The Faeries' Ruin: A Review
In mid-September of Y12, something happened that nobody had expected right in the middle of the Faerie Festival. All of the faeries were turned to stone! It was an event that rocked Neopia, no pun intended.
So began a plot of epic proportions, a combination of friendship, trust, redemption, and suspense. There were puzzles waiting to be solved, not to mention the fierce battles with the wretched wraiths and the Oblivion.
Here is my take on each puzzle step and other users’ opinions based on a short survey I took.
First of all, my first impressions of this plot were great. After reading the first chapter, I was happy to see some old faces like Jazan, Altador, and the blind Ogrin Master. The newer characters seemed very charismatic and the storyline seemed promising. I was not disappointed.
I. The Artefact Thief
I thought that this was a fun step to do. I liked that it included optional bonus prizes. It really angered me to be caught by Xandra, especially when I was so close to succeeding. This made the ‘Proximity Warning’ achievement the most difficult to get. This achievement required pure luck for me, because I didn’t know when Xandra would strike.
Question for the users: What did you like most about the Artefact Thief step?
"I guess my favorite part about the Artefact Thief was the fact that it was straightforward and we didn't have to use any guides for it. The achievements involved all dealt with completing the puzzle successfully (no getting zapped fifty times for an achievement or something else counter-productive), so it was pretty easy to finish."
"I enjoyed the artefact step. It was a nice, easy settling-in type step to get us all warmed up for the later, harder steps. I enjoyed that there was the possibility of, if you were stupid enough, trying to risk your winning and going for the extra irrelevant goodies."
II. Nox’s Locks
This step was a little difficult, because I had to figure it out on my own through trial and error, without consulting anyone or reading any guides. My main strategy was trying to get all of the groups/pegs to the ground floor and merging them. I think that the hardest part of this step was to keep all the pegs on one floor. Focusing on one peg at a time on the ground floor, I maneuvered it to go where I wanted to go, but another peg made its way to the basement while I was at it. It was very frustrating.
The one thing that a lot of users had problems with was getting the ‘Fort Nox’ achievement. They had a hard time getting that achievement, and they were just running through each room. I got it at random, before everyone knew there was a logical way to get it. I was surprised to get it because I was just running around each room like everyone else, still trying to figure out the controls at the time.
What I loved about this step was the amount of strategizing needed. Suppose I had to go through a room, but there was a rigged room I had to pass through first. I had to plan out my steps, and then set the knobs in order to go where I want, without the rigged room affecting my path. This meant that I had to set two knobs the same, so that one cancelled out the other.
Question for the users: What were the hardest and easiest parts of Nox’s Locks?
"Hardest: Dealing with situations with two doors of the same color in a room.
Easiest: Making sympathetic noises when people complained about Fort Nox, since I got it before I even understood the control scheme."
"The hardest part of Nox’s Locks was getting all the heroes out of that maze. Before I had finished getting my achievements, I thought for every turn the knobs had to be the same color (since I didn’t read any guides) making the step considerably harder for me. Of course once I figured out I could use different colors, I breezed through it.
Easiest part: Ice cream room."
I liked this step because it was one of the easier puzzles. Although it was nearly impossible to figure it out without the assistance of a guide (unless I had a lot of patience with trial and error), it was simple because all I had to do was arrange the books in the proper order, and throw out the unneeded ones. I liked the unusual titles of the books such as ‘Incorrectly Labeled Books’ and ‘Unnecessarily Slow-Moving Dipping Mechanisms’. If they were actual books, they would definitely be under my list of books to read.
I found it funny that one of the achievements required us to put the books in the wrong shelves on purpose, just to have the Yurble Librarian throw them off in anger. The scene of him in such a rage makes me laugh.
Question for the users: Any critiques on the library step? Any likes/dislikes?
"If I didn’t have a guide for that, I never would have figured it out. It’s good when a puzzle is nice and challenging and hard steps are supposed to separate plot point distribution. Curse you, readily available internet information!
The Yurble janitor/librarian was amusing."
"I used a guide, so it wasn’t hard for me. It was one of those [steps] where it was probably a nightmare to figure out at the beginning but with a guide, it wasn’t hard at all."
IV. The Shadows Beneath
I think that this was another very easy step. It was a bit tedious because I needed to repeat the step several times before I knew exactly what I was doing.
When I first tried this step out, I ended up getting lost in the cave. I flailed my arms and went around in circles before I finally got out. The second time I went in, I knew what I was doing (thank goodness). I managed to get the three items needed to make the lamp without difficulty.
After I made the lamp, I had to go back inside and free all the trapped Neopets. This part was difficult because it required several tries before succeeding completely. To succeed, I had to release the goo from the poor Neopet without getting caught myself. The first few tries, I managed to do it but I kept getting caught. On one of those tries, I took out a pen and paper to write down which goo tendril to pull, depending on the condition of the tendril. On my final try, I used the list I wrote down to perfectly release all the Neopets, getting the ‘Goo Whisperer’ achievement. It was a great feeling to finally succeed. The one thing I didn’t like about this step was its repetitiveness and that I could not map out the cave. I found myself sitting in front of the computer for a couple of hours trying to figure this whole fiasco out.
Question for the users: In The Shadows Beneath, did you use any strategies? Which achievement was the hardest to get?
"I had no strategy at all. I had no worries about getting extra items though, that’s for sure. The hardest achievement for me, was definitely the Goo Whisperer. I went through that puzzle about twenty times just for that achievement."
"The Shadows Beneath was one of my favorite parts, to be honest. I loved wandering through the caves and trying to figure out a pattern. As for the infamous Goo Whisperer achievement, I received it on my second round through the caves. The first time I played, I just tried my best on my own for the most part. The second time around, I decided to seek some assistance on the TFR boards. Only a bit of time had passed since the release of the step, so people had not yet completely figured out how everything worked. I came across one person who was kind enough to share the ‘language’ of the tentacles that worked for them. I tried it and it worked perfectly! Only later did I find out that everyone had a random ‘code’ to follow, so it was only through sheer luck that I happened to have the exact same pattern as that person who posted on the Neoboards! Since the probability of two users having the same ‘code’ was so small, I thought it was pretty neat that it happened to me!"
V. The Plain of Peace
The Plain of Peace was comprised of two parts: deciphering a spell book and reinforcing a barrier. I didn’t really prioritize the spell book portion, because there were so many spells inside. I just randomly picked out a handful and deciphered them. None of them were the ones that Xandra needed, sadly.
Moving on to the barrier portion of the step, it was a nightmare but it was so much fun! This portion was by far the most infuriating when lost, yet the most relieving when won. The ‘Error: timeout exceeded’ message meant gloom and doom, especially when a group was about to win. On the first day it was released, there was no option to choose my own group. The groups were assigned at random. Honestly, I preferred random groups than voluntary groups because it really hurt to be kicked out of a group for doing a mediocre job.
Going back to the step itself, I think practice really makes perfect when it comes to each role. The easiest roles were stabilization and guidance. Suppression was in the middle. The hardest role was containment. I think that containment was the hardest because it required quick-thinking and good reflexes to decide which hand was correct for which barrier sector. Also, the amount of luck that you needed to get a rupturing containment field back up to a stable condition was very large. I cannot tell you how fast my heart beat when I was in that very situation. My group was so close to the finish line, and my containment field was just about to go. I made it by fluke. We were congratulating each other and pretending to give out pies to everyone when we were finished.
Stabilization was easier once I got used to it. The ‘auras’ were a bit difficult to differentiate between at first. As for guidance and suppression, I needed to be a quick thinker just like for containment. To be classified as a good suppressor, I had to be able to prioritize the other roles in case I ever ran out of shields. One bad decision and everyone would have been stunned and the barrier would explode, forcing us to start all over.
I was stunned many times when I was guider, so it was very annoying. It amazed me how much each role relied upon each other, like a clockwork. No role was unimportant.
Question for the users: What do you remember most about the Plain of Peace?
"The frustration at all the glitches. And the fact that the only two times I was in a successful group, I was the Suppressor, which was the easiest position."
"My favorite part of Plain of Peace was near the beginning, when it got released and everyone was freaking out that there wasn’t just a Battledome step. Then all the boards that each lasted for two minutes went up looking for, “Professional, Experienced Containers”. I enjoyed how we all tried to figure it out."
This was the final step of the plot. It involved Hanso throwing rude insults to Xandra, making his artefact absorb energy as he flees to safety. I thought the insults were very funny such as, “Nox must’ve died from laughing at your magical abilities!”. I would have laughed myself if that insult was hurled at me. Trial and error helped me in this step.
Question for the users: What did you think of Xandra, the final step?
"I understand why it was done that way, and it makes for an ironic ending- but I feel Xandra is worth so much more than just being a victim of a reflect spell and a few insults. A lot of really good characters are forced to die like that by writers just so heroes don’t finish the story with blood on their hands."
So, here concludes my candid, honest review of the puzzle steps from the Faeries’ Ruin. This was by far one of the best plots I have participated in so far. I hope that the Neopets Team will surprise us with an even bigger plot next year. For now, I cannot wait to spend my prize points! I want to squeeze in one last question for the users: did the plot exceed your expectations? What did you think of it?
"Yes, I completed each step before the next chapter would come out. It was, honestly, I will say this before I am proven wrong... BEST. PLOT. EVER."
"Plot expectations were met. However, a war would have been nice, though."
"The plot was amazing. So it exceeded. In player-wise, it was nice to get items in the caves and library, and now I’m training up my battle pet. Story-wise... obviously, TNT now allows certain content in plots and I enjoy that."
"After having Atlas of the Ancients as the first plot I fully participated in, I didn’t have very high expectations for the Faeries’ Ruin. But even if my expectations had not been lowered because of Atlas of the Ancients, the Faeries’ Ruin would still have exceeded them. It was easily a plot I am proud to have participated in."
"It definitely exceeded my expectations. I loved the characters and most of the puzzles. The story itself was great, too. It’s easily one of my favorite plots."
"Exceeded plot expectations, definitely. Far better than the three preceding plots, easily."
"I thoroughly enjoyed this plot... the steps were fun and I enjoyed the story."
"Definitely. I was expecting something like Atlas of the Ancients again, but when they released the first step, I just cried because of the happiness. I loved the comics. The graphics were awesome, and the new characters too. All the steps were really funny, and the addition of the Battledome steps was incredible. This plot was really good, like some of the old plots. So, I’d like to thank TNT for this amazing plot. Good job. Let’s hope we have another plot like this later this new year!"
Thanks for reading, and have a great day.