Saturday, June 23, 2012

Storm of Zehir: Finding the Fun

Thing that I like about Storm of Zehir: Dinosaurs!
Part of the reason I haven't done any module reviews over the past few months is that I'm still in the middle of Storm of Zehir.  It's a long module, at least it seems it with my 5-6 hours per week pace, and I went through a period of frustration with it about a month ago.  A full review will follow once I'm done, but I got frustrated once arriving at the Sword Coast.

The reason?  Well, the game really emphasizes exploration.  And that's great.  The problem is that (as is probably appropriate in the world, but is not always fun as a gamer) many of the areas that you can explore are certain death for a player the first time you encounter the areas.  It's not just the random-encounter areas; you also experience this with some of the quests that you receive early on in the game.***

***Incidentally, this is the reason that games like Morrowind scale their encounter areas to match your current level.  A lot of people don't like this for world cohesion purposes, but it prevents the frustration I encountered.

At a certain point, I got fed up with exploration and just decided to stick to the main plot in hopes of getting done. The plot in Zehir is decent, with occasional flourishes of excellence that are broken up by some extremely poorly executed segments.

Once I went this route, I eventually found myself enjoying the game far more.  And now, with the main plot veering back away from the Sword Coast, I'm taking time off to explore.  And it's fun.  My team can handle those areas without trouble now ( wizard died last night in a battle against some Banites...but it's the good kind of challenge, not the ridiculous kind), and we're racking up small bits of extra experience, treasure, and item crafting recipes.

Next up: crafting! I've finally got enough extra gold and components to make some serious progress with crafting, and I'm looking forward to enhancing my gear.

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