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Dragonfable: Critique on the Release of November 6, 2009

Posted by perpetualenigma on November 19, 2009

The rivalry between Falconreach’s two great weaponsmith’s is beginning to brew: Lim with the power of Science and Cysero with the wonders of Magic. It’s time for the Clash(ening)! Meanwhile, the Mad Magical Weaponsmith has a quest for us, only this time, our actions decide the ending: it’s Dragonfable’s first Choose Your Own Adventure quest!

The Clashening- Collision Course

Our character enters Lim’s weaponshop and is greeted enthusiastically by the weaponsmith. He needs our help to initiate his greatest experiment yet: Lim’s Had-ron collider. Had-rons are particles (like atoms, protons and electrons) from the past that also exist today. And Lim intends to collide them today to figure out how they can exist in both the past and the present. It’s neat; after all, much of science is the result of someone thinking ‘Hey, wouldn’t this be COOL?’. As for the how, that’s where we come in. Lim has the plan for the LHC all drafted up, but lacks the materials to build it. If we could haul in some scrap metal (from anywhere and anything really), he could solder and shape it into just what he needs. Voltabot usually keeps some junk around for plotting and animation purposes; he wouldn’t be doing anything important with them.

So we venture into the forest where we suspect Dr. Voltabot is hiding, and even into his Perfectly Normal House, and battle a variety of his maniacal machines. Soon we come across the evil dentist himself. We explain that we know he occasionally needs some help controlling his crazy creations, and we also need some scrap metal, which is why we stopped by. The dentist is pleasantly surprised, so he pays us a hundred gold as a thank-you present.

After we hauled all the scrap metal to Lim’s smithy, the weaponsmith tells us to head to Falconreach’s fountain in a couple of days to see the great experiment in action. So a day or two later, Lim’s Had-ron Collider has been built, and the scientific weaponsmith is exhilarated. We’re somewhat excited as well, for we wish to know what would happen next (and an explosion would be cool too, but Lim glares at us through his goggles).

Just then, we are distracted by someone’s yell: Hamsters of Unusual Size are eating the bushes! As Lim and our character turn around to look, Cysero climbs to the top of the machine and drops in a couple of large hamsters. The machine bucks him off in response, and the noise attracts our attention. As the machine’s buttons are flashing red, Lim demands to know exactly what Cysero had done to the LHC, but the mad magical weaponsmith replies that he has used it for what it was intended to do: LHC could also stand for Large Hamster Collider. Lim chokes in despair and rage, then shakes his fist at Cysero: what did he intend to do with putting large hamsters in his collider? Cysero answers that he is searching for Hamptons, which are a theoretical alternative magical energy source, and he figured that he could use Lim’s machine to confirm their existence. Just as Lim demands that Cysero leave, the LHC’s buttons flash green, and its mechanical voice declares that Hamptons were detected. The mad magical weaponsmith leaves in a flash (and then runs back in the opposite direction yelling EUCALPTUS!); Lim yells as well. We try to calm him down, saying that we’re sure Cysero didn’t mean to interrupt his experiment. After taking a deep breath, Lim declares that he would run the test again tomorrow; today’s particles are here now, and he needs them to be here yesterday.

Pros:

The series of battles along the way to Dr. Voltabot provide a decent challenge within a relatively short period of time; the monsters do not have significant endurance, yet every single one of them deals powerful strikes, and a larger portion of the battles are spent fighting against at least two of such monsters. What is also interesting to note is Dr. Voltabot actually paying us; not only is that a good excuse for some extra loot, but it is also contributing to the gradual shift of the dentist away from villainy and into magnanimity. Plus, the cutscene at the end of the quest was quite funny; in particular, Lim’s multitude of reactions and gestures as he watches his plans go up in smoke. Cysero, as usual, had incited some funny chaos.

Cons:

I only have two complaints for the quest. One of them is the lack of impact of the story; the discord between Cysero and Lim is great, but the conflict between the Had-rons and Hamptons isn’t. It’s a funny quest, and could stand alone without being part of a series, but ultimately, the way Lim and Cysero’s rivalry is delivered is lackluster; it just doesn’t leave me eager to see what the next quest in the chain is. Perhaps this is because it lacks a sort of intensity to it; Cysero comes across as mischievous with benign intentions, whereas Lim is completely focused on his experiments and not on getting back at his rival. In addition the loot at the end of the quest isn’t much to get excited over: just a copy of Lim’s Blueprints that could be sold (which, at least, is what I got four times in a row).

Grade:

It’s funny, it’s a little crazy, and it’s got some good battles and a well-animated cutscene. But otherwise, I feel that this quest lacks a little depth, and doesn’t leave me hankering for more. Thus, it deserves a 7/10.

Choose Your Own Adventure

We meet up with Cysero in front of his store, and he asks if we want to hear about his latest experiment.

If we leave him to his experiment, the world explodes, and our quest ends.

If we talk to Cysero, he starts rambling on about meeting with a frustrated Zorbak whose minions were constantly being scared away by a guy with an axe, and then wonders why he doesn’t have any minions. Then he got hungry and wanted onions, then Grams came by and started talking about her bunions, and…

If we let Cysero keep talking, he talks on until we die, and finds his left sock. The quest ends.

However, if we interrupt Cysero, he gets back on track and says that he wishes to build an anti-magnet. He needs some help collecting the materials though; could we find either Yulgar or Lugosi for him?

Choosing to visit either weaponsmith allows you to continue the quest, though the paths diverge. If we opt to see Yulgar, we head east and battle a few woodland monsters before arriving at Battleon. Once we arrive at his door, we are given a choice to either visit him or Lugosi instead.

Should we take choice B, we continue traveling down Amityville, and fight a few ghoulish monsters to Lugosi’s shop.

Should we take choice A, Yulgar greets us, and wonders what brings us all the way out to the east.

If we answer ‘just to visit’, the blacksmith offers us some weapons to try out, before asking us to take a seat and tell him how everybody is. A shop opens that is comprised of fire and ice Battleon weapons. Once we take your pick, the quest ends.

If we start tell Yulgar what Cysero is working on, the blacksmith asks us if we really want to help him build the anti-magnet. We are then presented with a choice of ultimately helping Cysero, or not.

When we decide not to help Cysero, Yulgar presents us with the fire and ice Battleon weapons to try out. The quest ends.

When we decide to help Cysero (what’s the worst that could happen?), we see Battleon explode, leaving behind nothing but a crater. A shop opens containing wind and stone Destruction weapons, the former of which is for DA-holders. And the quest ends on that morbid note.

Now if we decide early on to visit Lugosi, or change our mind once we get to Yulgar’s door, we battle through a few ghoulish monsters to get to Lugosi’s smithy. On the way there, we come across house with smoke slipping out the door.

If we ignore it and keep going, we continue fighting monsters until we arrive at Lugosi’s weaponshop.

However, if we choose to investigate, we enter to find Zorbak standing next to a large, smoking undead tomato with a face. We are given two chances to leave, once from the beginning, and second after we find out that Zorbak is cooking.

Should we choose to stop him, we accidentally knock over a bottle on the floor, and twenty-seven and a half days later, Amityville is destroyed. A shop opens up containing Darkovia destruction weapons of light and darkness. So the quest ends.

If we manage to arrive at Lugosi’s, we are given a choice to either enter or to visit Yulgar instead. Should we choose the latter, we would find ourselves down the path to Battleon, strewn with woodland monsters.

Should we instead choose to enter, we tell Lugosi of Cysero’s plan to build an anti-magnet. Like at Yulgar’s, we are then given a choice to either help Cysero or to abandon his project.

If we still wish to help the Mad Magical Weaponsmith, the world explodes, and the quest ends.

If we decide against it, Lugosi says that it’s probably for the best, and besides, Cysero is probably working on his next, hopefully less dangerous, experiment anyway. But while we’re here, Lugosi has some new weapons for us to try out, and a shop opens which has fire and ice Darkovian weapons. So the quest ends on that positive note.

Pros:

The fact that this quest had multiple scenarios and endings is already a huge plus; this is a big step for Dragonfable, and I hope to see more of such craziness again. In addition are the walloping number of weapons available from this quest in shops; twenty-four new armaments in total of a variety of elements, and not just any run-of-the-mill weapons either. These weapons are quite powerful for their level, and have significant statistics to boost them. Plus, the designs of the weapons are quite intricate, and go along very well with their themes.

Cons:

Since this is the first Choose Your Own Adventure quest in Dragonfable, I’ll let the lack of a real story slide with only a slight whinge. But a con that I cannot overlook is the fact that all the Darkovian weapons are of the exact same design, and the Battleon weapons follow only one design as well (including the Destruction ones, which are only tarnished variations on the Battleon arms). Then again, asking the team to come up with twenty-four different designs in one week might be much to ask for.

Grade:

Despite the lack of a real story and the repetitious design of the weapons, this is a very entertaining quest; you could play it over and over again and not get as tired compared to a standard quest. Thus, the Choose Your Own Adventure quest deserves a decent 8/10 from me.

Final Grade of the Release:

All in all, this isn’t a bad week for Dragonfable. Madness abounds in the form of Cysero for the two quests, though it does not actually provide very engaging stories. Therefore, this week’s release earns a standard 7.5/10.

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