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Default Ultima 7 Part 1 - The Black Gate - Sub-Optimal Paths

September 2nd, 2008, 16:06
Corvus Elrod's blog has a piece on sub-optimal paths (what I'll call "taking the scenic route"), using U7 as a prime example. Here's an excerpt:
A great, perhaps even the greatest, example of a game that effectively uses sub-optimal paths for narrative purposes is Ultima VII: The Black Gate (U7). Amusingly, U7 also provides a ridiculously optimal route via a cheat room that was inserted into the game in order to give one of the studio’s speed run competitors an unfair advantage. The cheat room provides the player with all the items needed to complete the game and direct teleporter access to the final confrontation. I highly recommend playing through U7 twice–the first time by using the cheat room and finishing the game in easily under 20 minutes. The second time by following and completing every single possible sub-quest in the game. If you have the time and are so inclined, play through a third time following only the central plot. You can then make up your own mind which makes for a better gameplay experience–the optimal path(s), or the sub-optimal path.
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September 2nd, 2008, 16:06
You can always count on this guy using the word "narrative" in his posts, whether it is in any way relevant or not.
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September 2nd, 2008, 17:52
I'm about to embark on another go through of U7. I've fired up Exult a few times, but never gotten deep into it though, so hopefully, this will be different!

I think the author makes good points though. Playing Ultima VI the first time, my brother and I inadvertently stumbled into a way to jump about 2/3 way through the game. We didn't even realize we'd done it. As such, we finished the game rather quickly, but felt very unsatisfied. That may have been a more optimal path, but I enjoyed it much more when I replayed it and resisted the urge to jump ahead.

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Last edited by blatantninja; September 2nd, 2008 at 18:05.
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September 2nd, 2008, 18:28
Is stealing properly implemented in Exult now? Last time I used it (a long time ago), no one minded when I was taking their stuff.
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September 2nd, 2008, 18:43
The whole article could be summed up as, 'what's more entertaining, reading an entire book or skipping to the last page and reading only that.'

If the book is something that you're interested in, then it would make sense that it'd be more entertaining to read the whole book. If the book is something you're disinterested in then it'd make sense you'd be inclined to read only the last page. And in the case where you're unsure whether or not you're interested, then you sorta speed-read.

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September 2nd, 2008, 19:10
Originally Posted by Elwro View Post
Is stealing properly implemented in Exult now? Last time I used it (a long time ago), no one minded when I was taking their stuff.
I think so. Last time I played, I started taking potions from the wizards house in Cove and he went crazy, yelling at me and stuff!

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September 2nd, 2008, 20:11
before, did stealing affect your virtue or avatarness if you got away with it?

you have to remember that Ultima 4 practically invented consequences for moral action in video games and even PnP RPG's.

So I guess my question is, was it implemented but not noticeable or was it it outright borqued?

I wish I could get into U7 now but its just so dated.

Also, this "optimal path" - was it easily accessible or do you have to enter codes and somesuch. In U9, of course, you could get to the teleporters behind your house by building a potion ladder over your fence.

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September 2nd, 2008, 20:17
@Elwro Given that my focus is on video games as a storytelling medium, I think it most always makes sense to drop the word narrative in somewhere.
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September 2nd, 2008, 21:28
@blatantninja: Thanks!

@Lucky Day: sorry, I just don't know. I was an Ultima VII n00b back then and I am one now.

@Corvus: fair enough, though my feeling is that it's the case of a "high" word used in a "low" context, I'm sure you know what I mean :-)

I think the "optimal" way of finishing Tower of Elemental Evil didn't even include visiting most of the temple and just somehow got you to the last encounter from the world map, I don't remember how it went, though.
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September 2nd, 2008, 21:33
@Elwro I once made a distinction between "narrative" and "story" in my theoretical writing. Lately, I've decided to cut that out in favor of using fabula where once I once used story, but my instinct stills tosses in narrative where story will often do.

@LuckyDay The cheat room in U7 is available, without codes, in Trinsic, the first city. Follow the steps I illustrated in the screenshots on my post.
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September 2nd, 2008, 22:27
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
before, did stealing affect your virtue or avatarness if you got away with it?

you have to remember that Ultima 4 practically invented consequences for moral action in video games and even PnP RPG's.

So I guess my question is, was it implemented but not noticeable or was it it outright borqued?

I wish I could get into U7 now but its just so dated.

BG2 is dated as well, but it didn't take long to suck me back in. You just have to get into the story, and the datedness of the graphics just melts away!

As for the effect of moral choices, I never felt like it was that important in any of the Ultima's besides IV. Maybe I was just playing too good anyway, but I thought I bent the rules fairly often but never seemed to notice much of a consequence.

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September 3rd, 2008, 03:44
You have to purposely use the cheat room in Ultima 7 so there isn't a danger of accidently skipping the game.
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