Caught In The Spiderweb: Avadon 2: Corruption

By Jim Rossignol on February 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

Who put that there?
The world’s handsomest turn-based RPG developers (probably) Spiderweb, send word that they are bringing a second Avadon game into the world. It is to be named Corruption, and will bear the mark of “2″, indicating its sequelness. They explain: “Avadon 2: The Corruption is the second chapter in the epic Avadon trilogy. In this fantasy role-playing adventure, you will serve the keep of Avadon, working as a spy and warrior to fight the enemies of your homeland.” Shadowy powers and stuff abide, so it’s time to make turn-based decisions about the future of the fantasy world! Man, games are ace.

Avadon will appear on Mac and Windows in the autumn. Read our take on the previous game here.

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47 Comments »

  1. Bhazor says:

    If ever there was a videogame character made for Brian Blessed

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      I don’t think I am the only person who read every single of Redbeard’s lines in the voice of BRIAN BLESSED.

      • caddyB says:

        No, you are not.

      • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

        For that matter, it also works to read (almost) every single one of Jim’s articles in the voice of BRIAN BLESSED.

        Sadly this does not work for Alec or Adam.

  2. Premium User Badge Anthile says:

    But what about the second Avernum remake?

  3. mechabuddha says:

    POSSIBLE SPOILER

    Which ending from the first one is the canon ending?

    • Premium User Badge Anthile says:

      I would be surprised if it wasn’t the one where you stayed loyal.

      • bhagan says:

        works for me

        I was never able to slay the beard, try as I might

        • mouton says:

          I never felt the need. Sure, he was fallible but come on, one would have to be horribly arrogant to think someone else would do a better job. Better to become his trusted advisor.

  4. caddyB says:

    I liked Avadon. It was a fun turn based tactics game and the UI wasn’t really as terrible as you’d expect from a retro style game.And the writing was actually pretty decent and if you can overlook the graphics there is some immersion to be had, since everyone actually treats you like they should, given that you’re a Council Spectre.. uh I mean an Avadon agent.

    I don’t know how much it goes for now, but I bought it some time after release and haven’t regretted it. I liked it enough to buy some of his other games as well, in fact.

  5. Yosharian says:

    Hmm Avadon, I never finished that game.. must go back to it soon.

    This guy needs to be given much more money to make bigger games, it has to happen. Kickstarter?

    • JFS says:

      He’s already making immense games, and about a dozen of them. Somebody should just give him money to hire a UI designer and a real artist, and some more money for actual music. With a little more care for accessability and the soundscape, these games would be able to compete with Infinity Engine stuff (or even best them, for story and consequence).

      • Bhazor says:

        This.

        His games are huge sprawling wonderful things. His artwork and interface are frickin’ terrible and cripplingy generic looking.
        A $50,000 Kickstarter to pay a half decent artist to do his sprites would get my backing in a heartbeat.

      • mouton says:

        I think he said somewhere he dislikes the idea of music in games. But he sure could use some artist, yes.

    • Premium User Badge Continuity says:

      Spiderweb make what they want to and have done for years, its not a question of funds.

      • frightlever says:

        Jeff Vogel had a very vocal way of doing things his own way, as you say, for years. Then he dabbled in iOS ports and releasing his games on Steam. I think he had his eyes opened that his way may not have been the best way after all. If he only had to design the games and someone else was making the engine, I think he might be more amenable than you imagine.

  6. aliksy says:

    From what I recall, Avadon’s mana system was fundamentally flawed, and it dragged down the whole combat. Your health regenerated for free but your mana didn’t, so it was better to fight without using any skills. So long as you don’t actually die when fighting without mana, you haven’t used any resources.

    Stupid, stupid system. I don’t know why they give cool powers and then discourage you from actually using them.

    • frightlever says:

      Whereas other games have your mana regenerate while your health is static unless you eat or heal (though that leads to spamming heals, so not the same problem). Ultimately it’s an “economic” decision, isn’t it? Magic must be powerful but scarce.

      • caddyB says:

        Make a thread about it. There is much that needs to be said about such mechanics, and even though I dislike 4e D&D I think they had the right idea with abilities you could use freely, those that had short cooldowns, those that could only be used once per fight and those you could only use and had to rest to regain it. I don’t think it is a very good system for tabletop play, but it’s pretty good for games.

        You want the encounters to take some resources so the players will have to think if they want to spend abilities or mana or whatever you call it in this encounter or save it for later. Usually you expect a boss or some strong enemies near the end, so you won’t spend your most powerful abilities on easy enemies and try to kill them without spending much. But it is the opposite of feeling powerful in that you just don’t obliterate them all by raining down hellfire. Sure, you are powerful enough to kill them without effort using your staff to hit them in the head and they can’t really hurt you but is it really fun to spend 5 minutes trying to kill goblins without using any spells?

        On the other side, if you make all the abilities, health/mana regen after each combat, there is no tension or saving resources. If you do that , you’ll have to make each encounter challenging to engage the player and that gets a bit boring because it gets a bit like Oblivion’s level scaling.

        Uh yeah. There are a lot of ways to go about this, and much more that isn’t really possible if you want to sell your game. While playing Dark Heresy on tabletop ,we’d try to avoid as much combat as possible because we didn’t want to die and we sometimes had to walk away from the bad guys because we couldn’t possibly beat them. If you put a scenario like that in a video game, people will just cry for nerfs instead of making the logical choice of living to fight another day.

        • aliksy says:

          Personally, I’m not really a big fan of tension via resource management. I don’t like difficulty so closely tied to metagame knowledge. That is, if you as the player know there’s a rest-place up ahead, you can blow all your restored-on-rest powers and make it easy.

          • caddyB says:

            Exactly. But in the end we’re coming to the point of “video games are too gamey” which is a bit “DUH”.

            I don’t know, man.

      • aliksy says:

        Magic must be powerful but scarce.
        No it doesn’t. “Per Encounter” powers are perfectly viable. Or any number of other systems. Maybe you build up bad-mojo charges as you cast spells, increasing chances of failure or unintended effects. Maybe it’s slow and leaves you vulnerable, but you can do it as much as you like. Maybe there just aren’t limits, but the spell effects aren’t “I win” flavor.

        Pretty much anything is better than spells-per-day.

        • frightlever says:

          Okay. Your way sounds kinda “gamey” but play those games then. I’m not evangelising here. That’s just how the Avadon magic/combat economy IS.

          • aliksy says:

            I don’t know what you mean by “gamey”.

          • The Random One says:

            It means you suggest that “Magic is cool and makes the game feel unique so the player should be able to use it often” should beat “Magic is a powerful, scantly known force and the player should not have full knowledge of how exactly it works”.

          • aliksy says:

            No one has suggested anything to the effect of “the player should not have full knowledge of how exactly it works”. Nothing about spells per day does that. All the rules are plainly spelled out. They just suck.

      • Arona Daal says:

        Incursion has a System whereas the lower your Mana gets the slower it regens.So you can blow it all in one big Fight and be magicless until your next Rest,or use it sparingly and all the Time.

        • aliksy says:

          Incursion, the roguelike based on D&D 3.x? Fantastic little game. One of the only games where enemies would surrender and diplomacy was useful outside of scripted events. Think it’s been in development hiatus for years though. [/off-topic]

          • malkav11 says:

            Not so much hiatus as the designer decided he couldn’t make the game he wanted to make in the programming language he was using so he set out to make his own. Which he has been doing ever since.

          • maheusz says:

            And what is the new game called, good sir? Because I’m aware of Incursion problems and stumped developement… which makes me a sad panda.

            Or did you mean that he is remaking Incursion?

    • lucky jim says:

      I had no issues with that system personally. It forces you to manage your skills and doesn’t allow you to spam powerful attacks, so you have to be more careful how you use everything. And I didn’t find it viable to avoid using skills altogether, since there are some tough battles. I did make a trip or two back to the Avadon portal when I could, iirc. Gotta get back into the game, since I never finished it.

      I think the game would be kind of silly if you just could just constantly use all your powerful abilities, as long as you survive the one encounter. Not sure how that would be a better design at all.

      • aliksy says:

        I think the game would be kind of silly if you just could just constantly use all your powerful abilities, as long as you survive the one encounter. Not sure how that would be a better design at all.

        Design better skills that you wouldn’t just want to spam?

        • Brun says:

          Under what circumstances would you not want to spam a beneficial or powerful ability that does not A) consume non- or slowly-regenerating resources or B) have a long cooldown of its own?

          Using any ability has to carry some kind of real risk.

          • aliksy says:

            Under what circumstances would you not want to spam a beneficial or powerful ability that does not A) consume non- or slowly-regenerating resources or B) have a long cooldown of its own?

            I see you’ve never played Magicka. Or to a lesser extent, Magical Diary. That one has low mana limits, but even with that it does a good job of showing how being able to set things on fire isn’t going to solve all your problems.

            Some examples: if the spell is slow to cast, you might not want to spam it. You’ll be vulnerable.
            If the spell requires certain conditions to be optimal (opponents in a certain state, allies ready to follow up, etc)
            If the spell just isn’t useful in the current situation. Fireballs won’t help you cross a pit, for example. Weather spells won’t help indoors.
            If the spell becomes unreliable on repeated use.
            If the spell attracts attention (from nearby things, law enforcement, otherworldly spirits, whatever).
            I’m sure I could come up with more if I kept thinking about it.

            It’s also important to not make your spells so good that they’re “I Win” buttons.

            Also, Mage: The Awakening (tabletop game) also doesn’t have mana costs on most spells. Tabletop’s a different beast, but it’s still worth looking at. Unknown Armies requires charges to be built up, but building charges is interesting so that gets a pass. Don’t Rest Your Head power use risks getting hurt, going crazy or worse. I’m sure other tabletop games have other interesting ideas, but I haven’t been following them lately.

  7. mehteh says:

    Ive been really enjoying Spiderweb’s games more than I ever thought I would. When i first encountered them not too long ago i thought their games would be a little too old for me to like, but that isnt the case.

    • mechabuddha says:

      Same. I’m loving the crap out of Geneforge right now. Even worse interface than Avadon, but I like the combat better.

  8. Alexander says:

    That bearded angry guy reminds of John for some reason.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      *pointing* “That castle is being misogynistic, knock down this sick filth!”

      (sorry John)

  9. InternetBatman says:

    I don’t know why, but Avadon was probably my least favorite Spiderweb game. They’re pretty amazing though.

    • mgardner says:

      Agreed, but happily it’s because the other games are so strong (especially Geneforge) and not because of any particular failings of Avadon.

    • mouton says:

      It is still great, even if slightly worse at some aspects. And it is better here and there.

  10. wodin says:

    Damn fine old school RPG’s.

  11. Sandiiman says:

    Been a huge fan of SWS ever since playing the first Geneforge when it came out. It was probably the first time I actively checked a website religiously just to find out when the next game might be coming out, how long until the beta, how long after the Mac release the windows release will come. Doing this through every Geneforge and most of the Avernum sequels nearly killed me!

  12. Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

    Liked the concept of Geneforge but, as with many RPGs, the combat was putting me right off (and unlike Torment I wasn’t quite hooked enough to put up with it and hence didn’t progress past the generous demo). Haven’t tried any of Spiderweb’s games since then but might give the demo of Avadon a shot and see if it has a system that I can live with.

  13. The Random One says:

    Fun fact: the linked review of the first game was one of the first articles I read on RPS, and afterwards I tried to remember the name and couldn’t. I found it out only earlier this week.

  14. Sordarias says:

    Can’t wait. I still need to finish the first, and plan on overthrowing Redbeard, though doing so with hackery feels like cheating, I’ve felt as if it’s just an awful and too taxing boss battle to begin with to bother with. Still, great game. He really needs an artist and a composer, though. Music can REALLY lend to a game extremely well, and he needs to understand that — a poignant scene delivered with the right music creates memories. It really is understated the role of music in a game, and I feel like we should get to see the Empire at its’ whole this time — I’ve wanted to see it, and see the towns truly, instead of just some facets — but it’s not a deal breaker.

    That and I really liked just giving the Empire the middle finger in Escape from the Pit and killing their precious Emperor. If you can’t tell, I love dicking people over. It’s why I killed Henselt in TW2, and why I just do that in general when I can. Hell, if I ever got into a Warhammer Fantasy game, I’d try to dick over the Emperors in that, too.

    Just in my nature, I suppose. And by ‘dicking’ I do mean both figuratively and literally.

  15. Smoof says:

    Hope it comes to Android! I own Avadon and Avernum on my PC, and Avadon on my Android tablet and I have to say, playing it on the tablet is far superior for me! It’s nice to have an involving game I can take with me when I go out of town, as well as something I can play for 30 minutes while I lay in bed. Really hope they decide to bring some of their other titles to Android.