I recently had the misfortune of going through Vauban Pass on my way to the Graff Gem Mines. It was the first and only time I’ve been on the verge of rage quitting and I’ve done some incredibly stupid things up to this point.

I’m not a fan of the Pass/Gap/Control Point scenes as they are needless blockages that are punishing for new players and annoying for others. Nightshade Pass is an exception as it is a 3 skull area, not 5 like others, has a story plot, is easily navigable and you can choose a wide line to avoid overly challenging areas like the Troll. Vauban Pass has no redeeming qualities.

At first, it looked pretty neat, another desert scene with the path heading off into the distance. But my feelings changed pretty quickly.

Unlike other scenes, following the path doesn’t go to an exit. It leads to a cell door with a puzzle mechanism. Inside is the Control Point and it becomes a death tunnel with no obvious way out.

While this could be both interesting and engaging when in a party as a way to get XP, it’s utterly idiotic as a forced way to travel from one scene to another. While other scenes are dangerous, the Control Point can be avoided.

So how do you avoid this overpowering battle scene? At the outset, it doesn’t look like you can. Unlike other scenes, the paths simply dead end and are blocked by walls of rock. You are forced to be a combatant and your chances of survival are pretty slim.

After dozens of attempts at a way out, I gave up and had to be saved. Alley came to my rescue, scaling the perimeter rocks and walls to bypass the Control Point. This is clearly not the intended path to take.

The pathing on the other side was just as ridiculous and there was no clear way to exit the scene.

Am I complaining simply because I got beaten up and stabbed in the back? That’s happened so many times I’ve lost count. So no.

The area is poorly designed with a useless layout, is out of balance for the basic areas that lay beyond, doesn’t offer an alternative route for those who simply want to travel through, has no discernible story elements and forces players into a Control Point. It makes for an incredibly frustrating experience. And if you were a new player, that would be the end of your experience with this game. To get to low level areas you have to go through high level ones. That makes no sense.

Before shouting, "you just have to get stronger," let me state that I can get through every other Pass and Gap without issue. I don’t enjoy them, but I can do them.

As it stands, Vauban Pass is pointless and needs major rework.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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