Things are Finally Starting to Calm Down

Spankers and Spankees,
Things are finally starting to calm down, school wise. I have a weekend all but fully available for the first time in 2 months! So I’ll be starting the next episode of Etrian Odyssey this weekend, hopefully for posting next weekend (but we’ll see).

However, I’m still a little bit burned out from all the school-related craziness, so I won’t be doing a lot of hardcore work on Potion Wars until mid-May or so. Mostly fiddling with behind the scenes stuff. For example, I’ve been working on an overhaul of my plans for the overall story here and there, and I’m about ready to type those up and send them to Emily for her perusal. I’ll probably also work on setting up stubs of the conversation nodes for the second act of episode 2, which I can then allocate to writers (mostly myself). I’ve also got a scene written by Bonemouth that I need to incorporate into the current content, maybe I’ll see if I can do that next weekend, so that I can have a small update along with the Etrian Odyssey episode. Furthermore, Flash the Flamingo has offered to crunch some numbers for me, so that we can try to predict what mid and end-game stats will look like. This should help me determine whether the current rate of stat/health/mana growth will sustain the kind of fast-paced, and challenging gameplay that I want. I’ll probably be trying to work up the energy to get my growth equations out to him over the next week.

There is however, one thing I’d like to know from you (yes YOU). I’m rapidly approaching the point where I will once again have time to write two Etrian Odyssey episodes a month, rather than the 0-1 that I’ve been pulling the past few months. However, at the same time, I’m trying to decide which RPG I should immerse myself in over the next few weeks to recover from the end of the semester. So I’d like to know which option you would prefer:

1. I stick to 2 Etrian Odyssey Episodes a month.

2. I start another Let’s Spank, and write one Etrian Odyssey episode a month, and one episode of the second Let’s Spank a month, with the Etrian Odyssey episode taking priority (so if things get busy again, and I can’t sustain 2 episodes a month, I delay the other game rather than Etrian Odyssey). Here’s the shortlist of games that I’m interested in playing (in no particular order):

  • Lords of Xulima – 1 plot character, create the remaining 5. Plot character is a man, but I have plans for him. Game tends to encourage spamming a small number of skills over and over again. Combat system is very neat, I may steal ideas from them. Claims to be open world, but it isn’t. Rather than having broken bridges, it has absurdly powerful monsters that you can’t hope to beat until you’ve gained a few levels. Story is rather thick for a dungeon crawl, but it’s not so thick that I can’t take it my own way.
  • Icewind Dale – Create 6 characters. Standard fantasy races (humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, halfings, half-elves). Standard fantasy classes. Hybrid classes are just as powerful as specialists. Pretty linear dungeon crawl, with minimal story. Gives me lots of wiggle room. Butt-tons of fun to play. Also has the best theme  in the history of video games. First of a duology.
  • Baldur’s Gate II   – One of the best RPG’s in the history of the genre. Excellent gameplay, excellent story. Hybrid classes are just as powerful as pure classes. Create 1 character, find and recruit up to 5 more. Due to roleplaying constraints you guys would only be able to choose between 3 characters to fill 2 slots (the rest taken up by characters who are personally invested in the story, and that would not be kicked out by the kind of person I roleplay), and have some input on the PC’s class. However many of the characters are very spankable, and there are quite a few very spankable situations. Rather dark.  May or may not transcribe game text directly, depends on how quickly I get tired of it. I may just take the basic events of the story and put them in my own words.
  • Wizardry 6 Holy crap the party building options! 10 races (standard fantasy races plus faeries, cat people, dog people, lizard people, dragon people, wookies)! 15 classes! One of the few games I’ve seen that does the skill system right. Not only do you increase skills at level up, but you also increase skills by using them in combat. Hybrid classes are very powerful, and the game includes a powerful class change feature, so you can start as a specialist and transition to hybrid when the specialist starts to lose steam. The fact that Etrian Odyssey tries to claim the legacy of these games is part of why I’m so disappointed in their level up system. Faerie ninjas are possible, and are as powerful as they are absurd. Very thin story, very linear dungeon crawl, similar to Icewind Dale, though the story is even thinner. Gives me lots and lots of wiggle room. Game can get a little bit silly sometimes, but can also be more than a little dark. First of a trilogy.
  • Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny – An interesting gem of a game. A little bit tedious, but does the best job I’ve ever seen of capturing the feel of being a dirt poor adventure scraping for enough money to buy food for tomorrow. Standard fantasy races, but races (except humans) also count as a “class.” For example, dwarves are essentially fighter/thief hybrids, while elves (two kinds)! are archer/mage hybrids. Lots of interesting party building options: can give your characters phobias (i.e. claustrophobia). Furthermore, your characters can learn how to dance or sing, allowing them to sing and dance for money in taverns all over the game world. Has an awesome travel system, where random events will occur while travelling (i.e. stumbling across a dungeon, having to cross a small rope bridge). First of a trilogy. Open world done right.

Keep in mind that all of these are PC games, so unlike Etrian Odyssey, I can record my gameplay sessions. My thoughts with this would be that I record my gameplay session, write a story using that video as a reference, then post a video to Youtube that highlights parts of the gameplay session that inspired events in the story.

My personal vote is for Wizardry 6 because of all the party building options, Icewind Dale because it’s atmospheric, and there are still some pretty emotional (for me) parts, despite the relative thinness, or Baldur’s Gate II because trying to write other people’s characters would be an interesting exercise in giving my characters unique voices. And I could use the exercise. So if you’re interested in option two, let me know which of game(s) you’re most interested in above. If most people are interested in option 2, and there’s a consensus around one of the games, we’ll start the party-building process. Otherwise, I’ll provide some more details about the two games that people are most interested in.

Or I could stick to writing 2 episodes of EO a month, depending on what people want.

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