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An updated list of the best TDM fan missions?


polygrove
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Hey guys, relatively new to the community here but I've been enjoying TDM for a few years now. I'm making my way through the backlog but it seems like you beautiful geniuses never quit! There's so many missions, and many of them are exceptional. I don't have time to go through them all and searching "Best Dark Mod missions" in google shows me results from 5 to 10 years ago. A lot of good stuff has come out since then so I was wondering - what are the best missions of the last 10 years? I'll give my favorites thus far. I'm a sucker for classic mission design and visual polish keep in mind -

  • Sir Talbot's Collateral 
  • The Painter's Wife
  • Iris
  • Behind Closed Doors
  • Written In Stone

What are your favs of the last decade? The more replies the better, could use some solid data.

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I have no real favorites, some time ago it was one list of some missions, now it would be other.

Several years ago (circa 2017-2018):

  • Penny Dreadful (especially, 3)
  • House of Locked Secrets
  • Return to the City
  • Lich Queen's Demise
  • No Honor Among Thieves
  • Full Moon Fever

Now:

  • Painter's Wife
  • Hazard Pay
  • Volta and the Stone
  • Chronicles of Skulduggery 1-3
  • Perilous Refuge
  • Iris

New missions don't "destroy" previous, but time flies and they sometimes do something new, and can be more accessible, though I may return and replay older works, older favorites. Perhaps, it would be even more interesting to see what are the best missions for newcomers, both well-designed and accessible.

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@polygroveCheck out this thread: 

Also the mission list on the wiki (https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Fan_Missions_for_The_Dark_Mod) is very helpful for finding things to play; particularly for sorting by author or mission type.

Personally, I would suggest Kingsal and Moonbo are the two mission authors you must look into if you are new to TDM. They really raise the bar in terms of consistently crafting artful, innovative missions with a particular penchant for outstanding level design, storytelling, and atmosphere.

(Iris is very similar in that respect. So if you liked Iris you may also like work by those two authors.)

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Classic missions are always great. I like the William Steele and/or Thomas Porter series as they cover a lot of city map area, and also like the old Bikerdude/Melan missions for their amazing vertical gameplay, but I'm also a sucker for the weirder sci-fi and fantasy environments, aka Swing, The Ravine, Marsh of Rahena, Illusionist's Tower, etc. These don't have a lot of backstory and don't lead you around with readables, but they will have environmental a-ha moments. And they keep the incessantly annoying ghouls and spiders to a minimum, which is always a plus.

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I am currently doing a "worst-to-best" walkthrough of all rated missions on ThiefGuild. You can select them by highest rating there as well. Surprised this isn't mentioned here yet. 

P.S I just ghosted Thief's Den 2: The Chalice of Kings, and now have butterflies in my stomach. 

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9 hours ago, Loginnerer said:

I am currently doing a "worst-to-best" walkthrough

So you'll have done all of mine already XD.

{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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18 hours ago, polygrove said:

Damn, this is exactly what I need. Thank you!

Note that only missions with at least 4 ratings are listed there, so you might miss some.

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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Also most missions have so few ratings that the average is kind of random. If you're just looking for some order in which to play the missions than this is not a bad one, but it's not really worst the best and don't take the ratings too seriously. 

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2 hours ago, vozka said:

Also most missions have so few ratings that the average is kind of random. If you're just looking for some order in which to play the missions than this is not a bad one, but it's not really worst the best and don't take the ratings too seriously. 

I dunno, the top of the list seems pretty consistent with my findings. Keep in mind if I’ve got limited time I can’t play them all, so it helps to have at least some notion of what many people consider ‘top tier’ missions. 

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Sure would help improve the list on ThiefGuild if some more people rated the TDM missions. It seems the website is mainly used by Thief players at the moment.

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2 hours ago, Dragofer said:

Sure would help improve the list on ThiefGuild if some more people rated the TDM missions. It seems the website is mainly used by Thief players at the moment.

Maybe worth doing a new thread to rally people to vote on there. Though I feel I don't have the authority haha. 

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Hello, i was quitelly follow the the dark mod missions and this forum for years. i had a lot of inspirations and pleasure sharing this time with the builders and inventors and i need to thank all of you, for the help in troubled times you provide at this site. i discovered this game in 2019 and in 2020 and 21 have a lot of time to play all (and this mean all) the missions. i just want to share my opinion in this topic. Personally i have a few mission that caught my mind, but i need to say that it is not important. The dark mod project is not a place for a contest which one is the best imho. Of course, every year may had a winner mission, but the definitelly winner is everybody who is capable to share a months long personal race of hard programming job for final upload of a new vision of this game and share it for free with the rest of the world. I know there could be few who have great ideas but few skills to run up a complete mission. And on the other hand there could be few who have all the skills but nowadays no ideas. For the past years i am really thankful all of you who can share any of these beautiful perceptions of alternative reality and wish a continuous hungry for seekness. May the builder be with you.

Edited by tib
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Hello @tib and welcome to the forum! Great thoughts about the game there. I'm impressed that you've completed all the missions! Even I don't have all the green ticks yet.

{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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Yeah on ThiefGuild TDM does seem to get ratio’d pretty hard in terms of number of votes on missions relative to T1/T2 and perhaps that says more than the aggregated score. I don’t care much for aggregated review scores really but it seems helpful to players and admittedly TG has been very helpful in navigating my extensive T1/T2 mission backlog as there was certainly nothing like it “back in the day” in terms of a nice searchable database when you were trying to find a mission to play.

Based on the polls in release threads it seems like there is appetite to rate missions, but maybe players are just not aware of ThiefGuild. I put a plug to check it out and support TDM by rating some missions into my release thread - maybe it’s worth mentioning in release threads in general instead of relying solely on isolated forum polls.

Edited by Wellingtoncrab
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Good point. For my next release I think I'll link to the Thief Guild page in my OP.

{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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Just now, polygrove said:

most people don't have time to play every mission, let alone even 10

I think often it can be difficult to find missions you want to play, regardless. For example, I often don't have time to play long missions. Many of the maps considered masterpieces here are also huge and sprawling, and would take hours to complete.

Sometimes I just want a quick mansion heist that takes half an hour; these are often simple and even a bit boxy, and won't be as highly rated as the big maps, but they're still a heap of fun to play.

My top 5 list of small missions is:

* Deadeye

* The Parcel

* The Thieves

* Too Late

* The Golden Skull

{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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I created an account on ThiefGuild and rated all the TDM missions I finished. How do missions get added? Do you have to write a review for that? I wanted to rate In A Time of Need 2: Breaking out the Fence , but it's not on the site.

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I think the Guild site owner watches for new missions getting announced here.

Edited by thebigh

{ 0 | 🞵 } = funk_tastic

My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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1 hour ago, datiswous said:

I created an account on ThiefGuild and rated all the TDM missions I finished. How do missions get added? Do you have to write a review for that? I wanted to rate In A Time of Need 2: Breaking out the Fence , but it's not on the site.

It exists - https://www.thiefguild.com/fanmissions/3303/in-a-time-of-need-2-breaking-out-the-fence

Maybe you want to Sort by Newest/Oldest and type them in then, because if a mission has less than 4 ratings, it is not meant to show up when you search by rating.

Can I ask what are you taking into account when rating them?

---

I threw some 3s and 4s at first, but felt really conflicted about what to take into account. Figured "ah who the heck am I to tell what TDM should be in terms of mission structure". So (for now) I instead boost the ones that I think are of high quality, and don't rate lower at all. (Even when they have a bunch of sloppy typing errors that are not just bad grammar. These are the worst.)

I have not made a level myself yet, but I figure getting a lower rating can really suck the motivation to do more, out of you (which maybe isn't a bad thing for the community?). If I understand correctly - they are born out of sometimes months of effort, and maybe we should be grateful for any new addition? As long as there is a Leaderboard of recommended missions accessible for new players, they can't get the wrong idea about TDM that easily?

I'd sure be interested to read a forum thread about what people like and don't like in missions.

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3 hours ago, thebigh said:

I think the Guild site owner watches for new missions getting announced here.

That's how mine was added.

There is a process then to link a mission in the database to your user which gives you a "creator" account.

https://www.thiefguild.com/showcase/creator_account

Then you can manage all of your own missions as well add new ones - though that also needs the admin’s assistance to setup.

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4 hours ago, Loginnerer said:

Maybe you want to Sort by Newest/Oldest and type them in then, because if a mission has less than 4 ratings, it is not meant to show up when you search by rating.

Ah that's the reason then.

 

4 hours ago, Loginnerer said:

Can I ask what are you taking into account when rating them?

How much fun I have, how much immersion, Story, objectives structure, creativity with map design, amount of WOW-moments, how well it ages. For example In A Time of Need 1 looks really dated.

A rating is a bit shallow, reviews are better for giving an opinion, but I usually give my feedback of missions in their mission thread, or the beta thread (when I beta test) on this forum.

Edited by datiswous
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