View Full Version : PvE campaign story and dialogue feedback (Spoilers)

03-22-2016, 01:34 PM
I've been occasionally thinking about a post on this topic since a couple days after AZ1 arrived. I love the campaign and have played through it several times, so I feel disingenuous posting something really negative about it, but after a friend told me he wasn't playing any further in the campaign because the writing was so bad, I decided it was overdue.

We'll start with the overarching plot of the game. The starter dungeons (the ones I've played at least) are the highlight of the game here. They give a nice introduction to the game world and flavor of the factions without drowning the player in text. But things break down once you step outside. Every race gives the player a mission: Find more powerful hexing gems for your faction. This is great jump off point for building an adventure that fits with any character archetype, a big challenge for a 'wide world' game. Sadly it is never mentioned again. The player wanders into the first city, and proceeds to stumble upon an encounter with Sister Midnight. She sends the player to find Myaa. Why? She's powerful and mysterious, she doesn't need a reason. Myaa then sends the player to battle the Army of Myth. Why? Cause it was in a dream. More significantly, why would the player care? The player defeats the Army regardless, then there's an interlude while you deal with the faction specific dungeon.

Next the player returns to Myaa, and things really get strange. Apparently burning zombies are rampaging through the nearby human and coyotle lands. For an Ardent player this is significant, and they'd probably want to help, but if you're an Underworld player zombies attacking the enemy is good news. Why would you help dispatch them? We go do it anyway, and retrieve a huge ruby from the Chained Goliath encounter. At this point I was thinking 'Great, my character finally found a big gem to bring home!' Nope, we hand it over to Myaa because... she asked nicely?

Now Myaa sends us to another zombie infestation at a human keep. Once again, why would an Underworld player possibly go help with this problem? Oh well, we head out regardless. We fight through the keep and find the culprit behind this whole zombie mess, Wiktor the goblin. Why did he make an army of burning zombies? Why did he leave a bunch of them trapped in a distant crypt? He's a crazy goblin, that's why!

The conceit of powerful forces beyond the main character's ken is common in fantasy literature, but it has to be used sparingly to be effective. A little mystery creates an intriguing story. Excessive mystery leaves you with no story, and I feel that AZ1 has passed the tipping point here.

Then, there's the dialogue. I'll be brief here because I've already typed a wall of text, but suffice to say it needs editing. The player and npcs in the world seem to switch between speaking in old fashioned and modern dialects at random, sometimes within a single conversation. The player is sometimes given the option to be a jerk to the people he meets, and sometimes he's forced to be polite, which results in the player being schizophrenic if he wants to roleplay a jerk.

Finally, there's little details like when you approach Fort Romor and read that your character has gone through the front gate, but on the map you clearly go around it. Or the Blood and Sapphire gates that tell you to find keys that don't exist. Sure it's nitpicky, but there's little stuff like that scattered throughout AZ1 and it contributes to the overall unpolished feeling of the game.

Speaking as someone with experience as an editor, seeing stuff like this just chaffs me, and I know I'm not alone in that regard. If anyone from Hex is interested I'd be happy to do a review of the whole zone. I just want the game to live up to its potential.

03-22-2016, 02:36 PM
All in all I have to agree with most of what you wrote. While I did enjoy AZ1 (and still do) a lot of the encounters and dialogues feel really random. The main plot is fine to me so far, we'll get deeper into the meaning of all this as time goes by. My main gripe is that most of AZ1 is shared between both alliances and all 8 races. Some encounters just seem to completely contradict what my character should be all about.

Why am I helping to repair a robot as Elf/Coyotle?
Why is my super evil Vennen so friendly to everybody he meets?
Why would any underworld aligned character care for the rampaging zombies?

This list goes on for quite a while. A lot of the encounters feel like they were designed with one faction or sometimes even a certain race in mind. Especially with an (evil) underworld character you often times are forced to be friendly to random strangers you'd usually just kill right away judging from anything we've learned about those races so far.

Let's hope most of this is just because they wanted to finally release AZ1 and this will get better in AZ2 and further along :)

03-22-2016, 08:21 PM
+1 I don't think you're alone there. Nice write-up.

03-29-2016, 06:56 PM
I'm a bit surprised at the lack of conversation here. Whether or not they agree I expected everyone to have an opinion about the topic. I guess people only notice stuff in the general section of the forum?

03-30-2016, 02:16 AM
I feel that this is true on all points it seems that you don't have much to say and that Hex's promise of certain chars reacting different to your race and faction mighta been a bit exaggerated. I love Hex but um... There are some issues.

03-30-2016, 09:48 AM
I completely agree with the OP, every word of it.

I love the mechanics and am still playing AZ1 over and over right now, but the story makes no sense for my Vennen character. It worked fine for my Coyotle and Elf, though being forced to do what Myaa says is annoying. She's completely secretive and what if I don't want to put up with that crap? Too bad, fall in line. So few of the decision trees actually do anything, it's really sad. When I visited Hex HQ and got a sneak peak at AZ1, the dev was just spam clicking through all the dialogues and I thought it was just to avoid spoiling the plot for me, but now I realize that spam clicking is actually a valid way to play since almost none of the dialogue actually matters anyway.

I was hoping there'd be some sort of faction allegiance meter or something that keeps track of incremental changes based on how you act in the game, maybe something like the Light/Dark Jedi effect in some Star Wars games.