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AE – A Collaborative Critique: Part 4

Posted by Zeke on November 10, 2009

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.

The 4th writer is, again, writing about MQ.


MechQuest – Going Downhill since Returning to Westion

In the past few months, the MQ Team has been slipping in the quality of their releases. After the AvP War, they chose to return to Westion in an attempt to revive it and make it welcoming to players. By this, it seems that they did not want to let a planet, who’s checkered production already made it unfavorable (not to mention the major polarizing effect it had on the player base), go to waste. Great idea… But only in theory.

Not long after returning to Westion, they began tossing missions upon missions of Reputation Quests that required near-divine intervention in order to pass and continue on. Added to that was the fact that there were no uniforms available that could improve the chances of the roll. After these, we came to a War. The dual Bug/Fire War. Normally, it wouldn’t be a bad thing, but this came not too long after a previous, MONTH-Long War. With it came a completely random surprise: Suddenly, Westion had value, as the staff tried too hard to give the planet value by tying part of the GEARS Houses relics with the Planet’s God Pyras.’

Then after that war ended, we were tossed RIGHT INTO YET ANOTHER WAR. The Shadowscythe have come, and have decided it was time for Westion to die. From the get-go, it was a potential success. It was potentially the first losable war in MechQuest. However, many players began to cry and complain about the unfairness of it all, so the MQ Team chose to baby the players and make it fairer. On top of that, the staff used Deus ex Machina to explain the sudden save and reduction in difficulty.

Many players try to defend the MQ Team’s Deus ex Machina, but the truth is that there was no excuse for poor storyline planning and execution. Let’s look at this from a logical and proper storyline perspective.

1. Zargon has been reduced to two defenders after previous events; Starstorm and the Galactimecha. Logically, this would mean that one or the other has to stay and defend Zargon in the event that the massive Shadowscythe armada chooses to call in support to take Zargon. This would dictate that if Zargon chose to respond to the SDF’s call for help in defending Westion, either Starstorm would go and use her SuperHyperMegaPowers to help bring down the Shadowscythe fleet, OR one of the named former superheroes would pilot Galactimecha against the Shadowscythe fleet. Also, Dr. Boltavolt is still running around plotting his revenge. Would the only defenders of Zargon really be stupid enough to leave the planet wide open to attack, not only from the Shadowscythe, but from the scheming and revenge-driven man?

2. After the Arthurians vs Pirates War, both sides admitted to being exhausted of fighting strength. In fact, it was said that the Arthurian’s invasion force was part of their main military. After taking considerable losses, it would be impossible for them to rebuild enough of their fighting forces to spare for Westion’s defense. Heck, the MQ Team EVEN REFERENCED IT WITH THE REPLY ROBINA STATES IN THE SC ALLIES MISSION. So logically, Arthuria would never show up to aid Westion, since they first have to rebuild their forces, then keep enough on standby in the event of a Shadowscythe invasion.

Now, let’s look at what the MQ Team did with the cutscene that unlocked at around 40%.

1. Zargon sent not one, but BOTH of their sole defenders. Starstorm in the Galactimecha. Zargon is now completely defenseless.

2. Arthuria retconned their prior stance, and chose to send what they had to aid Westion. King Alteon himself is aiding the charge, with the statement that the “Might of the Arthurian Army is as Westion’s Disposal.” Normally, the “Might of One’s Army” means the most, if not all of their military force. Regardless, this is a retcon of their original stance.

3. Valoth chooses to awaken the “Evil” Dragonoid-Lich as a counter to the reinforcements. The “Good” Dragonoid is shown responding to the awakening, and quite possibly is going to come and see how his “friend” is doing.

The MQ Team just threw out all storyline logic and coherency. Furthermore, the semi-consistent storytelling MQ had was completely lost. Now lets fast forward to the Shadowscythe’s victory. Who comes to save Westion to an extent? Korin. He sends all Westion survivors to Gark and takes the ShS Dragonoid away from Valoth. The players are hit with another Deus Ex Machina. Instead of some emotional scenes like DF’s recent Fire War, we get a cheap and cheesy rescue and convenient removal of what could’ve been another viable threat for Lore, Zargon, and Lagos/Arthuria. I don’t know about the more youthful and innocent players, but that was a major face-meets-concrete moment for me and for a few other players. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t done well, and it definitely wasn’t memorable except in a bad way. It was an insult, a poor shot at humor, and another clear case of stiff stick-figure animation. It was the perfect opportunity for the MQ Staff to show what they could do to make it emotional and memorable, but instead, they go with the easy way out. And since it’s not likely AE will ever rework a proper cutscene for Westion’s end, it’s guaranteed that Westion will be remembered in infamy. “The Planet that was a Failure from the Start.”

I care about MechQuest, and I believe that it deserves a bit of change from AE’s other games; especially since it is new territory for AE. As a person who has seen well over 50 different mecha anime, several live-action mecha movies, and has played a good range of mecha games (most never being translated to English from the native Japanese), I do reserve the right to criticize AE’s development of MQ. They need to watch more mecha shows and play more mecha games, and learn how the storyline and humor (if there are any) are incorporated into the mecha genre. Also, they need to hire competent creative story leads who can actually put together a consistent and reasonable storyline; especially for a game that will span solar systems, instead of just a planet. And finally, Korin better get on the ball and start getting serious about MQ. If he can’t, find someone who can. If neither are possible, cut back the releases to bi-weekly instead of weekly; using the gained time to PROPERLY design, code, and test new releases, as well as FIX all older issues. Pretty graphics and a strong battle system (as far as mech battles go) are nowhere near enough to guarantee MQ’s playability in the future.


One Response to “AE – A Collaborative Critique: Part 4”

  1. ZamuelNow said

    While I do have some issues with the storyline, there is one thing I have to argue

    “Zargon has been reduced to two defenders after previous events; Starstorm and the Galactimecha”

    Yes…and no. The reason why Selina’s supersuits were so popular is because they actually give powers to the user. I’ll admit that the prior defenders wouldn’t be at their full strength, they wouldn’t be totally defenseless. The bigger problem with the scene is the lack of any sort of “angel on the shoulder” sequence. Essentially, a secondary party Bat Mech, Robert, etc) to convince Selina and Robina that despite their own losses, it would be cold hearted to turn their back on our friends when we came to aid them–especially since the ShadowScythe are everyone’s problem and they do not need to get a major foothold in the galaxy.

    It’s odd that I find myself as devil’s advocate since I actually disliked the way Westion ended (despite being a diehard Westion fan). Intriguingly, I actually contemplated a way to redo the cutscene for the end of Westion that would maintain all the same events INCLUDING Korin but would be structured differently. But what’s done is done.

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