Q's anger management thread (chock-full of spoilers!)

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
So I figured, half an hour before I have to get to sleep, I won't get anything else done tonight - might as well play another Saga mission, then.

Boy, this one was awful. Cairo 1 is exactly the kind of mission that I need to practice anger management.

Seriously, this was horrible. I try to avoid swearing, so I'll spare you what went through my head in the last couple of minutes of the mission. Suffice to say, this was some of the most ham-handed, amateurish, control-freak-style mission design I'd seen - not in Saga, but ever. On the first page of this thread, Tolwyn said something about how Saga is all about gameplay, compared to how scripted other games of today are. No, Tolwyn - if that was your intention behind Saga, you failed. Sure, there are plenty of missions in Saga that are about gameplay, but every once in a while, you run into something like this, all the scripting comes to the surface, and you know that this game is just as scripted, if not more so, as any other title out there. I'm sorry - you failed. Saga does not meet the goals you claim to have set out for it.

But let's get back to the start, shall we? Because in truth, this mission started off in a really, really good way! One wing of Longbows going through the jump point on a recon run. Oh, the perspective of all the damage I could do... but wait? Why am I carrying no torpedoes? The cynic in me thought, it's to prevent me from killing any capships out there. But even the cynic in me couldn't predict the awful way this would be done.

You see, the game had just used the previous mission to demonstrate to the player that a Longbow, even without torpedoes, can blast a Kilrathi capship to shreds. And now, it would take that back, pretending that a Longbow without torpedoes can't do anything.

I'm getting ahead of the mission, though. The first couple of navpoints were fun. I mean, I was surprised (yet again...) by how wave-based Saga is. Apparently, someone was concerned that four Sorthaks at once would be too much for the player, so they were split into two waves. I don't like that, but whatever, it was still fun fighting with a Longbow and not having any Hellcats to get in the way. Same with the Dralthi and Darkets at the next one.

Now, the "Bloodmist smashes three capships" bit - badly written, but well-scripted. That is to say, I'm not a fan of dialogues where everyone is scared of one pilot - really, there would probably have been like a dozen bombers out there, and while Bhuk's presence might be noted, it wouldn't have been that serious a concern. Well-scripted, though, because you could tell right away that you won't be able to get near the capships in time to help them. And of course, just when you decide to retreat - you're expecting Bhuk to suddenly yell at you and start pursuing you across a long distance, but instead what you get is Strakha decloaking around you. That's excellent use of stealth fighters, and having the Strakha keep the player busy while Darkets approach was good design.

You then autopilot back to the jump point. Up to this point, the mission had been pretty good - and here, it could have been excellent. A fight against three corvettes and a light cruiser? Bring 'em on! Never mind that I have no torpedoes, I'm in a Longbow. And yeah, yeah, the dialogues say I should head straight for the jump point. Who cares? A pair of Longbows can tear through a force like this, we saw it in the last mission. So, I charge right in, figuring I'll pick off the corvettes one by one, hopefully with the cruiser's assistance (those turrets can just as easily hit the corvettes as they hit me, right?). I start blasting away at one of the corvettes, flying wild circles around it, neutralising turret after turret, and gradually taking the hull down. Now, when the hull reaches 30% and stays there for a while, it did for an instant occur to me that this is taking longer than I'd expect. But see, in the meantime, I'd also been taking a lot of gunfire from the cruiser, time and again my shields were knocked down, and my hull was now down to 40-something percent. So, I decide that if this is gonna work, I gotta break off from the corvette and take out the big cat first.

I plant myself right behind the cruiser's engines, and fire away. Not just guns, I also drop four heat-seekers into the ship. After a while, I notice - and am a bit surprised - that the engines don't seem to be getting blown away. But whatever - the cruiser's still taking damage, so I don't pay much attention to that fact.

...And then it hits the 30% barrier, and stops taking damage. Starting to understand what's going on, I cycle through the ship's components - and sure enough, every engine I'd hit was down to 30%.

I'm angry now. The game designers have screwed me over, and I really don't see why. I mean, destroying a task force like this and jumping back out - that would have been the very quintessence of Wing Commander. Why did Saga choose to go against the spirit of Wing Commander? Incidentally, the air is pretty thick with irony at this point - there I am, sitting safe behind the cruiser's engines, but my wingman is busy making a mockery of the whole show. I mean, look out there - my invulnerable wingman, damaged to 30% but not one bit more, is fighting against an invulnerable Kilrathi cruiser, damaged to 30% but not one bit more. Yes, Tolwyn, this is pure gameplay. Not one bit of script in sight.

I don't get much time to think about this. I was actually going to play with the Kilrathi some more, planning to take out all the gun turrets on all four capships, so that I would at least have the satisfaction of neutralising them if I can't kill them - but for whatever reason (was it a time-based trigger, or did I simply get too close to the jump point? I don't know), at that point the jump sequence kicked in, and I found myself back in Alcor.

Now, Bhuk jumps in. Why now? Makes no sense. He must have landed on that cruiser, if he was out of sight and yet able to pursue me so quickly. Why didn't he fight me on the Kilrathi side of the jump point, under the guns of the cruiser? Now that would have been a tough and exciting fight. Anyway, I start blasting away at Bhuk, although I'm kinda resigned - I expect something to happen to prevent me from killing him, just like it did with Stalker. Surprisingly enough, it doesn't happen, I am able to kill him.

Now the Kilrathi capships jump in. Good, I think to myself - the bastards made them invulnerable before, but surely I'll be able to kill them now?

Except that NOW, a bunch of Confed fighters come streaming in! I still manage to take out the light cruiser and get the credit for it, but all three of the Kilrathi corvette kills go to someone else (including, oddly enough, the one I'd damaged to 30% - I guess damage attribution doesn't work properly in situations like this). Talk about adding insult to injury!

I should have been able to kill all four capships on the other side of the jump point. It would have made for a great mission, very evocative of the Wing Commander spirit. Instead, I'm artificially barred from killing them, and for what? To have the satisfaction of Saga ramming down my throat its key message that everyone plays as part of the team? There are more natural ways of carrying that message across. You know this, because you've done it properly in quite a few of the other missions in the game.

And that's about all there is for this mission - a potentially really good mission, started off really well, and ultimately ruined. It's really sad that the thing that destroys this mission is Saga's insistence on putting "Saga" ahead of "Wing Commander". I understand the desire to carry your own unique theme across in Saga, but it should have been all too obvious that when Saga's theme gets in the way of the more important Wing Commander theme, then Saga's theme must be cut down. You chose to do the opposite, and in the process, Saga became significantly worse.

I'm really, really disappointed.
 

Tolwyn

Vice Admiral
Whenever you like the mission design or hate it - I am fine with that because you can't please everybody.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
If you're fine with what I just wrote, then you're not fine with what you had previously written:

Let's not forget that we made Saga because we wanted to play it ourselves. In a time when it is getting increasingly difficult to find pure gaming experience as more and more games, such as Mass Effect 3, try to emulate the look and feel of Hollywood blockbusters, Wing Commander Saga offers gameplay that is engaging and extremely challenging at the same time.
I suppose I am criticising Cairo 1 primarily on the grounds of what I feel is good design. It's impossible for your personal preferences not to shape your opinion. But I also tried to emphasize the fact that the design of this mission is the exact opposite of what you claimed Saga is trying to achieve. It's not merely a bad mission by my standards - it's a bad mission by your standards.

And it's all the worse for it because it could have been a great mission if only you hadn't sold gameplay down the river in the name of cinematic experiences.
 

Tolwyn

Vice Admiral
I've learned a long time ago that you can't please everybody, so at this point I am not even trying. That is the only thing implied by my comment. Aside from that we clearly have different perceptions as to what makes for good game design. I finished neither Unknown Enemy nor Standoff but you don't see me complaining.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Yes, yes, I know you don't care what I think, I got the point :). But one more time - my opinion doesn't matter here. Yours does. And this mission is a failure in your opinion. You have stated what you wanted to achieve in Saga, and this mission is the exact opposite of what you wanted to achieve.

All I want to know is, do you care to address your own point about Saga putting gameplay above scripting (and this mission being horrible by this standard you have set for yourself), or did you, along the way, also decide that there's no point trying to please yourself?

(and for the record - I would be very happy to hear you complaining about UE and Standoff, especially since I frequently complain about them myself)
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Would this not simply be the best option to do it and possibly the only way to avoid breaking the mission?

For comparison;
Red dead redemption's expansion(undead nightmare) had on it's release a bug that if you killed off a character(seth) somewhere before or during his specific mission branch, it would break the game and you'd be unable to progress, and finally lock up(failed segments can be replayed after several hours). This was fixed in a patch where even if you burned him to a crisp and blew his corpse up with dynamite, he'll be back again alive and well after you leave his location. I then tried hogtying and put him on my horse and went riding around with him but after completing a random mission triggering a cutscene he disappeared.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Would this not simply be the best option to do it and possibly the only way to avoid breaking the mission?
No, the problem with this mission is that it makes a bunch of ships invulnerable to force the player to run away from them, specifically so that they can give chase and be destroyed at a later point. There's no connection with other missions. It's just a really ham-handed way of making a more dramatic experience - sacrificing gameplay in the process.

Anyway, it's a pity Tolwyn has chosen to plead the Fifth, but then, there's certainly no requirement to respond to criticism, even constructive criticism. The show goes on, and I'm gonna continue reviewing the remaining missions as I go through them - even if the Saga staff officially don't care what anyone thinks ;).

Yesterday I played Cairo 2. This was a simple strike mission, and as such - a very pleasing experience in general (I probably would not have liked it as much had I died, and had to listen to all those dialogues again - there's a lot of them this time round). You hit a Kilrathi base, and while the base itself oddly enough hasn't got a single turret on it, the base defenses feel very formidable. Those turret-platform things, which had previously shown up in a mission or two (and in WC4, of course), are definitely something Saga was very, very right to incorporate. Having a bunch of capships in varying states of damage around also added a nice touch - you could drop a torpedo on every one of them, but then you'd lose a lot of torpedoes - or you could gun them down, which took longer but allowed you to save torps for the real target.

The one thing I'm surprised about, and which does seem a big flaw for this mission (perhaps forced by some technical issue?), is the base itself. It looks absolutely great... but it's not divided up into any kind of componenents. On other capships, you can usually destroy parts of the ship long before destroying the whole, and you can see the damage building up (i.e., the model changes visually). Now, the Kilrathi drydock requires a lot of torpedoes - five or six of them. That's a lot more than any other capship, so there's a lot of room for damage build up. The base could have a few targettable components, so that you would be able to blow off a section here, destroy the gantries there, and so on - of course, I say it could have, but I don't know - could it have? Or is there some technical issue with bases that limits this kind of thing? Either way, the base has no subsystems or components to target. You just keep on firing torpedoes at the centre of the base, and the only indication of damage is the hull percentage going down.

So, that was a disappointment, but the base more than made up for it when it blew up very nicely. For once, having spent all my torpedoes earlier in the mission, I was pretty far away from the base, blasting away at the turret platforms. So, when the end came, I was able to just stop my engines, turn around and watch. Very pretty fireworks. Very pretty indeed.

One final surprise to note in this mission: the diversionary force succeeded in their mission. Now, that was a genuine surprise :). Usually, when Wing Commander presents you with a mission like this, you just know that at some point, the enemy will figure out the diversion, and you'll suddenly be flooded with unexpected enemy forces. In this mission especially, I was just waiting for them to show up, especially after the Kha'ha'haf encounter showed that the enemy is aware of our presence. But against all precedent, the diversion succeeded. Naturally, that's not a bad thing - I like it when a game toys with the player's expectations.

(though it has to be said, the briefing seemed to imply that the Kilrathi forces are more powerful than ours, and that the diversion would only draw the enemy off - so it is a little weird that they actually wiped the slate clean)
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Another day, another couple of missions. I suspect I'll be getting into the Excalibur missions soon, but today was still Longbows: Cairo 3 and 4.

Cairo 3 was a surprisingly short and simple mission - I could swear there was more Kilrathi capships displayed in the briefing than there were in the mission. Balancing changes, or just intentional misinformation? I don't know. If it was misinformation, though, it worked - I was very careful with my torpedoes, taking out the frigate using guns, and losing the corvette kill to someone else. Both could have been destroyed with torpedoes, had I used torpedoes on any capship I saw. As I said about the previous mission, I like this kind of thing - it's good if the game tries to predict what the player will be thinking and surprises him, provided those surprises are reasonable (this one was).

Cairo 4 is the big carrier bash. It was certainly an impressive affair, with a heck of a lot going on - I imagine you could replay this mission two or three times and still have something new to see. The Wing Commander fan in me is not impressed, because the capships were just going down so quickly, I barely got to even shoot at them. Except for the carrier, of course. Before the mission, I'd changed my loadout to as pure a strike loadout as you can - replaced all the anti-fighter ordnance with dumbfires.

So basically, I went straight for the carrier, flew inside the hangar bay, parked myself there and blasted away with guns and dumbfires. By the time the last of the Zartoths was destroyed and the carrier was targettable, it was already down to some thirty percent. Only took one torpedo for me to finish it off.

Sadly, by the time I got out of the hangar bay, the only remaining Kilrathi capship was getting finished off. If it hadn't been for some Darkets and Dralthi I shot down on my way to the carrier, I would have ended the mission with just that one kill. Ah, well - it would still have been worth it. Heavy carrier kills don't grow on trees ;).

I think this mission was definitely one of Saga's finer moments. That having been said, I did find the whole Zartoth thing rather... well, unexpected, I guess. The idea that the Kilrathi are able to prevent you from locking onto a specific target is neat in and of itself - I wish, though, that we had seen it earlier. I mean, normally, you want to first demonstrate the concept to the player on a smaller scale, and then escalate - for example, by having a single Zartoth protecting a lone light carrier in an earlier mission. The sense of that is just to explain things to the player at a less critical time. Here, there was so much going on, you really didn't pay much attention to the dialogues.

Incidentally, I'm sure there's some button that I'm not using (when I installed Saga, the first thing I did was set up the controls to be as close to WCP as possible, and essentially disabled a swathe of buttons that hadn't been in WCP and felt redundant here), but I find it really annoying trying to target capships in Saga. The "T" button cycles through all targets including friendlies, "H" cycles through the nearest enemies, and "B" cycles through the nearest bombers. Is there a cycle-through-capships option that I haven't been using? Because in missions like this, it takes a lot of button pressing to target a capship... I'd better check that next time I play :p.

The only other thing worth adding about this mission is that in spite of so much going on, it kinda didn't feel dramatic enough. The briefing, telling us about the results of the previous strike, made it seem like this would be a big gamble. And yes, a couple of friendlies even died, but in general, the Kilrathi got smashed so fast, it really didn't feel as difficult as the briefing had made it out to be. Then again, maybe had I tried to play the mission as intended, blasting away at Zartoths and the smaller capships first before going after the heavy carrier, I would have found the whole thing more challenging. Inside the belly of the carrier, it really felt rather safe ;).

(mental note for the future - if I ever make another WC mod, and it involves fly-through carriers, they gotta have some interior defenses, like big infantry-operated machine guns or something...)


Oh yeah, and one more whine about capship explosions: as usual, I didn't see a thing of the exploding heavy carrier, because I was busy trying to get away (especially since I delivered that last torpedo while inside the bay). Saga has great fireworks, but it doesn't let you look at them :(.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
So... three missions a day should be enough for anyone. I ended my playing session today with the final Cairo mission, which is actually an Alcor mission... Alcor 2, I guess? It's the last Longbow mission, in any case.

As usual when there are few friendly fighters around, things get more enjoyable. With just three Longbows and a couple of Arrows, I was able to do quite a bit of damage to the Kilrathi giving chase. That poor heavy destroyer was already getting a torpedo locked on itself before it even came to a halt.

I've said so much about gameplay in all the previous missions, there really isn't that much to comment on at this point - but that's also a good thing, since usually I'm most vocal when a mission's design doesn't work well. In this case, the mission structure was perfectly fine.

There is one thing I don't think I've mentioned before: music. It occured to me today, because of the cutscene at the end of this mission, where we saw the Excalibur arrive. The music there contains a great and subtle reference to the Wing Commander movie - a lot of fun! In general, I really like the music in Saga. It's definitely one of the game's strong points.

One last thing... the latest fleet briefing. Did they seriously declassify and send to all carriers the information that General Taggart rescued Dr Severin in Alcor? Because that's what the admiral said... it is a bit disturbing, that Confed would just brag to all personnel about the doings of its special forces. I know and understand why you want to keep the player abreast of what's going on in WC3 in the meantime, but I really think it would have been worthwhile to come up with a more reasonable way of doing it.
 

Light

Master Chief Petty Officer
Quarto said:
Is there a cycle-through-capships option that I haven't been using? Because in missions like this, it takes a lot of button pressing to target a capship... I'd better check that next time I play :p.
Quarto, I think you are looking for the "E" key. It cycles through all ships on your escort list. That usually contains all mission critical craft at your present NavPoint. I hope that helps.
 

Light

Master Chief Petty Officer
There's also a key for targeting whatever is under your reticule, I believe.
Thanks for the reminder. The target ship in your reticule command is by default "Y". I have mapped it to a Joystick button as well.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
At no point during this mission did I feel like we were truly in a system filled to the brim with Kilrathi. After what we saw in the last Loki mission, this was just bizarrely uneventful.
From a purely gameplay point-of-view, this could just be to give the player a bit of a change of pace. A breather, so to speak.

Usually, people from Special Ops would be strictly need-to-know. I mean, the Kilrathi would stand to gain a lot from the mere knowledge of Paladin's presence aboard the Victory, and here we are being told about it with no concern for security. Surely, surely, there must have been a better way of handling this? Even simply making a big mystery of it ("we don't know why our presence in Cairo is so critical, blah, blah, blah, but...") would have made more sense.
Again, I suppose this stems from that conflict between in-universe sensibilities vs real-world desire to link Saga with WC3.

I do wonder if the Longbows don't seem worse than they are in these missions compared to WC3, because of mission design differences. In WC3, you never had any Hellcats operating alongside your pair of Longbows. The competition for kills was significantly less fierce. Here, I do find myself frustrated a lot.
It seems to me that the Longbows in Saga are dedicated capital-ship killing machines, in contrast to the general-purpose nature of WC1-4 fighters Hawk refers to in Prophecy's ICIS manual. I didn't bother trying to kill fighters in the Longbow unless the opportunity was there in front of me. For me, I enjoyed the chance to kill capital ships whereas when Sandman was assigned a fighter, I'd be hard-pressed to deal sufficient damage to a capital ship before the Longbow squadrons would sink it with their plentiful torpedoes.

A fight against three corvettes and a light cruiser? Bring 'em on! Never mind that I have no torpedoes, I'm in a Longbow. And yeah, yeah, the dialogues say I should head straight for the jump point. Who cares? A pair of Longbows can tear through a force like this, we saw it in the last mission. So, I charge right in, figuring I'll pick off the corvettes one by one, hopefully with the cruiser's assistance (those turrets can just as easily hit the corvettes as they hit me, right?). I start blasting away at one of the corvettes, flying wild circles around it, neutralising turret after turret, and gradually taking the hull down. Now, when the hull reaches 30% and stays there for a while, it did for an instant occur to me that this is taking longer than I'd expect.
I can't remember what happens in the rest of this mission, but yeah, I definitely remember attacking a bunch of capital ships when my wingmen are telling me to run for the jump point, but I wanted to play the suicidal maniac and take them down myself... only to find that they're invincible once their 'health' drops to 30%. I realised then that this was scripted and resigned myself to only killing them on the other side of the jump point. I didn't get quite as mad about it as you did, but the situation did strike me as being a bit odd, confusing and frustrating.

One final surprise to note in this mission: the diversionary force succeeded in their mission. Now, that was a genuine surprise :). Usually, when Wing Commander presents you with a mission like this, you just know that at some point, the enemy will figure out the diversion, and you'll suddenly be flooded with unexpected enemy forces. In this mission especially, I was just waiting for them to show up, especially after the Kha'ha'haf encounter showed that the enemy is aware of our presence. But against all precedent, the diversion succeeded. Naturally, that's not a bad thing - I like it when a game toys with the player's expectations.
I remember this mission. I really enjoyed it, too, both for the big target that there was no way for you to kill on your own (team-work!) and for the diversionary strike coinciding with your mission. Those destroyers around the dry dock, you could kill off pretty easily with guns, so I saved my torpedoes for the big boom.

Cairo 4 is the big carrier bash. It was certainly an impressive affair, with a heck of a lot going on - I imagine you could replay this mission two or three times and still have something new to see. The Wing Commander fan in me is not impressed, because the capships were just going down so quickly, I barely got to even shoot at them. Except for the carrier, of course. Before the mission, I'd changed my loadout to as pure a strike loadout as you can - replaced all the anti-fighter ordnance with dumbfires.
Yeah, I played this mission a couple of times - the first time I went straight for the big carrier (once the Zartoths were gone). The second time, I went for as many of the escorts capital ships that I could kill. As you say, the Wing Commander side of me wants to do everything solo, but there's no way of taking everything down yourself. Team-work again, clearly.

The only other thing worth adding about this mission is that in spite of so much going on, it kinda didn't feel dramatic enough. The briefing, telling us about the results of the previous strike, made it seem like this would be a big gamble. And yes, a couple of friendlies even died, but in general, the Kilrathi got smashed so fast, it really didn't feel as difficult as the briefing had made it out to be.
Ditto. I'm glad we (Confed) won this round and it felt satisfying to kill off a long-standing enemy, but with so many wings being sent in (plus the capital ship missiles) it really did happen so very quickly.

There is one thing I don't think I've mentioned before: music. It occured to me today, because of the cutscene at the end of this mission, where we saw the Excalibur arrive. The music there contains a great and subtle reference to the Wing Commander movie - a lot of fun! In general, I really like the music in Saga. It's definitely one of the game's strong points.
I did like the music that plays in the main room (the one that leads you to the main game, select pilots, etc). There was one track towards the end - I think it was played in the Hyperion missions? - that had a deep-bass rumble of a beat for an introduction that bothered me a bit. I can't remember how I felt about the rest of the tracks, but I think I had a mixed reception of them all - some I enjoyed, some not so much. I'd have to play Saga again to give a more thorough review (I'm aware of the soundtrack being available apart from the game).
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
So... it's been a while. I finally tried the first Excalibur mission today.

Oh, the irony. I thought I would be complaining about how much of a superfighter the Exalibur is - but I ended up getting killed, which hardly ever happens in Saga. Ah, well, it was my own fault :). I flew into that orbital defence platform station thing, and when it started exploding... well, I hit the afterburners, and then I hit the wall. And then I started bouncing around, and couldn't escape the blast in time. So, ultimately, I ended up having to fly the rest of the mission with a mere 1% of health. I did just fine, until an accidental collision with Deathfang finished me off.

What an ignominous end.

I can't bring myself to play the mission again today, but I will comment on what I saw thus far.

The Excalibur: crazily-overpowered. Now, of course, that's exactly how the Excalibur had been in WC3. But in Saga, this becomes much more of an issue. Up until this point, shooting down even a Dralthi took a long time, because of the collision system that made it much harder than in WC3. With the Excalibur, things suddenly go from difficult to point-and-click. There's no challenge whatsoever in shooting down enemy fighters in an Excalibur. That's exactly the way it was in WC3, but in WC3, shooting down enemies with any other fighter was significantly easier, so the difference was not so pronounced.

The mission itself - well, it's all about showing off the power of the Excalibur, and in that regard, it works fine. You fight a bunch of fighters, tearing through them with ease. You blow up a bunch of turret mines, and then you blow up half a dozen capships, with your guns. About the only thing safe from you is that orbital station, whose shields are impervious to fighter guns (I wish that would happen more often - but recreating WC3 is an obligation :p).

After clearing the navpoint, you go on patrol, and this is where things get a bit boring. There's four of you, so you meet four Dralthi, four Darkets, four Vaktoths... a bit repetitious. Afterwards, you meet five Vaktoths with Deathfang, and that's much more interesting, obviously. It even got me killed :). But now I'm going to have to go through the entire mission again to get up to that point, and the thought is frustrating. Ah, well.
 

Light

Master Chief Petty Officer
The Excalibur: crazily-overpowered. Now, of course, that's exactly how the Excalibur had been in WC3. But in Saga, this becomes much more of an issue. Up until this point, shooting down even a Dralthi took a long time, because of the collision system that made it much harder than in WC3. With the Excalibur, things suddenly go from difficult to point-and-click. There's no challenge whatsoever in shooting down enemy fighters in an Excalibur. That's exactly the way it was in WC3, but in WC3, shooting down enemies with any other fighter was significantly easier, so the difference was not so pronounced.
You should have seen the Excalibur as it was when first released to the beta testers. What it is now is toned down from what it was.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
The Excalibur indeed feels overpowered, but it is a good thing it is, because in every other ship the last missions would be impossible to beat IMO. :D
 

Mincemeat

Doomsday's Neighbour
Consider the first Excalibur missions a soft introduction to things to come. The missions ramp up in difficulty but they will still feel like a spectator sport.
 

Aries

Vice Admiral
Having finally put some serious playing time in, I'd thought jump into this. First off, let me say that I've really enjoyed the game so far. So anything negative I say is just nitpicking.

Regarding the dialog, for the most part I don't have any problems with it. Sure, it gets old being treated like a rookie when I've got 400+ kills, but I have noticed it mellowing out, if not as quickly as I would have liked. The only "rookie" comment that really pissed me off (one of the first excalibur missions) was when the colonel (venom I think) makes the "remember what I taught you" comment. That would have been appropriate during the final Wellington mission, but not when my character has been promoted twice, has hundreds of kills, and survived everything up to that point, especially the Loki ambush mission (by the way, kudos to whoever thought that one up. I forget how many times I died but I loved that mission).

The first time we meet Colonel M.D. is another dialog issue that I've run into. Having to listen to his little rant made me pray that I didn't fail and have to repeat it. Thankfully all I failed was the secondary objectives. Normally I would have instantly hit replay to try to get them, but in this case I wasn't about to listen to that guy again.

There were a few other lines that were wtf moments. The "leave or face the consequences" ISS guy was one. As for the "they killed kinney" joke, I actually liked it overall. But what I don't get is why you changed it to "you monsters". That part came across to me like whoever said it was shocked that the cats could do something so mean as torping a warship. Considering what the Kilrathi had done to this point in the war, killing a carrier wasn't much to be shocked about. If you had left it at "you bastards" it would have been anger, which is perfectly understandable. It was still funny though.

The final dialog issue that I have is where you get called back to defend the Hermes from the dreadnaught and your wingman goes on about how cliche it is. If it was supposed to be a "why is it always us AFTER we've finished a patrol" gripe, it could have been done better. As it was, it sounded like he was speaking to me, the guy sitting at the PC playing a game, rather than to me as Sandman. It really threw me off and destroyed the flow of the mission up to that point. The intenseness that followed helped shrug it off, but it is still a wft moment.

As for the missions themselves, I've enjoyed them. There is a good balance of routine patrols and strike missions. That the first half was mostly defensive didn't bother me, as Confed is losing the war at this point, even if we're not "supposed" to know that. A fleet carrier would be to important to risk at this point in raids and recon missions unless they were REALLY important like what we see in the second half. As for the length and extra objectives at the end, I'm fine with that for the most part. It is annoying to have used up your missles only to find out that you have more to do, but life ain't predictable. It perhaps would have been better to lower the number of missions with the extras tacked on, if only to keep us guessing, rather than come to being suprised when there wasn't anything else (As a side note, why didn't you keep Freespace's inflight rearming?). With the mission length, some have been drawn out and repetative, but again I don't mind overall. The only ones that I recall having a real issue with the length are the escort the armageddon (because of M.D.'s rant) and the patrol and then defend the Hermes from the dreadnaught (because that's the one I'm currently stuck on).

Again, these are just small issues, but if you don't get constructive criticism, you'll never improve. Overall, great game. I'd rate it just below Standoff (which I loved) and better than UE (which was good). Thanks again for taking the time to give it to us.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
The Excalibur: crazily-overpowered.
I said the same thing to my brother. And I'll say the same things he said back to me and which others have alluded to: you'll definitely need its crazy fire-power for the later missions.

As a side note, why didn't you keep Freespace's inflight rearming?
I can only guess that the intention is to show that this isn't Freespace. Not having played Freespace, I don't know how this in-flight re-arming would have worked, but the only time in Wing Commander that we get in-flight re-arming (from what I recall) is from the shuttles in Prophecy. I'm pretty sure the tankers in WC2 only refuels the Broadsword, not re-arms.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
In-flight reafueling and rearming are both possible in Saga, I implemented a Kilrathi shuttle refueling/rearming version in my Kilrathi mod and used it in at least two of my missions.

EDIT: that reminds me that I have to finally finish the mod but I'm still somewhat stuck with the story and the last mission....

Refueling was done in the WC2 era, but not rearming IIRC. Some guy in one of the novels (I think it is Bondarevsky in False Colors) even mentions that in-flight rearming is something that makes the Kilrathi much less dependant of carriers during long battles and wonders why the Terrans didn't do this during the war.
After the war the Confederation obviously realized the Kilrathi had a good idea there, so they adapted that technology, which is why we see it in Prophecy. But in the WC3 era there was no in-flight rearming it seems.

So that's the reason Saga doesn't have those.
 
Top