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I always like to write a little coda when I finish a game (especially if its one I kickstarted), helps order my thoughts.

So, I finally finished my first proper playthrough. After the twenty-hours I spent on release (I was one of the backers) which I aborted until they'd fix the bugs, I ended up waiting until the final 5.0 patch before starting again. (I am EXTREMELY patient!)

183 hours logged, of which 163 were this playthrough. This makes Deadfire the second-longest RPG I have timed logged for (after Witcher 3's 215 hours).

I played RTwP and on normal, because I am a terrible scrub!

Now, illustratively, I started played this right after finishing off Divinity Original Sin 2 for the first time. A couple of comparisions spring to mind. By the end of both games, I had about had enough, and in both cases, found myself getting to but not qutie forcing myself to play to finish (so as not to have it unfinished nagging at me!) On the one hand long play = good value for money (since I rarely play games more than once or twice, and often years apart; Planescape Torment is remarkable in being one I have played about three-and-a-half times (and likely another one, since I DID buy the enhance edition!) On the other, it maybe slightly too much for my notorious gaming ADD in my old age.

The other was that, while I always though I preferred RTwP because of those older games... I noticed fairly quickly that I was basically really only controlling two, or at most three, of the characters. For most of the game, my party was my single class Cipher Ascendant, Eder, Xoti, Aloth and Maia. I basically only controlled me, with a bit of Aloth and Xoti to use their spells and left the others almost entirely to their own devices. (It was not until this very last stretchm even, I started editing and futzng around with the party AI!) So, not unlike the old Black Isle games, in practice. Despite effectively having a party of of "casters" in the AD&D sense, I still only controlled half of them. I even play, on table-top, a hybrid of 3.5/PF for preference, wherein the non-casters do have a lot more to do. Yet that still happened.

An interesting and illustrative lesson, for myself. I am left going "hmm, maybe turn-based has more draw than I thought." (Especially coming off D:OS 1/2, which I played back-to-back, which are arguably the best TBS RPGs i've played - I felt they got that mostly right.) I have Pathfinder: Kingmkaer to play, so it'll be interesting to see what I think on playing that.

So I might, when I revisit (probably for an "Evil" playthrough, I have a tendancy to do "Good" first and then "Evil" once I can abuse the system better and it's not fresh and new), I might well try turn-based.

That said, Ascendany Cipher was inordinate fun (and the cipher was so much fun the first game, I had me and GM!) and it's not quite a broken in TBS, so there is that! Especially since I was educated on Brilliant/Salvation of Time. (Mind you, that just meant that fight deteriorated to "get focus, Brilliant Xoti, Barring Death's Door everyone spam SoT." I actually found Vatnir useful as another sink (though in hindsight, he might have been better as a celebrant, than pure priest.) My cipher, like in the first game, horrendously out-damaged and out-killed everyone by miles, because I insisted on spamming Mind Blades, Amplified Wave and Disintegrate. I think I used all the powers I had at least once, though I only used Ringleader a couple of times in SSS, I think. (I loves me offence!)

I virtually never used empower and once I picked up the Red Hand, I found I was incentivised NOT to rest, so I more or less never used any per-rest powers at all. (And, as usual, ended up with an inventory full of potions saved "just-in-case" that I NEVER use.) Heck, I never used any, I don't think, of the figurines.

Ship combat was... Yeah. I tried, I really did, but when it became apparent that whatever I did, I couldn't change the orientation of the enemy ship to mine, I gave upo with it, which is na shame. I think if they had just done that, it would have been great. It wouldn't even have required all that much extra interface thsn they arleady had, just allowing you to move quadrants with the turning and sailign straight. When I realised that there was literally no point in trying any clever tactics like shooting the sails out and sailing to rake them with grapeshot from an angle the couldn't retaliate, I was very disheartened. You just can't do that sort of thing without SOME form of spacial component. They tried to cheat a bit with it and not do that; but like me when I try to not have to draw maps when I'm quest-writing because I have to crack open my CAD package, at some point you just have to; they didn't and all that work just went nowhere, which is a shame.

I'm entirely neutral on the pirate setting-aspect; pirates don't especially do anything for me, but neither was it anything I actively dislike; it was what it was.

So, like I said, I found the last stretch a bit... Not exactly boring, but less inspiring, once I'd hit max level. (I actually stopped and played Stardew Valley - which I bought half-expecting to play for an hour or two or at best as a time-killer - for more hours than I'd played PoE2 (ao about 140-odd), which is sort of despressing befoe I went back to it.) I paused, basically, having done everything but Beast of Winter and SSS. I ended up working through the last of those and trying to get everyone to max level. I did get everyone (including the two adventurers I made) to level 20 except Mirke, who for some reason was well behind everyone else, though I suspect that by the time she'd been alloted the XP from the end-game, she'd have made it too. So everyone even got a bit of time in the sun, in the end. I think it was a great idea to have the "recommended companion" and especially that the sidekicks got their time in the expansions.

I only did one mega-boss, Belranga, in the end. I had one go hopelessly unprepared at Duragon, before going to look at strategies and such, but never bothered even going to look at the other two. (Normally, I'm such a damned completionist!) I probably could deal with the others in a simialr fashion. But, as I say, I was beginning to lose a bit of steam and I felt it would be basically a lot of long-drawn out "more of the same" for not that much gain. I was starting to find I was delaying playing to do basically nothing, because I am sufficiently neurotic to not want to just call it without finishing, but wouldn't let myself play anything else (again!) until I did finish, so I decided tonight that as all I had left was the mega-bosses and the end game, I'd just do it.

(SoT is so good, I would seriously consider carting Vatnir to all the megabosses along with Xoti, just to keep the redunacy!)

On that front, the ending choice was... Yeah. My Watcher had trying to be all LG the whole way through, and I would probably have sided with the Huana. Except that a) meant blowing up people and b) much more importanly, meant I lost Maia from the party. I had written off the Valians and the pirates as a matter of course. Of course, the Rauatai cause you to lose two party members (admittedly, Pallegina was no great loss, since despite my efforts, she remained the only one only at affection level 1). And to kill the Queen, who I also liked. So, in my "ah frack it, let's just do it" I went with "go to Rautai, refure to assassinate" wondering if that would get me around Maia leaving or something, but it locked off the palace anyway. So I went off by myself, my Watcher at this point thoroughly sick of shouting over everyone else. (I'll be honest, Eothas being shockingly reasonable at Magran's Teeth (which I did as late as I could, so only with SSS left to do) and with current political events in my home country the UK of late, I was kind of agreeing with him on some points, and Woedica on others, though my Watcher wouldn't...)

So, yeah, I got a fairly ropey ending[1], but my (as opposed to my Watcher) was a bit more "frack 'em!" at this point. (Especially as I realised I was actually kind of trying to delay making the decision by not playing...!)

 

I, of course, made sure I kept a save before comitting to the faction-choice quest, so I could always go back and deal with the Mega-bosses and do the Rauatai ending (since I now have a full experience (rather than just internet scuttlebutt) on how pants-y the ending was. (I also might have been more inclined to take a shot at Eothas...!)

 

So, yes, I am overall pleased with the game, like I was with the first one. Playing it this late meant a relatively bug-free experience (only a couple spring to mind.)

I would definitely be up for a PoE3, or something else set in Eora (I really want to see the Living Lands!) - though I draw the line at action RPGs and shooters (Outer Worlds isn't doing anything for me), mostly, so I'd opt for the former (RTwP or TBS or both).

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By-the-by, OBS, I am totally cribbing the Mega-Boss music on loop for the final boss battle when I run the TT Rolemaster quest for my 40th birthday next month (I'm wrapping up a party that has been around for the better part of if not actually a quarter century) . That should really get my players bricking themselves all proper-like! (As they should, they'll be fighting a 50th level Ninja Dragon Lich...!)

 

 

[1]In terms of consquence only. It terms of presentation and closure, I have absolutely no quarrels what-so-ever, there was enough wrap-up there to satisfy me!

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