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  • Communication in the gameNobody

    So, I adore this game. Possibly one of the best text rpgs I've played, but I am pretty frustrated about something. I'm almost through my second run though, and I still find a huge problem with how people...communicate in this game, including you and Ash. A ton of spoilers below, mostly for chapter 8ish onward. Also, I refer to Ash as male, but just a small fyi that the devs have said they're open to interpretation.

    First and foremost, I get that, as a game, there are severe limitations. I understand you have to force a choice sometimes to get the story rolling and to keep the game manageable. But there are a few things that I feel like are just...forced conflits because the characters are just so bad at communicating properly and you more or less have to sit back and take sides instead of asking anyone to think about it more. It's okay if Ash doesn't listen to me sometimes, but it's also very frustrating if you have no choice in the first place to say anything close to wha you want. Examples are:

    - When Riley accompanies Ash to Wispy Brook, she tells him the truth about her meeting with Ezra and Ash is furious at her for lying. I actually think Ash is completely justified for being angry. In my first playthrough, Ezra kills Riley and Ash is absolutely mentally and emotionally destroyed by this. I do not think Riley is a bad person, I admire her for trying to be reasonable and good hearted despite being very deep into the Chronos mess. But from the beginning, I disliked her lack of transparency. I get she has her reasons, I would have been okay with a lot more if she took the time to sit down and make the situation and her goals clear, and at least say, "I can't tell you everything right at this moment, but know that I am on your side and hope you trust me, because I trust you". Instead, she kind of just gets agitated and upset if Ash presses the issue, and goes off to do things on her own. As harsh as it is, nobody asked her to die for Ash. She may have saved his life, but she also removed herself as a force that can do anything more in the world, and threw even more confusion, anger, and despair on Ash in the process without ever taking the time to let him decide what he wants.

    And when Ash is angry at her for this, she tells him he's "cruel" and "I did everything for you". As a reader, this is childish at best and manipulative at worst. BUT, I also think Ash is acting unreasonably in this moment. She just finally was honest with him, finally ready to work WITH him, and he ends up flying off the handle, throwing a tantrum, and wanting nothing to do with it. At this point, you're given the choice of telling him to either "calm down" or "lay it all out". I know the genre saavy thing to do is to tell him to calm down, but I severely do not want to. I don't think he should calm down, I think he should be open and honest with how he feels. I don't feel like acting like another one of the poweful figures in the story that constantly belittle and patronize him. But I also don't want him to stomp away in anger with no consideration for what just happened.

    I get it. Ash is flawed. Some bratty aspects still remain and I was alright with it in many instances because the writers made it feel natural. Same with Riley, I've read her letters and her oracles, I understand her motives generally and I understand she deals with a lot of guilt and heavy choices. But as the reader making these interactions, I don't want to say things I feel like are utterly stupid or constantly have to sit back and watch everyone be terrible and misunderstand each other. Flaws and conflicts drive a story, but I feel like this particular instance crossed the line of interesting into just...obnoxious.

    - The Wispy Brook arcs have this issue a lot, don't they. In my original run, team 13 slowly leaves Ash one by one because...because...what? Lets see: Roger feels like Ash is hiding something, and isn't being honest about himself and the circumstances he's dragging everyone into. But he, of all people, who constantly dodges discussion about Windsorhowl and his brother, should understand best that it's difficult to speak about some things. When Ash points this out, Roger just gives a "well, I guess we're even then" and leaves Ash to essentially die. Are you serious. I do feel like Ash made the same mistake with transparency as Riley here, but seriously? Did Roger have a real reason to start suspecting Ash? Ash didn't force him to come. Ash is very easy to see through, he's upset, confused, and genuinely angry at all the bad things that have happened. I understand if Roger didnt want to put his life on the line for something he doesn't understand, I also believe that skepticism and doubt is a natural process of coming to trust someone. But acting like this? And that's only the start of the wild ride of Laying Back While Everyone Ditches Ash.

    Then A.C. grows frustrated with Ash and his indecision and recklessness. This is possibly the only time I felt like someone was completely justified for how they acted, but it was still very unlike AC to leave Ash to his fate when he had put his life on the line many times before, saying "I dont want your blood on my hands". But I still think this is fine and perfectly plausible as he just discovered something he needs to do personally.

    Then Elise leaves because....! Ash accidentally calls her Riley! Incredible! It's like she's his rebound girlfriend! I get that Riley is a very touchy subject for her, but with all the time she spends acting edgy, shouldn't she understand most of all that Ash is in a very mentally and emotionally troubled time? Why does she constantly expect others to compromise to her values but never in return? And instead of Ash acknowledging he did something hurtful, he tells her she's weird and she peaces out. This string of events was incredibly annoying to watch happen.

    - Why does Ash constantly expect me to consider him a close friend if he knows quite literally nothing about me?

    - I'm not even going to start on how Chronos and the guildmasters handle communication. I get that their deal is mostly out of my hands.
    Last edited by Darumy; 09-24-2017, 09:12 PM.

  • #2
    Edit limit...I didn't notice on my phone but the title is messed up and it got cut off hahah...

    Well, this is super incredibly long anyways. I wanted to ask what everyone else thought of the flexiblity of your choices later on in the story.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree that a lot of choices are given because of limits in options. I also feel that a lot are either because A> you are developing relationships by siding with one character, or B> they're all fairly dysfunctional teens raised without parental guidance/ manners.

      In the end, Ash needs to be alone in the house. I don't know why. I don't know of a better way to write everyone out than the way it was done.

      Originally posted by Darumy View Post
      Riley...tells him the truth about her meeting with Ezra and Ash is furious at her for lying. I actually think Ash is completely justified for being angry... I do not think Riley is a bad person, I admire her for trying to be reasonable and good hearted despite being very deep into the Chronos mess.
      ...Instead, she kind of just gets agitated and upset if Ash presses the issue, and goes off to do things on her own. As harsh as it is, nobody asked her to die for Ash. She may have saved his life, but she also removed herself as a force that can do anything more in the world... And when Ash is angry at her for this, she tells him he's "cruel" and "I did everything for you". As a reader, this is childish at best and manipulative at worst.

      BUT, I also think Ash is acting unreasonably in this moment. She just finally was honest with him, finally ready to work WITH him, and he ends up flying off the handle, throwing a tantrum, and wanting nothing to do with it. At this point, you're given the choice of telling him to either "calm down" or "lay it all out"... I don't think he should calm down, I think he should be open and honest with how he feels.

      But as the reader making these interactions, I don't want to say things I feel like are utterly stupid or constantly have to sit back and watch everyone be terrible and misunderstand each other. Flaws and conflicts drive a story, but I feel like this particular instance crossed the line of interesting into just...obnoxious.
      From the beginning, Riley has kept secrets - including saving baby Ash's life. I'm sure she's very torn between her need to care for Ash, her loyalty to Chronos, and the guilt of past decisions, which includes not letting Ash live his own life. At this point, she finally realizes that she's way over her head, and has no plan to get out of it. On top of that, she is being attacked by the one person that she loves, is vulnerable to, and (most importantly) is willing to die for. It seems manipulative to call him cruel, but she's defensive. And honestly, she truly believes that her death can save the world. I have no doubt that she feels obligated, as a Princess, to die for her people.

      Not to mention, if you've ever been in a big fight in a relationship, when someone tells you to calm down, it's not going to happen. Either you or your partner will get it all out, or be the one storming out the door until you've had time to think it over. And as a spectator, you literally can do nothing but sit back and watch the hatred spew out, and hope to glue the pieces together afterwards.

      Originally posted by Darumy View Post
      Roger feels like Ash is hiding something... But he, of all people, who constantly dodges discussion about Windsorhowl and his brother, should understand best that it's difficult to speak about some things. When Ash points this out, Roger just gives a "well, I guess we're even then" and leaves Ash to essentially die.
      Roger is a very real character. It's rare that anyone who has been abused openly discuss it until they reach the point that they've accepted/ overcome their past, and he's not there yet. His father and brother hate him for his inability to live up to Alan's skills. His "friends" remind him that he's weak and treat him like garbage. Of course he has trust issues. And as he points out, Ash:
      {chapter 10} calls him friend, but doesn't trust him enough to converse with you in front of any of Team 13.
      {chapter 9} doesn't answer truthfully about visiting Chronos on Aion (as you've said, you don't get to choose otherwise),
      {chapter 8} possibly lies to him about joining him but then goes with Riley.

      But I suppose it's better to stay with lousy friends that put up with you than it is to be all alone in the world, especially if you're afraid of your brother fighting/ harming you.

      Originally posted by Darumy View Post
      Then A.C. grows frustrated with Ash and his indecision and recklessness... it was still very unlike AC to leave Ash to his fate when he had put his life on the line many times before, saying "I dont want your blood on my hands".
      After constantly following Ash around for (his) needs, A.C. finally remembers something insanely important- a key that can unlock years of missing memories. But as selfish as Ash is (thinking his quest is more important), I don't blame A.C. for running, even more so because he's a loner by nature.


      Originally posted by Darumy View Post
      Then Elise leaves because....! Ash accidentally calls her Riley! Incredible! It's like she's his rebound girlfriend! I get that Riley is a very touchy subject for her, but with all the time she spends acting edgy, shouldn't she understand most of all that Ash is in a very mentally and emotionally troubled time? Why does she constantly expect others to compromise to her values but never in return? And instead of Ash acknowledging he did something hurtful, he tells her she's weird and she peaces out. This string of events was incredibly annoying to watch happen.
      If you don't know Elise's past, she had no friends growing up in the orphanage. She probably doesn't understand the give and take that comes with being in any type of relationship, which is why she is constantly shocked when Ash is nice to her. She certainly doesn't allow herself to be vulnerable, and therefore doesn't understand why Ash feels that way. She also feels guilty for hating Riley, who has done nothing wrong to her. After finally feeling like she has someone who cares about her, Ash screaming the wrong name is a slap of a reminder that he's thinking about another woman. (Not unlike a real relationship - saying the wrong name is a full speed dive into breakup territory).

      Originally posted by Darumy View Post
      - Why does Ash constantly expect me to consider him a close friend if he knows quite literally nothing about me?
      Because Ash tells you that he doesn't have any friends in Timecrest, except for Riley. He met you through a very strong emotional moment, and believes that you must care about him if you continue to save his life or bring him back. You're always listening to his needs/ thoughts, and all of your decisions are in his best interests. Like your said, Ash knows nothing about you. Heck, you know nothing about you. I'm honestly curious if you are the same person that was Chronos' friend, and what happened to your memory if you are.
      Last edited by ChristineMoon; 09-26-2017, 05:12 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I do really enjoy hearing more insight into their personality flaws.

        On the fight between Ash and Riley, I think the most jarring thing to me is that Riley is written and portrayed from my point of view as a very selfless and empathetic person; I think I understad better when you put it as her being just a kid, but at the time I assumed Riley was reaching early adulthood at least, and was thrown off because she was okay with all of Ash's actions, considering even asking him to avoid her, and okay with the idea of dying for Ash, but the moment she actually, for maybe the first time, gets to hear him out, she locks up and makes it into a "I loved you and did so much for you and trusted you, how could you do this to me" type thing. It would be interesting if it was questioning her heavyhanded idea of selfless, conditionless love, but the way I saw it, she was written to be sympathetic, from pretty hair to heartfelt tears. In the later arcs, it becomes very clear that Ash is mostly the one deteriorating and handling things badly.

        And like both you and I said, saying "calm down" is a bad idea. It's probably the worst thing to deescalate any situation, and I was frustrated that the reader either had to say that or egg Ash on to blow up further. Again, I wouldn't have been as frustrated even if Ash simply chose to ignore your advice. It might seem very arbitrary at that point, and I did brush these sorts of things off plenty of times before. Sneaky Crab isn't me, I don't get to decide how the story is written and not every choice will have an option that I will personally like. However, in both main branches of the chapter 9+ arcs, it became a problem because I feel like the reader becomes very aware that nobody is making good decisions, but that doesn't mean the reader must contribute to the mess negatively or be sidelined into so many bad choices, you know? We can't use any magic whenever we want to, we can't touch or talk to any of the characters directly. Our biggest power as the player is to be able to view everything from a step back, even if Ash is an unreliable narrator.

        On Roger, I don't expect him to talk about his past if he doesn't want to. I don't expect him to be perfect and understanding and to place so much blind faith in Ash, but his switch in approach to me, personally, seemed more convenient to the story than well developed for his character. The only reason why any of these suspicions would matter is if he believed that Ash was a bad person, and Ash never shows any real evil up to this point. In fact, even if you don't accompany him to Windsorhowl, you have the choice of taking his side, treating him with kindness and dignity, and protecting and humoring him, even if the others don't, and having all that retconned into "I can't trust you so go ahead and die, bye" is. Unfortunate. But I can definitely see that he is also going through his own things and can't think completely reasonably.

        I agree with everything you said about AC. I think his justifications were perfectly reasonable having just found something very crucial to him, I just included it to emphasize how bizzare it was for the chapter to whiplash kick a snowball of forcing Ash to become alone.

        On Elise, I can definitely see her having issues understanding genuine relationships. She also does have a lot of contradictions as a person prior, I feel like I should understand her better before making too many judgements. However, I did expect for her strengths to be intuitiveness, wit, independence, and self-motivated beliefs. Her being suddenly extremely petty caught me off guard ESPECIALLY after she so boldly declares that she is the only one who was truly there for him, was jarring. but a person, especially a kid, can't help but feel what they feel. I think I was equally frustrated with Ash refusing to acknowledge that as well, and thus frustrated with the fact that I couldn't even put the notion out there for Ash.

        I do think it is interesting and clever for the game to make it clear after a period of Ash obeying everything you say like a puppy, for him to rebel, and for the reader to realize they can't control anything and have to work with Ash. I definitely feel a bit better about the writing after your reminder that they're a bunch of dysfunctional kids. I just most of all notice a very sharp difference in your choices from Timecrest 1 to 2. By 2, I felt like I honestly just said more things I would rather not say versus 1, where I deeply admired the game's ability to provide options that at least made players feel like they were responding naturally and humoring reader's intuition.

        And on Ash's eagerness with you, I guess he's similar to Riley in that regard. I think I was utterly confused by Riley's love the same exact way. I feel like the character thing of "I loved you because you were one of the only people who showed me kindness" is a whole other ballpark of writing debate, so I'm not going to complain about it too much, haha.

        Comment


        • ChristineMoon
          ChristineMoon commented
          Editing a comment
          Roger isn’t a ret-con as much as a deterioration. In his oracle, he was needed by those around him. Now, he’s a water mage that can’t put out a fire, and is told “we don’t need you for battle, just wash our irillium” (bigger slap, since he’s now disowned and broke).

      • #5
        You say that you don’t like how the story arcs, and the negativity around chapter 10. But instead of thinking of the writers, think of the current situation: Chapter 10 takes place near a house with a very evil presence. Roger is a weak personality. Of course he can’t handle the negativity. A.C. is stronger, he is a warrior. But is it a coincidence that he remembers his past at that exact moment? Or was that a perfect way for the evil to get rid of him (making me wonder if the memory was real)? And finally, Elise, the “demon queen.” She is used to evil, but at the end, the force behind the door is too strong even for her. Similarly, Ash and Riley are being affected by the evil emanating from the house and attack each other.

        Comment


        • #6
          @Darumy

          We would like to thank you for this feedback. Your perspectives on the characters show that you have given much thought to why they act the way they do and we appreciate this very honest reflection you have given us of your experience. It’s truly players like you who have shown us how much you care about Timecrest that have made our day many more times than we can count. ChristineMoon, too.

          We won’t discuss our behind-the-scenes thought process of the story in detail as it may spoil things that haven’t happened yet, but in the case of Team 13 leaving Ash, another thing to think about is how the team got together. A tool of storytelling we don’t rely on in the main story line are character thoughts and inner dialogue, which we do include in the Memory Oracles. Even Ash’s thoughts aren’t directly stated. Having no inner dialogue is a challenge when it comes to storytelling, but we feel that it creates an interesting flavor especially when some characters are not so forthcoming as others.

          I agree with you that there are a lot of things we can do to improve the dialogue and choices players have in the current story. The feedback you have given are opportunities for us to think about when we have the time to polish up Timecrest.

          Right now, we’re focused on making the next expansion. While there is a lot of sparkle in Timecrest 1 and 2, we are continuously learning more about creating such an epic piece of interactive fiction, the limits we can push and writing too.

          We’ll be thrilled when we can share Timecrest 3 with everyone!

          We love seeing your perspectives because Timecrest is ultimately about your different experiences. We just wanted to take time and thank you for this awesome discussion and we really enjoyed reading what you have to say.

          Comment


          • Metalstar420
            Metalstar420 commented
            Editing a comment
            I am having a bit of a hard time, i have updated my timecrest to the lastest version for IOS 11 but i am still getting a glitch in my game. I am on my second time around in the story and now stuck on chapter 8 right after team 13 went to the nightshade forest and ash is now wondering around timecrest before having to pack to windsorhowl. Well the game will only let me go to two places the apple courtyard and the grand library. I have tried reloading the game twice and still won’t get any other options and now have been stalled in the game. Please help. I love this game and don’t want to get rid of it.

          • cowbunny
            cowbunny commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Metalstar420! We're sorry to hear that you're facing a bug in the game. The best thing to do is contact our support from within the game. In Timecrest, under the Messages tab, tap on the Settings button in the top right, then select "Contact Support" at the bottom of the dialog. Please give us the description of the issue and send the email.

            If you do this, it will send us your game data so we can debug what is going on and get everything straightened out for you.

            Thanks for telling us about this issue and thanks for playing Timecrest!

        • #7
          Thank you, i shall do that.

          Comment


          • ChristineMoon
            ChristineMoon commented
            Editing a comment
            Welcome to the forums! Hope that you stay around, share your theories, and perhaps join in the weekly question for a chance to earn gems!
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