Ex Machina to save the players from being completely annihilated, and a NECESSARY one. Also at this point, Valoth has decided that it’s time to awaken his evil Dragonoid (Undead Dragonoid) to finish off the Defenders of Westion in one final attack, the Dragonoid we have previously met sensing the awakening of his “friend” and probably coming to find him. This week we see the potentially WORST release done by MQ in a long time, a near impossible minigame fight against the Dragonoid in the Galactimecha that is heavily bugged and should have been looked over a lot more before having been released, and the promise of a cutscene AND the bossfight at 80%. However it was later revealed that the MQ Team didn’t have the cutscene OR the finished bossfight ready, releasing only a black screen with music and a sub par boss enemy who lacks the specials that he was supposed to have, proving the point that this release was easily one of the worst, if not THE worst in Mechquest history, with a shocking amount of flaws and disappointing factors that I expected from MQ 2 years ago right after it started out, not NOW.

Overall, I am extremely displeased with this turn of events and do not know if MechQuest can bounce back from it, I guess that only time will tell and we’ll have to wait and see if they can overcome this HORRID planet and ALL of its releases with it, a difficult task in itself. I do wish the MQ team luck, however I don’t have the confidence that I once had in them and it will take a lot on their part to win it back, more than they’ve shown in a LONG time.

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7 Responses to “AE – A Collaborative Critique: Part 1”

  1. ZamuelNow said

    I actually feel that most of the return to Westion was pretty good. However, there were some grevious flaws. After the quagmire that was Arthurians vs Pirates, a new War (or two…) so soon afterwards was very poor planning. While I feel that claims of Selina and Robina aiding us = unrealistic are a little bit overblown and blinded by bias against Westion as a whole (they ARE our allies and it was intriguing that they said “no” first), the lolKorin! ending to the war WAS a Deus ex Machina, tacky, and cheapened the loss.

    Yeah I said it, Korin popping in to the ending was not funny and was the low point of the game.

    Humor through failure is one thing but the way it was done was annoying to the point of almost seeming egotistical (“Dude, I can pop in and out of reality, lolz!”). THAT is worries me about him being passed the creative control–it’ll be used more for ill conceived jokes and ego stroking than improving the game which is disappointing since I actually like his work as an animator. The hiccups at the end of the two Westion wars also seem to be a negative sign that the MQ team is trying to move too fast without planning. This is going to wind up hurting any part of the game that’s not the new shiny and then the new parts will have problems.

    Oh yeah, and Elemental Embers seem to be worthy of epic levels of facepalm.

  2. Watchman said

    Somehow, I’m starting to feel glad me, Fancy Lala and Kangi all decided to take vacations from MQ before this all happened.

    Sheesh looks it’s been one bad release after the other. I’m still covering all the stuff I’ve missed. But after seeing what Korin did in the end of the last war, his credibility of being creative head of MQ isn’t very good.

  3. ZamuelNow said

    While I’d disagree with “one bad release after another” there are things that seem questionable. I’d see you enjoying most of it Watchman since you actually like Westion (though it admittedly isn’t perfect). But other things just seemed…off.

  4. StJason said

    You know what is worst about the elemental embers? Now that I have half a bajillion, I CAN’T GET RID OF THE WORTHLESS THINGS. Tried selling stackable items in MQ? Pain. I’m running low on slots, and getting rid of the things (without spending three hours doing so) would be nice.

  5. Aren said

    What confuses me, is that they released these wars late in the summer, instead of early. Not to mention having it alongside DF’s fire war.

  6. Seriyu said

    To be fair, the black screen for the war boss and cutscene has happened before, and is hardly limited to Korin. (I realize this is a forum poster saying this, but I felt the need to bring it up. :p)

    I definatly agree about the elemental embers. How do we get rid of these things now? I have like, 200.

  7. Aren said

    You just keeping tossing them out. Your hand will likely feel very cramped at the end.

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