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December 31st, 2018, 10:18
G'day Watchers

I thought I'd compile some quick thoughts after completing my first RPG last night in some time actually, Avernum 3: Ruined World. Strangely enough, it took exactly the same amount of time as the second game did, 94 hours.

This was a solid entry in the series with some of the most challenging dungeons I've faced in a Spiderweb game. Whilst I didn't quite enjoy the story pacing as much as Crystal Souls nor the exploration quite as much as Escape from the Pit (largely due to less boat usage) there is still much to enjoy here for open world party based and turn based fans.

The optional dungeon the "Golem Factory" was probably one of my main highlights with its awkward "laser" beam security system making it very tough to traverse. This was a really taxing test of my party at that point. It had that sweet sense of satisfaction in making it out with barely any resources left, which is something I love in these games and many old school RPGs generally. I quite enjoyed the whole theme of discovery on the Golems in the game.

Another unusual dungeon was the oddball yet cute bastion of strangeness, the "Monastery of Madness" which was fantastic fun to go through with its plethora of wacky monk fights. It provided some great levelling fodder and humour late in the game. The Chasm of Screams was also memorable and one of the darker, more challenging dungeons. The end fight in that place was long and tough!

I loved seeing all of the familiar cast and characters from the previous games and the nods to them throughout. Jeff really goes out of his way to reference the historical events from Avernum 1&2 which players of the previous games will recognise.
This adds a layer of lore consistency and makes the world building more memorable.

I should also mention the immense size of the game world. There were so many cities and towns to discover. Having the ability to move between both worlds also added to its sense of scale. I left quite a few quests incomplete as you eventually obtain so many. The Orb of Thralni (gift of flight) got a massive workout that's for sure.

There were also seemingly more interactive puzzles in this game. Nothing too overwhelming, most I happily experimented with until I found the solution.
However, I did refer to Kordanor's youtube Let's Play video at one point in the last section of the game. Turns out that I'd missed a small doorway to the fourth stairwell needed to manipulate matters in the endgame. So thanks for that visual push in the right direction @Kordanor!

I played on hard and used the following fairly standard party:

Ruffy, human Beserker (level 33)
Melee specialist. He used the Oozing sword, warped metal blade and the sacred tower shield which helped immensely towards the end.

Misha, Nephil Rebel. (Level 32)
Definitely the heavy damage dealer of the group. Archer specialist - used a blessed Bow of the Deep Woods. I liked using adrenaline rush and letting the arrows go!

Mithrilana, Human Priest. (Level 33)
Mostly the buffer of the group and biggest consumer of energy potions, but I did enjoy using divine retribution spell like mad towards the end!

Cassandra, Human Sorcerer. (Level 32)
Haste, Icy Rain(mid game especially) and Arcane Blow were probably my essentials.

All up, it was nice to complete the trilogy. I'm now more freely able to move on to Avernum 4-6, but I also would like to finally play Geneforge for my next Spiderweb game.

Some more of my Spiderweb impressions:

Avernum: Escape from the Pit (119 hours) https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18136
Avadon I: The Black Fortress (79 hours) https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21875
Avadon II: The Corruption (75 hours)
https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/show…t=22431&page=2
Nethergate: Resurrection (45 hours) https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/show…=1428&page=114
Avernum II: Crystal Souls (94 hours)

As for my next game? I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards Elex, as PB games tend to blend well with that relaxed summer holidays feeling.
--
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; January 2nd, 2019 at 11:19.
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December 31st, 2018, 17:48
Good thoughts, thanks for posting Pessimeister.

Yeah I really enjoyed the Avernum III remake. I agree that the exploration wasn't quite as good as previous installments, but I thought it was still pretty damn good. Like you say, it was a huge world with plenty of interesting dungeons and optional areas to find and delve into. I particularly liked the addition of the epic items linked to optional quests. I didn't by any means find all of them, but the ones I found were basically my favourite moments in the game - finding them gave a real sense of achievement. They provided a good incentive to browse around and keep talking to villagers about local rumours to investigate.

My main complaint is that I hit the soft cap for levelling about half way through which felt far too early. Experience should have been earned much more slowly so there was more of a continued sense of progression.

But it was a great experience overall, and I'm looking forward to the Geneforge remake when it comes!
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December 31st, 2018, 18:21
I enjoyed replaying this game as well, I believe I finished it in April of last year. The updated version and optional quests truly make this one enjoyable, especially if you've not played it in a while. Spiderweb games don't do much wrong, and I'll gleefully support them forever.
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January 1st, 2019, 05:40
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
My main complaint is that I hit the soft cap for levelling about half way through which felt far too early.
That's interesting, as it's often a possibility in games as non-linear as Avernum. Fortunately I only hit level 30 this time around as I was getting to Blackcrag Fortress.
I actually had to do some extra adventuring to get the coin required for some of the more powerful spells and priest rituals towards the end in Footracer province.

There was one questline I didn't investigate which would be great for another playthrough - the Anama? This was the religious group that had the philosophical postion against magic. I didn't join them this time around, but it could be fun for another run through.

I also forgot to mention the cool town taken over by Rakshasha. That felt like a nod to Curse of the Azure Bonds. Gale was another town that had a leadership crisis which I didn't quite get to the bottom of.

There was also one other dungeon I didn't go back to investigate that required a musical instrument of some kind. There's so much content packed into these games. You know you're guaranteed an epic adventure.
--
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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January 1st, 2019, 08:23
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, was nice to read through. Jeff makes really great games, I still have to finish Escape From the Pit, though!
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January 1st, 2019, 17:21
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I'm now more freely able to move on to Avernum 4-6

Aren't those just remakes of the earlier ones? I always get pretty confused about that. There needs to be a continously updated guide on the order in which Jeff's games should be played.
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January 1st, 2019, 18:19
Originally Posted by Cacheperl View Post
Aren't those just remakes of the earlier ones? I always get pretty confused about that. There needs to be a continously updated guide on the order in which Jeff's games should be played.
Yeah it's pretty confusing. I'm a johnny-come-lately to the series, but as I understand it:
  • Avernum 1-6 are all individual games making up two distinct trilogies;
  • Avernum 1-3 were originally the Exile series and date back to the mid 90s;
  • In the mid 2000s Spiderweb made the second trilogy, parts 4-6, in a new engine, and then also remade parts 1-3 in that engine. This means parts 1-3 actually had their first remake back in the mid-2000s;
  • More recently, Spiderweb remade the first trilogy a second time in a newer engine still - these "remake of a remake" versions are the ones we're talking about here.

So parts 1-3 have actually been remade twice; parts 4-6 haven't been remade and still exist in the 2000s engine. So after beating the first trilogy in the new engine, you'd have to play the second trilogy in an older engine.

I don't know if Spiderweb intend to remake the second trilogy, it looks more likely that they'll move onto remaking the Geneforge games.

As I said, I'm a newbie to the series so I'll happily bow to others' greater knowledge on this if I've got it wrong.
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January 1st, 2019, 19:50
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post

The optional dungeon the "Golem Factory" was probably one of my main highlights with its awkward "lazer" beam security system making it very tough to traverse. This was a really taxing test of my party at that point.
Oh yes, that one was just terrible. Lasers, lasers everywhere. For some reason I was convinced you need to finish that dungeon as part of the main quest, so I completed it, but I was very annoyed at the end.
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January 1st, 2019, 20:16
If you didn't do much around Gale then did you not do the undead island to the south of Gale? That had one of the best dungeons on it, a Wizards Tower.

The thing you needed a musical item for wasn't a special item, it was just any horn, of which there are loads just lying around & can be bought for 1 gold or whatever from some random traders. It's ok, but not really a dungeon, more a trial of strength/power.

I didn't particularly enjoy the Golem factory. The basic design is ok, but the problem with this kind of dungeon in a Vogel game is that the whole place resets whenever you leave, which just results in tedious busywork every time you want to go back to it after clearing it the first time (such as loot hauling or secret area checking, etc, etc). They also don't work so well with Vogel's love of minor respawns where some asshat ranged respawn will make the whole process even more tedious. But they're fun to work out upon the first visit. He just burns through the thereby built-up respect very quickly.
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January 1st, 2019, 22:09
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
Yeah it's pretty confusing. I'm a johnny-come-lately to the series, but as I understand it:
  • Avernum 1-6 are all individual games making up two distinct trilogies;
  • Avernum 1-3 were originally the Exile series and date back to the mid 90s;
  • In the mid 2000s Spiderweb made the second trilogy, parts 4-6, in a new engine, and then also remade parts 1-3 in that engine. This means parts 1-3 actually had their first remake back in the mid-2000s;
  • More recently, Spiderweb remade the first trilogy a second time in a newer engine still - these "remake of a remake" versions are the ones we're talking about here.

So parts 1-3 have actually been remade twice; parts 4-6 haven't been remade and still exist in the 2000s engine. So after beating the first trilogy in the new engine, you'd have to play the second trilogy in an older engine.

I don't know if Spiderweb intend to remake the second trilogy, it looks more likely that they'll move onto remaking the Geneforge games.

As I said, I'm a newbie to the series so I'll happily bow to others' greater knowledge on this if I've got it wrong.
How I'd write it in simple terms:

Exile: Escape From the Pit
Exile 2: Crystal Souls
Exile 3: Ruined World
Blades of Exile

Avernum (Exile remake)
Avernum 2 (Exile 2 remake)
Avernum 3 (Exile 3 remake)
Blades of Avernum (Blades of Exile remake)
Avernum 4
Avernum 5
Avernum 6

Avernum: Escape From The Pit (Avernum remake)
Avernum 2: Crystal Souls (Avernum 2 remake)
Avernum 3: Ruined World (Avernum 3 remake)

I have absolutely no idea if this is actually simpler than what you said!
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January 1st, 2019, 22:47
Works for me. I didn't know Blades of Avernum/Exile existed, so I've learned something already.

Edit: looks like it's included in the GOG version of the Avernum saga but not the Steam version. From what I can see, it's basically a level editor with a small collection of built in modules rather than a full single campaign. That's pretty cool though. I wonder if there are many fan made mods using the level editor around. I'll have to look into it at some point.
Last edited by Pongo; January 1st, 2019 at 23:32.
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January 2nd, 2019, 11:18
Originally Posted by Charna View Post
Oh yes, that one was just terrible. Lasers, lasers everywhere. For some reason I was convinced you need to finish that dungeon as part of the main quest, so I completed it, but I was very annoyed at the end.
Yep, same with me Charna. I thought it tied in with the plague quests. I was a bit miffed to discover that it was a little inconsequential to do the entire thing! Still, I quite liked the build up in destroying the tower's defences then storming it afterwards.

The key strategic element I found to make exploration in the Golem Factory easier was to stay in combat mode. It was slower in some ways, but you could much more reliably predict the laser beam timings. You'd also have longer to make it to the end of some corridors which may hide extra doors or buttons etc. A tricky yet satisfying dungeon to beat.
--
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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January 2nd, 2019, 12:02
I didn't enjoy the Golem factory, and also struggled through to finish it thinking it was essential to the plot. I quite liked the ideas, but I found controlling the party and stopping them from running through the laser beams pretty fiddly and annoying.

The Monastery of Madness was a delight though.
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January 2nd, 2019, 15:57
I didn't really initially care for the Golem factory, then it kind of grew on me during the exploration. It was pretty hard core and kept me on my toes the entire visit, which I'm sure added to how much I liked it by the time I was through.
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January 14th, 2019, 18:20
I would make one slight adendum to the description of Avernum 4-6. It is a newer engine than 1-3 and is perfectly playable these days, click to move party for example, whereas 1-3 is quite awkward in that it's kinda a click and hold to move or as I did you can use the keyboard if you have a numpad as diagonal movement is necessary to get the most out of it. With Avernum 3 remade you can now play 1 to 6 in perfectly good engines even if 4-6 will look slightly dated but that doesn't mean much when it comes to Jeff's games.

As to Blades if you want to check out the fan made content for that then one option is to look at some of Chesrook's videos. His playlist for Blades is 589 videos long. Talk about devoted but you would imagine there must be some good content in there.
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