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View Full Version : First impressions of Chronicles of Entrath. By Stormchyld



Frost3
02-05-2016, 06:51 AM
First impressions of Chronicles of Entrath.

Allow me to preface this by saying that I am a long time player with a decent collection, and good understanding of how hex works. I have not finished the campaign and may do a sort of second impression or final impression when I have.

I started with a 7th level elven warrior who is working on the Tomb of the Rose Knights and a 2nd level orc priest who hasn't gotten across the bridges yet. I created a second character before finishing the first one for two reasons. First so that if a dungeon or encounter frustrated me with my high level character I could kick around the beginning with another character till I was off tilt. Second so I could get a taste of replay-ability

It's important to realize that when replaying a game, you get more replay-ability when you choose the most diametrically opposite character from the first. I chose not to do this so that I could see just how awesome the replay value of this game was. My hope was to see each class and race combination differ from the other, not just mechanically but in the way they talked and moved through the world. I also felt that the ardent would be very similar to how other 'good' factions in fantasy games are, and I suspect the under world will feel very different.

Character choice

The first thing you do when you enter the adventure mode, is you have to choose a character. I flipped through the characters, factions, and classes to get a sense of them, but I knew from the get go, that I would be playing an elven warrior. It's just kind of my thing.

The first thing that disappointed me was the art of the characters for the elven warriors. The male elf looks very timid, and holds a second sword as if he is giving it to someone or accepting it from someone. His face is that of someone who is confused and scared. This is not at all what I imagine a warrior to look like. The female is only somewhat better. She looks nervous, and holds her sword awkwardly, again perhaps having just received it. I would be nervous if those angry beetles were staring at me to, but I'm not sure she has noticed that yet. ;)

Now I'm going to attack this art from three angles. First. I heard a rumor that the art changes as you level. I'm guessing they mean when we move from one adventure zone or another, and we move from 9th to 10th. That is a pretty neat idea and I could get behind these character being new, and untested. Nervous and unsure. While I was hoping for the Warrior of Andronicus and Tempestuous Bladedancer, I could deal with getting that later on.

However it's interesting that every other warrior from every other race both male and female look much more at home and ready for battle. Whether they have a clam demeanor or a fierce one, none of them look nervous. I could however get behind the idea that young elves are more sheltered. Maybe they live further from the fight then most. I don't know that, that matches the lore, as my character at one point talks about the war ravaging her homeland. But I'm only part way through the story.

Last I looked at all the other elves both male and female and I find that none of them seem timid at all. Which makes me wonder if I am missing something when it comes to elven society. But maybe I am just being to hard on the art. Ignoring the facial expressions and awkward stance, they are both well done. The male looks a little odd to me for some reason, but I like the female, and I really like the beetles though I don't know if there is any significance behind them.

Because I like the art better, and because I am curious if the game notices my choice I chose the female. Depending on the game its well worth the time to play both sexes, as they can sometimes vary in how they play, and if any voice acting is done, it's fun to hear both. A good example of that would be Mass Effect. Both the male and female voice acting for the Shepard character were really well done, and I played through all three with both at least once.

Introduction

The first of three characters we met in the elven starting hub is Emilia. I took one look at this fantastic character and was like, why don't I look like that? She knows how to use that sword, and has a look of fierce determination on her face. She is ready to go to war. But I digress.

As the dialogues begin to unfold a very obvious, Shakespearean I want to say, sort of tone is taken when elves talk. They use flowery words, and sound like the thespians some of them are known to be. I find the syntax to match the race very well, and that a lot of the art from the pvp side of the elves has foreshadowed this characteristic.

We are then introduced to the panoramas for the first time. Gorgeous, animated, and the sound effects and music all play in a harmony that is just indescribably awesome. I could sit in this elven village and just listen to the music, and the birds for hours while writing or doing something else. In fact through out the game the music is fantastic, and I don't recall ever finding it to be off putting. Initially their were some issues with cards being played, and their sound effects causing issues with the music, but that has been smoothed over, and now it all just blends perfectly together.

Next we meet Nerissa, and once again I just love the art. Again this lady is well dressed for battle, and holds her sword like she knows exactly what to do with it. Despite being later revealed as a cleric, she is the kind of warrior I was hoping to play. I am actually glad she isn't my character though, because eventually you get to have her as a card and put her in your deck.

This brings me to another fascinating part of the game. Because of the dialogue between my character and Nerissa, I actually want her to be apart of my deck all the time. I only have the one copy, and even though I am seventh level I keep her in the deck. She is a good card, but more importantly she is the first member of my team. All the other cards in my deck are sort of just there. But every time I play Nerissa, I remember our friendship.

One thing that I am worried about is that the story is going to miss an opportunity here. Once she becomes a part of my deck, or at least my collection, will I see her in the story again? It seems like such a waste to build that bond, and have her join me on my adventure, and not speak up now and then. Whether this is a brief dialogue in the final battle, or her thoughts on the adventure now and then, anything would be better then nothing. I do realize that mercenaries who are intended to actually be apart of our party, will perhaps fill this role. But other then story found mercenaries, most of the ones we know of now exist without a story. While Nerissa has one, even if it is small at first.

Not only am I happy to have these characters join my group, such as Moqui for the orcs, I actually hope that later on I might see Emilia again and have the chance to earn her as a playable card. That might eventually become to much to ask, when you start seeing all these npcs pop up =)

Next we get to spar with her, and this will serve as our introduction to the combat side of the game. Again the art is amazing, the board is beautiful and the animations are very well done, from the reflection of light off the water to the tiny butterflies flittering here and there. One thing that is different from the old tutorial is that this one is now integrated. What that means generally is that keywords and hints, on how to play the game are down fluidly as the game progresses. I can't remember how well it explained basics, like playing shards, and threshold, but I know that it did a good job explaining key words. There we times where the lag in the first week caused explanations to be somewhat out of sync, and I think I remember distinctly using a ruby aura, before and then having it explain swiftstrike when a swiftstrider got played. But it never bothered me specifically. The nice thing was you never felt like you had to skip the tutorial, if you knew what it was saying, you just ignored it and moved on.

Once the fight was over you get to meet Balthazar. This would show off one of the cool things Hex was going to do, at least if you play the PVP side of the game. It was going to use old art, right alongside new art. Meeting these new character like Nerissa and Emilia were great, but getting to see the old war bard from set 3 was really kind of cool, and would set the tone as you would face pvp cards from other sets as actual enemies mixed in with characters and cards you had never seen before. This gave both nostalgia and shiny things a chance to tug at your gaming heart strings as you progressed in the game.

Frost3
02-05-2016, 06:52 AM
The last introductory step to the game, was the first dungeon which is shared from all the races. Now this from a lore stand point is a little weird, and I haven't played more then the two races through it, so it could be justified. The problem isn't that all the races are interested in the falling hex shard, but rather that they all have bases near this one location. I'm also curious if this shard has a specific role later in the game near the end of Adventure Zone 1 or potentially in the other expansions. I will touch on this kind of thing a little more in a bit.

The dungeon did a good job giving you a taste of what dungeons will be like as you progress through the game. You get to have your first taste of the plethora of enemies, powers, and even special terrain effects that shift the way the battle works. More then once, something weird would happen, and I had to look over and realize that a terrain effect was in play. If you pay attention to them they can be a great asset, and a warning against what the enemy might do.

As you face off against different opponents with different decks, their own cards, some you can get from pvp, some you can earn during pve, and exclusive ones for their own decks, they also bring unique and thematic powers of their own which make fighting them a unique experience. Throw in the terrain effects and some of these battles are quite brilliant and interesting. Further encounters will have you taming troops the enemy uses, which you can do as a method of removal in addition to capturing them to add to your collection, saving a princess that the enemy has in play. One of my favorites was coming up against a set of five rampaging ghouls in play before the start of the game and wondering how I was suppose to beat this encounter. The moment the battle starts the troops exhausted, and then you realize there are a battalion of dead dragon guards in their grave, and this plays a role in the battle. These things can be super thematic, and really really interesting mechanically and story wise.


RPG/Lore vs game mechanics

The lore of the game, and the way the role playing aspects played out for me was sort of a roller coast ride at first. Pushing aside my uncertainty with the art for my character, I pressed ahead and found the elvish dialogue amusing, enjoyable, and very much as I imagined them. They are, for the most part the silly, fun loving artists they are often portrayed as being. I do feel like the wild side of the elves was more prevalent then their ruby cousins, and I really hope to learn more about the elves that wield rubies, since you start the game as one who wields both. But it does make sense to get more of the Feralroot sense, as the character at one point indicates that was their home.

My high from experiencing the elves first hand smashed into a wall of expectation that was quite honestly set to high. Dialogue in subsequent replays through the same character redoing missions for loot or because of failure, or sometime even the other character seemed to completely pointless. No matter what I said, it seemed like the outcome was always the same.
In the Sister Midnight dungeon I remember loving each of the stories from each of the dream animals, and one that really struck me was the bear. My character chose to hunt a small animal to leave as a token of gratitude for allowing her to stay in their home for the night. When the fight was over the Bear smiled at her, and I thought to my self their was a sense of respect. Later when I replayed for loot, I chose different options, and no matter which I chose, including attack the bear, the bear smiled. Why are you OK with the fact that I just attacked you? Shouldn't you be at best apathetic, if not offended?

One of the things you have to understand is that different RPGs are made to do different things. If the game played like the Mass Effect series, the ending would be a summation of the choices you made. People would die, side missions lost, and you get a huge impact in every finally. But if you did that, you cut people off from content, from loot. And this is a game where loot is very important to the players. So making decisions count, is a balancing act, where you want choices to matter, but they have to be replayable. And grindable. In fact speed clicking through dialogue during the tenth grind of dungeons isn't that big a deal.
There are hidden consequences within the choices. Where nine choices out of ten don't matter, the tenth one does. Which card you take from a shroom for example. The content isn't lost per say, because you can send another character through to make a different choice. With 3 options at each one, and if you want a play set of them, you will need more then the ten initial character to get them all. But given you can't use full sets of four for most cards, and that some of them can be found in adventure packs, this isn't that big a deal. The content, will eventually be yours.
Sister Midnight's dungeon has the health of each dream animal set in order of who you choose to face first. Meaning you can choose your strongest opposition first to give your self an advantage. Her own encounter deck supposedly changes depending on the initial conversation. The big one, which I am curious about, is how you deal with the malfunctioning warbot. My character set it free, and sent it into the world anew. But what would have happened if she had told it to follow its programming. I won't know until my second character chooses a different path.
Once I realized that I was placing Hex on an impossible pedastool, and looked at the game as a whole, it was easier to see how well everything fit together. While one can argue that more can be done, I realize they may just be easing us into the game. But I don't think I'm alone in the idea of please throw us into the deep end.
On that note, I actually saw a suggestion for having a setting that indicated how much lore would be in the game. I remember a game that had an option like that. 1. Less story, more combat. 2. default. 3. more story less combat. While that specific set might not work for Hex, it is an intriguing notion.
For me I really think it should go one of two ways. Either decisions have to have an impact. Such as how Sister Midnight changes her deck type based on conversation. In which replaying conversations is OK, as the game reacts to your choice. If decisions don't have a choice. If nothing you say changes what happens in the encounter or later, like the dream animals. Then once the dialogue is played, and you choose to fight that encounter again, just go straight to the fight, and skip the dialogue. This makes the grinding parts less tedious as you don't have to click through words. I do realize that they might be hiding choices inside the words. If dialogue did go away sometimes but not others, you would know that a dialogue is important to the encounter. I don't however know that it would matter much. If anything, it may make people pay more attention to that, and see the nuances of the encounter.

To tidy this up just a little. The short version is simply that I think I expected to much, and when I made my expectations reasonable, I love the majority of the role play so far, though I am concerned about replay-ability with other characters.

Frost3
02-05-2016, 06:53 AM
Initial impression's of the races

Elves. I really love the elves, the way they speak, and I am eager to learn more about them. One criticism I have, is that their isn't enough lore, enough background to really get to know them. Most of my understanding comes from the book, and the website. For example, we know the starting character (warrior at least) has her homeland in the Feralroot Forest. What about the Ashwood, and Emberleaf, who seem to make up the ruby aspect of the elves. I felt like most of the focus was on the wild aspect, and we didn't really get to love on the ruby side of them, or the fact that they use both wild magic, and ruby gems. (Also the website needs updated I think, as they no longer ignore the hexing gems as it suggests.)
I also want to know more about our relations with the other ardent races. How do elves feel about the 'noble?' humans, the 'wise' coyotle or the 'vicious' orcs. Rather then having some idea of how the race feels about these races, we instead can only draw our conclusions based on our encounters.
Coyotle come off as nuts. The three braves, which make up three of the five coyotle we meet. One who sends us into the Sister Midnight dungeon, the other tells us why the other three are nuts. Hopefully a coyotle play through will illuminate this odd behavior.
Humans play this odd role where you have these road blocks of what I believe are humans, but am not sure if they are related to the Ardent humans as oppose to mercenaries or something. No true npcs, have left me unsure about these characters. I've only met one orc so far, so from the elven perspective I don't know much about them yet.
As far as the underworld old enemies cause a lot of fighting whether my character would want it or not. We see that Vennen, and Shin'hare are definitely the kill on sight kind of people. The dwarves caught me off guard, while most attacked on sight, Glendower surprised me by offering to let me walk away. This isn't as surprising as you might think however, because the dwarves are obviously great crafters, and strategists, and while most would consider their goal evil, that probably isn't how they see them selves. Most of their race are bent on chaos and destruction, but while some give into impulsive bursts of explosions and mayhem, it is likely that others are far more methodical in their methods.
The most mysterious and arguably the most compelling are the necrotic, and this is where the story foreshadows a thread that will likely move not only through AZ 1 but into AZ 2 as well. Are the necrotic evil. While the humans have a lot of reason to hate the necrotic, the character starts out with just an understanding of the destruction the Underworld faction brought upon their homeland. Many of the necrotic come off as fairly reasonable, logical creatures, who make valid points that cause the character to question whether they are enemies or not. Despite this, the character is young, and follows established understanding, fighting and destroying the necrotic she encounters. Whether these seeds will grow for her, and she will eventually consider the possibility that the necrotic are not inherently evil, whether their actually goals and motivations are exposed remains to be seen.

Thorns

1. Fonts are hard to read. Even keywords like Swifstrike are harder to read then they use to be forcing me to zoom in to see them clearly. This may have to do with windowed mode, and to be fair my sight isn't 20/20.
2. The bleak citadel I think its called with king Edmund's body in it, has an encounter with a Raving Ghoul. They use the courtyard, but the description has the place as dark and dank. The courtyard is way to cheery for that fight. It may be that we don't have a good game board, right now, but I think a different game board needs to go their once one is made.
3. When talking to the broken robot during the overworld campaign it refers to its sensors turning toward the character. This is our first written encounter with a robot, and at first I thought it had sci-fi lazer like things pointing at the character, and then I changed my mind when they moved, and thought maybe they were more insect antenna like things. This could maybe be clarified a little bit more.

Suggestions (Priorities at your discretion, if at all ;)

1. Filter decks by new. The fact that the shiny ribbon shows up on the cards you get in the game making them look like a present, is awesome. But if you have a fairly large collection, it can be difficult to find the newer cards. Instead of running a search for each of the cards you win, a filter would be very useful in helping you find cards that have been added to your collection recently. In all honesty when a new pvp set comes out and we begin drafting for the first few times, this could be kind of cool too, though you can just sort by set to find them, some time later finding the new ones you drafted would be easier.
2. The pumpkin smashing was an interesting challenge early in the game. It would be neat if a set of three actual pumpkins were on the board, and a fist slammed down on them smashing them when the abomination used its power.
3. Increasing font size, or having a toggle for font size. Just enough to see the key words at a glance, I can zoom for smaller text. Also the font used for when you enter your password wrong. That is super tiny and nearly impossible to read for me. =(
4. Terms of Service. I like that it had a check box, I just need it to remember that its been checked. Its very common for many services to simply uncheck it whenever terms change. I think that is the ideal choice.
5. OK this is a weird one. I want the pve AI to have sleeves. I don't care if its the champion on the sleeve, if you have like a set of archetype sleeves for races. But it feels so bland, when their basic sleeve is sitting on these beautiful game boards, and my spectral oak sleeve is their, and they just have that basic version. I know I'm silly.
6. Flesh out the globe. Their is this flower like grid on the globe. But I don't know which petal AZ 1 is in. I don't know where Feralroot is, or Coroloth. Their is no land marks that I recognize. Can we get an x, or highlight the petal at least?
7. Hours in campaign mode. Like steam, I know you can just sit in a game, but its still a cool thing to see for many players. Or at least me. >.>
8. Part interaction. Make Nerissa talk to me. When we get mercenary have opinions and give advice. 'The kracken's lair will focus on sapphire. Be prepared my lord for.' 'Why do you always make me go first? Just cause I have a shield, doesn't mean I want to go first.' 'I can't believe you let that Necrotic scum live? What is wrong with you.' Its an RPG. Role play with me. ^_^

In conclusion

So far I am really happy with the product, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of this zone plays out. I am also excited to try the other characters and races, and see the level of depth in mechanics, and hopefully lore, that I might yet find.

Great job guys.

Sincerely Stormchyld