Sunday, 8 September 2013

Box 2: A Less Super Adventure

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

The first time the Super Adventure Box came out I had a total blast doing it. Now that it has returned with World 2, I'm finding it less fun than before - probably for the same reasons echoing throughout the forum. It's good to see that the creator fixed up some places that were causing major headaches after a few days though, and the infinity continue coin is a good gold sink which I happily sunk gems into. Definitely "pay to win" or at least, "pay to win faster" (which I think embodies regular "pay to win" anyway).

After the somewhat irritating level of the Frog King's swamp, players venture forth into the way more irritating rapids (knockback land - toned down), pain cliffs (insta dart death land) and storm top mountains (annoying ice slidey grind land). I went through on infantile mode first with the happy clouds to observe what horrors awaited me, followed my normal mode which was only slightly more troublesome but WAY too long in some bits that seemed designed purely to irritate the player, like having a mini-boss atop a slidey ice hill.  You have to run up and evade his boulders and then whack him. Getting hit knocks you back down the long slope. On paper that's fine. But said mini-boss has so much HP that you'll probably do just that, over and over for 10 minutes. Difficult? No. Annoying? Yes. Fun? What do you think?

At least one of the long maps has a shortcut somewhere, but the irony is you have to clear half that level first to get an item before you can use said shortcut. If you think that's bad, there's a part where you need to purchase an item with 400 baubles to proceed through the level. There's no warning before reaching it, and I didn't find 400 baubles in the zone prior to reaching that point so you'd have to either be lucky or informed before attempting it, otherwise you'll hit a brick wall (frozen, actually) that will curb your fun level like an anvil dropped into the sea.

Lastly comes Tribulation Mode, which exists purely to create rage within the player. One wrong step and you die. Everything is out to kill you. The rocks, the flowers, the floor... everything. Fun in Tribulation Mode is finding the right path instead of grindy mechanics, and it's super cool. Despite my strange liking for this mode though, the very nature of latency is what is stopping me from enjoying it fully. I don't mind dying if I run into traps, but when I jump to the correct spots I expect to survive - and I do... 50% of the time. This is what annoys me most, and probably what will prevent me from completing tribulation. It sure would have stopped me from completing IWBTG. Here's an example of someone else experiencing this pain.

Story wise there's some evil, 4th wall breaking, AI in the box modelled after Moto (ala Tron, the new one) that wants to affect things on the outside. Not much more yet about this, but it's good that it is just more than a simple asuran VR game. My only issue with it is it could mean that the box is permanently destroyed after world 4 where as I'd rather that it became a permanent fixture in Rata Sum after world 4. *shrug* Would be a shame to throw out all this work right? Oh yeah, and Scarlet is still invading in the background randomly but she's mostly insignificant for this arc.

In SAB, you grant the genie's wishes!

My very last concern is in the future of SAB. Could worlds 3 and 4 begin to introduce forced group content, which in my opinion is the worst design in the universe (like the aetherblade dungeon)? And if so, can the infinity continue coin negate it? This is the creator's response to someone who was having problems attempting things solo:

"This is as designed. Dungeons are designed for up to 5 people. If you choose to solo a dungeon you should expect this sort of thing. At least that’s how I look at it. Maybe because SAB doesn’t look like a dungeon there are different expectations? We did clearly communicate when you enter a world that 5 are recommended."

GW2 Dungeons sure. Five player 8-bit games? Unlikely.

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