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nightguard

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  1. Your second is almost correct. The range would be from 13 to 18, as you would take 12 plus a random value between (one and [attribute of three] time two), which is a value from one to six. Also, keep in mind there is the possibility of some other factor affecting the outcome. Legate has always mentioned that there can be other invisible values in the formula, but what you have above is the basic values involved.
  2. I had no idea. Then again, I've never fired up the mod tools to see exactly what's going on under the hood. I'm going by the general, in game experience.
  3. Actually, there is an option to 'overwork' for an additional chance of success at a task. At least, there was last time I played. It's not made very obvious, but in activites that use a success test, you can choose to 'spend' a number of stress to get a bonus on your test. Sometimes that's the only way I've been able to add people to my clique. As far as ethical choices, I believe Legate and team were doing everything they could to try and encourage the player (and by association, the character) to make ethical choices in all of the events. True, there were some where you could try something underhanded, but success in that avenue didn't necessarily give you any greater rewards than success through any of the other options. Given that there isn't any long-term tracking of good/evil in Year One, I can understand that decision. It has been implied, however, that they may change the model in year two in that regard. We will just have to wait and see. Your comment about the camp stories (I don't know if they did that in BoF, but I know I've seen several other games that have done that) actually reminded me of something else I wanted to suggest later on as an element of game immersion, as does the comment about the rumor reporting. I'll be posting that within the next week or so, if you happen to be interested reading yet another wall of text.
  4. That perspective of the game only measuring you on your grades, so you only play for your grades, is something I'm hoping a little more emotional investment in the characters around you would help move the game away from. If you really cared about the other people in your college or clique, I can definitely see the player making the choice, "I really *should* study, but [student] needs my help in resolving something... Which is more important to me?" The way I see Academagia, there are three ways to enjoy the game: The first is the strategic challenge of getting through the year with the 'best' scores you can, either in your grades, or in whatever skills you personally value. The second is the exploration aspect, seeing what there all is in this school to learn and see and do. The third is the narrative experience, where you play through the game to see the story of your character and the people around you. I really feel this game can do much more to promote that third gameplay experience. Personally, I don't feel that there needs to be any more 'free time' to complete anything. The limited amount of time you have, which you can decide how to spend, is actually one of the places where the game does a good job of giving the player meaningful choice. Again, it's a decision of "What is more important to me." In fact, you can always choose to spend time that you should be at class doing other things, but there's always the risk of detention if you do that too much. Adding more time, particularly time where you're restricted as to how you use it, would lessen the significance of those choices.
  5. First of all, while this is a critique, I want to preface this by saying I have enjoyed this game greatly. I sincerely want to see this game continue on to become a successful franchise, able to release all five 'episodes' that were originally concieved. With that said, I have been finding myself rather reluctant to begin a new game lately. I've thought a bit about why that is, and I've come to the conclusion that despite what the game does well, there are two major points where I feel it is particularly weak. These two areas are immersion and emotional investment. While there has been some talk about the immersion aspects, and how the UI has been a bit of a hindrance in that regard, I would like to focus first and foremost on the issue of emotional investment. In this game, the player is given the opportunity to make what they will out of their first year at the Academagia. There's certainly nothing wrong with that choice. It gives the player a sense of freedom and the opportunity to explore the various nooks and crannies that the writers and designers have built into their world. Unfortunately, with a protagonist that is largely 'tabula rasa', there is little for the player to latch onto emotionally in order to empathize with the character. In many traditional RPGs where this is also true, this is overcome through a strong secondary cast that the player can empathize with and care about. This is one area where I believe Academagia has failed. With a supporting cast of over 90 characters (when you count the fully realized students and teachers), you don't have a real chance to really get to know and come to care about any one of them. You may encounter a given student only once in random events in the game, and unless you go on that student's adventure, that will be the extent of your interaction with the character. For the rest of the game, while the computer is processing all their actions, they wind up being little more than window dressing. Meanwhile, if you decide that you really are interested in one of the supporting cast members, you can certainly use actions to interact with them, but the interaction is very shallow, limited to just choosing options from a menu, or following the above-mentioned adventure path. While this certainly matches the implementation of everything else in the game, it really prevents you from getting to know about the character and coming to care about them. You also don't have much more chance of encountering them in random events, except for those students that have a few more unlockable encounters having a slightly higher chance of being selected for events, simply because they have more entries for the RNG to pick. I don't know that much can be done about this in 'Episode One', but I believe there is potential for great improvement come Year Two. Let me use an example to try and make my suggestion clear. In Scion, characters with powerful destinies (read, among other examples, the protagonists) inevitably draw other characters into a metaphysical orbit around them. The more they interact with a person or group, the more that person or group shows up around the character when significant events happen. Something of this nature could be used in Academagia as well, giving characters that the player has chosen to interact with a higher chance of appearing as the 'random actor' in events, or better yet, giving the system a higher chance of selecting random events where that student or teacher is a featured player. Another aspect that would increase the player's emotional investment in the game is introducing a genuine adversary. While the game supports the possibility of one (or more) of the other students becoming your character's rival, the way this plays out is about as thin as the socialization with other students mentioned above. Worse, there is a distinct possibility that no student will become your character's rival, removing one of the few sources of a genuine adversary from the equation. Mind you, I'm not saying there should necessarily be a genuine villain that the character needs to oppose or anything like that, but I feel there should be a significant, recurring, and most importantly, personal opponent for the character. The most memorable heroes often have the most memorable opposition, after all; ones that are as multi-faceted as the protagonist themselves. As mentioned above, a classmate rival is a good source for an antagonist, but teachers and mentors can be just as useful in this regard. Many good stories can come about from a student repeatedly trying (and failing) to gain the approval of a particularly renowned mage. Again, the reason I push so strongly for the inclusion of such a character ties back to the nature of this game as a type of story. If you were to read a novel in which there is no antagonist at all, would you be satisfied by the story? In a few occasions this is possibly, but in virtually all cases of novels set in a mythical reality, it's a given that the protagonist will need to oppose someone on some level. The failure to provide this personal opposition can actually be quite frustrating to most readers. The last point I want to cover in the area of emotional investment is the matter of significant choice. I won't deny that Academagia gives players plenty of choices. In fact, some may go so far as to call this game a case of 'option overload', but I'm referring to something a little more narrowly defined. Many of the choices in Academagia are made 'blind'; that is, you don't know where you will be going when you make your choice. You could train one subskill or another, you could advance one research topic or another, and you don't know what you will get when you finish. Given that the emphasis of Academagia is on exploration and discovery of the world, there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does have a tendency to detract from the player's perceived significance of their choices. A more frustrating situation arises during the adventures and some of the random events that occur. The only real choice the player is given is what skill/attribute combination they want to use for the encounter's success test. If the player succeeds on the test, congratulations, collect your reward or move on to the next scene of the adventure. If the player fails, they get a few bumps and bruises, and in the case of an adventure, they have to try again before they can move on. In many ways, this can ultimately be perceived as an 'illusion of choice'. Significant choice means that the player should be able to change not just the skill test involved, but the actual outcome of the encounter. We've seen many good examples of this in the community submitted events, and a number of them do exist in the game, but this is something that should really be emphasized when creating new events and adventures. In fact, if it's possible to have the adventures be branching storylines based on the player's choices instead of a linear plot that the player progresses along when they pass their tests, this will give the player a much greater level of investment in the choices that they are making. Pulling the three points above together (characters the player cares about, adversaries for the player to oppose, and choices that have real meaning and significance), I started thinking whether any or all of these could be implemented well right in the current build and game engine of Academagia. To be honest, some of this is already being done, in particular with the various character friendship adventures. Still, I believe that with a bit of writing by either the official dev team or a group of dedicated modders, all of these aspects can be developed to a much greater level than we see currently in the game. One example I would like to suggest is the introduction of a number of 'rival adventures'. Here is what I am proposing in regards to a rival adventure. When your relationship with a given student (or possibly even with a given teacher, if anyone wants to see these created), a new adventure unlocks with that character, just like a high relationship unlocks a friendship adventure. This new adventure, however, sees the character and his potential rival butting heads more and more frequently. Towards the end of the adventure, the player could be given a real, meaningful choice: offer the 'olive branch' to their rival and try to reconcile their antagonism, or essentially declare their rivalry. These choices would both be untested choices, and each one would lead to either a conclusion right in that adventure, or lead to separate final scenes of the adventure. Mind you, the suggestion in the paragraph above is only one way in which I feel that Academagia Year One could expand to build a deeper level of emotional involvement from the player. There are a number of other methods that could be used, many of which I feel could similarly be implemented right in the game engine as it stands now. With the future games still in the conceptual/early development stages, I would hope to see some additional consideration given to this type of 'hook' at the outset. As I said, this issue of emotional investment is just one of the points I felt was important to address. I also want to address issues of game immersion, but that could take just as long as this essay, and I hope there is more than enough here to spark some constructive conversation.
  6. Actually, in the adventure episode in question, I believe her advice is that you should 'focus on your strengths', in other words, train up a bit on things you're naturally good at. It's been a while since I read the text of that adventure in detail, though, so I could be mistaken.
  7. There actually is no way to directly 'train' your attributes. There are some things that you can do to raise them indirectly, but nothing that raises them directly. For example, if you've discovered the groundskeeper's room, you can start running courses around the Academagia, which has a small chance of increasing your stamina. Some skills will give you a permanent +1 to an attribute when you master (that is, reach the tenth level) of the skill. A few items will increase attributes when worn, as well. Most skills should require only one or two skill steps to increase while at low levels, regardless of your attribute scores. If you want to see which attribute affects the advancement rate of a given skill, click on the skill in your skills menu, and it will show you the related attribute. The higher that attribute, the fewer skill steps (xp) you will need to gain a level of the skill. Hope this info helps you out!
  8. O_O ... Why must you taunt us so?!? Seriously, though, I'm sure there are several people chomping at the bit to get their hands on this.
  9. A what? Did I just volunteer to be an RA? If so, this better come with some better benefits than just having the dorm room closest to the stairway, a dubious benefit to be sure.
  10. I think I can see what Schwarzbart is getting at, and I'd like to take a stab at giving a bit more complete answer. As the dev team has stated in at least one interview, part of the character of the respected fictional magical user is that they have great power, but they temper that with wisdom and responsibility. That is part of what the professors at the Academagia represent, and that is something that they are trying to instill in the students. Could your character pass their final exam halfway through the school term? Perhaps, but he has an obligation to attend classes, and if one shirks their obligations, can they really be considered responsible? Is it wise to pass up the opportunity to learn from someone more experienced than you if you think you've learned all the tricks they can teach you? To the contrary, learning all that you want to as quickly as possible and then running off is often considered a hallmark of an evil, greedy person. The staff and professors of the Academagia understand this, and they will do everything they can to help steer their students towards a path of morality and ethical living. After all, they realize better than most people just how much power a fully trained wizard can command, and just how dangerous that is for the world if used carelessly or, worse, maliciously. Hopefully this all sounds good to you, Legate. I also fully expect to see courses on philosophy and ethics in the later years at the Academagia. It's the responsible thing to do, after all.
  11. And this, people, is how vicious rumors get started. Seriously, though, have you tried your hand at writing events? This kind of off the wall thinking is exactly the kind of thing that leads to interesting random encounter stories.
  12. The ability The Imperial Reserve (from the location of the same name) is supposed to expand a random Zoology subskill by one step, and also reduce Stress by one. It looks like a negative was missed, as it is increasing stress by one instead of reducing.
  13. In the Random Event Student - Grainne, there is an actor error at the very end of the event. When a third random student says "You do know he's right behind you, right?", there is no student name, just a link with (?) displayed.
  14. Like many of you who are posting here, I decided to take something of a lesser magical route with my new no-reload character. It's not that he has anything against magic, though. He's just never seen any major role for it in his life. This is also a very different character for me to create, as I tend to make characters that see intelligence and intuition as their strong suits. Name: Michael Sepenza Fitness: 2 Finesse: 3 Charm: 1 Strength: 2 Intelligence: 1 Insight: 1 Luck: 2 College: Godina Classes: Astrology, Athletics, Calligraphy, Incantation, Music, Negation Aptitude: Hunting Family: The Secret Heritage Familiar Bond: Dog Station: Up From Destitution Tutoring: Explorer ----- Character History (as he is unlikely to spend much time at all writing to his family) Michael had always been as adventurous and filled with wanderlust as his father had been. He had already explored much of the forest near the small village he was raised in by the age of seven, and began following his father hunting shortly after. He fully expected to become a hunter and woodsman as his father had, and certainly was not upset with the prospect, as it would allow him the opportunity to live in the wilderness he had come to love. Michael had wished to start learning the art of the bow since his first hunting trip with his father, but had always been told that he would learn once he was old and strong enough. Life certainly had a surprise in store for him when he received an acceptance letter from the Academagia. He had never heard anything even mentioned from his parents that they had petitioned for him to enter the most famous school of magic, and wondered even more about why he had been accepted. He had never even seen magic in use, except for the occasional stop by a travelling wizard in their town who performed minor tricks in trade for food and room and a bit of coin. He certainly wasn't eager to leave the forests that had been his home since birth, but his mother impressed upon him how important this opportunity could be for him, how he could see parts of the world that he had never even imagined. On the morning before he left, his mother gave him a small note, which she told him to read only when he was alone on his trip to the Academagia. He found it to be a brief set of directions, and a reminder that there are plenty of places to explore at the Academagia, many of which are not what they seem. Arriving in Mineta, he collects his luggage and leads his dog and closest friend, Kalek, towards the Academagia. He has no idea what the coming years has in store for him, but he knows one thing for certain; he isn't going to spend all his time here stuck in a boring school or cramped dorm room. ----- Yes, the Secret Heritage background is used as much as a plot device for this character as it is something I intend him to study, but depending on what other locations he finds in his explorations of the Academagia and the city of Mineta, he may well return to the Haven. Only time (and gameplay) will tell.
  15. Indeed. Where is my option to purchase over Impulse? Oh, that wasn't what you meant?
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