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Review: Risia Ice Games

A Game within a Game

blueanne.jpgI’m a big fan of games inside of games; especially when the mini-game has a meaningful outcome within the context of the overall game. This is the case of the Risia Ice Games, where you collect and turn in coins for ice paraphernalia, up to 20 recipe cards, and ingredients to craft with.

Once you’ve collected enough recipe cards and ingredients, you can then use the Risian Eldritch Device to craft eternal wands of Ray of Frost, frost-based damage weapon enhancements, and cold spell boost enhancements. There is even a suprise winter recipe which lets you craft a Summon Snowy Elemental gem.

Play Part 1 – Simplicity in Two Flavors

white coinThe Harbor Ice Jump is basically a 3D platformer mini-game. Much like Sonic the Hedge Hog or Super Mario, you slide on the down-slope and jump from one kicker to the next; overcoming obstacles and getting coins along the way. While the Bogwater Tavern Half-Pipe is more of a cooperative puzzle platformer. Here your friends must simultaneously light up 3 gems using the pressure pads to activate the jump rune — launching you into an aerial free flight for maximum coin gathering.

The sliding and momentum really make this game fun and challenging, by testing your hand-eye coordination and jump timing. There are multiple states of success: white coins for simple jumps, blue coins for when you get enough momentum, and purple coins for those difficult jump combinations. It’s much like a consolation prize: even though you didn’t get that purple coin, you still got a few white and blue ones.

Getting enough people for the Bogwater Tavern Half-Pipe was difficult. The people I was with would rather quest for XP or end-rewards when in a group of that size. The Harbor Ice Jump was great for some solitary yet fun low-commitment-high-return gaming.

Play Part 2 – Slot Machines with Goodies, Crafting Cards, & Ingredients

Icy Burst CardJack Frostbite is your slot machine for gathering goodies, but unlike a slot machine you have better odds at getting something in return. Give him coins and he gives 1 of 20 crafting or recipe cards and winter motes. Non-crafting rewards include Candy Canes, Icy Potions, Cold Damage wands, and Cold Damage Spell Scrolls.

I think many of us find randomness to be a bad thing in games, but here it fits in as a game of chance. How many times are you going to play until you get that right recipe combo? The random element just ads more incentive to play part one of the game again. There were a few times when I felt at odds with this part of the Ice Games — especially when I didn’t have enough motes or couldn’t get recipe card #5 for the longest time. It’s the same kind of feeling I get when I don’t have enough hotdogs and too many hotdog buns at a picnic; I get annoyed at the waste. Pitty you can’t feed crafting cards to the park ducks like you can hotdog buns.

The recipes and ingredients make use of a very simple yet main stream gaming mechanic: collecting. You earn one component, well there’s more! If you can complete a recipe combo set, BAM! You get an even bigger prize – one that influences your game-play in the larger scheme of DDO!

Prizes: Breaking the Rules of Weapon Items

Normally, a randomly generated weapon follows a simple pattern:

<enhancement bonus> + <enhancement prefix> + <weapon material> + <weapon name> + <enhancement suffix>

Icy Burst Khopesh
The Risian Eldritch Device breaks that rule on a random weapon. Now you can have two enhancement prefixes. A +4 Holy Khopesh of Righteousness, now becomes a +4 Icy Burst Khopesh of Righteousness.

Huh? The Holy damage bonus wasn’t replaced, but now it also has Icy Burst as an additional enhancement. Multiple enhancements like this are normally reserved for named items and crafted items, but with these Upgraded Items you can trade them.

In short, this is 4w3s0m3 s4uc3 for weapons because it increases the weapons damage output by 1d6 on standard hits, and up to additional 3d10 on critical hits for x4 crit weapons. With recipes #3 (Cold Touch), #4 (Frost), and #5 (Icy Burst) plus 300 Motes of Winter, you could upgrade a weapon with Icy Burst.

Prizes: Caster Weapons Upgrades

Cannot Craft ThatI found the caster weapon crafting to be less exciting. For the most part they allow you to take a Glaciation weapon and upgrade to Superior depending on the type of recipe. The reason why I didn’t like this is that you had to start with a weapon that had <X-Category> Glaciation <X-Level> on it already, then craft upgrades from there. If you did have a Greater Glaciation VII it would take 980 Motes of Winter for Superior Glaciaction VII.

Another reason why I didn’t like these upgrades is that recipe #13 – Glaciation VIII Upgrade and #14 – Glaciation IX Upgrade, were useless. There are no weapons with Lesser Glaciation VIII nor Lesser Glaciation IX to upgrade in the game. Currently, there are also no level 9 cold spells to boost in the game.

Prizes: Snowballs, Wands, and the Secret Recipe

SnowBallSnowballs are a fun simple throwing weapon with the Icy Burst Property on it – this translates into 1d6 damage on a hit. Here’s the silly part: snowballs have a x1 crit multiplier, but Icy Burst Damage bonus only happens when you have a crit multiplyer of x2, x3, or x4. Hmmm….Why bother with the Icy Burst part? For flavor I guess!

If you saved up enough Festival Twigs you probably made bank on those Eternal wands with Ray of Frost. Between me and my hubby, we only got to craft one!

The crowning jewel for me was the Winter Surprise. For the cost of 5 recipe cards, 1 festival twig, 50 motes of winter, 2 lumps of coal, and 20 snowballs you got a Summon Snow Elemental Gem (up to 10 uses). I love Snowy, he’s the best pet I’ve ever had!

The Bountiful End

At the end of the Ice Games, my hubby and I were pretty proficient at getting coins. We had enough potions, wands, scrolls, and candy canes to overload our inventories. And many weapons got the Frost or Icy Burst upgrades. I’m glad the games ended when they did, because there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Overall, I had fun and felt even a little accomplished that I was able to craft some nice upgrades for my husband’s khopeshes!

Snowy

  • Addendum, Update 4 fixes a few bugs with Upgrading Weapons with Cold Touch:

    The Risian recipe for Cold touch can no longer be added to an item that already has a cold effect, as per the recipe description.

    Risian recipes that add Cold Touch, Frost, and Icy Burst to a randomly generated weapon can no longer be stacked on each other in random orders, and items that previously had multiples stacked in this manner now have only the most powerful effect.

    Theris

    April 5, 2010

  • Update: They’ve brought back the Ice Games through May 1st. Get your Icy Burst while they’re still around! 🙂

    Theris

    April 26, 2010