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Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



After various hours of exploring the mainland with different characters and getting a general feel for the more developed regions of TR I have come to a few conclusions and realizations; of which I hope you guys will take the time to read about simply because I really do only have the projects flourishing at heart and I do always post with only good intentions, be it as I may come off as a bit totalitarian at times it's just my general personality, so do take that into consideration as well when reading this.

I have scourged over as much content as I could over the passed few months and I would like to point out everything I've had a thought about, though the way I categorize it all may be a bit archaic I will try my best to fully get my thoughts across, as well as provide any feedback that I can on how things could be changed (hopefully for the better) in what I've seen.

So, off into it! First things first will be 'General Worldbuilding'.

1. Representation of Telvanni lands.

I know the topic has come up recently about what the regions of Telvannis should look like, and the general census was that perhaps a bit more of the Ashlands feel could be brought over to the region. I agree with this, and while I know it will be a long while until anything is redone or touched in this map it still goes to say that the hostility of the environment is not adequately portrayed currently, and the Dust Adept concept is not played on as well as it could be.

The best way to fix this would require too much radical change on Map 1 for it to even be a viable option at this point or any thereafter; but redoing some of the areas east of Firewatch and north of Helnim and redoing the Telvanni Isles would be the best solution, while still keeping some of the more fertile farming areas in the region around Lake Boethia. The important question is 'What kind of atmosphere are we going for? What kind of history is rooted here?'

2. Construction of towns/cities.

All-in-all I would say that the towns and cities are built very well, but I do have some concerns about Port Telvannis, Helnim, and Necrom. Port Telvannis is very sprawling and I know that the Telvanni do not have practicality in mind when growing towers, but the city is lacking in the hinted-at Telvanni insanity one would expect from the capitol city of mages. There should be various summoned Daedra or undead roaming the streets, following their enlightened masters. Those disembodied Telvanni mind repositories would also be great to see. I also wanted to kind of see more vertical shaft towers around everywhere. The skywalk is fine as it is with all of the house pods, but with only one main tower the city feels underwhelming.

More 'sub-towers' full of retainers, guards, and scholars would be nice to see. I also think there should be numerous street vendors selling magical wares and trinkets lining the streets, as one would imagine there would be almost a surplus of enchanters and alchemists in the area. I think cheap, practical enchanted items for cheap prices would be good so that way newer characters can find something to help them out, like an Amulet of Might Blows or something. I guess what I'm saying is; while there are a lot of shops in the city, the streets seem fairly barren for such a bustling hive of knowledge.

Helnim is a bit more of a conundrum. I have a few questions here. For one, WHY would a Telvanni lord let an Imperial settlement pop up so close to him? Was the town there first and the tower came after? Why would a Telvanni lord want to position himself so close to Imperial affairs? Also, why is the mages guild cramped up in the Governors Hall? Why is it only a relay? Why is there not a dedicated guildhall?

Necrom is a beautiful city in itself, and I love the heavy temple influence that is of course a given for the city. I do feel, however, that there is a lack of real Tribunal symbolism on the City Above, or at least some of the textures within the city design are rather confusing, not sure about the circular design with the face in it. I also find that there is a distinct lack of NPC's in the city. When I think of Necrom I think of troves of Temple devout, pilgrims, priests, and funeral bearers wandering the streets, but in the City Above it seems pretty empty in most sections of the city. I think an overhaul of how the city appears and operates is needed, personally, but it looks really good as it is now and I know it would be a lot of work; but Necrom really is the one place where I would expect to see the full weirdness of the Tribunal Temple come to play. Maybe having some incense braziers (like the ones in Daedric ruins) hanging around would also help give it a good, somber, vibe.

3. Roamers.

In question, I have to ask what the purpose of the Roamers in TR really IS. Who are they, why are they there, are they organized? If not, how come some Roamers have chiefs? Different clans? I'm not saying the idea is inherently a bad one, but I do have to say that maybe swapping the Roamers out for something more logical, say...mercenaries who were in service of the Telvanni but their contracts were up, or the Telvani simply had no more use for them. It would make more sense for those type of people to be roaming the countryside and forming clans and robbing travelers to get by. Perhaps some clans could war with one another over 'turf' or resources which are bound to be scarce out in the barren Telvanni lands.

4. Strong/Memorable NPC's.

I'm sure something may be planned for the future but I do want to touch on the subject of MEMORABLE NPC's. In Vvardenfell we have a large list of NPC's we all find ourselves being fond of, from Fargoth to Fyr. In my time of playing the game I have noticed that, while not every NPC can be a shining star, there really aren't any I can recall by name. I think that more powerful NPC's or more memorable NPC's should be taken into consideration. Someone who is in a position of power, either politically or by guarding artifacts or by being simply high level, who has a lot to say about the state of things in Morrowind. Quest givers are also of course a very strong point of interest for players. Certain NPC's in Vvardenfell are frequented in numerous quests, like Jobasha or Cosades. I can't really think of a guild leader or quest supplier that is memorable to me, other than perhaps the guard in the guard tower in Akamora. But even then, I can't seem to recall her name. The mainland is flooded with people who have knowledge and are much stronger than the people of Vvardenfell could be, yet they aren't portrayed very well and there seems to be a very limited number of them. Show me the power and persuasion they hold; and there's room for a lot of them, too. I want to see a Redoran warrior high up in the Velothi mountains that is memorable, I can relate to, and is someone I want to make sure to go out of my way to find on every playthrough.

5. Gameplay Balance

This is going to probably be the longer entry, and this is something I always have in my mind as I play this game. Longevity. Balance. Recreating that feel of wonder and anticipation as you travel the unknown. This is going to be, IMO, the most important thing for TR to capture with the mainland. And this is something I am really concerned with because we also have Province: Cyrodiil and SHOTN to consider. That is a LOT of content, if one imagines when the projects are all done, or even half way done, or even a quarter of the way done. There's going to be a lot to see and do and consider. It's overwhelming and honestly at high risk for over-saturation of content. I personally think that there needs to be a leveling mod made that SEVERELY slows down leveling, and makes getting skills to 80 and above something worthwhile, but; that isn't the scope of TR, or P:C, or SHOTN. But I have to consider the viable options within our control, which is so say that high end content doesn't have to be everywhere, and I think more low-to-mid-low level content is a good thing. The think about Morrowind is that once you get a glass shortblade or longblade, you really have no other need to get another weapon ever. Getting glass armor is the end-all-be-all and I've personally just ditched a full set beause I got tired of not wanting to wear anything new in an extended playthrough.

So to counter-balance this, I think that there should be a decent degree of high risk – low reward content in TR. People will claim that they want to be rewarded with their efforts on a long quest line or in a dangerous dungeon; and I agree...to some point. But at what point does it become superfluous to have a bunch of deadly weapons and amazing loot tucked away in Daedric ruin #29483 or bandit cave #8204? Here are the things I've noticed while playing that I think need to be adjusted.

1. Akamora's Fighter's Guild has a very good quest arch; but I feel that some of the rewards are a bit too high-end for the degree of difficulty. I forget quest names so forgive me, but the one where you kill the bandit guarding the shrine in the valley grants you a glass weapon for killing the bandit. I had a low level character just chug a levitation potion and go to town on the bandit when he got stuck on the edge of a cliff mesh and was able to kill him and net a glass weapon. I think it should be considered that glass weapons are VERY rare in vanilla and should remain so in TR.


2. The last quest of the Akamora FG has you going into a very extensive Daedric ruin to find a kidnapped noble and it turns out she's possessed by Mephala (which I find a problem in that as well, I don't think possession is really a Dadric thing, or an Elder Scrolls thing at all for that matter...). At the top of the shrine after you kill all the spiders in there is a Daedric Face of Humiliation mask; which I can see the REASONING of putting it there; the ruin is pretty hard to get through and it's a good reward for the end of a long quest line. However, I don't see WHY it would realistically be there, at the top level of a shrine, sitting on an alter, with nothing else around it. It's not hidden. It's just out in the open waiting for someone to walk up an easily visible flight of stairs to take it. I think this is the wrong approach to high-end gear and something else in place of the helm that's a lot more modest would be better fitting, like a rare alchemical ingredient or something related to Mephala. It still rewards exploration, but it keeps the balance.


3. There's a Deadric shrine in the northern swamps that is pretty good sized, and you follow clues into a hidden shrine room where there's an obvious riddle to look in the mouth of the statue and you find a really nice short sword. Same as above; I can see the reasoning behind it, but it just doesn't make sense. It's just another artifact plopped haphazardly into the game world to reward exploration but the ends just don't justify the means. I think maybe the shrine should instead have the statue give you a Deadric Prince Quest that you can complete for a more nerfed version of the sword.

Naming Conventions of Places:

Just a quick thought I had, which I will need to expand upon at a later date, is about the names of certain places, dungeons in Morrowind. Such as Kakuna Burial, Laterus Burial, Soul's Rattle, etc etc. The names of these places infers a but of uneasiness I think, and I think more names that follow this type of feel would be awesome in TR. Such as 'Heart's Fallow' for a burial, or Veloth's Hand for the name of a cell in a dungeon. I will expand more on this soon, but for now I just had to get the idea out there.


Last edited by Ironed Maidens on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:50 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Thanks for compiling your thoughts like this. A lot of what you point out has already been noted and will likely be changed in future, but it's still good to bring the points up and bring a new perspective to the discussion.

To be completely frank, I'd seriously consider a near-complete redo of Telvannis exteriors. Naturally we want to preserve as much work as possible, as long as it meets our quality standards, but the exteriors were not designed with characterizing House Telvanni in mind and, for that matter, House Telvanni was not properly characterized in the first place. Telvannis exteriors are, for the most part, just exteriors; masses of land. Or, for all intents and purposes, filler. Which, I should make clear, is not the fault of the exterior developers, but rather the complete lack of pre-production planning. So it's pretty much impossible for them to conform to the Master Plan and Telvannis planning documents, which have yet to be created.
I'm not even sure how controversial the above is, as similar sentiments have been voiced by various members for well over a year, and save for a few exceptions nobody has argued against them. Perhaps when we get to Telvannis we'll have a big debate about it, but at least for the time being the consensus seems to be that we won't be able to fix Telvannis with delicate tweaking.

As far as cities go, unfortunately, many will probably be removed, and others redone. Again, to conform to the Master Plan and Telvannis planning documents. But, again, it's too early to be certain, so I can mostly go off of the things that have been discussed:

Port Telvannis may get redone. While it's hardly a terrible city, it's in a very difficult position because it is the seat of the Parliament of Bugs, and as such is the settlements that needs to conform to our Telvannis planning documents more than any other as, more than any other Telvanni settlement, it will serve to define the House. Going from the angle of trying to preserve the work on Port Telvannis will only hamper our vision of House Telvanni.

The style mixing in Helnim will almost certainly be abolished, though which style remains is less clear. I personally favour it remaining an Imperial settlement, perhaps an independent charter like the Caldera Mining Company. I'm not sure if anyone is advocating making it a Telvanni settlement. Beyond that a lot needs to be figured out about Helnim, as you note.

You bring up some good points on Necrom. My impression is that it was never really finished; people were so exhausted after redoing the city that they didn't have the energy to fully realize it.

Roamers may get removed. They were added to add a challenge to the player, I think, and perhaps to portray how wild and dangerous Telvannis is, but I don't think they were really handled well.

We'll have a lot to do on the dialogue front for Telvannis as well, which may unfortunately include redoing a lot of the dialogue. Again, this is not due to the NPCers, but rather the lack of planning. I certainly think developing strong characters is something we should put a greater focus on.

While I'm not sure what observations you'll have on gameplay balance, I should note that that will certainly be revamped. What you see in Telvannis is not at all what we are aiming towards.
Post Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Updated the main post to cover a bit of gameplay balance and also added a bit more to the Memorable NPC's section.
Post Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:29 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Ironed Maidens wrote:
I do always post with only good intentions, be it as I may come off as a bit totalitarian at times it's just my general personality, so do take that into consideration as well when reading this.


"A bit totalitarian" is quite an exaggeration Smile Honestly, it's good that you took time to playtest the mod (especially the newer Map 3 areas) and you do make a lot of solid points.

Ironed Maidens wrote:
3. Roamers.


The roamers were meant to be just generic bandits. They were not planned as a faction, a tribe or anything like that. I remember reading a post somewhere instructing all NPC'ers not to place them anywhere anymore. Roamers should be removed on sight and replaced with something interesting.


Ironed Maidens wrote:
4. Strong/Memorable NPC's.


Agreed, this is a really important point. I think the way we're currently working will probably yield more memorable NPCs than may have been the case in the past. (Though, of course, it's somewhat difficult to anticipate what kind of NPCs will be memorable for each individual player without them being 'too much'). I'm pretty confident that for example Old Ebonheart will have lots of NPCs that are quite memorable, especially the higher-up ones and the quest givers that you mentioned.


Ironed Maidens wrote:
1. Akamora's Fighter's Guild has a very good quest arch...


I'm glad to hear it Smile

Ironed Maidens wrote:
...but I feel that some of the rewards are a bit too high-end for the degree of difficulty.



Oh... Well, that's debatable I think. I feel that as a whole the rewards you get are quite balanced: the quest arch is pretty challenging and there are some quests that will end in a disaster from the Guild's point of view and do not offer any official reward for the player. The bandit quest you're referring to is Beleaguered Sanctuary. I'm a bit on the fence whether the glass shortsword is really too overpowered a weapon (I mean, the bandit is no pushover), but the sword's ID does suggest that it should be a unique item held only by Mistress Faruna of Tel Oren. Replacing the sword with something else is not a problem.

Ironed Maidens wrote:
The last quest of the Akamora FG has you going into a very extensive Daedric ruin to find a kidnapped noble and it turns out she's possessed by Mephala


Guided by Mephala, not possessed by Mephala. Surol Volayn is a worshiper acting on her own free will.

The helmet in the shrine was there already and is not meant to be a reward for the Caught in a Web as the player can retrieve at any given time. Again, I'm not quite sure if this is unbalanced or not (the shrine of Shambalu is IMO quite hidden and requires that the player ploughs through hordes of Dridrea and other Daedra to get there), but perhaps the Face of Humiliation (which is really more a Molag Bal kind of item) could be removed.

_________________
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Post Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:05 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Rats wrote:
Guided by Mephala, not possessed by Mephala.
I personally don't see that happening. Possessed by Mephala, yes, but guided by Mephala without possession, no.
Post Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:14 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Also, the way I see it, is that while I know the helm is there already, the fact of the matter is that the FG quest line takes you to the ruin and therefor the probability of someone coming across it before that quest is...questionable at best. Since the shrine is directly related to that quest I would say that any items inside the shrine would be considered 'part of' the reward for the quest.

(As a side note I killed that bitch and got the bad ending lol.)
Post Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:55 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

klep wrote:
I personally don't see that happening. Possessed by Mephala, yes, but guided by Mephala without possession, no.
I'd be interested in knowing where that impression comes from; I personally find Mephala manipulating people into doing her bidding to be far more in character than taking full control of people; the bit about her in Invocation of Azura comes to mind. That actually goes for almost all Daedra most of the time; like the Greek gods, they seem more content to mess around with mortals and have them dancing along to their tunes as opposed to getting directly involved, the most notable exception being Mehrunes Dagon who, unlike other Daedra, has a greater goal than simply relieving boredom.
Boethiah manipulates people into betraying and killing each other, Mephala manipulates people into advancing her many plots and perhaps breaking taboos, Azura manipulates people into doing her bidding, Molag Bal manipulates people into serving him, Sheogorath manipulates people into becoming lunatics, and Malacath is less clear, but seems to manipulate people into becoming the underdog, and at the same time into championing the underdog, which can make him seem sympathetic to us, but certainly not to most of the recognized races of Tamriel. And so on and so forth for the others.

On the other hand, I can't think of any examples of Daedric possession, though there probably are some.
Post Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:19 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Added a quick blurb about naming conventions to the bottom of the OP.
Post Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:18 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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