I realized last night that my Templar only has two unfinished missions in the entire game (barring dungeon quests), a realization that finally pushed me into doing the long-dreaded Cost of Magic. I think I’ve gone on record saying how much I despise stealth missions, both in TSW and, well, in every video game. They might be for some people, just not for me. So I had good reason to fear The Cost of Magic, especially considering the reputation it’s created as a soul-destroying piece of work.
You can kind of look at this mission like a very old school video game, broken into several different levels, each one sadistic in its own way. The worst level by far is the first one where you have to ascend platforms while avoiding vampires who can knock you off with just one blow. There’s a lot I don’t get about TSW, and the architectural style of Transylvania’s vampires is part of that. I mean, it’s certainly different, but what’s the point of building these rickety, rusty structures high up in the air — and then staff them with 400-pound monstrosities in bulky metal suits? What’s the daily accident report at that workplace, I wonder? Really, these things are just randomly bizarre, but TSW is usually good at providing some sort of explanation. Things in this world fit, so how do these structures fit other than just annoying me?
Actually, scratch that, the worst level was the part where I had to activate these floating discs and then jump along them to get to the top of a rock. TSW does not have spot-on jumping, and these small discs give no margin for error. Plus, they only last a little while, so there were times I was in the middle of jumping through them when they just turned off. Oh, hello ground. Didn’t expect to see you so soon.
All things considered, my first time through this quest took me a half an hour — not that bad. For stealth mission aggrivation, I’ll maintain that Dracula’s castle is far, far more annoying. But it’s not like I’m going to be rushing to do either one of these again any time soon.