I’m really not a fan of the new trend toward “trapped in a storyline-specific area with opportunity card-driven content” stories.
This kind of system feels like it’s designed for SN play, where opportunity card draws and actions are closely linked. In FL, you’re likely to end up sitting around with actions to take but with no opportunity cards to play (i.e., you’re ready to play and could play the game, but have to waste actions while waiting for content, which seems like poor design). Unless this portends that FL will be shifting to a SN-like opportunity card structure at the end of March, this kind of system seems out-of-place, as though the designers have moved on to the SN paradigm regardless of whether or not the mechanics support that.
In addition, since an awful lot of FL content depends on waiting around to draw the right opportunity card, it’s not so much “is this area fun to play” but “is this area sufficiently fun/rewarding that I want to give up access to all other Fifth City content plus the ability to advance any stories/gain any rewards for which I’m waiting on an opportunity card”. Segregated content is almost never going to win that fight.
For example, I thought the Elegant Party storyline was very well-written; someone put an awful lot of time and care into designing it and it shows. At the end of the day, however, if I’m choosing between playing “An Elegant Party” and “everything else in Fallen London”, “everything else” is going to win. Which, it strikes me, is the way it should be. If, for example, you made the Elegant Party rewards less pathetic, you could perhaps change that decision, which now means you have a player who is segregated in one small corner of the game and missing out on everything else.
As for the actual mechanics of the Pickpocket’s Promenade system, it seemed like the kind of thing a player would try once or twice out of curiosity, but that’s about it.
Being a bit more curious than average, I’ve tried this three times. On the best of the three, I spent 10 actions (2 to start the promenade, 1 to drop my ‘Approaching your Destination’ by 1 at the cost of 2 Unseen, 6 to play opportunity cards and 1 to get back to Spite) for a total reward of 15 x Pickpocket’s Trophy or 1.5E from 10 actions, which hardly seems worth it except at very low levels. However, since this kind of system isn’t conducive to increasing stats, low levels would be better off eschewing this for standard storylets.
Perhaps I’m just doing this wrong, however. I see that Sir Tanah-Chook managed to achieve 50+ x Pickpocket’s Rewards, so either I’m completely missing the proper tactics here or that requires drawing an inordinate number of the right cards (primary curiosity shops).
I found the rewards system to be a bit clunky. I appreciate the flexibility to get lesser rewards than you qualify for, but the mechanics lead to a lot of needless clicking as you get rid of the spare change of trophies (e.g., if you end up with 19 trophies, you need to click through 6 0-action storylets before you can leave, unless you want to just throw away rewards).
I will note, however, that I enjoyed the new art found on some of the pickpocket-specific cards. Perhaps it’s just the pleasure of having new art, but I liked the style and thought it worked very well with the storyline.
edited by Tesuji on 1/26/2013