Monday, August 22, 2011

Reviewer's Remorse

Back in the day, I wrote eleven official vault reviews for NWN1 (you can find them in my sidebar).  I ran across one of them today while searching for planescape modules.  It's for FK The Shadow Relic, a bridge module between SoU and HotU, and I wrote the review in summer 2006.

The review is a pretty mixed bag.  It highlights some of the successes of the module.  I still vaguely remember some of its amazing visuals, and a have a huge slant towards planescape stuff.  But it also frustrated the hells out of me at times, and that definitely comes across in the review.

The module at this point has 8 votes.  I just cast the 8th.  I hadn't wanted to vote earlier because I felt like I had already had my say.  It was just the 4th vote the module had received since my review.

Now, the module had been out a year when I reviewed it and had only received four votes.  Clearly it wasn't marketed particularly well, and its vote/download total is abysmal.  And a glance through the comments indicates that it was frustrating to a lot of players.  But there's no way this module shouldn't at least have the 10 votes it needs by now to appear on the top 10 list.

One of the main reasons I got involved in the reviewer's guild was so that I could bring exposure to underappreciated/overlooked modules.  I had at least one success with that: my review of Tiberius's Saleron's Gambit 3 did play at least a small role in getting his modules the attention they deserved.  But the counter to this is a module like this one.  I liked it and tried to hype it, but ultimately the author and his module may have lost an opportunity for more success because of the review.

I think I was largely fair.  But I still feel a sense of regret at the whole affair.  Blah.


  1. Don't feel guilt. A module that bridges the two XPs is only going to appeal to a small number of people. Especially at this late date. As I recall there are a couple others to choose from as well.

    I much prefer reviewers who are honest and your reviews are that. Plus you give enough information for the person playing to make a decision.

    Keep up the good work

  2. Yeah, it's a two-edged sword. I wanted to be a reviewer to highlight overlooked modules and give something back to the builders and the community. But for reviews to be worthwhile, they need to be honest and detailed...otherwise, no one will pay attention when a really good module (like Saleron's Gambit) comes around.

    You make a good point about the bridge modules having an inherently smaller audience. The original three (I think there were three) got a lot of attention, but they were all released right about the time that HotU was released. As such, they filled a targeted but important niche. The Shadow Relic was released after HotU came out, and as such many players had already run through that sequence.

    I remember that I played Papermonk's bridge module (I think...) when I played through SoU and HotU. I don't remember who wrote the other two.