Continuing with Din’s Legacy only strengthens my belief that Drox Operative is the superior Soldak series.
In Legacy I’ve abandoned a cursed Invasion scenario, won my second Invasion scenario with a new character, and am partway through a Gauntlet scenario with the same character. This has been enough to already convince me that Legacy has pacing issues inherent in its design, issues that Drox avoided with its multiple Victory and Loss conditions.
In Drop Operative, there are four separate possible Victory and three possible Loss conditions, with the game ending when any one is filled. (Though you get a 10 minute grace period to salvage a Loss.) This largely prevents a game from dragging slowly to a forgone conclusion (either win or lose) as you’ll eventually trip something, even if it isn’t what you were aiming for. It even offers a bit of risk or hope within otherwise forgone conclusions, as careless play can have you still trip a loss condition, while you can make a last ditch pursuit at a victory condition even as a defeat condition is ticking down.
Din’s Legacy gives you one(?) Victory condition at the creation of the world, and winning means bringing that task to completion no matter how forgone your ultimate victory has already become. You may or may not have a Loss condition. The Invasion scenario tasks you with keeping three town NPCs alive, but the Gauntlet scenario gives no loss condition. I guess “failure” there consists of deciding the world is hopeless and simply abandoning it.
A single goal could still work if the game’s difficulty keeps pace with your power level, but it doesn’t. Enemies in Legacy can get stronger over time, and new threats can appear the longer you take, but enemies don’t appear to grow as fast as you do. The most difficult section of a Legacy scenario appears to be the beginning. Once you can handle the enemies near your starting area, you are already on the road to outpacing enemy threats. This means the majority of a scenario’s duration can be busy work. While you can set the enemies to be stronger during world creation, this also makes the beginning worse, keeping the game’s difficulty frontloaded.
And I’ve already seen just how tedious a Victory condition can be with the Invasion scenario, which not only involved finding and destroying multiple rifts but also clearing every other monster-related quest that spawned during play. Maybe by mid-game, I was already one-shotting enemies. By the end, I didn’t care about finishing the maps; I just started paying the small fee to put approximate quest goal location markers on the maps. Even then, I had to portal back to town to take a Rescue quest that popped up while I was handling what I thought were the final active quests.
EDIT: I also want to say that it feels like there is more to do within a game of Drox. In Drox, you have to consider which quests you want to attempt as well as which completed tasks you want to be rewarded for, as there can be negative consequences for failure and even for success. In Legacy, you don’t have to think, you just attempt everything and take the reward for everything. In Drox, there is a whole diplomacy system between races, with allies and enemies shifting through play based both on your own actions and their actions. Legacy has enemy races that will fight each other, but they all hate you. You’ll sometimes receive taunts from named enemies, but your only means of interaction is to kill them.