Ovlcat Games are not small. His first game, 2018 Pathfinder: Kingmaker , is one of the most ambitious CRPGs I’ve ever played. He is not a mere mercenary, the player ultimately rules the entire kingdom, making decisions that define the fate of hundreds, if not thousands of people. A non-traditional monarch, of course, one who regularly puts on court duties to go on an adventure – but Kingmaker had an element of grandiosity that is usually lacking in RPGs.

It was also … well, broken. And where it was not broken, it was impenetrable. Many strange Pathfinder: Kingmaker decisions were made, decisions that distracted the incredible story that was told, and only a few were fixed with the possible Enhanced Edition .

To keep track of them, you might think Ovlcat will draw lessons from Kingmaker and put them into a smaller, more focused game – and you’re wrong. Pathfinder: The wrath of the righteous is, if nothing else, even more ambitious than its predecessor. But more accessible? That remains to be seen.

In Pathfinder: Kingmaker , most people have never passed it by a spider.

OK, “most” can be an exaggeration – but only a slight. One of Kingmaker’s earliest contributions included going to a certain Fangberry Cave to pick berries. There, the players came across Spider Swarms. The standard price of fantasy, right? No problem.

Except the Spider Swarms were invincible. That’s what it looked like, anyway. You will send your party into battle, drop your sword on the first Spider Swarm with the sound of a rattle and nothing would happen. Zero damage. Confused, you will do the same with another heavy hitter. Too bad again. Then if you’re smart you would make Google a “Pathfinder Kingmaker Spider Svarm” and save yourself a lot of trouble.

You see, “swarms” are immune to normal attacks in Pathfinder , a rule raised directly from table-top play. Only attacks under the effect do damage. This makes logical sense, of course – try swinging your sword at a bunch of tiny spiders and see if it’s effective. Video games don’t make sense, or at least break with the tradition of decades.

With Pathfinder: Kingmaker Enhanced Edition, Ovlcat has changed its approach. Those who play on minor difficulties could hit swarms with swords, the solution of the bend.

Focusing on one case, however, distracts from the broader philosophical question. With Kingmaker , Ovlcat faithfully translated Pathfinder Rules from desktop to digital. Then she forgot to teach people the rules.

So when I heard Ovlcat was making another game, my first question was “How to fix that gap?” And to his credit, Ovlcat creative director Alexander Mishulin did not hesitate to respond, saying that the Kingmaker Tutorial is too focused on how to play CRPG in general (i.e., controls), not Pathfinder CRPG in particular .

Therefore, the goal this time is not to abandon the Pathfinder set of rules, but better pastoral players. To be a better Dungeon registrar, basically.

It comes in many forms. As a Kingmaker Enhanced Edition, a key part is providing different experiences to different players. Familiar with Pathfinder ? Here is a game with all the active details. A rookie? Here is a simplified version that allows you (for example) to hit swarms with swords.

However, the approach varies depending on the situation, and Ovlcat has made quite a few names during my presentation. For example, leveling can be automated. Pathfinder The class system is extremely flexible, but this same flexibility can be daunting and context-free. It’s easy to go back to a corner without realizing it – which in table setting is a problem that has been mitigated by good DM. The alternative here is to give players an idea of ​​what a powerful construction looks like, and then allow them to detach themselves from that template if they wish.

The interface now alerts you if you are wearing armor with incompatible bonuses. Warnings, do not forbid – because you may be doing it on purpose, sacrificing utility for fashion. That’s okay with Ovlcat, as long as you’re aware .

Many Wrath of the Righteous The hardest encounters are also optional. This is another part of making Wrath more affordable. Challenge people if and when they want to, but don’t stop the story for one encounter.

Elections. It all comes back to the election. Ovlcat wants the Wrath of the Righteous to be every bit as complex a Kingmaker , but with the option to shrink. Pathfinder is a well-known crunchy (read: heavy rules) system, but it shouldn’t be like that at all , maybe.

And I think that’s okay. Again, when playing on a table, DM gets a ton of free space. Don’t like the rule? Don’t worry about it. Don’t like the dice outcome? Smell a little. This is normal , and its Good . The tabletop is (at least in my circles) about shared storytelling, and the rules should serve the story.

Ovlcat’s problem is simply that digital adaptations are not as flexible. It’s hard to program a game to play dice in dice at the “right” moment, or to be more strict about the rule if the result of ignoring it is more fun. The Wrath of the Righteous seems to be doing the best it can – or at least a better job than that Kingmaker .

That’s the key, really. I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking about low-level issues, leveling instructions and paths, and so on. However, it is important, because these are the aspects that have deviated from the path of Kingmaker . If Ovlcat wants to bring people back, he wants to give those who dropped out of the first game Wrath of the Righteous a chance, the message can’t be “It’s a Kingmaker , but bigger. “It’s useless. That should be (and more importantly) is “His Kingmaker , minus some rough edges. “

Not that the Wrath of the Righteous is more or less ambitious. Showing the conflict between mortals and demons, this is a story in which the player becomes similar to God. Mithic Paths adds another layer to the characters, allowing you to become a Lich who irrevocably commands or an Aeon who travels through time – or even a Trickster who can change the bottom of the roll of dice in the game.

The maps are also impressive. Our demo included one event, a demonic attack on the Drezen Fortress. Its huge and very vertical – and all one map. Ovlcat showed how a cunning player can gain access to ramparts, then fire arrows, and land on enemy enemies below, definitely a modern addition to Infiniti Engine-style combat. Oh, and now you can rotate the camera as well. It is a simple change, but vital. Freed from worrying about obstructing the player’s gaze, Ovlcat can create larger and more complex structures.

The story, the setting, none of that matters if Wrath of the Righteous isn’t fun to play. Kingmaker did not suffer from a lack of ambition Ovlcat proved that it can adapt the Pathfinder Rules and Stories for CRPG. They nailed every big picture idea I heard them talking about, before the release.

That was the basis on which Ovlcat stumbled, and that is what I am less concerned with after seeing the Wrath of the righteous in action. There is still a lot of work to be done and not much of what I discussed here is actually visible in my demo. But the fact that Ovlcat is thinking of better guides, more detailed difficulty options and the like? It is good for the Wrath of the Righteous .

Would I support the accompanying Kickstarter campaign launched today? I do not know. I am quite skeptical about crowdfunding, and even more so when the company has failed to meet its goals in the past. On the other hand, I find Ovlcat’s enthusiasm contagious. I wanted to like Kingmaker , and I want to like the Wrath of the Righteous . We hope that this time the execution will match the ambition.

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