Drakensang: the Dark Eye

Thi is a really odd game. It’s not what I’m used to.

I like it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of slight off-notes with the game. It’s more linear than I’m used to, so far, and the game’s quality is a little uneven.
Point/Counter: Really nice character customization overrall / Why can’t I build one from the ground up? I feel like I’m getting a lot of things I don’t want with any character. And you can’t learn magic if you character doesn’t start with it. Still pretty good and pretty intuitive.

Point/Counter: The graphics are pretty darn nice even on my older system, and they give a fine texturing to things. Bloom is not overused for once! They really build large areas and make it feel like there’s a living city/town around you, not a single street with two people walking back and forth. / There are a few minor graphics issues back and forth, such as my character’s pointy hat going weirdly flat whenever she bends over to pick up something.

Point/Counter: You don’t get a lot of dialogue options. / On the other hand, it’s almost refreshing to play a hero character who just doesn’t happen to have the “eat-shit-and-die” option stuck down on the bottom of the dialogue tree. The focus here is on wandering, experiencing, and enjoying the game.

Overall, I know I’ve only vbarely scratched the surface of the game. Levelling has starte to slow down a lot already, and I’m only at level 4 of 16! I’m using spears for everyday weapon use and spells for bigger, tougher stuff. The spear has access to the Mortal Wound discipline, and I can get good enough to reliably hit. I don’t dominate combat, though, as my character is a life mage. I did finlly get wiped yesterday by a pack of Black Wolf Rats. Tye basic ones are nothing, but those guys took me down like nuffink! I may have to leave that dungeon and come back, but fortunately it’s optional, and they provided a cute little way to get in and out to that point very quickly.

She’s dead seck-say!

Are they selling this in the U.S. now? I heard the European launch was going to be a few weeks before the U.S. launch. If so, I really need to go pick this up later this week, been looking forward to this for awhile.

I think it’s out in the US now.

I’ve been meaning to pick this up, but have been hit with a double whammy of being sick for a week and a half (no pay), and some car troubles which sucked out what money I did have. I’m definitely going to pick it up within the next month or so.

Maximum level is 16? Wow that’s pretty low. Still, you get a lot of cool skills and stats and stuff every level, right?

How large does the game world seem?

How is the crafting system? I’ve heard it was pretty impressive. What kind of stuff can you make? Are you relying more on crafted items or store bought?

I’ve had it for about a week, still not done with it, but I can answer some questions.

Leveling slows down really quickly (I’m about level 6 after 7-8 hours of playing), but leveling your skills doesn’t hinge on your level. Your Experience Level is basically just a way to keep track of where you are on the scale, so to speak. It also puts a ceiling on some of your abilities and talents.

You level your talents and skills - all of them - with Talent Points, which are aqquired in small sums by killing creatures, doing quests or performing special tasks, like lockpicking and pickpocketing. So, you get a constant stream of points to spend where you like, instead of getting a load dumped in your lap 16 times throughout the game. Skill/talent upgrades rise exponentially as you level them, so you’ll be narrowing your focus as you play. You can also upgrade your attributes with the same points, which makes for a nice balancing act between leveling your core stats, your main abilities, your weapon/spell proficiency and your tertiary perks and abilities. New Combos/Special Attacks/Spells are bought with talent points and money. I expect you’ll have a fairly specialized and narrow character at the end of the line, which adds a whole lot of replayability, even in your class. (And that’s saying something - there’s like 25 classes to pick from in the start.)

The crafting system is decent and well implemented. If you care to take advantage of it - and I recommend it - you’ll have to keep your eyes out for resources in the game world, unless you want to pay out of your pocket.

There are three main crafting classes - alchemy, bowmaking and blacksmithing. Alchemy is particularly useful and a good trait to specialize at least one of your characters in. At least early in the game; healing potions, for instance, are rare to find, expensive to buy but also really effective. The default method of healing is bandages, which is a 1HP/5seconds regeneration and really not well suited for heated combat unless you can shuffle characters in and out of play. You’ll also want to pick up some basic antidote recipes, since poisoning and gangrenuous attacks are fairly common and the status effects are long-lasting to permanent unless removed.

Bowyer is also pretty useful. Aside from the actual bows, you can also make your own arrows, which is nice - arrows aren’t stock items with most merchants and swapping a dexterity/agility based character over to a blade in the middle of a dungeon because you ran out does suck mightily.

Haven’t had much truck with actually using Blacksmithing so far, mostly because I haven’t really found any interesting recipes. They’re beginning to show up now, though, and I’m glad - weapons found in the world and on merchants are rarely more than slight improvements over your starting kit. Indeed, I am at lvl 6 - at a guesstimate about 1/4-1/3 through the game - still using what a WoW player would know as White items. A stock broadsword and the shield I started with. Armour is a little better, with a good range of customization in looks and frequently available at merchant stalls.

The game world seems enormous, mostly because they cram so vast spaces into each area. For instance, the main city consists of five distinct (and well designed) areas that are larger than any other non-seamless equivalent cities I have seen in games like Neverwinter 2 or the Gothic series.

The combat is somewhere between so-so and good. While on one hand it doesn’t need a lot of interaction to work, careful and deliberate use of positioning and abilites are often necessary for success. While you’ll usually get out of it alive if you go straight into a melée, the game does reward you handsomely for using traps, strategic spells and seperating your enemies. Some scenarios are pure stamina tests where you face off wave after wave of minions before you can turn your attention on the boss. Those will involve lots of shuffling characters in and out to heal up and regain their endurance/mana. Even if they are not in life-threatening danger, shuffling someone out if they’re Wounded is always a good idea, since Wounds hamper your damage output significantly.

The story is, so far, rather typical fantasy fare. Better than the average game, on par with the average movie, worse than the average book. The voice acting is mediocre to good, but effective. The graphics are fantastic and underplayed to good effect.

All in all, if you’re looking for an RPG to tide you over until Bioware drops Dragon Age or Mass Effect 2, you can’t do much better than this. It’s not a 10/10 game, but a very solid 8/10 and if they patch it to fix a few of the bugs, it could be a 9/10. If they re-worked it, Witcher-style, I could see it becoming 10/10 for me, personally, though your mileage may wary, of course.

Buy it.

Yup, I agree with everything Gukumatz said. The only real flaw so far is that Picking Locks is a nightmare. Even my NPC lock-picker can barely manage with maxed-out ability. If I try again and again, I can maybe pick a lock eventualy, but if it doesn’t happen in the first three times I leave it.

(I would be farther along by now, except I’ve also been playing Tales of the Abyss.

I got dragged to Best Buy yesterday, and happened to spot this for $30. Good deal, so I grabbed it.

I’m liking this game a lot so far. The leveling/points system is pretty unusual. In most games, you level up and get points to spend on whatever you choose. In this game, you get points to spend every time you gain exp. The level you’re at determines what the caps are on stats/skills. Very different, but quite nifty. I also like that you have to get someone to teach you most skills before you can put any points into them. The terminology and the way this is all explained is a bit confusing, but I sorted things out fairly quickly.

Is it just me, or does this game feel a lot like the Witcher? You start on the outskirts of a town, and have to perform a number of quests before being granted access, since the town is closed off to outsiders. Once you get into the town, there’s a murder mystery that you have to solve by running around and talking to people. Both games feature more realistic, grittier settings, either could have come straight out of Olde England in the 1500’s. Developers of both games have obviously gone to great pains to make the towns, gear, language, etc, seem authentic. I’m still working on the mystery, so I’ve no idea if the similarities will hold up or not.

I’m not suggesting the game is a Witcher clone or anything, there are a lot of differences in the two games. I’m a bit surprised at how little of the dialogue in Drakensang is spoken, most characters only speak the first sentence or two of their opening lines, the rest is text only. In The Witcher, I think just about every line of dialogue was spoken. Drakensang isn’t as dark as The Witcher - in the Witcher, most conversation options are shades of grey, you choose between being kind of a dick to a major arsehole, there’s few “good” options. In Drakensang things are a little more upbeat. Drakensang also seems to be more linear in terms of story and quests, but has much more customization where your character, skills, etc, are concerned.

Anyhow, I really liked The Witcher (although it wasn’t without a few flaws), and I’m also enjoying Drakensang a lot so far. I haven’t even heard of Dark Eye before this came out so I can’t say how true to the system it is, but this is a fun game. Bonus points for giving an install option for higher resolution textures for people with higher end computers. It seems the game is designed to run on a wide range of systems, which is always nice. I’m also pretty impressed at the English translation, a lot of non English speaking games suffer from pretty bad translation, but I wouldn’t have guessed that Drakensang came from a German company. The voice acting and dialogue are pretty good.

I’m curious if anyone can give me the answers to these questions.

Did anyone get Auralia, the Alchemist, to join yet? She showed up in Ferdok, but I can’t find anyone to understand that recipe she’s got.

Or on the other end…

Who do I speak to concerning the thieve’s guild membership?

If you did the 3 quests in the starting area, go to Wagoner’s Home, near the fishmonger and inn (Serene Sow IIRC). Across from the inn is an “wooden door”. I haven’t gone in yet, but I’m pretty sure that is the entrance to the thieves guild.

For the Potion of Power quest, someone mentioned that you don’t meet the alchemist who has the corrected recipe until you get to a place called Talon (Tallon?).

Hope this helps! If you go to gamefaqs and check the message board for this game, there’s some common questions that are answered there. There is no faq/walkthrough for this game yet, which I think is good because I only want help if/when I get stuck.

I’ve been playing this game a lot lately, and am liking it more and more. I have a question of my own:

Does anyone have any observations about what combat abilities are good to get? There’s a guy near the Barracks in Federok that gives you some new ones, but I haven’t had the points until recently. I was looking them over last night, and I really don’t have any idea what I want to get. There’s Offensive Combat I, which I’m probably going to pick up. I’m going to get some defensive abilities too, but there’s so many! Defensive Combat I, Shield Combat I, Parry, Feint, Armor Combat, what’s the difference and what’s actually useful? Anyone have experience with these or have any tips?

Also, you need “leveling points” to learn new combat abilities. Where do you get these and is there any way to check how many you have? I did a bunch of quests in Federok and raised most of my chars to level 5 or so, but still didn’t have enough points to learn any combat abilities. Then I went to Moorbridge and did all the quests there, and some of my chars have 400+ points to spend (based on the cost of the abilities I was able to learn). I only gained a level, maybe a level and a half, how did I get so many points?

Some other observations:

Gladys the charlatan is becoming one of my favorite characters. She was a little weak early on, but once I figured out how useful the “Fastness of body” spell was, she’s not too shabby in a battle. Good mage skills, good thief skills, and decent fencing skills.

At first I didn’t realize you could use healing items like bandages or golmoon tea on other characters, so I gave everyone the treat wounds ability and pumped it up a little. Then I thought it was a bad strategy since I could have one char heal everyone. Then I realized it was a good strategy, since if my healer does get knocked out, I can have someone else step in and bandage people. Treat wounds doesn’t take that many points to raise, so it’s worked out well so far. I wouldn’t bother to give more than one char treat poison though, you don’t need it during a battle.

Skills I’ve found to be pretty much useless: Dwarfnose, disarm traps (have your tank walk through them), animal lore (except for one quest), knockdown (it NEVER works!) the mages light and lightning spells.

Willpower is very, very useful. All my characters are getting willpower and their main weapon skill maxed, and it’s helping a lot. I still get a fair amount of wounds, but before I started maxing everyone’s willpower, it seemed like almost every fight had someone keeling over (a char gets knocked out after more than 4 wounds). However…

Is it just me, or does my amazon get beat up a lot more than anyone else despite having much higher CON and Willpower than any other char? I thought she’d be a great tank, but she comes in 3rd behind my main and the dwarf. Actually she might be in 4th now that Gladys has the “Fastness of body” spell pumped up a bit. I’m thinking of replacing Rulana with the Elf I just picked up.

It’s mostly important to get onloy the ones you need for that particular character’s build. Mortal blow, for example, starts tossing in wounds on top of damage. This can very quickly put the hurt on enemies, and render them helpless. Get offensive or Defensive if the character needs it, and depending on their style. Ligher chars may want defensive, other should get offensive.

You probably got a lot of them. All the points come form the same pool. However, they all get spent from the same pool too.

Fastness of Body == teh r0xx0r. :slight_smile: I have a healing mage with it, and she tanks almost as well as Forgrimm! I got the magic artifact armor greeves, but who needs it?

I did the same. How do you use them on others, though?

I do use Lightning. It works wonders on armored enemies, because it ignores that. Plus it’s my ranged attack.

Yup, my healing mage is the same.

Rhulana is a dodge-tank. Give her defensive fighting and just a little on the dodge side. She’s not as tankity as Forgrimm, but pretty decent and very flexible.

I finally took down the rat boss! I tried it when I was in Federok the first time, but after about 20 reloads I gave up (fortunately I had a save right before the door shut). I came back from Moorbridge with some new armor, better skills, and made some iron shields, and big momma rat went down!