The Age of Decadence August Update

It took a while, but we finally got a new monthly update for The Age of Decadence, this time reporting impressions from testers on the recent closed beta. Here's a snip:

I've really enjoyed the writing so far in Maadoran. The characters, the descriptions, and the quests have all been really enjoyable and have made me want to play and explore more. It has been really interesting to see how you've progressed as a writer as development has gone on.

I'd like to see some of the areas fleshed out more. Obviously, this will happen with Maadoran, but I'd like to see some of the satellite areas developed more as well. Especially with places like the mountain pass and the Ordu camp where it seems like there'd be opportunities to add minor quests, characters, and/or story lines. I didn't like how, while doing the IG quest in that area and trying to avoid combat, I never actually saw either location. All I saw was the dialogue screen with a couple of characters.

/when asked to clarify:

There were opportunities to leave the dialogue with Bass and the Ordu chief. My complaint had more to do with the fact that as soon as I arrived to the mountain pass, I was in dialogue with Bass which lead to me being teleported to the Ordu Camp and dialogue with the chief which lead to me being teleported back and dialogue with the IG commander and leaving. It would feel better, imo, if when you arrived at either location, you weren't immediately entered into dialogue.

When I went through again and tried other options, I was able to leave the dialogue and run around those areas. I don't think any of the other characters in the mountain pass currently have dialogue enabled and the battle with the Ordu there isn't enabled yet, so there isn't much to currently do there. Maybe, when those things are activated, it won't feel to me like it needs more development. I met Belgutai at the Ordu camp, but must have missed the Keeper of tales. I'll take another look at the camp. I've mostly only have been hitting the arena, the IG quests, and some of the side quests so far, so maybe some of the other paths to the Ordu camp will shine a different light on it.


While Teron alone feels like a fully-fledged cRPG, so one can spend many weeks playing it, and still there will be some more exciting paths and options to discover, Maadoran is a vast epic expansion to it, it has a roughly three times greater area, three times more intractable NPCs and miniquests, three times more sublocations, which are also much bigger and livelier than Teron's.

Correspondingly, the number of opportunities and quest solutions grew geometrically, even at the current beta stage of development Maadoran is full of action, boiling with both hidden and shown subplots and intrigues carried out by ambitious NPCs with elaborated deep personalities and realistic motives.

Teron was like a kids playground, a hatchery in which the PC matured to become a provincial celebrity, in Maadoran you're starting as an almost-nobody again, as a disposable stranger to serve as a pawn in this time really epic games, ruthless and large-scale ones. One single action into which you are drawn can lead to immediate and dramatic consequences for a faction, at that you still benefit nothing from that, being merely a pawn. Being a pawn you can shift sides of the board, but at both sides you're still treated as a pawn, even if your mission is connected with vital matters, like whether Maadoran should prosper, united under one reign (which clearly implies ridding of the treacherous competitors) or lie in ruins, raided by ravenous nomads.

Becoming a queen is hard and for sure it requires more than just high body count and damage per turn, which often could work out in Teron. Maadoran is more intricate, its civilized ('nothing personal, it's only a matter of job') ways of conflicting are often more exquisitely deceitful and bloodthirsty than the blunt clashes in Teron.

The scale of opportunities in Maadoran is epic, sometimes you can feel the presence of the ancient magi, through their mysterious artifacts or war, and just like in Teron they merely tease you, posing more questions than giving answers. Reaching these mysterious depths of lore is, again, optional, instead one can concentrate on fooling, using or killing people, progressing with one's career with a faction and expanding one's set of opportunities, status, gold reserves and masterwork weaponry arsenal.

The fights in Maadoran are very many, at this point I cannot estimate their overall difficulty due to the beta's limitations, but since the blood and sweat covered Arena from the combat demo is back along with its 'three peaks of difficulty', and elsewhere in the city you're normally attacked by no less than 3 (up to 7!) iron-wielding skilled fighters, many combat encounters will require smart investment of every single SP you got and tricky tactics; many battles will definitely leave you with 1-10 HP left. Besides, so far I've seen no allies who would join you to save your ass in Maadoran.

And, as usually, all these fights, except for the Arena path of the champion will be optional, all situations resolvable or avoidable in peaceful ways, provided you got the necessary skills or reputations.

Just like in the case of Teron it may take only a couple of weeks to explore 1-2 paths of accomplishing a faction's set of quests with good outcomes, but exploring the most interesting (and rewarding) solutions [like raiders leader's story in Teron] and discovering all special exciting opportunities [like Feng's legend in Teron] will require much more time and flexibility in your playstyle.

As a reminder, the entire Maadoran section will be released to people who have pre-ordered.