Text-based was in closed beta all year so let me hear your thoughts on this, please!
TLDR: An experience like no other. The pros far outweighed the cons and Spectral’s experience is evident.
* Sometimes have a hard time ‘seeing’ the world- missing an ambiance. Would appreciate more descriptions of environments- this would also help players initiate on their own without needing to have NPCs make the first move.
* Must have an NPC around at all times. Spec rarely leaves our characters ‘alone’ with the environment. This reflects a bias that the story only happens when we’re around NPCs, but this is false- if the players are the protagonists, a moment of stillness in nature or by a grave can be emotionally impactful.
* Too many NPCs- considering the limited amount of time in text based, as the number of NPCs swelled our close relationships with the NPCs we started with (Zoe, V, Emily) became more distant.
* Group often away from each other in text based, making it hard to bond or maintain close party relationships. Moments where the party is alone are sometimes interrupted by NPCs.
* Occasionally there were situations where we were essentially receiving narration but were not active participants. We still had to have our characters ‘respond’ to the narration, but this often amounted to ‘my character listens attentively’ or something similar. Big exposition dumps should either be saved for voice or moved through in a big chunk of text- if players are not actually meant to take actions influencing the situation, they shouldn’t have to respond to progress it.
* Excellent for engaging in roleplay and bonding with the NPCs where otherwise we might not have time in voice to do that.
* Excellent for situations where only one PC would realistically be involved in a given situation, giving the players room to explore the facets of their characters that might not fit well into group situations (i.e. the Cleric does in-depth doctoring things, the Fighter goes off and does monster hunting, etc).
* Spec is extremely available and works extremely hard. She moves quickly and dedicates an insane amount of time to this for practically no money. She is a saint.
* Suited well to note-takers- old messages can be searched through and referenced later on. This promotes theorizing and character consistency. It’s also great for callbacks.
* Got me through quarantine. This game gave me something to focus on when everything else in the world was going to shit. I will always be grateful for that.
Going forward a few major points are going to be addressed.
Player agency is one of them and I am working towards making it easier for the players to do this. A guide will be coming before Friday (of the time I post this) detailing how to do it in text based.
This should tie in nicely to the rest of the points as well! Keep your eyes peeled for the guide.
What a game that was- I'm sitting here writing after the emotional high of dragging a Titan into Tartarus, but I will collect my thoughts momentarily to describe the fantastic, beautifully crafted experience that was given to our party.
I will start off by acknowledging that this was Closed Beta and there were moments when it showed- things would not work as planned, needed fine tuning, or encountered moments of difficulty. Some things needed improv, some needed careful planning- and LORD- we lost two of our party! But despite all odds and obstacles- we made it through. And with that, I present pros and cons.
PROS OF TEXTBASED:
+ a natural environment where NPCs could really shine. NPCs felt so real mainly because of text based (imo). We just little snippets of their lives and the ways they thought in small asides made regularly. Even when PCs were not actively engaging with them- they were moving, thinking, getting into trouble... the world felt alive!
+ which brings us to another pro- the worlds are all intricately and beautifully made. Each one is built from absolute scratch from the ground up. They are lovingly woven together and character's actions directly impact the world around them- whether in voice or text based.
+ supplement to the vc, excellent for helping to enhance the overall DND experience as having more time to do even basic things allows for more character development on both ends of the spectrum.
+ when you have group members who are willing to work together, makes for a fantastic group experience- dividing and conquering at its finest.
+ there's little rolling so you're not bogged down by numbers determining the outcome of events. Some stuff needs to be rolled for, of course- but it's kept to a minimum.
CONS OF TEXTBASED:
- losing two party members very much derailed some things plot wise and text based definitely was impacted by it.
- you need to have a solid team going into text based because unhelpful members can absolutely cause terrible things to happen. NPCs will react as humans do- so expect them to act negatively in response to things like threats. Don't expect to win them over with cheap tricks. We had an NPC child die because of the actions of one party member, and she was shunned for it by both NPCs and PCs.
- As we were in Beta- we tested many many features. Some did not work out for the best. Some plots needed to be dropped due to the loss of other players and obviously, it was a time and a half to rewrite and then implement new plot and goals.
Overall I can not think of a more fun campaign I have ever played in my entire life. I am so incredibly proud and happy with my amazing DM and party member. We got through the good and bad together and took down two Titans, saved so many kids, and ushered in a new Golden Age. Here's to the conclusion of the first of our Megaverse experiences, excited to see where we go next.