Enderal first time, impressions

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badgesareus
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Yeah, after you get the MQ stuff you came for, you might climb back up the stairs past where the Steel Guardian was, and keep going to Thalgard proper. Just out of curiosity, what is your level now?
dyslexicfaser
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21.06.2018 08:25badgesareus hat geschrieben:
Yeah, after you get the MQ stuff you came for, you might climb back up the stairs past where the Steel Guardian was, and keep going to Thalgard proper. Just out of curiosity, what is your level now?
50, and I still definitely don't feel ready for the endgame!
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21.06.2018 15:16dyslexicfaser hat geschrieben:
21.06.2018 08:25badgesareus hat geschrieben:
Yeah, after you get the MQ stuff you came for, you might climb back up the stairs past where the Steel Guardian was, and keep going to Thalgard proper. Just out of curiosity, what is your level now?
50, and I still definitely don't feel ready for the endgame!
Go into Thalgard to see how ready you are and what you would need to improve upon.
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Where were we?

Oh yes. Getting-my-ass-kicked Alley.
Actually, the starling workshop is a wet fart compared to what I had to do to get here. Difficulty-wise, I mean; it actually looks really nice.

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It’s probably just the fact that Starlings in this game keep making giant robots for me to fight, but does this look a little like a giant robot to anyone else? The pipes coming off a barrel-like torso with three glowing eyes and grain silo-like legs holding the whole contraption up.

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The crystals overhead filter through the Starlingstuff to throw bluish light on the walls in thick wide stripes. I do kinda wonder... where's the light coming from? It's dark as pitch outside.
A couple of starling guardians pop up as I work my way up the crazy tower, but they’re basically nothing. I do some platforming segments and snag the pyrean cube right off the top.
I do appreciate how the hums and whooshes and hisses of the tower almost make their own music.

- I believe Buccaneer suggested that up the stairs from the workshop is one of the hardest areas in the game, and I should go on up and take a peek?
Well, turns out the Sunborn aren’t just stuck on the coast; they’ve taken over Thalgard, and there’s a lot of them. This isn't a lost or stranded crew, this is looking more like a village. Or a cult. Possibly an army.
Hard to tell, exactly.
3 of the Sunborn wasn’t too bad, down on the beach. They're hardy, but not one-hit deadly, the way a Lord of the Lost is. 7-10 is a little trickier, plus they brought a freaking Oorbaya. Well, turns out summoned monsters are starting to lose their efficacy, but Entropic Blood is paying real dividends! One Sunborn suborned (heh) to my side, which then explodes once they’ve taken enough damage? A+, gold star.
I got a level up at some point, and rank III of that talent is definitely where that memory point is going.
So, after some yo-yoing (run in, Entropic Blood, stab a bit, nearly get murdered, run away; repeat), I make it close enough to touch the actual door to Thalgard, which… you know, that’s probably good enough for now, right? Go me!
Go home, me, specifically.

- Well, I also poked around and found a pretty sweet tower called the Sun Fire, which I assume Dal’Marak dropped his nuke from when whatever happened, happened.

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It glows with its own inner light, and looks totally sweet after the endless dimness of the rest of Thalgard. And piles on the arcane fever, because of course.
Still glowing strong after however many years it’s been. It doesn’t really look like the Beacon, thankfully; thinner, with the chalice shape up top to catch the light rather than three nodes for the Black Stones.

- There’s also one of those unique beasties, the Crystal Widow, here. Vaguely woman-like, but covered in whorls and knots and crystal growths, like a soil elemental mixed with an Oorbaya plus lady bits.

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I actually just hit her with Entropic Blood and wandered around with her as a pet for a while, but unfortunately I had to put her down eventually. Rabid, you know how it is.
A little pitiful, to be honest. Like putting down Old Yeller.

- So, job done, anyhow. I head back to Ark for a minute to gather up anything new - check up on the new spells, sell off goods, buy skill books, all that. The city is still locked up tight, of course; nobody in the Order managed to figure anything out about the invading army while I was gone.
The Soil Elemental has once more fallen out of style, and the Oorbaya is back in. Level 50, the new hotness, still viscerally terrifying. I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination that the aura of purple mist is thicker than the old lad back at level 30.

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Presumably the fog is created from the Oorbaya, but it kind of looks like whatever fell portal he climbed through clings to him, and all hell might follow after.
Good shit.

- I also finally got around to buying the house in the noble quarter. It’s nice enough; roomy, with a crackling fire and a trophy room. If I actually could invite friends over (if my friends didn’t have a bad habit of dying ugly deaths), that long table would be really useful.

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It has a forge, alchemy and enchanting table on-site, but crafting is still kind of crap so the marketplace hovel is probably ultimately preferable just for saving a loading screen between me and the merchants.

- Other things of note: the invasion is on everybody’s lips, as it probably should be. Not just marketplace peasants being all “holy shit you were with the Grandmaster killing Nehrimese bastards down at the harbor gate, did I dream that,” but I noted Nehrimese racism is on the rise. Enderaleans’ favorite pastime, hateful xenophobia, has been proven 100% accurate now that the evil foreigners have invaded, or so the locals seem to think.
“I always told them those Nehrimese are dangerous, and now this happens!” and “You dare to show your face around here after what your countrymen did?” and the town crier assuring people that Ark is safe and will be that way forever, and so on.

- Well… sucks, but morale is the Order’s job, not mine. I’m off to the Gertrude to drop off my stuff.
On the way a novice Keeper makes a point of saying the ‘Blue Islands Coalition’ sent an emissary despite the wars. The man almost admires their balls. I’m pretty sure that the Blue Islands hasn’t come up yet, but I expect we’ll meet before all this is over.

- Kurmai has a uniquely Starling-centric viewpoint about this whole ‘Ancient Fathers hanging out up on their moon while we all suffer down here’ bit. He figures, the Beacon? Maybe the Ancient Fathers made it, did you ever think of that, huh?
And anyway, with the way humans have bollocksed up the world, is it any wonder the Ancient Fathers are non-interventionist? Like some kind of environmentalist bent to his rhetoric. Or maybe they’re the Federation from Star Trek. Prime Directive, sorry humans, our hands are tied.
‘Don’t judge them before you have met them’, Kurmai insists.
That just makes me more and more certain they’re going to be dead, crazy or (/and?) murderous when I actually make it up there to meet them. But hey, maybe they’ll surprise me this once.


The Takeaway:
Bit of a short and unimportant one this time, in all honesty. Thalgrad was atmospheric, filled with danger and history, but a little too ‘ard for me to go exploring just yet. Comparatively, the Starling workshop - the actual reason I was here - was just an in-and-out fetch quest.
Ark feels… weird, right now. The NPCs acknowledge their close call, but they don’t seem especially worried for the future. It doesn’t feel like a city under siege, you know? This attitude would feel more appropriate if the city had a close call and then emerged victorious, but as far as I can tell the Nehrimese invasion barely received a bop on the nose and there’s precisely one failure point keeping the Nehrimese from invading the city again: Yusif Sha’Rim’s entropic barriers.
I can’t help but feel that guy’s days are numbered, and he’s going to find an assassin’s blade or a whipped-up mob or something waiting for him whenever it would be narratively convenient.


Anyhow, hopefully the next update will come out pretty quickly, it seems to mostly be hanging out with the Order crew and investigating the starling city.
Buccaneer
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Nice job in Thalgard proper, I'll have to check out Entropic Blood.
dyslexicfaser
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- Arantheal happens to be on board for a talk before we ship off. I find him gazing contemplatively into some sort of alien vista down below decks. A sort of purple haze, with maybe… lightning in there? It’s hard to understand what I’m looking at, here.

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Now, never let it be said that I claimed that view isn’t rad as hell. But… what is it, exactly? Tealor Arantheal is, in fact, standing in front of a steering wheel.
A second steering wheel, facing the opposite direction to the one Kurmai is manning up on the deck. Is this for going backwards? Is it for, I don’t know, navigating the astral plane or something?
Is it ornamental?

- Just wondering, pay it no mind. Arantheal notes he’s having us aim for the Crystal Tower, the Ancient Fathers’ repository of knowledge. He also hands off an amulet from his son (the effect is a hefty 20% faster cooldown on talents, which considering talents are totally broken like stopping time and turning enemies into brainwashed zombies, I am all for).
Tealor plays it off like it’s no big deal. D-Don’t make a big deal about it, b-baka. Wear it or don’t, I don’t care!
Aw, that’s sweet. Tealor runs off, and it’s time to get this party started.

- Oh yeah, Kurmai throws out one last worrisome detail before takeoff in a conversation with Arantheal; he plans to stay on the moon (natch), and Arantheal quite reasonably asked if we could pilot the ship back without him.
Kurmai says yes, because it’s less ‘piloting the ship’ and more ‘inputting coordinates and the ship flies itself.’ This is sounding eerily like the ship is thinking for itself, Kurmai. We’ve had bad experiences with inanimate objects that can think for themselves, Kurmai.
Whatever, who gets to air their entirely reasonable reservations about the ship we’re on possibly being one of those Pyrean people-stuffed-into-objects that keep driving people mad? Not me, that’s who.

- We’ve got the A Team together for this one. Jespar and Calia are coming with, as well as Magistra Yaela and her apprentice, a guy named Lejam.

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Lejam seems like a nice lad, saying something nice about how swell world peace would be, and I immediately peg him as our redshirt. Shame we couldn’t get Archmage Lexil in on this, he seemed really excited about this Ancient Father stuff, but I guess someone has to look after Ark while we’re away and I’ve wanted Jespar and Calia to join me on the same mission for ages, so that’s exciting.

- We take off, although how we manage to take off from inside a workshop-cave is a bit of a question.
Maybe Kurmai built gigantic bay doors into the mountain or something.
There’s a tiny timeskip involved, and then we’re 3 hours into our flight soaring over the clouds, aurora borealis all around.

- Yaela gets a tiny bit of character building, building her up as a Starling-phile despite being human. As she puts it, ‘You don’t have to be a mummy to study archeology’, so, fair enough. Plus she points out thought, Starlings have the kind of tech that would let them conquer the world if they actually cares about that sort of thing instead of building moon-ships, you’d think people would care about them more.
It’s like if Skyrim still had the Dwemer kicking around in their sunken cities, doing their thing. That’s the sort of thing you keep an eye on! If nothing else, so you know when to run when they unleash the apocalypse by digging too greedily and deep or whatever and then its Falmer all the way down.

- The game lets you talk to Calia and Jespar or turn in early and skip it, and… I mean, obviously I’m going to do that.
Calia is weirdly relaxed and even-keeled for the first time since… maybe ever? I mean, good on her, I’ve been trying to get her to relax since forever, but still. The warm tone of voice and the laughter is kind of weirding me out, coming from our resident monster-paladin.
She takes me down and shows me this super weird freaking ball of energy Kurmai has powering his ship. It’s this whole little biome in the belly of the ship, with mushrooms and ‘crystal water’ which is actually getting sucked up into the tiny purple sun. It’s wild.
I mean, we’re already riding a wooden ship with a hot air envelope to the moon, but somehow this is even more crazy.

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After we hide from Kurmai who would probably shout a lot about poking around his ship when we aren’t supposed to (and listen to him berate the ship for opening doors, which is not helping my paranoia that this is going to go all HAL9000 on us), Calia…

- Honestly, I want to listen to her pour out her heart and stuff, but mostly I’m baffled that I slipped into respectable clothes off-screen. When did that happen?
I’ve been wearing skulls and heavy metal for at least the last 25 levels.

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I can’t tell if those are silk jammies or what, but I like it a lot.
Anyway. Calia, you were saying?

- Calia explains that she’s climbed over an emotional hurdle off-screen. She’s trying to view her Beast as a part of herself, rather than an enemy to be defeated. The Prophetess is forced to ask a pretty dumb question (“Does that mean you’re going to let it roam free?”) but Calia says that of course she’s still wary of it, but it’s also not something she can cut out of herself.
It’s an interesting decision to have Calia come to that decision off-screen. On the one hand, it makes me feel like all my pep talks didn’t really help; but on the other, it feels like her decision. It gives her a sense of agency you don’t often find in, for example, a Bioware game where the protagonist and his party members work through their issues together.

- Calia is going to hang out and meditate for a while, she really likes this place. Makes me wonder if the Beast and the purple sun are connected somehow, and since the Beast came from resurrecting li’l Calia using a High One battery that’s fairly worrying… but that’s probably just my naturally suspicious mind at work.
Probably.

- Jespar is up on the bow of the ship. Leaning on the railing, wind in his hair, all that.
He starts laying some philosophy out again. He still feels like people live life to be happy, but he wants to talk about the nature of responsibility, and how ultimately his attempts to run from responsibility are what make him responsible for what happened to his sister and that backstory lover who he left to die by bandit raid.
Man, character growth all up in this bitch.
Last time we talked, Jespar was trying to front like he’d sell me out to Coarek in a second, and now he’s acknowledging that his dim view of heroism and responsibility are wrong, an artifact of what happened to his father and his family.
He had it backwards all along, he said. “In order to be happy, we need… connection. To a person, to a cause, to anything. If you never find that, you’ll never find yourself.”
Which, okay, is a great turn of phrase, and I’m still hoping to connect with him myself if you know what I mean, but where did this come from. I was only gone for like a day, putting the finishing touches on the Gertrude! Jespar loves him some philosophy, but he seems to have flipped his positions like a Kilean whore. Which is a way healthier attitude to have than previously, where he was convinced humans were only in it for pleasures and he in particular was shit! But him and Calia must have been soul searching all day and all night to make all these breakthroughs.

- Aaaanyhow, I’m exhausted from all these heart to hearts, so I crash (thankfully non-literally) and wake up to find we’ve reached our destination.
Which is not the moon, unless the moon is just as sunny as the planet below. And has an atmosphere.

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Not to take anything away from the place, because the Star City has a solid, I dunno, Machu Picchu vibe maybe? A huge stone monolith the size of a mountain dominating a small city of stone and bronze. And dead silent. Possible emphasis on dead.
Kurmai, who doesn’t like the look of this at all, takes off down the dock like a rabbit while the rest of us are just standing around talking.

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The Takeaway:
On the whole, I like this segment quite a bit.
I’m a sucker for dialogue, and Enderal’s dialogue is good when you can get it but a little thin on the ground, you know? I like quests that give you party members, so it feels like I’m not trying to carry the whole goddamn Order on my back. I appreciate the Order roster getting filled out a bit, even if it’s likely just the prelude to another cull. On the whole I like Calia and Jespar and even Arantheal having a bit of personal growth that feels like it was their own idea and ultimately little to do with me. It feels real; personal growth ultimately comes from within, after all.
You can lead the horse to water but you can’t make her make peace with her inner demons, or… something like that.
And of course something went wrong with the Star City before we got there, when does it ever not? I have my money on ‘got culled by the High Ones already’ or possibly ‘are actually the High Ones lol’, but it could also just as easily be ‘destroyed themselves in their hubris’ or ‘went mad, MAD’. Enderal has options.
Buccaneer
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Hmm, I'm left wondering how you managed to skip the, ahem, romance scenes. Probably a series of neutral conversation branches with both?
dyslexicfaser
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18.07.2018 23:51Buccaneer hat geschrieben:
Hmm, I'm left wondering how you managed to skip the, ahem, romance scenes. Probably a series of neutral conversation branches with both?
???

There was a line I could have taken in Jespar's dialogue that said something like 'Just friends?' and I picked the other one... did I seriously miss out on sexy times just for that??
urst
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yes, that's the one :dumb:
[+] spoiler
(if you didn't advance to far after that you really may want to reload,
there are some scenes that probably only play if you're in a romance status :) )
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[+] romance
With Calia’s change of attitude, having her come on to me was my favorite scene in the game. :lol:
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