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  1. #1
    Elemutation's Avatar
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    Wow... (SPOILERS)

    So, I recently completed as much of Valencia part 2 as possible (the no spoiler gate), and the story has decayed into blandness as if it was rotting since the day we've been waiting. I already posted the spoiler warning in the title, but I will be recounting almost every major detail in Valencia part 2, so if you read this, there will be no surprises left in what we're allowed to play. Now, onto my, I guess you can call it a review, of the book 15 story.

    First off, I sincerely doubt Blind Mew wrote this. From his 20 book pledge, to his interesting way of leaving us guessing, there is just no possible way that he willingly wrote this. Either he was not behind this, or he was forced to write a quick ending to wrap things up, although I feel the latter would be worse, forcing a good writer to create something like this. To begin with, Kane.

    The biggest reason I believe Mew wanted 20 books is to build the menace of Kane, make him threatening, and turn him into the unseen hand that can choke us into oblivion at any given moment. We would meet him occasionally, but would never be able to actually fight, which the player would be thanking Bartlebey for, because he could likely decimate us in a direct fight. We would destroy his remaining three elites (maybe not Phule), and as his rage for us festered, tension would grow into an ultimate climax between Pirate and Clockwork, were only one can escape alive. What do we get, however? We meet Kane in a throne room, where he's basically held back by a leesh by the king, and your player can walk right next to him, basically going, "Nanny nanny boo-boo, you can't touch me!" What menace is that? Kane, KANE, the supreme leader of a force that toppled an army (Polaris) that could defeat Marleybone, Valencia, and Monquista combined, is told to sit on his hands by someone who only holds more power than him in title. This is after you, the player, have murdered two of his children, destroyed a considerable amount of his army, and have done nothing but be a thorn in his side, and he holds back BECAUSE HE WAS TOLD TO?!?!? If the "Stronger, Smarter, Faster than any being in the Spiral" quote is to be believed, he could destroy us without hesitation, and what would be the consequence? We aren't any nobility, or royalty, we're just, in the king's eyes, some sailor escorting a Monquistan Ambassador. He kills us, then what? Monquista gets offended? So? Kane would get our map pieces, basically access to El Dorado, now that his only competition is dead, and if Monquista starts a war, it doesn't impede his Grand Design, and the Valencian navy could easily trounce Monquista. We only survive because a VERY thin plot thread demands it, which is just lazy writing.

    Now let's talk about the Elites (this is just a pet peeve of mine, but should still be addressed). Queen. Oh, Queen. The most mysterious, intriguing Elite who has never shown up until this book. She has one line. ONE. LINE. And it amounts to nothing but being Kane's yes girl against the King. I could go into depth about how disappointing that is, but I'm pretty sure this one speaks for itself. Next, Bishop. If this is the climax, albeit a forced climax, he should probably at least be somewhere. Finally, I'll be getting to Phule in the next section.

    So, that master plan of Kane's. What a contrived, cliche, poorly written mess of a plot device. I hate to be that negative, but this is the thing that annoys me the most. After so much buildup for this plan, I would've expected it to be an intricate, fairly original idea that breaks the mold, which we would learn bits and pieces about over the next four books. My expectations may have been a bit high, but the reality of the plan is just heart wrenching for a fan of Pirate's plot. First, it's completely explained away in a giant exposition dump by Phule. Oh, Phule. You had so much potential to be the most complex character in the entire game, but nope. You show up quite literally three minutes away from the final dungeon, and turn traitor an the armada completely because it means your own self preservation. Not because of a moral dilemma, not because of an interesting development, but just because he doesn't want to die. I guess realistically that's motivation enough, but it's such a complete and utter disappointment after all the buildup we've gotten, and his choice to betray Kane comes completely out of the blue. His duality doesn't even play a role in it, and if you look at it from an objective, birds eye view, this exposition dump is his only role in the entire plot! That's just so disappointing.

    Now, the plan itself, for I got a bit sidetracked. Kane wants to create a perfect Spiral. Before I begin another rant, I want to provide you with a link.
    https://www.pirate101.com/forum/blin...ce43a18?page=4
    If you read Mew's response to my theory on the Grand Design, I got a majority of the plan correct, including the ultimate goal, except I went into even further detail. Even Mew said that there is more complexity, but it is quite obvious that the plan we see is incredibly simple, cliched, and has almost no buildup. It also contradicts itself, for first, if Kane wants perfection, and is willing to destroy even Phule to do so, then why does he listen to the King, a FLAWED being? To support perfection, the throne room scene would've gone as such: 1. Kill the king. He's stopping Kane from killing a major obstacle to the plan. 2. Kill the Pirate with Queen. No more obstacle. 3. Profit. Moving on, anyone remember the scene in Beachead with Bishop's lab? The big Wheel? The puppet show? THE MAP PIECES AND EL DORADO!? None of which are present in the plot. Poof. No longer relevant. It's almost as if they changed their plan at the last second (oh, wait a second...). El Dorado also seemed to be a bit askew, considering all of the horrors mentioned there, and almost the curse of the place, but our crew is still raring to get there, including Catbeard, who seemed the least bit wary of the place. Kane just wants to deploy a ton of drills to grind the spiral to dust and build on that dust. That is the most cliched plot for an artificial intelligence if I've ever seen one, and honestly something I doubt Mew would stand for. It's rushed, sloppy, and almost an afterthought.

    Next, stopping Kane. Oh, we're going to give the tin man a heart, so that the big mean robot can become a good guy! Are you kidding me? After all he's done, we're just going to give him a second chance? Even wizard, which, up till this point had a much simpler plot, at least acknowledged that Morganthe couldn't be redeemed, and Malistare only turned good after being beaten three times, and realizing that his efforts were futile. We didn't give him a speech, he just gave up, which makes sense. Why does Kane deserve a second chance? In my Pirate's origin, he killed my parents in cold blood! I don't want him picking daisies and kissing babies as a good guy, I want his metal skull on a pike for all he did to the spiral! The only reason I can think of him becoming a hero is so that we can make him a companion, which, three years ago without any insight, I would've loved it, but now, mostly out of spite, he'll be in the back of my roster picking up my pets' droppings.

    Finally, just my overall thoughts on things not deserving their own paragraphs. This chapter had close to no padding, which I did enjoy, but it needs to give more XP per quest, for my swash is only 67 after doing nothing but the main plot. Next, it is incredibly obvious that this chapter was rushed, as I have said earlier, but in more ways than one, from reused assets, to almost no new game content. I can understand the final battle being omitted to preserve the reveal of Kane becoming the next companion (I'm pretty positive on that), but the puppet show seems to just be world building, which doesn't spoil much of the overall plot. KI really should've mentioned the new companion promotions for at least Gracie and Catbeard, but this is a minor one. And a lack of new class specific companions really bugs me, for there is plenty of potential in Valencia. Lastly, For the Clock Works being the factory for the army, it just kinda looked like a gentrified residential area. But that's just me.

    Overall, the plot is just sad. No way around it. It was a rushed, sloppy, simple story with no character development, very little world building, major plot points are just glanced over, and other major plot points are ignored. Plot holes are everywhere, contradictions too, and everything just amounts to disappointment. KI might be able to salvage the game, but as of now, it seems as though they just wanted to wrap the story up with a nice little bow in case it tanks, and decided to take the path of least resistance, going out with a whimper, rather than a bang.

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  3. #2
       Toa of Gallifrey is offline In the brig
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    I've tried to be patient hoping for some more information on the ending areas but so far this is roughly my opinion on the matter. It's pretty telling when the promotion quest is better written than most of Book XV. My friend @Jacobspirit and I literally went up to Kane and started dancing with him. What annoys me most is storyline companions like Catbeard and Gracie aren't getting quest promos. What gives?!? Those are two very interesting characters, they deserve the development a promo gives.



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  5. #3
    ProfessorSuze's Avatar
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    My Pirate101 Character is a Swashbuckler

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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    I understand how you feel and I felt a similar way before I started doing a little more research. I looked back into Blind Mew's rambles and found an article by Swordroll that lifted my spirits a bit. I then went on to post on the "Story Integrity" thread about what I think is going to happen in "The Final Countdown". I would advise you read it as it basically talks about how I don't think we are "killing" Kane at the end of this update. No, we are about to walk right into Kane's hands. I might also reference to it so I would read it before continuing below.

    To respond to your post, yes, there are many points in this update that feel rushed. There's lots of exposition, I think the worse offender is the time were Old Scratch recaps why we are after the marble. (Really KI is this necessary?) However, the diplomatic immunity plot point I thought was clever. Swordroll has an article talking about Valencia politics and how the King does have power. This is supported by Blind Mew's rambles and that plot point made sense when you took that into consideration. However, he does threaten the pirate saying "you are mine" if we so happen to make one mistake. I thought that was a decent way to make our first encounter with Kane. It gives us a sense of false security and comfort in a place we should not be comfortable in. If my prediction in the other thread is correct, then this is perfect build up and will make our "fall from grace" quite unpleasant.

    There is nothing I can say to defend queen. She was ignored, but I have come to expect that from female characters. Hopefully in the "no spoiler section" she gets a few more lines.

    This brings me to another point in regards to pacing, we are missing three puppet shows that might help the Toymakers story seem a little less rushed. So if the Clock Works seemed confusing, it's because the whole story isn't being given to us. Same with the resistance. I'm giving KI the benefit of the doubt that these three puppet shows help make sense of the crazy exposition given to us in the Clock Works.

    I agree with the Phule portion. It felt a forced, but that's because they are trying to streamline it to the twist that is about to happen. What twist? Well, we are about to lose our three pieces of the map because of our hasty actions in trying to "fix" Kane. Hopefully, Phule will be seen again. I kind of enjoyed the creepy stalker vibe but was confused by the whole "father" and "grandfather" stuff. I don't remember Phule or the other elites ever calling Kane "father" and that for sure felt out of place.

    As for Kane's grand design, I think it might make more sense once we see the puppet shows and what is behind the "no spoiler door". Again, benefit of the doubt is being given, because I have a strong suspicion that we are about to "fall from grace" and lose our map pieces. I don't think Kane is dying and I think this whole go to Valencia was a trap. If this is the case, they can redeem themselves. If we do "fix" Kane so to speak, well, we know that Blind Mew is no longer in control of this story.

    However, I still think we should give KI the benefit of the doubt. There is a lot of evidence that my post explains and Swordroll goes into more detail about that leads me to still think Blind Mew is in control. He's probably working under pressure and might have needed a script rewrite to fix some of the passing issues and that horrible dialogue from Old Scratch. (Gosh, why was that exposition necessary.) It is clear they were rushing just by all the bugs and glitches alone. They needed something this summer to appease the masses, but I still think the story is under Blind Mew's direction. Not his best work, but even he is not crazy enough to just end the Armada.

    Anywho, hope to see you out in the skyway.
    "The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes." - Kingdom Hearts



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  7. #4
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessorSuze View Post
    I think the worse offender is the time were Old Scratch recaps why we are after the marble.
    I actually kind of like this bit. I thought it was a reference to our unnecessarily complicated plots and the constant questions Blind Mew got from people confused about the story. Although I can understand where you're coming from.

    But I do agree with you and think the game will have a twist for us during the final battle.



  8. #5
    ProfessorSuze's Avatar
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    Quote Originally Posted by dolor456 View Post
    I actually kind of like this bit. I thought it was a reference to our unnecessarily complicated plots and the constant questions Blind Mew got from people confused about the story. Although I can understand where you're coming from.

    But I do agree with you and think the game will have a twist for us during the final battle.
    When you put it like that, I can see why they put the joke there. I guess my problem with the joke was that this story wasn't complicated. Correction, it was no where near as complex as let's say the Cool Ranch storyline. If they had put that line in say Aquila or Marleybone I might not have complained about it considering both of those worlds had complex plots that required us to do multiple things in order to achieve our end goal. This one, it was very clear from start to finish exactly why we were doing something. I am a fan of this change as sometimes I would stop questing and say, "Why am I doing this again?" similar to how El Toro stated. In this context though, it just felt forced and made poor El Toro look dumb.

    I don't mind jokes that poke fun of the material as long as it is done correctly. Some of my favorite TV shows and games such as Gravity Falls and Kid Icarus: Uprising make fun of both the fans and the material itself. Whenever this update tried to do that, it doesn't seem as funny. For example, Gracie talks about how machines copy things when we head to the final battle. That joke did not sit well with me because they reskinned the Beachhead area and then tried to be meta with it. This feeling was multiplied especially because there was already a lot of reskinning and repurposing in this update. Its a cheap way of making content and if they need to do it, that's fine, but don't be meta about it.

    Sorry if that seemed harsh. I've been trying to stay away from the topic of reskinning because I was very dissappointed. Character design is something I take very seriously and when I see the same male unicorn royality model the entire time, it starts to irritate me. Gracie's comment only made it worse. I know that Pirates has done this in the past, but generally, its not as noticable.
    "The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes." - Kingdom Hearts



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  10. #6
    Elemutation's Avatar
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessorSuze View Post
    I understand how you feel and I felt a similar way before I started doing a little more research. I looked back into Blind Mew's rambles and found an article by Swordroll that lifted my spirits a bit. I then went on to post on the "Story Integrity" thread about what I think is going to happen in "The Final Countdown". I would advise you read it as it basically talks about how I don't think we are "killing" Kane at the end of this update. No, we are about to walk right into Kane's hands. I might also reference to it so I would read it before continuing below.
    You may have a point, the only issue I see is that while, yes, it is possible that everything up until this point was a calculated ruse, and that would redeem the plot somewhat, it feels almost like a cop out. Kinda like the whole, "Its a dream!' concept. Metal Gear Solid 4 did something similar, where the villain was just playing the long game for two games and years on end in the game. Turns out he was actually doing everything for what he viewed as the greater good, and deceived everyone for quite some time. It felt like a last second decision, and created many contradictions within the plot. I'm worried the same might happen if there is such a big twist. Plus, I personally feel as if there is more evidence to wrapping up the first arc rather than KI just pulling a fast one, but I could be wrong.

    To respond to your post, yes, there are many points in this update that feel rushed. There's lots of exposition, I think the worse offender is the time were Old Scratch recaps why we are after the marble. (Really KI is this necessary?) However, the diplomatic immunity plot point I thought was clever. Swordroll has an article talking about Valencia politics and how the King does have power. This is supported by Blind Mew's rambles and that plot point made sense when you took that into consideration. However, he does threaten the pirate saying "you are mine" if we so happen to make one mistake. I thought that was a decent way to make our first encounter with Kane. It gives us a sense of false security and comfort in a place we should not be comfortable in. If my prediction in the other thread is correct, then this is perfect build up and will make our "fall from grace" quite unpleasant.
    I would've been fine with the diplomatic immunity situation if it was just Queen in the room, because she would have to uphold the Armada's image, for most speculations say she is the voice of the people in the armada. But to have the Kane reveal there just felt like it was shoehorned in to go, "Here's Kane! You finally see him in game!" which I feel made the plot suffer. I still think that Kane obeying the King is a contradiction in Kane's plan, because it seems as though this isn't the King's plan, but Kane's, and the King isn't speaking up because he is afraid of his supreme commander.
    There is nothing I can say to defend queen. She was ignored, but I have come to expect that from female characters. Hopefully in the "no spoiler section" she gets a few more lines.

    This brings me to another point in regards to pacing, we are missing three puppet shows that might help the Toymakers story seem a little less rushed. So if the Clock Works seemed confusing, it's because the whole story isn't being given to us. Same with the resistance. I'm giving KI the benefit of the doubt that these three puppet shows help make sense of the crazy exposition given to us in the Clock Works.
    I agree with you, the Puppet shows could help fill in a lot of the blanks, but because KI is withholding them, I have to work with what we're given. I also believe they may help with world building, but can't fill in every plot hole that's out there. I didn't find Clock Works confusing, just a bit contrived. It felt as if we learned Kane's origin to early, and the whole heart thing just bugs me to no end.
    I agree with the Phule portion. It felt a forced, but that's because they are trying to streamline it to the twist that is about to happen. What twist? Well, we are about to lose our three pieces of the map because of our hasty actions in trying to "fix" Kane. Hopefully, Phule will be seen again. I kind of enjoyed the creepy stalker vibe but was confused by the whole "father" and "grandfather" stuff. I don't remember Phule or the other elites ever calling Kane "father" and that for sure felt out of place.
    Again, speculation, but I would like to see the twist. The only problem is, like I said before, I feel as if they placed to much in the "ending the arc here" column, and not enough in the "vague, it could be a twist" column. If a plot twist is too out of the blue, it just doesn't work. There has to be enough setup so that you can look back a second time and realize what they were doing, had we considered all the angles. I just find a twist highly unlikely.
    As for Kane's grand design, I think it might make more sense once we see the puppet shows and what is behind the "no spoiler door". Again, benefit of the doubt is being given, because I have a strong suspicion that we are about to "fall from grace" and lose our map pieces. I don't think Kane is dying and I think this whole go to Valencia was a trap. If this is the case, they can redeem themselves. If we do "fix" Kane so to speak, well, we know that Blind Mew is no longer in control of this story.
    I'm not sure if a few puppet shows will be enough though. And Valencia being a trap doesn't work for me, because it feels less like we were being coerced in with a false sense of security, and more like we're just being overzealous and reckless. If we charge in and we underestimated Kane and he defeats us because of that, then fine, but the trap scenario seems too unlikely. I didn't mention this before, but it also felt a bit too convenient that Kane is launching his fleet in just a few hours, which can either be a point in the trap column which I will acknowledge, or it could just be forced tension for the climax.
    However, I still think we should give KI the benefit of the doubt. There is a lot of evidence that my post explains and Swordroll goes into more detail about that leads me to still think Blind Mew is in control. He's probably working under pressure and might have needed a script rewrite to fix some of the passing issues and that horrible dialogue from Old Scratch. (Gosh, why was that exposition necessary.) It is clear they were rushing just by all the bugs and glitches alone. They needed something this summer to appease the masses, but I still think the story is under Blind Mew's direction. Not his best work, but even he is not crazy enough to just end the Armada.
    I don't think Blind Mew is doing this of his own volition though, because I find it more likely that yes, he did write this, but KI just put him under so many restrictions that he had to butcher his own work, rather than KI gave him the leeway to make his twist happen. This is only because I doubt that KI renewed the game for five more books after three years of stagnation, and is in no way Mew's fault. You can have a prized horse, but if you only let him run in the Barn, there's only so much he can do.
    Anywho, hope to see you out in the skyway.
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  12. #7
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    We actually know thanks to some credits that back in 2014, Blind Mew was the exclusive writer. Then in 2015, Joseph Hall and one other stepped in to assist. Joseph is the Creative Lead an answers more closely to management.

    What I gather from the evidence is that everything that is happening is what Blind Mew exclusively said would be "lame" or "bad writing" or that he would not want in general.

    Regardless of who is calling the shots, we ought to be letting KingsIsle know here, on the forums, and in-game that we want the Armada to continue. We want all the content that was cut. Don't worry about coming up with new stories, continue on the path you set forward.



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  14. #8
    Elemutation's Avatar
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordroll View Post
    We actually know thanks to some credits that back in 2014, Blind Mew was the exclusive writer. Then in 2015, Joseph Hall and one other stepped in to assist. Joseph is the Creative Lead an answers more closely to management.

    What I gather from the evidence is that everything that is happening is what Blind Mew exclusively said would be "lame" or "bad writing" or that he would not want in general.

    Regardless of who is calling the shots, we ought to be letting KingsIsle know here, on the forums, and in-game that we want the Armada to continue. We want all the content that was cut. Don't worry about coming up with new stories, continue on the path you set forward.
    I want the cut content as well. I really would prioritize a good conclusion to arc 1 over the confirmation that arc 2 is going to happen. It's just difficult to be optimistic about the book and arc's conclusion when the buildup is disappointing to say the least.

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  16. #9
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    Okay, I'm not very well verse in quoting and such so I'm just going to go in order of your bolded comments.

    (1) Yeah, it's a cop out and not really the best work with the product we have now. But at this point, I would rather have the Armada continue then for it to end with us "fixing" Kane. The other thing is most of my evidence comes from Blind Mew's rambles rather than something in game. The few moments that I can even use to support a twist are anytime the characters make a comment at how reckless we are being. The biggest of these is the Monquista ambassador's farewell. His goodbye was wiping his hands clean and telling us if we get caught, it's our own fault and there is no one here to save us.

    (2) I now understand what you are talking about with Kane. Again, the script clearly needed a rewrite, badly. I was able to overlook this issue just because of his threat. The threat alone I thought was written well. If Kane wasn't in the scene, the threat could have come from the Queen. This would fix two problems. One, the Queen would have a threatening appearance and two, Kane could be revealed in the "no spoiler" section. We should probably put that in test, maybe they would be willing to change it.

    (3) I can't really comment on this next part till I actually see the puppet show. I'm still going to give them the benefit of the doubt here and hope that this will not seem as unexplained or full of holes with the two puppet shows.

    (4) Part of my perspective could be me grasping on straws in hopes that this isn't the end. I see there is a possibility of the twist and that it was just not foreshadowed well enough. Again, the script here clearly needed a rewrite to iron out all these details. However, there are small comments from characters that make me think its still a possibility. The Monquista ambassador I mentioned previously, the resistance members that think we are insane for doing this, and Bonnie's sassy comments are just some of the moments that have made me think. It is honestly the only thing that is keeping me from giving up on this game. Like you said, if I had to choose between the twist or the end, I would choose the twist, even if it meant that the story was weaker. If Kane is "fixed", I will unsubscribe immediately and never come back.

    (5) I agree that Blind Mew's work was probably butchered because of the lack of rewriting. I just find it insane that they would think it wise to just end it here. Blind Mew had a lot of this planned in advance and to just scrap it all and start over is such a waste of money and resources. Unless, they plan to never come back and just leave pirates to rot.

    Also, to Swordroll (if you are the same person that makes the blog, then thank you for your articles, they are very impressive and well thought out), do you mind if you could tell me how to find that source? Additionally, if Blind Mew is truly being forced to do this ending, I feel very sorry for him. Story's are like children to me and to see this one end like this is heartbreaking.
    "The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes." - Kingdom Hearts



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       Anne Radcliffe is offline Rookie
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    Re: Wow... (SPOILERS)

    Concerning G, Phule, and the reveals in Book 15 Chapter 2, as given so far...

    We are assuming that the characters are all acting of their own free will, and are telling the truth. But this is Valencia, with things that are badly wrong under the surface. So:

    - Is Gazpaccio leading us into the Machine of his own free will, or is he acting under compulsion, from, say, Kane? Remember, we are given a hint that he is treated pretty badly in his prison. Also for a high security prison there were very few clockworks, and none of Kane's 'heavies' (Battle Angels and Dragoons). Hmmm...

    - I think Gazpaccio really thinks his plan will work to 'fix' Kane. Furthermore, if he is being forced to lead us into the Machine to deliver us on a silver platter to Kane, he could be thinking that his plan will make everything right, so he can turn the tables (This is Valencia, after all. Intrigue from everyone) But he is rather an unworldly innocent, and making an assumption how this piece will work. Considering where it came from, it could have a completely different effect.

    - What if Kane seriously wants what Gazpaccio has, but has not yet been able to find it? Kane (very smart, as they say) might want to have a more subtle touch than forcing the information out of his creator. So, if Gazpaccio is 'freed', Kane anticipates that Gazpaccio will bring the device in an attempt to control or change his creation, and thus that valued thing is brought out of hiding, right into Kane's hands as Gazpaccio tries to 'fix' things (ah, intrigue). This also might link in to what Kane really wants in El Dorado.

    - How much truth is Phule really telling us? He gives us an urgent reason for acting, which also gives us no opportunity to think. I could see where Kane could be planning exactly that (though another individual wanting to re-form the Spiral? Too much shades of Morganthe to me, and I thought her a fairly weak villain - I felt she was more of a brat than someone interesting and fearsome) It does fit with Kane's character as we understand it, however. Even so, while the intent of the Machine might be accurate, the truth of when it is ready to activate might not. But we certainly can't wait around and find out, and Phule knows this. I do think Phule is genuine in his resentment of Kane, and his desire to satisfy his curiosity, no matter what. Neither, however, would prevent him from leading us right into a trap.

    So, the story to unfold might have more twists than readily apparent. We also haven't been seriously betrayed for a while. I rather expect, we're due!



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