I just finished the whole trilogy this morning. I started the whole thing last Thursday. I discover Choice of Games universe last Tuesday with The Great Tournament… then Swamp Castle (too hard / frustrating for my taste, or more precisely, not the kind of experience I am seeking with that particular medium), Evertree Inn (really enjoyable!) and then The Lost Heir Trilogy… I was just taken away by this absolutly fantastic gaming experience, which share the personnal podium with the Lone Wolf gaming book series by Joe Dever and the 90’s Quest for Glory computer games.
So here are my reflexions regarding some mechanics of the games that I wanted to share with you.
A lot of the time, when you make a choice, the MC will succeed to overcome the current conflict if one or more of the appropriate stats are high enough. If there is success, the MC usually “gains xps” (I think Willpower checks are the only exceptions, but there might be more). In the case of a failure, the story goes on but there is no XPs reward. While I can understand some logic behind this, it does affect the “fun texture” of the game by turning it into a “Win More” kind of vibe. What I mean by that is the mechanics reward you to take choices into things you are already competent in, and “punish” you for making choices outside the MC domains of expertise. It is a little less true in the first game, but during the second and third chapters, I felt that my character was a one-or-two-tricks pony, that he/she will always win the checks associated higher stats - which will continue to sky rockets - while going out the comfort zone will result, most of the time, in a failure (which are all very well managed on the narrative level, so nothing to say about this).
So, on a gamist level of analysis, I think it could be interesting if the MC would learn XPs even if there is failure… Learning through trials and errors, so to speak. That would have dimnished the “Win more” vibe, really present after the first chapter.
What do you think about this way of viewing thing? Am I the only one who got this “Win more” vibe?
Oh yeah, and just to be clear : I want to share these thoughts with you because I love the game. So it’s not a beef I have against mr. Walter, nor whining.