Sword Coast Legends Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Sword Coast Legends RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network D&D in the digital age: why Rage of Demons is a flop off tabletop https://www.gameskinny.com/wof8i/dd-in-the-digital-age-why-rage-of-demons-is-a-flop-off-tabletop https://www.gameskinny.com/wof8i/dd-in-the-digital-age-why-rage-of-demons-is-a-flop-off-tabletop Wed, 09 Dec 2015 05:15:30 -0500 John Adamczyk

 A digital iteration of Dungeons & Dragons has been a pipe dream for Wizards of the Coast for years now, and it shows: the brand boasts about as many video game titles as there are rulebooks.

Time and time again, Wizards of the Coast has tried to make their brand look hip and contemporary, and to the company, that seems to mean making video games.

Unfortunately, every time they've attempted this in recent history, it's been a critical failure, making the company seem tragically out of touch with today's gaming crowd.

Their latest venture, Rage of Demons, is shaping up to be no different.

Wizards of the Coast has tried to create a rather unconventional marketing campaign, one that stretches across multiple platforms. The company has put a surprising amount of focus on video games like the Neverwinter MMO and Sword Coast Legends, which are constantly flaunted even on the main page. As part of the campaign, both games will receive demon-related updates that are meant to emulate a demonic incursion on every aspect of the Dungeons & Dragons universe.

The concept behind Rage of Demons is ambitious, and if Wizards managed to pull it off right, it would be interesting. One of the key selling points for Rage of Demons is the fact that it will be something you can experience "on computer, console or tabletop." 

The adventure itself is clearly a solid product. A 256-page scenario for tabletop fans of Dungeons & Dragons is nothing to sneeze at, but Wizards of the Coast has been drumming up hype in all directions since their announcement way back in May.

Of course, on the video gaming front, there just isn't much to be excited about.

The core issue with Wizards of the Coast trying to tie their franchises together is an obvious one:

They just aren't a tech savvy company.

Starting with the disaster that was Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale all the way to their most recent release, Sword Coast Legends, the company that brings us the world's most popular roleplaying game has been stumbling when it comes to video game development. 

Sword Coast Legends is a Diablo-like game with an incredibly basic story and simplistic gameplay. 

Neverwinter is a free-to-play action MMO with a bloated cash shop. 

By putting the spotlight on these mediocre titles, Wizards of the Coast is sullying the Dungeons & Dragons brand.

This is especially glaring since Wizards of the Coast once boasted ties to some of the most innovative RPGs of their time. Neverwinter Nights was a smashing success that managed to (sometimes to a painful degree) reflect the tabletop game's ruleset. The same goes for The Temple of Elemental EvilBaldur's Gate, and Planescape: Torment, all staples when looking back at classic RPGs. 

Since then, Wizards of the Coast has become notorious for their incompetence when it comes to anything that isn't a physical product. This makes the clever idea of tying together their franchise on a physical and digital level feel half-assed.

Long-time Dungeons & Dragons players, digital or otherwise, are put off by the awkward mechanics in games like Sword Coast Legends and Neverwinter. These games are only vaguely reminiscent of the beloved roleplaying game. 

Of course, games are often marketed toward different groups of people. It's entirely possible that Wizards had intended these to be a starting point for new players. Unfortunately, that, too, seems unlikely. Anyone looking for a good RPG is undoubtedly going to look elsewhere, since the quality of the video games the company is associating with their brand have proven to be consistently poor in recent years.

At this point in time, it seems that Wizards of the Coast's best bet would be to either lay off the digital campaign, or redouble their efforts by giving resources to someone who actually understands the industry. 

Thankfully, Wizards' recent foray into the video gaming industry has done little to affect the game we all know and love. 

Let's hope it stays that way.

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The state of RPGs in 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/voitg/the-state-of-rpgs-in-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/voitg/the-state-of-rpgs-in-2015 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:31:16 -0500 Ty Arthur

We've reached the end of another year, and it's time to take stock of what's come to pass and what's on the horizon in the world of role playing games. Although several of the biggest names didn't get sequels, 2015 was still a stellar year overall for RPGs – so long as you knew where to look. The best entries frequently weren't the AAA titles.

Recapping a full year's worth of games is a difficult proposition, and its made more challenging when considering just where the boundaries of the genre really sit. Unlike some genres, like first person shooters, RPGs cover a much wider range of play styles and tend to tweak their formulas more often. Take the reboot of King's Quest, for instance -- it might be primarily an adventure game, but there's a compelling argument there that it also lands in RPG territory, especially considering the series' history.

Things get more complicated when you thrown in strategy games. Are Blackguards 2, Sorcerer King, and Age Of Wonders III out of the running entirely, or are they RPGs that happen to use turned-based or real-time strategy as their core mechanic? Let's not forget Bloodborne, which is more an action game than an RPG, but seems to lean into role-playing through its setting and character stats.

RPG, or turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting?

Where to draw the line is an interesting topic on it's own, but for our purposes we're going to stick primarily to titles that are solidly RPGs in the classic sense of the term, with only a few forays into gray territory.

The Biggest RPG Disappointments Of 2015

In a full year's worth of releases there will always be duds, but thankfully this year was filled mostly with worthy entries that are genuinely worth playing. In fact, one of the major letdowns was simply a release that didn't appear when it was originally projected to land. Persona 5 was sadly pushed back (we really should be playing that right now), but is slated to drop in the summer of 2016.

The biggest RPG disappointment of the year took a classic role playing formula and dumbed it down into a hack-and-slash click fest with only minor DM tools: Sword Coast Legends.

D&D has been missing from the single player or co-op arena for a long time, and it's return wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination. Garnering mixed reviews at steam and a metacritic score of 61, its clear this isn't Baldur's Gate. Hell, this isn't even Neverwinter Nights.

This is not the 5th edition game you are looking for

The Biggest RPG Releases Of 2015

Welcome home indeed! After years of delays and waiting in silence with no official info dropping until the 11th hour, the biggest RPG of the year (and probably most anticipated game of any genre) arrived in November. There were tweaks to the formula that make it possible to play the game more like a shooter, but Fallout 4 still remains pretty solidly in RPG territory.

Between the settlement building, weapon and armor crafting, side quests, and main story, you could easily sink hundreds of hours into the post apocalyptic wasteland. Granted, there are problems – graphical glitches and bugs abound this close to launch, as is expected from Bethesda at this point – but the Metacritic score of 84 speaks of a game that is remaining competitive even if there were disappointments.

Welcome Home Vault Dweller!

Continuing to bring in heaps of praise and with a whopping 92 metacritic score, The Witcher 3 is the surprise hit of the year. It's been a wild ride for this series, going from a niche PC RPG by a little-known European developer to a huge phenomena that reaches its crescendo in the third installment. The graphics are fabulous, the gameplay is solid, and a steady stream of DLC keeps massively expanding the game so you never have to stop playing.

There's also something to be said about the Witcher series giving us what Bioware's RPG romances have typically been too afraid to provide: actual sex scenes with *gasp* nipples and everything! What has got me most hot and bothered about The Witcher 3 though is what comes next – with this title finally released, CD Projekt Red can finish Cyberpunk 2077!

Classic Gameplay And Crowd Funding In 2015

It can't be overstated: crowd funding has changed the gaming landscape. We're getting a sequel to Planescape: Torment next year, and that's entirely due to crowd funding. Publishers and middle men are getting cut out entirely, and the consumers are putting their money into the projects they actually want to get made.

As it turns out, quite a bit of what RPG fans want involves returning to classic gameplay, as was clearly shown with Pillars of Eternity. While some were disappointed in the end product, it's the vast majority loved seeing the Infinity Engine games get a modern day overhaul, because this title sits at a solid 89 metacritic score. Honestly I couldn't have been more happy when I first booted up Pillars: it was somehow 1998 all over again and I was kid spending a silly amount of time exploring every last inch of Baldur's Gate once more.

Obsidian took us back to a classic era with this one

More importantly, the game brought me back to the oddity of Planescape: Torment's companions. The banter between Durance – a priest who hates his goddess – and Eder – whose god was killed by Durance - are imminently enjoyable. And that's just the beginning. The unexpected themes of atheism versus faith were a welcome change to the typical RPG storyline, and there were much more mature themes than what you'd typically see (due in no small part to cutting out D&D and Wizards of the Coast, who don't want anything even remotely close to passing a PG-13 rating).

There were some complex morality issues to be found in there as well, with unexpected consequences for your actions. I particularly enjoyed how siding against the evil tyrant could result in everyone in the area being slaughtered by undead, while helping to subjugate the peasants actually led to peace and harmony down the road.

On the heels of Pillars came another classic reinterpretation of an old school gem: Shadowrun Hong Kong was just dripping with atmosphere and upped the ante from the already stellar Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Starting out as an Asian cop movie with two siblings on opposite sides of the law, this third iteration in Harebrained Scheme's adaptions of the classic pen-and-paper RPG goes some crazy places. It all gets grounded back in reality at the end though, as your world-saving anti-heroes are reminded that if people can survive the resurgence of magic and dragon attacks, then they wouldn't mind one particular town getting taken over by an evil demon goddess.

Harebrained Schemes will be quite busy for the next couple of years after successfully kickstarting a Battletech game. But honestly, these guys need to do an Earthdawn RPG one day. That's the one FASA pen-and-paper title to never get its just due in the PC realm.

Where man meets magic and machine: and Asian cops and demon gods

While Pillars and Shadowrun were the most visible old school games, there were plenty more than went under the radar and are worth investigating -- like the early access UnderRail, which continues in the style of the original Fallout games. If you dig party-based, isometric RPGs, you will want to take a gander at Serpent In The Staglands. For those who like lots of dialog and turn-based gameplay, don't forget that The Age Of Decadence just dropped back in October.

Earlier Games Updated With New Formats In 2015

It wasn't just entirely new games that generated buzz this year, as plenty of games – both old and relatively recent – got facelifts and saw new editions land in 2015. Two of the biggest came to games created through the power of crowd funding. Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin (two very different takes on the RPG genre) were both overhauled and re-released in updated versions, with graphical improvements and plenty of gameplay tweaks that changed them to the point of nearly being new games.

Previous owners got the new version for free to boot!

The Final Fantasy series has always lagged behind in terms of PC releases, with consoles getting all the love and the PC master race only getting occasional scraps years after the fact. One of those scraps finally arrived in 2015 ,as the 3D version of Final Fantasy 4: The After Years landed on Steam, letting anyone without a Wii get to experience the direct follow-up to the classic Final Fantasy 4 story.

Beyond just PC or console, the Final Fantasy series likes to toy with North American fans and give Japanese players all the love first. The 2011 title Final Fantasy Type-0 just arrived on North American consoles back in May and on Steam later in the summer. The wait may have been too long though, as reviews are definitely mixed, with a metacritic score of 72 for this HD rendition of the aging game.

Better late than never?

Not to be left out, the much loved creature-raising series Monster Hunter saw a late North American release in 2015, as Monster Hunter 4 arrived in its “Ultimate Edition” for the 3DS early in the year (after being out in Japan since 2013). Handheld fans are clearly digging this one despite the length of time they were required to wait, as reviews are mostly positive and hover around 86%.

The Many RPG Sequels Of 2015

Outside the big name titles, returns to classic gameplay, and re-releases of old games, 2015 was a year heavy on sequels when it came to RPGs. One that's had everyone waiting with baited breath lands this week at the tail end of the year, with a new entry in the Xeno series arriving to prop up the struggling Wii U. There really aren't that many RPGs at all for that particular console, so the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles X stateside is a breath of fresh air for anyone in need of a role playing fix.

The dungeon crawling crowd got not only two sequels in one, but also a surprise crossover on the 3DS in April when Etrian Mystery Dungeon launched. Make sure to stock up on healing items if you plan on delving into ever-deeper levels of dungeoneering in this one, because the addition of rogue-like elements makes it a lot more unforgiving!

The anime-based Sword Art Online: Lost Song also launched this year, taking the series to a different game world and putting a heavier focus on both action combat and hardcore level grinding. Another grinder that show how very different two RPGs can be is Disagea 5, where Sony let gamers play as the bad guys and put them in control of a demon army that seems more focused on slapstick humor than damning any souls.

Who said demon princes can't be comedians?

Significantly beating out Disagea in the longevity department, the Tales franchise got a new entry as the year is closing out with Tales of Zestiria, which again mixes 3D action combat with classic RPG gameplay. As usual this entry is a mixed bag, featuring a lackluster story and humor that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat, but if you liked any of the previous Tales games, this one will keep you hooked on the combat.

The Forecast for 2016

While 2015 was a solid balance of old school charm and slick, next generation games, the coming year is currently slanting more towards the bigger releases with hyper polished effects. Final Fantasy XV will of course dominate, although it remains to be seen if SquareEnix is ready to actually recover from the fiasco that was the FF13 and its spin offs and deliver something worth playing in the single player department again.

Titles in the Mass Effect and Deus Ex franchises will keep sci-fi roleplayers covered, along with Technomancer, an upcoming game set on Mars that is looking very interesting indeed. 

Just because the big name developers and AAA titles are on the rise next year doesn't mean you should discount the indie titles or throwbacks to an earlier generation of RPGs though! There's not a PC RPG fan around who isn't waiting with baited breath to see if Torment: Tides Of Numenera can live up to the hype of its predecessor, while Project Setsuna sees Square Enix returning to its roots and focusing on its strengths with a SNES style offering.

In a move no one expected, there's also an actual Baldur's Gate title coming, as Beamdog studio gives us an expansion/sequel using the exact same engine and assets titled Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.

Get ready for this one to get weird!

Want a full list of what's coming soon you should be saving your money for? Check out our complete look at the most anticipated RPGs of 2016 here, as well as our examination of the coming year's MMOs, which feature more than a few RPGs in their ranks.

What did you think of the RPG offerings throughout 2015, and what were your favorite games/biggest disappointments? Share with us in the comments! 

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Sword Coast Legends sneak peek: Community Pack Two https://www.gameskinny.com/c0aa4/sword-coast-legends-sneak-peek-community-pack-two https://www.gameskinny.com/c0aa4/sword-coast-legends-sneak-peek-community-pack-two Thu, 03 Dec 2015 10:09:26 -0500 John Adamczyk

Sword Coast Legends had a solid start with its first community pack, the first of four updates to the game meant to overhaul the quality and respond to player feedback.

The release date for the second community pack seems to have been bumped back a bit, which means we probably won't be seeing the third pack or Rage of Demons update anytime soon, but the company has been trying to stay on top of player communication, and as such, has decided to at least preview the patch contents before they drop.

Highlights include:

New Playable Race: The Drow

The highlight of this community pack is, unfortunately, something to shrug your shoulders at. New races add something to aesthetic and character choice, but they hardly make up for much-needed gameplay overhauls. The drow are an iconic Dungeons and Dragons race, however, and it makes sense that they've been added in.

Fortunately, there's another addition in this community pack that might refine the gameplay significantly.

Death Improvements and Hardcore Mode

In my own review of Sword Coast Legends, I made it very clear that the pause-based mechanics of the game take a backseat to the Diablo style gameplay that overshadows the need to do any actual planning, replaced instead with potion chugging and button mashing. This is made even worse by the fact that the "stabilize" mechanic is an impossible to interrupt action that lets you bring unconscious characters back to life in seconds.

Fortunately, it seems there might be a need to revisit the main campaign, because the company actually paid attention to this complaint. In a surprising twist, n-Space has made the game more difficult, as stabilizing will not only take longer to perform, but the character trying to carry out the action will actually fail if damage is dealt during that time.

To make the game even more intense, there's going to be a "hardcore" mode that will allow players to disable the stabilize action during combat, meaning each fight will force you to actually consider the consequences of characters falling unconscious.

Loot Changes

Another shrug-worthy option but a welcome quality of life upgrade for players who have enjoyed the online component to the game. Players can now enable an alternative loot system that individualizes item drops, rather than having the traditional click-spam every-man-for-himself loot grabbing that follows the death of an enemy.

New Additions to the Campaign Creator and Dungeon Master Mode

Again, not too exciting given the limitations of the map editing system, but with a promised tile-based level editor coming in community pack 3, these minor additions to the system will be a huge plus later on.

These additions include:

  • New placeable objects and visual effects.
  • A variety of preset village locations are now available for Dungeon Masters to use.
  • Ambient NPC text can be placed on characters for added flavor.
  • Locations can now be locked and unlocked within multiplayer games by the Dungeon Master, allowing for more interactive storytelling.
Tile Customization

A sort of precursor to the actual map editor, this will let Dungeon Masters fiddle with the pre-generated areas that they have to choose from. They can create entrances and exits, delete existing structures and areas, and generally try to make the pre-designed zones into something of their own.

Of course, this is no real replacement for the incoming, much-needed map editor, but it is a start, and it will allow people who are new to the system to have a bit more freedom to create what they want.

Bug Fixes

No surprise here.

In the end, the most exciting change on this list is undoubtedly the overhaul to the stabilize mechanic. The fact that characters falling unconscious will no longer be trivialized will at least give players a reason to consider utilizing the pause-based mechanics while at the same time demanding the implementation of strategy for the sake of survival.

Hopefully, this update mitigates the Diablo-style combat and pushes it into the realm of the traditional RPG. 

With another community update to go, along with the inevitable Rage of Demons expansion, n-Space is doing a great deal to win over the community.

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Sword Coast Legends sees its first community pack update https://www.gameskinny.com/au5t9/sword-coast-legends-sees-its-first-community-pack-update https://www.gameskinny.com/au5t9/sword-coast-legends-sees-its-first-community-pack-update Fri, 13 Nov 2015 21:00:53 -0500 John Adamczyk

After a less-than-stellar release, Sword Coast Legends is hoping to make amends with a series of community packs that are meant to improve the game.

The first update hit today, and we have patch notes right here. It's definitely not everything the game needs, but the amount of content the developers are offering so soon after release is a promising sign of things to come. Highlights include:

Unlockable Companion Skill Trees

Your NPC companions have unique skill trees that are unavailable to your character. A little unfortunate if you wanted to, say, play a necromancer, since only your necromancer friend could use those abilities. Luckily, whenever you complete an NPC's story quest, you'll get access to their skill tree. With the talent trees having felt a little sparse, this is great news.

New Monster Abilities

Not for the main campaign, rather, for the game's Dungeon Master mode. The unfortunately limited monster customization process is getting some much-needed love, including over 100 monster abilities that can be applied to any monster of the DM's choosing.

New DM Items: 

170 "nature objects" have been added to the map editor. Trees, shrubs, and other things that will help players spruce up the terrain and give it some life. Of course, more doodads for DMs to toy with wasn't a huge concern. Luckily, Community Pack Three, to drop in December, promises a "tile-based level editor," which will hopefully bring some customization to the game's Dungeon Master mode.

Ability Respec: 

A bit basic, but a welcome quality of life change nonetheless. By visiting your party's camp, you can now pay some gold to refund your ability points and rebuild your character however you see fit. 

Player Stash: 

More quality of life stuff. The game will have an account-based stash so you can store items for later and transfer them between characters. 

Skill Rolls: 

A bit on the strange side. You will now be able to type out a text command to receive a randomized die result that doesn't actually have an impact on the game. Digital dice-rolling. n-Space reasons that players can use this in their multiplayer games that are being administrated by Dungeon Masters for roleplaying purposes. While it would have been nice to have a mechanical way to enforce this sort of dice-rolling, the acknowledgement of traditional D&D is heartening.

Bug Fixes: 

The usual. 

With two more community pack updates on the way, Sword Coast Legends isn't done yet. But for those of you looking for a reason to come back, you may want to wait for the more dramatic updates coming in packs two and three.

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Updates coming to Sword Coast Legends https://www.gameskinny.com/9kart/updates-coming-to-sword-coast-legends https://www.gameskinny.com/9kart/updates-coming-to-sword-coast-legends Wed, 04 Nov 2015 18:02:23 -0500 Zanne Nilsson

Sword Coast Legends hasn't exactly been met with great reviews so far. Dan Tudge, Director of Sword Coast Legends and President at n-Space, wants fans to know their complaints have been heard loud and clear. While saying that Sword Coast Legends is something n-Space is "extremely proud of," he also addressed the game's mixed reception:

However, early user impressions for Sword Coast Legends have been polarizing. While many players love it, it is clear that for many, Sword Coast Legends did not meet their expectations. For those who have expressed disappointment in the game, I have just one thing to say: "We hear you." [...]

As much and as long as we've labored to launch SCL, this is really just step one, a foundation for an even greater experience we have always intended to improve and expand.

To improve the game, Tudge announced "an aggressive list of content and updates planned for the near-term", including a bunch of Halloween goodies released back on October 30th, and 3 "community packs" that will be released on November 9th, 30th, and sometime in December -- the last of which will officially introduce mod support. Also included in the list is a new storyline, "Rage of Demons," but it apparently does not have an official release date yet.

Tudge concludes by assuring fans that there will be more changes and updates to come:

This is truly just the beginning. We hear your concerns, wishes, and desires loud and clear, and we are already working on them and hope you stay with us to continue the adventure.

The announcement and a list of each update's details can be found here.

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Sword Coast Legends Review https://www.gameskinny.com/5ikz7/sword-coast-legends-review https://www.gameskinny.com/5ikz7/sword-coast-legends-review Wed, 28 Oct 2015 11:58:33 -0400 John Adamczyk

Just when I thought Dungeons and Dragons was going to finally get another good game, n-Space's Sword Coast Legends manages to dash my hopes spectacularly by churning out nothing more than another nail in the coffin for a digital version of the world's most popular roleplaying game.

Let's be clear: I'm a fiend for RPGs, so I've been waiting for this game for a long time. I've been following trailers and listening to interviews, and it was clear to me that this was a day-one buy.

What a mistake.

From combat caught between a legacy of strategic, pause-based planning and kick-down-the-door Diablo-styled gameplay to an overhyped multiplayer mode that turned out to be laughably linear, Sword Coast Legends manages to disappoint on almost every level.

Let's break this game down, shall we?

The Mechanics

Behind every great RPG, there is a great system. Players build their characters from the ground up, creating unique playstyles that will carry you (or, if you make something truly awful, drag you kicking and screaming) through the game. I think Sword Coast Legends had the potential to make an enjoyable system, but it falls flat in so many ways.

Each character class is given a surprising number of talent trees. My assassin here had eight to choose from. However, you must build broadly, not specifically, as these trees are extremely shallow, hosting no more than four to five abilities each, along with a number of "rank ups" to click through that are essentially mandatory if you want a particular ability to stay relevant at later levels.

This might have been rectified with the inclusion of big, splashy abilities near the end of the trees that do something unique. RPGs are known for having exciting endgame abilities that make you feel a sense of progression when it comes to how far your character has come. In this game? Not so much. Abilities and passives amplify your damage or improve your ability to prevent damage, but never in particularly exciting ways. 

Combat

A potion-chugging, player-reviving slugfest, and not in the good way. Player abilities are not rooted in a resource-based system, but rather, cooldowns. Part of this means that, out of combat, you can just wait for the cleric's (very short) cooldown to come to an end so you can heal up before entering the next fight. Of course, this isn't entirely bad. Divinity: Original Sin, for example, uses cooldown-based combat. However, in Divinity, fights are challenging on an encounter-by-encounter basis, and they expect you to be fully healed, otherwise the odds are terribly stacked against you.

In Sword Coast, the challenge just isn't there, especially when you can have your characters down a metric ton of potions before any fight to buff them up to ludicrous levels, allowing you to out-muscle your enemies with ease. If that isn't enough, you can easily get hold of dozens of healing potions, using one after the next, Diablo-style, whenever your character gets low.

The most awkward thing about the combat in Sword Coast Legends is that it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. The fact that you can pause and give your allies commands seems like an afterthought, as the game feels much more reminiscent of Diablo 2, sans the satisfactory hack-and-slash style the game is known for. So, the game has elements of both, but the enjoyable aspects of neither.

The Campaign

Nothing to write home about, but nothing terrible, either. The campaign starts with your typical fantasy plot of dark portents and adventurers setting out on a dangerous quest. You aren't going to get attached to the party members along the way, but the game is chock-full of combat and little choices in each quest (even if those decisions really just affect the amount of gold you're going to get). Secret doors and hoards of treasure abound help to emulate a classic Dungeons and Dragons experience, but that does nothing to redeem the paper-thin story and shoddy combat.

I won't call the game a cakewalk. It has some hard moments, but "hard" in this game feels more like a fluke. I would sometimes send my party in, get destroyed in moments, reload, and then decide to blow potions, an easily-accessible and rapidly-expendable resource, rendering the previously-challenging fight a cakewalk. 

Maybe if there were consequences to players falling unconscious (all you have to do is have another character move over to that character and spend a few seconds to "stabilize" and return the unconscious character to the fight), or if there were any sense of danger or engagement with the characters and story, but the game is, essentially, weightless. 

In spite of these issues, I did find the experience somewhat enjoyable. Accruing experience points and gold, finding secret doors and collecting treasure, these are par for the course in this genre, and in that respect, Sword Coast Legends does not disappoint. However, it also fails to bring anything new to the table. And rather than reveling in these tropes, it seems content to play them all straight, something that can feel a bit outdated for a game that came out after Divinity: Original Sin and Pillars of Eternity, both games recognizable within the genre but also intent on carving out their own niche. 

Yet, for all of this, I think the game might have been forgivable if it had delivered on the one thing that really had people intrigued:

Multiplayer

This is where the game might have set itself apart. After all, player-created content can often open the game up in unexpected ways. The game touts its "Dungeon Master" mode as one of its core features, the intent being to create your own adventures, complete with dungeons and cities. In fact, the player can take on the role of Dungeon Master for up to four players online, summoning enemies, controlling their courses of action, and generally being an all-around nuisance for the players to deal with during their foray.

Of course, the execution itself is laughable for myriad reasons.

1. You can't make dungeons, only generate them. 

Choose a tileset, the kinds of monsters that are going to appear, the size and complexity, and it's done. You can furnish the rooms and fill them with more monsters if you want, but there's no real choice involved in the layout itself.

2. Premade locations. 

Similarly to how you cannot actually create your own layout for dungeons, you can't actually create a layout for a city, a forest, or anything. You have to generate, and for locations, this might have been forgivable if everything wasn't, essentially, a copy-paste of areas from the main campaign. 

3. Treasure limits.

This is part of a much larger issue with Sword Coast Legends. See, the game has an interesting idea for how characters should work. Particularly, that they should be plug-n'-playable across any adventure. You can pop in on someone hosting the main campaign and play your part, and you can join player-created adventures too. This creates an interesting sort of MMO-ish environment, and gives you persistent characters to get attached to. 

Of course, this also means the game doesn't want you to get too powerful through magic items and the accumulation of wealth - even by the end of the main campaign, your gear isn't particularly exciting. 

The quest for more powerful and interesting items has been a staple in the RPG genre since, well, the advent of Dungeons and Dragons itself. But the game is afraid to give you anything amazing because of the multiplayer system, because your character might end up "too strong" compared to other characters of a similar level.

The saddest way the game limits this is by putting a hard cap on the amount of treasure a Dungeon Master can place per area. You can have three treasure chests on a map. No, you can't have more. No, you don't get to choose what's in the chest. Worse, those chests are often throttled in terms of item quality, offering a pittance of gold and maybe a weak magic item.

Not only does this show that DM mode isn't trying in the slightest to simulate the true idea behind Dungeon Mastering, but it also shows that the game is afraid to actually hand over the reins.

Dungeon Delving

Again, another fun concept ruined by the mechanics of the game itself, there is another mode, in which the Dungeon Master can play a part in beating down on adventurers by summoning monsters and taking control of them, but the mode seems to be about the same when run with players alone.

The game puts together a random dungeon for you and up to three other players to run through. In it, you will slaughter everything in your way. Of course, the game's combat seems to break down significantly at later levels, which is unfortunate, since this is clearly something to do post-campaign.

Every time I joined a dungeon delve, I found I could easily just run off on my own and dispatch an entire pack of monsters, meant for a four-player-party, by myself, destroying any illusion of a team dynamic as we murdered everything in our paths. Sometimes we ate damage from a random trap or two, but we easily remedied that by chugging potions.

This goes back to my problems with the combat, which somehow become magnified when you have four real players at the helm: there's no real impact. If a player goes down, you click on that player and bring him back up. He chugs a potion, heals to full, and is back into the fray. If people are low, you can wait for a few seconds and get back to max health. If you spring a trap, the consequence is, again, chugging a potion, as the radius and damage of each trap will never be enough to warrant wasting time searching for them.

In Conclusion...

I feel inclined to give this game a five out of ten, but there's something underneath Sword Coast Legends that makes me hesitate. There's potential here, even if the game is afraid to embrace it. While it would take more than a few hurdles and workarounds to make this game feel like a true finished product, if Dungeon Master mode is salvaged, I could see myself coming back to the game and enjoying myself.

We live in an era where, unfortunately, the released version of a game is rarely the finished product, and while I think Sword Coast Legends is a damning testament to this, I can hope that n-Space is making an effort to salvage what could have been a fantastic RPG.

Until then, we're stuck with a game that is in the middle of an identity crisis between being a clunky Diablo clone or crudely designed tactical RPG.

6/10

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Sword Coast Legends suffers slight delay https://www.gameskinny.com/dnx2i/sword-coast-legends-suffers-slight-delay https://www.gameskinny.com/dnx2i/sword-coast-legends-suffers-slight-delay Sat, 22 Aug 2015 13:58:22 -0400 Jessa Rittenhouse

Sword Coast Legends, the latest RPG set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign world, is in need of a bit of polish. So it will release for PC, Mac and Linux on September 29, rather than the originally intended release date of September 8. The console release is currently slated for later this year.

According to Sword Coast Legends game director Dan Tudge, there were things that simply needed some work before they would be willing to release the final product to waiting Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts, and so development was thrown slightly off schedule.

If you preorder the Limited Edition Collector's pack, you get this handsome guy, too.

However, in return for their patience, fans will get a finished product worthy of the hype, according to Tudge. In a recent interview, he said:

"...our fans deserve nothing less than whatever it takes on our part to deliver the compelling roleplaying dynamic of Dungeons & Dragons tabletop to the world of cooperative multiplayer video games. If that means the game needs a few additional weeks of balancing, tuning and general polish — so be it.”

The reward for that patience doesn't stop with a better finished product, though. All who preorder the game by September 8 will receive the Rage of Demons DLC free of charge. 

Also, while the game retails at $39.99, if you preorder, you pay only $34.99.

Looking forward to playing Sword Coast Legends? What excites you the most about it? Talk about it with us in the comments!

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Bringing the essence of D&D to video games https://www.gameskinny.com/afl1w/bringing-the-essence-of-dd-to-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/afl1w/bringing-the-essence-of-dd-to-video-games Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:11:11 -0400 Zach Long

I recently looked into a game called Sword Coast Legends. Let me tell you something, it looks amazing. I am a late bloomer in Tabletop RPGs, but I have enjoyed every second of them. I love being able to interact with my friends and play in a world of imagination where nothing holds a player back, save a DM bent on your destruction. With the tools available in the upcoming game, the joy of D&D can be brought to the virtual realm in an entirely new way.

The World

While most DMs use real-life images or fantasy art to depict the layout of the world, it's an entirely different thing if you can actually set the atmosphere, and play in a landscape that is fully rendered in 3D. There's a world map that the DM can place markers for locations the PCs can travel to. Outside locals can be populated by characters to interact with as well as monsters to slay. Instead of imagining the world somewhat differently between each person, it will look exactly the same to everyone so that nobody will get confused by longwinded explanations. 

The Player Characters

 While there isn't a lot of information out there, if you pay close attention, you can find some things out. For instance, there will be five races(elf, half-elf, human, dwarf, and halfling) and six classes(fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard, ranger, and paladin) which I found in an interview on Venture Beat. In some of the livestreams that they have done, which can be found on their YouTube page, you can see a glimpse of some of the character creation in one of their videos. From those brief moments you can see a little view of the abilities and character page.

From the looks of it and they way they tallk about character creation I have faith that it will feel similar to rolling up a character for the table. They have also stated several times that they plan on adding more characters post-release, which is always a good thing to hear.

Dungeon Masters


This, this is the coupe de grace, this is what will take up the majority of my time in the Sword Coast. It works the way you want it to, at least from what I know. You can set up the campaign so that people can play your campaign while you're at work, or school, or wherever and be a DM that way. But the other thing you can do, which is really exciting, is that you can live play as DM as well. Not only can you have the session fully ready ahead of time, but you can change things on the fly while other, real people, play through the story you've crafted. You can add more traps if the ones you have placed are too easy, you can add more monsters, take away monsters, lock or hide doors if they're speeding through the dungeon and don't want the adventure to end quite yet.

There are nearly endless possibilities. The feature that makes it is that you, as the DM, get a pool of Threat Points, which can be spent on all the above mentioned things, and you are rewarded same as the party. When they do well, you do well, so that you can make the encounters more engaging and entertaining. You can even go so far as to control creatures and fight them with all the abilities that NPC has.

This is definitely a game I will be keeping an eye on in the coming months, and very much look forward to playing when it is released for PC and Mac on September 8th, and PS4 and Xbox One later this year.

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Wizards of the Coast announces PC release date and console versions for Sword Coast Legends https://www.gameskinny.com/7xw9p/wizards-of-the-coast-announces-pc-release-date-and-console-versions-for-sword-coast-legends https://www.gameskinny.com/7xw9p/wizards-of-the-coast-announces-pc-release-date-and-console-versions-for-sword-coast-legends Tue, 09 Jun 2015 10:19:46 -0400 SwordandSorcery

Wizards of the Coast has announced that Sword Coast Legends will be released for PC, Mac, and Linux on September 8, 2015. Console versions (for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) will be released in late 2015.

Sword Coast Legends has several gameplay modes, but most prominently features a single player campaign with many race and class choices. There is also a Dungeon Master mode where you can create a dungeon for your friends to explore in multiplayer. You can also react to their player actions in real-time, much like the traditional paper and pen Dungeons and Dragons games. The rules are based on the D&D 5th Edition ruleset.

The box art for the Sword Coast Legends Digital Deluxe Edition.

Preorders of the game are available on Steam and the PlayStation Store for $35.00. PlayStation 4 preorders include $10 worth of a new in-game currency. The Digital Deluxe and Collector's Editions are available from the game's website and come with lots of goodies such as the official soundtrack. Both editions are available for $60.00 and $240.00, respectively.

The Dungeon Master tools have potential

If designed in a manner faithful to the rulebook (and allowing the DM enough control) the Dungeon Master tools have the potential to create full campaigns that could run alongside traditional pen and paper adventures. In some ways, the system could end up being more restrictive than a traditional game, however. A DM often can mix different systems to their own advantage and this may not be possible with a computer or console game programmed around one set of rules.

Nevertheless, Sword Coast Legends has not been reviewed yet. We will all have to wait until the release date to get a better idea of exactly what is in store.

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