1. The hardest part of the game was the lava field. I actually gave up and abandoned the game for several weeks partway through. You can do it with a bit of luck, lots of spell points for restoration, and not taking a character with fewer than 200 HP. More would be better, but there's no way I would slog through enough battles to get a thief up to 300 HP! Here's the worst part: there is a bug that processes heat damage too often. You step into some lava and take 100 HP damage. You stop to do some healing, and the act of healing triggers another round of heat damage. Since my thief only had 190 HP, it was mathematically impossible for her to walk through. I had to let her die and be resurrected after we passed through the lava.
2. Maruziel was helpless. I meant it when I said the lava field was the toughest part of the game. It was kind of anticlimactic killing him, it was so easy.
(Edit: the spell has been fixed to give monsters a saving throw. Now, the only monsters you really need it against are unaffected by it, so it has gone from godlike to more or less useless.)
3. Lovely victory party at the end. I really enjoyed the little celebratory screen upon winning. It's too bad there is no way to replay it. Then there's a chest, and you get .... nothing but a pat on the back and a teleport to Savage Crossing.
4. Wizardz was wrong about monks! A monk with knuckledusters will deal out 1500-3500 HP per attack and even more important, will ...
(Edit: the monk has been tweaked, as discussed below.)
5. Evil isn't gone. Despite your victory, evil still rules most of the land. DO NOT GO BACK TO ROOM 6/66 in the sewers. Despite the death of Maruziel, there is evil there much more powerful than he was. You can't even fight; you just die. Also, Annsharbour is still infested with Astralyte, which is pretty disappointing. There's no way to stop it that I can find. I assume it's part of the expansion.
6. There are some subtle changes. For instance, the orcs guarding the city are gone (both inside and out) and you can explore the Coast Lands and the Flooded Isle. In the Coast Lands you will find a little shop that will teach you Summon Items (a very useful spell) and a smuggler who will take you to the Flooded Isle, where you will meet some exceptionally tough monsters that are worth A LOT of XP! Hint: do NOT take compost lightly. Their attacks are nasty, including aging and insanity, and seem to hit no matter what your armor class is.
Bug alert: the spell you learn in the Coast Lands is supposed to be a 5th level Conjuror spell, but is in fact a 5th level Archmage spell. It took me a bit of scrolling to find the thing to try it out. It's very useful, allowing to to fetch whatever you want from your bank inventory. No more carrying healing potions around!
Feature request: A spell to send items to your bank inventory would be an awfully nice complement to Summon Items!
Bug alert: The Flooded Isles also do not appear on the overview map! Also, why is the voyage there animated, while the one to Paradosa is not? Neither quibble really affects game play, just kind of odd.
7. Some things that should have changed, don't. A lot of things that should change after the death of Maruziel (or earlier!) never do. Here are a couple of examples:
- No matter how many times you kill him, there's always a Vampire in the "Should not investigate" house in the market district.
- There are still locked doors that cannot be opened in the harbour district.
- The inhabitants of Artonsa still won't leave their houses, even after you kill the Vampire Lord in the castle.
- There's still a lot of empty space in the temple district, and the temple where you get one of the shards is again inaccessible ("You dare not enter.")
- At Savage Crossing, the soldier in the house near the bank still tells you the road east is blocked and to go see Gwyddon. Huh? Shouldn't he say something relevant now, like "Maruziel is dead, but there's still a lot to be done"?
Speaking of Savage Crossing, there is A LOT of dead/unused space on the map. Is this an oversight, something deliberate to drive us crazy, or did I miss something extremely subtle the many times I tried to map it?
Finally, Inferno (aside from the lava field) was a masterpiece! Beautifully creepy, otherworldly appearance, and a tricky maze. However, I expected the Dark Tower to be a ... tower. It was just a teleport to the lava. Also, as I have mentioned before, the maps need to be clearer. The map of the lava field is pretty useless. It's impossible to see the walls on the red background. This is true in several other parts of the game as well. And I'm not sure, but I think I like the way Inferno does not appear on the overview ("All") map. It's not really part of the physical plane (I guess) and you can only get there by teleport. So I kind of like it.
Screenshot of a monk in the process of killing 20 Greater Demons in one go: