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  • January 19, 2019, 12:19:40 AM
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"IT'S A NICELY DESIGNED GAME AS LONG AS YOU DON'T WANT ANY MEANING IN YOUR LIFE."-TIM

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Author Topic: The Doom Clock Got Me - Game Time Element vs Exploration and Experimentation  (Read 458 times)

Hacker

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I saw the doom clock advancing, not sure how it was tied to the game's plot. We've all played games that used time differently. I was hoping that the doom clock advancement was tied to plot points, not hours of game play. But I was sadly wrong. I lost, and going back a few saves is likely not going to buy me enough time to win. So I'll have to start all over again with a single minded focus of gaining favor, gaining influence, and advancing the plot missions.

The reason for the post is to question whether the REAL time element (vs some sort of fake time element that other games have used) is at odds with the natural inclination to explore and experiment with this gorgeous and immersive world.

It seems that the developers planned for us to play thru multiple times. Isn't is reasonable to assume we would run out of time given the amount of discovery and experimentation that people would pursue, the number of side quests available, and the need to work through the side quests for favor and influence?

Given that and the nature of the save system at launch makes it feel like OE was shooting for some type of rogue-like, moon crash type of experience.

Personally, I prefer a fake time pressure that allows all the exploration and experimentation I desire, and a static environment with minimal respawning and reloading of inventory items when Cabirus is forced to resurrect us.

But I don't fault OE for their design choices. I get it now. And I'll hop back in at the start and win this time. I suppose it is wrong of me to expect more of a warning that I need to quit with my dilly dallying and get on with the main missions.

For those that are still playing thru the game: the doom clock is real. Hurry up!
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Browncoat Jayson

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If you want extra time to go side missions, or fail a few, you can gather Aether Cores from Liches and put them in the mechanism near Typhon's statue in Marcaul. This lowers the Doom Clock. But yes, you can easily lose by time and there is little indication in the game that you approach the end.
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Hacker

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Aw snap, Jayson! You just saved my game (potentially). I've got 8+ cores horded in my storage box. I'll have to restore those save game files and see if I can wind that clock back repeatedly.

It was fun to go back and play the intro mission again. Man it ran buttery smooth on my rig (as opposed to the more "active" levels).

Thanks much!!!

P.S. Minor grumble - I did stick a core in that mechanism early on just for grins. And I did get to the mission where I was supposed to put a core in that mechanism. But I was clueless that I could affect the clock that way. Not the first thing I missed in Ascendant. Makes one wonder if I was overly clueless or if the game needs a bit more hand holding for the typical gamer.
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Hacker

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Chucked all my cores in and got the doom clock down to 4 out of 10. Back to slow plodding and fetch quests to get those dwarves to forgive my bow sniping.

Come on Haprukala! Say something next time!!!

Apologies to anyone if this topic was a spoiler.

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Flatfingers

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As I said back in 2015:

One of the things that bugged me is that no matter how long you take to get to him... He's only ever managed to loosen the bindings on the demon in preparation for drawing it into the body of the baron's daughter. Seriously. I played through one time where I spent an entire year in the abyss before confronting him, and things played out the exact same way as the time when I got to him after only 2 days. So we never found out if the plan would have worked. We know Garamon's plan would have worked, because it did work in the end. But was Tyball's plan viable? Or was there a flaw in it that he couldn't see because he was too eager to have the demon's power under his control?

It's an interesting question, but what's the practical alternative?

The obvious fix is to put Tyball on a timer: after X days of in-game time have passed, he completes his Evil Plan. Game over.

Would most players of UU have found that more satisfying than the admittedly game-y choice of letting him do nothing whatsoever until the player shows up?

Is there a happy medium here? For example, suppose Tyball needed to complete five actions to release the Slasher of Veils. Each action will be completed after a certain fixed amount of in-game time has passed. And each time one of the five actions is completed, the Underworld rings with it, and the Avatar has a vision or otherwise gets informed how far along Tyball has progressed.

That's still a ticking clock, something I personally do not enjoy at all in games as it interrupts me from exploring the game world. But because it doesn't happen all at once, and the player is clearly told how close to midnight the clock has ticked, Tyball making progress on his Diabolical Scheme isn't an instant Game Over. The player has multiple chances to hurry up and stop the clock.

That's just one suggestion. Are there other/better ways of letting the Big Bad actually make progress, which lets them feel more plausible -- while the player is off doing whatever -- that doesn't result in the game ending when their Epically Fiendish Plot is completed?

I'm not now and never have been a fan of ticking clocks in games that say they want to be about exploratory fun. I think the design goal of exploration (for knowledge-discovery fun) and the implementation of a timer (for challenge-sensation fun) are fundamentally at odds.

That said, the ability to turn back the clock somewhat is a thoughtful effort to try to blend these two things. But given its importance in that role of helping players have the kind of fun they enjoy (as opposed to helping the character progress), more visibly signposting how to slow down the Doom Counter by sacrificing an Aether Core seems like a good suggestion to me.
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pwrmetal

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I don't like the mechanic at all. I am not really sure how to get these aether cores. I thought I knew what I needed to kill, but all I get are mana cores which do nothing to the clock so I must be wrong. I am worried about my doomsday clock. It's about half way down and I can't find the cores to undo it.
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Browncoat Jayson

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Aether Cores are from Liches, like Nana Cores are from Eidilions. You can tell which is which because the pillar is red instead of blue. They are rare in the early game, but fairly common in the later levels.
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pwrmetal

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Thanks for the clarification.

Nice to know the game punishes me for revisiting the same level over and over before moving on to the deeper ones.

I am putting this on the shelf for now. If I have to play with doomsday clocks I don't like, I'll wait until it's a more stable less glitchy experience.
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Dewi Morgan

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There's at least one Aether core in level 1. You're not being punished :)

However, I'd argue that it's really not obvious that the "gain influence" quests are "the main questline" and the faction quests are all "random cookie-cutter sidequests". So it's entirely possible to grind only sidequests, and NEVER get the main quest which tells you how to use the cores to push back the doom counter. Hell, I did the same, for a while, though I didn't run out the doom counter.

It was only when I noticed that even on reloading the "gain influence" quests didn't change, that I made that intuitive "you may need to be a game dev to have a chance of guessing this" leap that maybe they weren't random.
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