In addition to the things others have mentioned already, one thing that stands out each time I run an alt through the zone…
Too. many. sidequests.
In addition to the things others have mentioned already, one thing that stands out each time I run an alt through the zone…
Too. many. sidequests.
Poor map design is the biggie for me. Lots of winding canyons where it’s hard to tell where you’re going, lots of verticality in a game that’s not really built for it, and not a whole lot of visual distinction between the various areas or landmarks to guide players, especially away from the pyramid area. A lost ancient Egyptian tomb city shouldn’t feel so “blah”. The lack of the rest of the game’s urban fantasy focus was noticeable (even if I liked the Guardians), but for me, the City’s biggest problems came in poor map design.
Pre quantum leaping we used to get around CotSG by stripping off all items and /reset and picking a well near where we wanted to go.
The classic “strip 'n run” worked so much better in A’kab territory, but was effective here as well.
This zone wasn’t so much of a dislike so much as a ‘meh?’ for me. The diversity of quests in this zone didn’t end up feeling like a diversity of quests for some reason. I can’t put my finger on it, but even though you ran the gamut of deadly enemies it didn’t feel unique.
Let me see if I can qualify this:
“Dead Orochi Camp #4” just didn’t feel as forebodingly evil or as connected as ones in other zones, it felt like an add-on that wasn’t very interesting.
A tomb you actually get to raid (Hall of Lost Records) just kind of seems like a hallway with some statues. The excavation in the previous zone and the magic of the one from the “Last Train to Cairo” mission don’t come through here either.
The main quest is compelling, to a point. The big baddie doesn’t feel as foreboding as other zones and instead of working against it, it ends up feeling like you’re running errands for annoying statues.
To explain, no there is too much, to sum up: Things fit, yet don’t fit and seem out of place. There are some great visuals from cut-scenes, but not enough to make up for the awkwardness of it.
I’ve always loved City of the Sun God. The Geography can be tough in some places, but there’s actually lots of paths and ways up to places if you find them… I used to guide barely geared people to go get the plant for Samhain and they’d be surprised at the routes I took because I could basically get them to the garden without aggroing anything except the atenists actually hanging out around the plants. The jump pads just made the zone easier.
I also found it the most heartbreaking zone - I kinda feel like SWL’s organization of the siblings didn’t do the zone any favors. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I didn’t feel they had as strong an impact in the way the missions are organized now because the new set up definitely just kinda ushers you to the next statue in an orderly line. I can see why the zone colors would wear on someone - but I can say I love it because of the implications of lore in the entire zone. We have the Eight mentioned, we have the very important figure who talks to us for only the second time in the game in the Orochi camp (and their dawning suspicions that things are going very Wrong ™), We have the immortal Ptahmose… the reveal about what he did to his family… we have the missions of Rib-Hadda (who we actually do have a ton of stone tablets from and he really did nag the heck out of Ankhenaten and whine about EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN), we have the first real reveal of the Jinn. Then later issues added in the Angry Earth and the unnamed one… though I kinda feel like that should have remained optional and not been folded into the main story. It’s an -awesome- story, and I love it, but it’s long and sorta side knowledge. Hearing about Solomon and the Jinn is cool, but it feels like it’s too much of a departure from the overall story of the zone, which is the Sentinals and Akhenaten (with Orochi mixed in).
I also feel that the zone sets up what we’re going to see in Transylvania in terms of “Yo, things aren’t that secret anymore.” I mean… Besieged Farmlands has a forest god hanging out in the neighborhood inn… and the entire city is under siege by vampires and ghouls. Then Shadowy Forest is dominated by the Draculesti. And Carpathian Fangs is basically a huge snowy graveyard where all the monsters have come to play. At least City of the Sun God is explained as being hidden magically and only recently re-discovered… and how that discovery is making everything go bad.
So it’s definitely different strokes for different people. The Egypt zones remain my favorite zones (I truly, truly dislike Transylvania’s zones, and while I like Kingsmouth, Blue Mountain has always irked me).
It is optional.
Yeah i can’t quite recall where it lies but it’s a cute sneaky mission chain, like Tyler’s
Ahh, okay, good. I couldn’t quite remember and my friend felt they had to do it before they could go on to Transylvania just last week, which confused me. They might not have realized it was optional somehow… dunno. I’m glad it is then.
Completionist behavior is common in this game, they consider all missions mandatory in a way because they want to leave a zone only when all business is concluded.
It’s not only about completionist syndrome. If you want to understand all layers of the story and various lore details, you are required to made all quests. Not to mention to find all lores.
Yes, completionist is a thing… and I tend to do it myself. My friend, however, was -not- trying to be completionist so may have gotten confused. They did -all- the content in TSW two times over (maybe three times) and just now are getting into SWL and are eager to get through the zones and Tokyo so they can see the new content. So they didn’t really want to stop and do it, they thought they had to for some reason. Maybe there was a level lull… though I thought they were 50 by that point. Who knows. I’m just glad to hear that it isn’t mandatory. My alts haven’t reached Egypt yet because I’ve been mostly focusing on replacing all the talismans on my main so I couldn’t remember.
However, I also agree with Elsunga…I generally advocate people doing ALL THE THINGS because I’m a lore fanatic. I just don’t think they need to do ALL THE THINGS immediately unless they have the time to really play slowly or else it becomes just a complete info dump mess.
It’s not mandatory per se, but (unlike TSW) it does pop up intrusively after finishing CotSG and starting Transylvania…I never hit it in TSW, but I did on my first run through of SWL. It’s kind of annoying because some of the missions are (or were) investigation and take a lot of time even using walkthroughs.
I found the geography not only infuriating as a player to navigate, but also nonsensical from a story perspective as well.
First off, the teleports during the story mission actually made learning the zone worse because I realized that, when I went back to do other missions, I had no idea where anything was. I promptly also learned that doors and jump pads don’t trigger if you are in anima form, making deaths in certain places quite vexing.
The modern elements throughout the game tend to have much more in the way of verisimilitude than supposedly ancient stuff in general; the Roman ruins under London and Transylvania, the time travel bits in Scorched Desert all feel kinda off to me, but that tends to be fairly mild… but then you get an entire zone of it and there is just no escaping it.
I’m guessing that there is meant to be an implication that all those gigantic stone structures were constructed by the Jinn, under the compulsion of the Atenists, but it just doesn’t have the sense of being an authentic place the way even Scorched Desert does.
Nothing in the place felt functional at all; in many places it was a very good question how the Atenists even got to the places you find them. This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but it certainly is a change from the other zones.
I really disliked how they handled Akhenaten, too; I find it amazing that they took a historical figure who was known for his weird, alien appearance and his radical politics (Seriously, look up images of the guy) and made him into Skeletor(Escept Skeletor had a cooler voice and more interesting motivation). Klein and Abdel and even the Nameless blew him away in both setup and payoff. Especially since at the end it isn’t entirely clear that you actually won.
Having the Nameless just be Aten’s roommate who steals the show entirely felt really awkward.
Honestly, the story of the City of the Sun God is one of my favourites. I liked the tragic elements and thought it was quite touching. I think that it was always going to be a tough thing to introduce the only zone without any modern real-world link to help ground it for players. I thought that the teleports were a good way to help speed up the progress from one statue to the next - running around trying to work out how to get to them in TSW was always a pain.
I think that the placement of the teleports was an excellent bit of trolling on behalf of the devs so that players had reasons to revisit the different areas to pick up stuff like lore. I swore loudly the first time I ran straight into a teleport without meaning to!
I’m not sure we ever know exactly how the city was built, but given that the Egyptians were into big stone buildings, there’s no reason to believe it was constructed by Jinn. It’s possible if Solomon was involved, but all we know is that he was responsible for building the Cell, not how he achieved it.
Essentially CotSG is a city that’s been lost to the world for a bit over three thousand years. The Atenists have been excavating parts (though I’d have like to have seen more evidence of that), but there would have been a lot of stuff which was destroyed by time. Creating an environment which helps the player to forge a believable link with something that old will always be tricky. I’d have personally preferred a bigger zone with more ruins, but I can appreciate that the playfields need to have smaller boundaries than I’d like, (otherwise they’d just be far too big).
Akhenaten’s radical politics were about the worship of Aten. I think they included that in the story.
They didn’t so much make him into Skeletor as into a mummy. Which is understandable, given that he died, was mummified and stuck in a pyramid for 3k years.
Looking at the mummies of his era, they could have gone with a complete nose, but there are plenty of examples where the nose has deteriorated.
My only real complaint with the model was that I felt like his hat should have had more colour on it
https://villains.fandom.com/wiki/Cult_of_the_Aten has a good bit of information on the creation of the CotSG, but I’m not entirely sure if it’s all canon and how much has been added in to flesh it out.
Again, I like it The idea that Solomon basically hijacked Akhenaten’s plan and used it to imprison a being of immense power, right under Akhenaten’s (at the time still existing) nose is great
I actually really like CotSG T_T
First off, I should say that I don’t really dislike the zone strongly; that might not have come through in my previous post.
I certainly understand why some people might really dislike it, though! It took many, many trips for me to really get over how offputting the place was. Not in a way that made it feel inhospitable and hostile; more inconvenient and awkward.
I liked a lot of the story, but it felt like there was a serious disconnect between the story and the in-game that you didn’t see as much in(say) Kingsmouth.
Well, I can’t comment on how it was in TSW, but I felt like the story sped by way too quickly in that zone; almost as if they were embarrassed by the zone and wanted to usher you through it. When the game treats it like that, presenting the zone as ‘okay, I know this sucks but we’ll whisk you through it,’ the first time player will pick up on that - that was the impression I got, at least.
I can totally see that being different for a returning player.
Excellent or horrible comes down to the effect it has, I’d say. I say this as someone who’s explored every inch and gotten every lore(Even that one horribly placed temple city discovery one!).
Also, the portal locations are horrible. One of them blocks a side mission item, causing you to attempt to finish the side mission and suddenly find yourself across the zone with no idea how to get back to finish what should have been a quick, fun little side mission. This happened to me.
There are a few reasons; Amir alludes to it, bound Jinn were traditionally used for such things, and there is even a ‘First Temple’ (the common epithet of Solomon’s Jinn-built temple) there. Obviously not the semi-historical temple of Solomon but in TSW’s world perhaps one informed the other. Or perhaps in another age, there was a true first temple before the First Temple…
On that note, it isn’t entirely clear what the chronology is; what was built by who, and whether Solomon bound the First in this age or a previous one. Which raises all sorts of questions.
I think the zone design falls awkwardly into the valley between subtle and grand; I think a lot of the problems could have been alleviated by covering more up and building up a believable modern situation with the Atenists, or it could have gone the other way and leaned into the actual fantastical as it flirts with in a few locations like the hell intrusions.
I was referring to the ‘skull face on a bodybuilder’ design of the cartoon character Skeletor.
Akhenaten was regularly described and depicted as a gangly hermaphrodite with an elongated head and a long skinny face. I am just saying that they could have done something interesting with that.
And politically, there is still a lot of mystery since so many records were destroyed and such effort went into purging his reign. There is a lot of room for interesting stuff.
Oh, absolutely. But it still absolutely steals Akhenaten’s thunder even more than ‘random Orochi goon’ does.
I think that’s totally understandable really. I think it’s far easier for us to have a conceptual image of small town America than a lost, partially excavated, ruined city. There’s a load of NPCs in KM that help us to build an attachment to them, but in CotSG there’s very little in the way of friendly NPCs - which is to be expected in a lost city, but still, it makes it harder to connect.
Movement around CotSG has always been a pain tbh. In TSW the mission was to “find” each of the statues in no particular order and do their missions. It ends up with you spending a lot of time running around, trying to work out where ramps up and down are and it was seriously tedious. At least now there’s anima wells near to each statue that you discover when you port in or do the required mission. It sucks if you’re not a patron, because anima jumping is so much more useful in the zone.
I can understand the difference in perspective of new and returning players though. It’s probable that in trying to address the complaints of the TSW experience the devs tipped the balance a little to far the other way.
CotSG falls into a slightly weird bracket for levels too. People often ding 50 before or during the early parts of it, which then makes it feel underbalanced, whereas transylvania is much better. It’s also fairly short on mission givers - it’s mostly the statues, which increases the slightly spartan feeling of the zone’s story.
The imagery available of Akhenaten is limited, what with the whole heretic king thing, but it’s noted that the artistic style of Amarna is unusual - and not just in depicting Akhenaten. Who knows, maybe as part of trying to shift Egypt to a monotheistic culture Akhenaten decided to promote a different style of art. The mummy which is believed (but not confirmed) to be his was found in tomb KV55 has an unusual shaped skull, but not so much that it’s considered abnormal. It’s possible that his features were exaggerated in art for some reason, which makes it all tricky Maybe he had body issues and kept telling the artists to paint him thinner Or maybe they used the bulky wrappings to mummify him lol.
I always hoped that we’d get King Solomon’s Temple as a raid. The lore suggests that he’s not in there any more, but I’m sure there’d be lots of fun stuff to do clearing it out
I hate it because of the zone layout. You spend most of your time trying to figure out how to get to your quest objective because the terrain sucks. It’s especially bad for non patrons because teleports are just too expensive to use regularly.
I like the theme and the story, so it’s a shame, really… but it’s just way too painful to navigate.
There’s a depth and darkness to the place and the characters I appreciate over other zones, forbidden and foreboding, and under constant oppression from the black pyramid.
There are no shop-keepers here.
I have spent more time in this zone than any other, even before anima-well teleporting and jump pads.
Navigating this zone holds appeal long after that of other zones have faded.