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TMC Player Reviews: The Inquisition: Legacy

Review Submitted By: DD
Author Status: Player
Started on The Inquisition: Legacy: Last month
Submission Date: Jan 4, 2013
TMC Listing: The Inquisition: Legacy

The following review is the opinion of the review's author [DD] and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff.

I've played exactly one PC on this game, so this is a newbie review. Some of
my questions or confusions are no doubt because of that.

There was an extremely welcoming greeting upon logging in for the first time.
A very accessible help channel. As far as I can tell, there's almost –always-
multiple members of staff logged in, and they're all extremely approachable.
Probably the best I've seen, in terms of number and availability and
visibility, at any RPI, anywhere, ever.

I sort of stumbled through chargen. Which was easy. But my sense is that I
missed a lot. Can you start with weapons that your PC would already have?
I'm not sure. And it's tough to know what to play, at first. So I tried an
outrageously annoying PC, intended to be short-lived, just to get a sense of
the world.

There's a forum post about 'application' PCs (high level PCs you need staff
approval to play), which of course aren't right for a new player. But there's
also a forum post about staff not liking to see applications for PCs who
aren't on that list … which seems to include, from what I can piece together,
every guilded PC who has already achieved anything above the lowest rank.

Also, my sense is that there's a smart way to approach chargen, in terms of
maximizing skills and abilities, which new players just won't be aware of.
Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, though.

I wandered the game world briefly. Extremely well-described. A lovely city.
Not so big you spend half your time trying to walk down a road, not so
small there's nowhere to go. And apparently there's plenty outside of the
city, but I hardly saw that.

There are some brilliant touches. Instead of just junking unwanted items,
you can 'donate' them, so they show up at the almshouse. There's a city lore
command that is genius. There's a friggin' *bounty system*, which is
composed entirely of awesome. Many, many little touches like that which
impressed the heck out of me.

But of course, that stuff hardly matters if the RP isn't good. So I jumped right
into the biggest scene possible, with Mr. Annoying. Very fun responses. Very
welcoming and inclusive players.

My PC ended up in jail (for good reason) which is always OOCly annoying.
However, players made a concerted effort to stop in and RP. Which was
hugely awesome. After being released, Mr. Annoying, in short order, stumbled
into a mage trap set for someone else (amazingly fun), was pressed into a battle
by one of the guards who arrested him (amazingly inclusive; he could've just
ignored me), was captured by the enemy, who kept him briefly as a sort of
hostage (well, or a 'pet') which -also -included Mr. A in everything, and
sparked huge amounts of RP for me.

So things HAPPEN at this game. And if you give players a hook, they'll drag
you right into the center of things.

There are, however, some things I wonder about.

The social register among PCs ranges so widely that it almost feels like the mud
should be two separate games. The very highest level of society, the Queen and
Cardinal and all of that, is played by PCs. So are the mid-level merchants. And
the scum of the earth. It's just … odd. Mr. Annoying was questioned by people
who were so far above him they wouldn't have even wiped their boots on him.

I think the game prides itself on having PCs in the highest reaches, but I very
very much wish that the highest tier of society was NPCs, and the highest ranks
available to players were what is now the second tier.

Because other than a sense of generalized oddness, the current system causes, I
suspect, some theme dilution. The theme is interesting, and could be harsh and
dramatic, but with PCs in the highest reaches, played by players with a modern
mindset and a desire to be liked, things soften. (This is not Armageddon.)
Gender equity seems better in-game than at Bryn Mawr. Ethnic conflict is
apparently downplayed or nonexistent. And the staff doesn't seem to enforce
theme via vnpcs and npcs. And can't, really, when some PCs outrank any NPC.

Then there are a few little niggling things:

The combat system is very close to perfect. Simple and designed to promote RP.
However, it also seems to reward OOC knowledge over IC skill, and while the
game policy is to reduce the effect of OOC knowledge in other realms,
apparently combat is designed to be an exception.

The in-game boards are incredibly well-coded, but I'm not sure they're all that

After Mr. Annoying was executed (in, typically for this game, an amazingly fun
scene that was designed by a fantastic player to maximize everyone's drama), I
started a new PC, and was surprised to find myself with only about half of my
first PC's chargen points. Which stopped me cold, as it felt like a penalty for
playing Mr. Annoying. At this rate, in two more PCs I'd start with no points
at all!

Overall, however, I can't praise this game enough.

Strong staff, strong players. Great game world, and most important,
wonderful RP. If you're looking for thriving RPI with endless opportunities,
you really have to log on and check it out.

Submit Comments About this Review

Comment Submitted By: Kinaed
Author Status: Staff member
Started on The Inquisition: Legacy: 2010
Submission Date: Jan 4, 2013

(The following review comment is the opinion of the comment's author [Kinaed] and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff).

Hi DD,

Thank you for taking the time to post about our game!

I'm really pleased that, overall, your comments were positive. I also
think that, where you have some negative thoughts or undecided views,
they're valid enough, and I appreciate your willingness to share.
However, a few of your points are around things that are 'unclear' to
you, so I thought a bit of clarity is the least I can do.

With regards to staff availability - thanks! It was a pet peeve of
mine that on other games that staff would go invisible and just sit
around chatting in some sort of exclusive social club. We've actually
removed staff invisiblity commands. That's why we're around, we're
accessible. Staff can't hide... or spy. At worst, we'll be AFK.

On applications - ideally, we want people invest time in their
characters and be rewarded through playing. That requires that they
work their way up through the game in a generally closed system. Roles
ONLY become available on the OOC board when there is no one
appropriate (or even not-quite-appropriate, but ICly on track to
ascend) to take the role. For example, if a guild leader dies or steps
down, we don't open the role to the whole pbase, but rather look at
the existing guild roster and offer the role internally to the most
advanced, 'legal' guild candidate. (Legal refers to the fact that
staff aren't allowed to hold guild leader roles, players can't have
multiple GL on their account, high enough activity is required, etc).
Generally, we'd prefer to promote a lowly acolyte who took the time to
RP their way into the guild to Grand Inquisitor, even with a flimsy
RP-Assist excuse than to just open the application to whomever is
bored and wants a powerful role without doing the yards. That being
said, there's usually between one and four applications open to people
at any one time for needed roles.

With regards to smart chargen, I'm not sure that there is a best way.
There's a thread on our forums about 'what skills do you always take?'
as we were preparing a newbie guide, and the answer was, across the
entire pbase 'languages', 'papermaking', and 'ride' (and ride was a
specific demographic of horse lovers/owner characters). In short,
there's not a lot of mini-maxing to be had - not even the combat
wombats had any 'this is THE right way' advice. Take what skills you
like and want to explore - if you find they aren't right, you can re-
jigger your character until their Cyan coloring (indicating a not-yet-
established character) wears out. This also goes for stats; all of
them have great benefits (even charisma), and potential weaknesses, so
it is very much a personal play style and character- appropriateness

On the Social Register:

I agree with you that we're a bit torn between being a high-flying
political game where the rabble ought to be NPCs and being a lower-
class-focused gritty game where the authority ought to be NPCs. We've
got a very small pbase to attempt both... the problem is there's a
deep love of both and the whole world at large, and I think we're not
willing to 'break up with our boyfriend' over the aspects we don't
like. I think your commentary indicates that you probably prefer the
grittier, lower classes kind of play - but the pbase is well split on
that issue, as is the staff. I'm not certain precisely how bad it is
thematically that the Grand Inquisitor himself is reviewing the case
of a lowly mage, but I'm not sure that it's all that terrible either.

I disagree that we COULDN'T reign in the PC leaders if we wanted to -
but we certainly don't, which is probably the more important point.
Gender equality on TI is mixed-thematic. Ethnic conflict, I disagree
with being downplayed or nonexistant, but I don't know what you've
experienced - I've ICly witnessed or been a part of catfighting over
ethic morals on TI. I will say that there is a forum post on about
thematic players getting flack for being 'rude' ICly on an OOC basis,
which I took a dim view of, so I think there's something there with
regards to some players not being as RP mature as I'd like to hear. :(
That said, I also strongly think there's a substantial group of RPers
on TI who are mature and who do enjoy both playing and experiencing
those conflicts. Several responded to the forum post with agreement
that we should be supportive of harsher aspects of theme, and no one
in favor of changing the theme or acting against it.

On Combat:

As for how combat actually works, it is a rock-paper-scissors concept
where coded skill is important (probably about 80% of who will win is
code skill, so it is essential), but some character setups are
stronger against others by adjusting the strength of the code when
they encounter one another. Each setup (a dual wielding sword master
might, in theory, be countered by an axe wielding berserker, but an
axe wielding berserker might not want to meet a whip wielding
adventurer, who in turn is in trouble with our dual wielding sword
master). The idea with this system is twofold - firstly, we wanted to
promote variety amongst the character types, making all concepts
potentially equally valid. This differs us from the stock The
Inquisition keyword code as there is no best way to fight (whereas I
once made a character on Old TI with maxed out dodge, a dagger, and
snake stance that literally fought the ENTIRE WHO LIST at once and
didn't take a scratch - this is not an exaggeration. I literally
fought 23 people at once and did not take a scratch because the code
was that unbalanced if you knew what to do).

It is true that there are things about the combat system that are not
documented in help files - but what isn't documented IS openly
documented to encourage exploration and give people things to talk
about ICly. We're open that every weapon has a strength and a
weakness, and a bit of experimentation will fill in those gaps.

Yes, there's a valid point that if a person purchases a skill to
master levels, they should be a master because that's what they've
chosen to RP. Unfortunately, that is the only reason that I can think
of for limiting combat results to coded skill purchase, and I find it
weak in comparison to the multiple reasons we went the way where code
skill is one major input, but how a player fights is another.

Firstly, TI: Legacy's entire skill system is designed on learn-by-use.
In chargen, one can only purchase background skills to a level capable
of allowing them to use the skills - but they cannot master them in
chargen. That means that, be it combat or pottery, if one want to max
their skills, they must fight or potter their way to grandmaster.
There is no such thing as a grand master swordsman who hasn't actually
used a sword ICly. They don't exist. So, giving those people something
to explore whilst they're working towards a coded skill goal keeps it
from getting boring.

I also disagree that people are 'relying on OOC combat knowledge' -
rather, they've gained that knowledge ICly and through a far more
intrinsically textural method than reading an OOC help file. The
latter would, in fact, be using OOC knowledge implemented ICly, albeit
through a legitimate source. At best, I think the real point is around
those who have done the legwork are the 'haves' versus the 'have
nots'. That said, one can't really be a have no in a system that
requires that use to advance anyway. I also stand that the information
gained is IC information, and that if a player's brute knight dies,
their lady-in-waiting character shouldn't start RP knowing which end
of an axe is pointy let alone how to effectively defend against one.
That's standard for an RP game though.

Secondly, there are people who purchase combat as a background to feel
safer rather than to RP out a concept. And, at grandmaster levels,
we'd have got a glut of equal combatants in the system with few
differentiators if we relied on code skill alone, and no real reason
to arbitrarily determine who should win. Otherwise, we should have
stuck with the old 'kill ', combat scroll ensues, someone is
declared the winner kind of fight. That's not a lot fun though,
especially on an RP game, right?

It's also a direct 50-50, high stakes, game of chance that people
cannot choose NOT to gamble in when the skill levels are equal. In a
system where a coded skill number is the literal limit, you also get a
glut of people landing on the same exact skill. Something has to be a
differentiator, and we like 'strategy' for that. We're perma-death and
non-consensual, so avoiding a die roll on death only seems right.

Players that explore combat in RP will, by the nature of their RP,
directly gain the information required to strategically approach
other combatants, at all skill levels.

Finally, if you look at your staff/pbase's BARTLE profile, we're
mostly explorer-socializers or socializer-explorers. That means we
like the game to include discovery, Easter eggs, and for that
information to provide an edge. This is true of combat in a minor way
(the the only secrets are which weapons and defenses are strong
against one another). However, people who don't like this feeling of
exploring a mystery type of thing... might want to avoid our magic
system in its entirety... oh boy!

Wow, I'm long winded... sorry... but thanks for listening and thanks
for writing!

Warm regards,

Comment Submitted By: DD
Author Status: Player
Started on The Inquisition: Legacy: Last Month
Submission Date: Jan 7, 2013

(The following review comment is the opinion of the comment's author [DD] and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff).

I just wanted to jump back in and say that this long, detailed, informative, helpful,
and respectful response is typical of every interaction I had with the staff.

(Well, okay, not always that *long!*)