The Curse of Drachenfels

Does anyone else think that this map is worse than those of the V1?

It is not a bad map but it hasnt of the essence of Drachenfels, it repeats the same mechanics in a boring way (release prisoners as in Against The Grain, sorcerer boss as Halescorge, etc).

I expected much more than a “fill map”, a copy-paste of the original map of V1 would have been better.

Just my opinion.

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Are you comparing Blood in the Darkness (V2) to Castle Drachenfels (V1)? Other than the blood fountain, I think that V1 map is pretty bland until the gargoyle (?) statue event & subsequent escape. That part was kinda already reproduced in Old Haunts (V2), which I think is a much better map than Summoner’s Peak (V1).

The prisoners aren’t terribly interesting mechanically & is perhaps a somewhat contrived reason to have to run around that external part of the castle, but overall I think the map is quite good. I liked the boss-fight-but-not-really-a-boss-fight at the end. It’d probably be better if the boss could move so the party can’t just camp in one corner to hide behind a pillar the whole time.

Blood in the Darkness I believe is replacing Dungeons much like how Old Haunts replaces Summoner’s Peak.

While I believe a few more artistic pieces could be added to the map I think Blood in the Darkness is better despite not having traps and the darkness element (the latter which I am glad for). The events in Dungeons are also very similar when it comes to going to an object, pressing e, and then having to survive the incoming enemies. Blood in the Darkness you have a bit more variety imo in that you have the portcullis defense and then escape, releasing the prisoners and then the intro boss fight which again surviving the enemy waves.

So while Dungeons has 2 events being the exact same (near enough), Blood in the Darkness kinda has 2.5 with the 0.5 being the boss event which is different then Halescourge in that it’s purely survival with the addition of boss projectiles that you can block with the pillars. Bit of prelude to hopefully a more interesting fight in the next map which should take place in a more interesting part of Drachenfels.

I’m the opposite – I enjoyed the darkness mechanic in that V1 map, but the traps were just annoying.

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In theory, having darkness can lend well to the atmosphere of the game and somewhat impact difficulty. Execution for VT2 or 1 is that you have the possibility to spawn in darkness without any light source resulting in a usually frustrating death while potentially killing the rest of the team due to having 1 person being downed.

There is also the problem of it being used in certain mechanics. Torches are ok but their light emitter is too low when on the ground resulting in skewed shadows and having to fiddle around with torch placement to get the best lighting. The other annoyance is Hunger in the Dark where your light source always moves ahead if you’re nearby (until the check points) which is problematic if you need to leave/retreat from the cart + the light is also a bit too dim imo.

To me Blightreaper is better with the use of darkness although the level design isn’t that amazing in some aspects.

As for the traps, yea they are generic in VT1 Dungeons map. I think certain traps could work if they are done well and are actually randomly generated.

I agree… I’m very sad that the map hasn’t anymore the dark zone. I love that mechanics… it helps to make maps more different and it’s a kind of puzzle to resolve (like other maps can have a swamp that slow down you, acids, a maze, etc etc). I hate when the map is just a zone where kill hordes of enemies.

I didn’t play V1, I don’t know how traps were, but with some tweaks they could be a very precious add.

I think we are talking about personal opinions, but I love Hunger in the Dark’s cart. Like said above it’s an additional challenge/puzzle to resolve that makes the map more unique. It needs a correct strategy… sure, if a player just “go on”, that zone can be a little bit unfair… but that’s not the right strategy. It’s not map’s fault.
Only the stormers must be fixed. They must not cast into the dakness.

We can say that this is merely personal opinion but having a Monster or Patrol spawn during this “challenge/puzzle” resulting the party to retreat away from the only source of light is rather bad game design. One should avoid darkness because it makes combat more difficult and enemy specials can more easily take a player out of said combat yet when the game basically forces you into the darkness… to me that isn’t a good thing. It would make more sense if you had lanterns that you can light along the way like in Blightreaper with the sconces which would help the players manipulate the battlefield as they progress.

The level design in that area is also bad should you need to fight a Monster / Patrol because the space in the initial drop off point is way too small and any other area beyond that is in the darkness which makes it far more frustrating having to deal with attacks that you cannot always see unless you cheese the system by tweaking options (which is again… bad game design when people feel like they need to do this).

Finally you have players joining a game in darkness which is the greatest emphasis on this poorly implemented system ever. Weekly Event with Darkness Modifier exaggerates this even more so to the point where you need to cross your fingers in hopes that the party didn’t move forward with the light source leaving you to die in the darkness which can result in a team wipe.

If you join a game and a torch spawns for you that would fix this problem but Hunger in the Darkness doesn’t have that. This is why, even though it’s such a small portion of the map, I dislike Hunger in the Darkness far more then any other dark map. To me the darkness mechanic, which is already flawed in execution, is even more troublesome to deal with in that map.

And yes people may point out you can play a certain character/class to help light up the area but that is again… bad game design.

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The majority of problems you wrote are the result of a bad strategy. For example it’s enough to wait the horde before to enter in the dark zone… then you have to rush until the boss trigger. If the boss is spawned, you have all the time to come back and fight it into the illuminated area.
Moreover there is a torch midway, a kind of Blightreaper’s brazier.

Hunger in the Dark is a good example of unique and balanced map. It has the “darkness” as an additional enemy… BUT, as “trade off”, you have an easy final event.

Apart this, I can agree with you about some aspects… for example a player should not be able to spawn in the darkness. Specials should not be able to cast through the darkness. Honestly, in more than 1000 hours, I don’t remember a single patrol spawned into Hunger’s dark zone… maybe I’m getting old. But I could agree also here: no patrol into the darkness.

I can understand you don’t like “darkness mechanics”… but there are tons of maps and only two of them have it. Let others have fun too :3

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Once more the initial drop off point can be too small to deal with certain bosses. As for the final event that is just oversight as I’m sure the devs will touch on the difficulty as they have done to Convocation of Decay or Fort Breakfast. There shouldn’t be a “trade off” in the first place. Imo darkness should complement the atmosphere of a map and not be “an addition enemy”. Blightreaper does this quite well and Hunger in the Dark less so.

VT1 Dungeons has certain rooms have darkness but those are very small rooms and that explores the idea of Drachenfels exerting some power to such an effect but it works well with the environment.

I like the idea of darkness, just not how it is executed. The idea of having a long corridor with open doorways on each side that are shrouded in darkness with possible hidden enemies/chests/tome/grim inside them is interesting to me. Having possible spawn points in such rooms for a good ambush scenario would even be better.

Honestly such a thing only makes me want a Map Editor even more but I’m pretty sure Fatshark has given up on that idea by now.

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Honestly I haven’t never had any problems to fight bosses in that area.

None can know it… for example they buffed Old Haunts’ event… and it was already above average as difficulty.
But even if they will buff Hunger’s final, my reasoning will be the same. I like when maps have a puzzle to solve… if you think about it, almost every map has it.

Well, here I simply don’t agree… Moreover also Blightreaper uses the darkness as difficulty (and not only as atmpsphere). Who uses the torch is very limited and he can’t help his mates. Cellars are a kind of maze, you can get separated from torch-carrier. You can be hit while you drop the torch. Etc, etc.

I like the darkness section of Hunger in the Dark. The only problem I really have with it is that if players die in the dark section, they respawn at the top of the ramp, and it is VERY hard to navigate up that ramp in the dark, especially if any enemies are attacking you. I think that respawn point should be at the bottom of the ramp, maybe in the small cave by the switch where the cart stops, or perhaps off to the left under the ramp, kinda near the box that contains the tome. Clutch revives would still be pretty tough, as you’re almost blind if you rush ahead of the cart to try to res a friend, but they would be a bit more of a plausible option.

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Just because you don’t have any issues in fighting in a very tight space doesn’t equate to everyone’s experience. Rat Ogre or Chaos Spawn are probably not that hard to deal with. The other 3 can be as both Troll and Stormfiend have area control and Minotaur has large swings which can be deadly in tight quarters.

Boss fights or Patrols should always require a large enough space to deal with them or to avoid them (patrols).

I wouldn’t really call Hunger in the Dark’s Mine Cart a “puzzle”. More like a mechanic that you can’t control very well in an area that isn’t designed well enough to deal with certain threats (Blight Stormers / Bosses / Patrols).

Blightreaper darkness is far less of a “difficulty” as you have both sconces and 2 torches while also having several instances of light set pieces (torches on walls / lamps). The torch itself is highly effective in dealing with hordes as it has a wide back and forth swing with decent cleave / stagger. Dropping the torch is super easy as well so saying “he can’t help is mates” is just stupid. The cellars being a “kind of maze” is super stretching that as you only have 2 paths to choose which all converge on the same path. Calling that a maze is laughable.

Being separated from the torch carrier isn’t that big of deal as you can have 2 torches, sconces and several light set pieces. Even spawning in the dark section with the party far away it doesn’t take much to orient yourself and stumble your way through the dark sections while using some glimmers of light (still bad game design though) as opposed to Hunger in the Dark. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and spawn with a torch.

Getting hit while dropping the torch? You would’ve been hit even without dropping it as clearly you weren’t aware of the nearby enemy. Otherwise you could block with the torch or simply wave it around in front of the enemies nose backing them off in order to buy time to drop said torch. The only problem currently with dropping the torch / picking it up is that it will completely go dark for a second or two which again is bad game design. Or just lazy/sloppy programming.

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But I could say you “Just because you have some ussues, it doesn’t equate everyone’s experience”.
Anyway bosses spawned in tight place is a problem of almost every single map… So it’s a larger and general speech. It’s not strictly linked to Hunger/darkness zones. Rather in Hunger is very easy wait the horde and then fight the boss… In other maps, in more tight areas, you have to fight boss + horde.

Here I agree… But, as said, it’s a general problem. Not a dark areas’ fault.

I Just don’t agree… There are some problems, like stormers, but I think it’s a very fun and balanced puzzle.

There are braziers but the zone is much longer than Hunger. Moreover there still are dark sections without any light.
Hunger is shorter and there is a wall torch too.

Torch-carrier can’t help during “pacing” (kill the enemies already present into the map) process (slow down it) and for a sudden Special.

When an horde spawns torch-carrier can drop the torch (and while he does it, he’s vulnerable. It forces to switch the weapons too… Pretty boring). It means you are forced to fight near the torch and you can’t move.

Cart is moving but it follows a precise pattern. When you play with randoms, it can be harder follow the torch-carrier (and as said, you have darkness sections like in Hunger).

I don’t find it much easier than Hunger’s dark zone… Rather I find Blight harder.

You can indeed say that exact same thing which kinda shows that there is a parameter where both the Darkness Element and general layout of that portion of level design can skew one’s gameplay. A more open area without darkness would most certainly prove to have less outliers pertaining to possible issues.

Again either being forced to fight in the dark or back tracking to a very small room which doesn’t accommodate all types of monsters well is imo flawed game design. If one wished to memorize all possible boss/patrol spawns I could easily say that you could then do the exact same thing when it comes to waiting for a horde before progressing but the end result is still an easier encounter due to having zero darkness and an easier way to deal with a boss by either forging on a head to a more open area or back tracking to a more open area - Hunger in the Dark you have only so little space to backtrack before hitting the drop off point in a small area.

Dark areas makes it harder to spot patrols and where they are pathing + you have a harder time pinging said patrol to help track them or make the rest of your team aware of them. So yea… Dark Area’s do not help in that regard. Bosses at least are more distinguishable so you have more of a warning whereas Patrols when you actually hear them you aren’t sure where the patrol started and where it will head.

Here I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Yes Blightreaper dark area is longer then Hunger but the combination of torches, braziers and natural lighting from lamps and such give far more control to the player. The fact that you have 2 torches? Even more control. I’ll have to do a run in both maps and see how pervasive the darkness actually is.

Torch carrier as I stated is fine against chafe enemies. Probably not shield enemies or elites but you can most certainly stun lock normal enemies with wide sweeps that do a good job in cleaving / staggering. A “sudden Special” is poor framing as the game should operate to the point of “Audio Sound Prompt” --> “Special Spawns” in which case that sound prompt should give the torch user time to drop said torch if they are needed in killing said special (switching to ranged weapon does this effectively like one would switch from melee weapon). The problem with VT2 is that sound prompts don’t always work or the timing is off but that is a problem on Fatshark’s poor game design and inability to keep bugs/glitches from constantly coming back.

Again with the horde spawning you make it sound like they just pop up in front of you already swinging. You are attempting to massively manipulate the scenario when in fact you still have a sound prompt with ample enough time to press 1 to switch to melee weapon or even place the torch in a decent spot for deal with the horde - you could even use the torch to fight the horde as well unless you are playing Cataclysm. If you find switching weapons to deal with something boring I cannot imagine how you enjoy switching from melee to ranged and vice versa - bit hypocritical there. And yes… fighting near a light source is what you’ll do but the big difference is that you have a bit of time to choose your kill zone and where you place the light source unlike Hunger where the light source is on rails and will always move forward if you are close to it (unless it hits a check point) plus the mine cart takes away some of the space for the fight as well.

Playing with randoms they might not know to wait for a horde before progressing in Hunger or how to deal with the cart moving forward or how to fall back to the drop off point / tunnel entrance do deal with a horde, boss or patrol. I agree that the torch bearer has some responsibility in the party but with Blightreaper you have access to two torches very soon plus the braziers / natural lighting that you light up like a path. Again I’ll check both maps to see how well it works.

To me Hunger or Blight isn’t about difficulty but frustration and I find Hunger in the Dark more annoying to deal with as opposed to Blightreaper where even with a boss or patrol you can set up a triangle of light using two torches and a brazier. There is only one difficult part with plague monks but I believe you always have access to a fire barrel + you can use the drop off ledge to your advantage by waiting for enemies to spawn and climb up to you allowing free hits.

This is not flawed game design. The “issues” that you complain about with the darkness section of Hunger in the Dark are precisely those things that make it interesting. I like that some maps have narrow areas, winding paths, smaller-than-ideal clearings, darkness, etc. If maps didn’t restrict my options, then every map would feel the same.

Now, there certainly does exist some point where restrictions to add challenge become Kaizo Mario levels of obnoxious frustration, but I don’t think Hunger in the Dark is even remotely close to that. Like I said earlier, the only thing I would suggest changing is to move the respawn point to the bottom of the ramp.

(Also, if you really dislike Hunger in the Dark that much, just set your ambient light setting to low…)

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Joining a game in Darkness is flawed game design.

Having to circumvent a “game design” via tweaking options is flawed game design.

Like I said I am completely fine with darkness so long as it is utilized well and the system revolving around is executed properly. VT2 is alright in some aspects, sloppy in others and downright insulting in some ways on top of that. Of course… my own opinion.

Also another problem is the light emitter for torches being too low when it’s on the ground. Light can get super obscured as a result to the point of it being better to hold it up or having to fiddle with placing said torch with the utmost care on a good piece of terrain.

Have to disagree.
All 3 maps in VT1 were perfect in the way they looked and felt. You were practically there, in that ancient castle. There was just enough enemies there, and just enough emptiness to fill the eery atmosphere.

This is a pretty nonsensical statement. If you change a difficulty slider to make the game more fun for you, does that mean the game was poorly designed? What if you increase the FOV beyond the default?

You don’t have to set ambient light to low; the darkness is great. I’m just saying that if you personally really dislike it that much, there is a workaround.

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I can’t believe you would compare Difficulty Choices to changing Lighting Options to deal with poorly utilized lighting.

As stated I am completely fine with Darkness in games. But with VT2 and more so Hunger in the Dark I find the execution to be poor.

But that’s not what I compared. It’s not dealing with “poorly utilized” lighting; it’s dealing with lighting that is perfectly fine but you personally don’t like.

In many a horror game, fans with softer stomachs will turn the lighting way up before playing. That’s not an unusual setting to mess with. The aspect that’s a bit different here is that I suspect low ambient lighting completely neutering the darkness is unintended.

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