Power Through Experimentation

I finished Tyranny the other night, solid ending.  I opted to take the Disfavored path, so that meant killing Nerat.  I won’t ruin the rest, but I tied up loose ends with the other 3 Archons nicely.  The game ends with a nice set-up for a sequel, if they so choose.

One thing I like are boss fights, and most RPGs have a half dozen or so.  Due to the way Tyranny works, the bosses you end up seeing are all at the tail end of the game.  The fights are impressive, very impressive.  Enough to make you wonder why there aren’t more of them throughout the game.  You really need to think strategically, which is a swap from the floor mopping you’re doing by level 10 or so.  I died a few times in them, then needed to swap some things around.

Which ties into a thought I had about the game overall, and that’s how it approaches experimentation.

Finding the Elements

Tyranny doesn’t provide you with nearly enough instructions on how to experiment, or how the systems intertwine.  It’s quite old-school in that regard, as until you understand how Sigils work together, and what Sigils exist in the game world, you’re mostly playing blind.

This reminds me a lot of Dragon Age Origins, or even Fallout, where you needed a full playthrough to understand all the pieces and how they fit together.

When I completed the game, I was missing a few Sigils, though I had an idea what they did.  I was missing upgrades to them as well, like improved accuracy and whatnot.  What I didn’t realize was that I was missing some essential ones – like Volcanic Weapon.  This one makes it so that every melee strike shoots out a beam of elemental damage.  Combined with Verse’s ninja-melee speed, there’s a potential for a nuclear event if you build her right.

Making Explosions

My favorite part of learning is making mistakes.  I have made more than my fair share of mistakes, and each one taught me something.  Rarely have I ever made a mistake that I would consider permanent, which is good.  Experimenting and tweaking is the key to success.

Some games punish this behavior (EvE with it’s time-based skill points) and others allow you to go wild (WoW with infinite talent resets).  Stand-alone RPGs often put you in the former situation, where once you make a selection, you’re stuck with it.  Very few games allow you to turn back the clock, though it should be said that few actively punish you for poor choices.

I wrote a character building guide for Dragon Age Origins, it’s on Gamefaqs.  I wrote it originally for myself, as a sort of grid to map out options.  I came up with a concept of a tank/mage, though it was predicated on unlocking a certain class in a previous playthrough.  It took a fair chunk of tweaking mind you, and the tank never really stood on it’s own until the early mid-game, but from that point on, it was a walking god.  It took a fair chunk of tweaking to get there, and a lot of talent reloads.

Given the way that Sigils work in Tyranny, there’s a tremendous opportunity to experiment.  I now know that the latter portion of the game has fairly high armor and magic resistance on enemies, meaning that base damage is vitally more important that attack speed.  I now know that Raw damage and Cold damage are king, that Fire and Shock are used more for crowd control than damage.  I know that AE attacks are vital, that fast movement and ranged attacks are needed, that Quickness is better than Resolve and whole bunch more.

It took the first playthrough to understand the mechanics, some reading to understand the pieces I had missed, and now it will take some planning to come up with a new strategy for the next try.  I have a bit of writing to do, methinks…


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