Been a few good years since I played Thief Gold in its entirety, so decided to give it another shot. This time around I'm in no hurry - if I'm in the mood, I'm willing to explore vast maps for a couple of hours, looking for loot, checking if memory serves me well. It's a relaxed playthrough, and I'd like to share some observations. Not hating, not adoring, halfway between sober and sentimental.

Since it's not a proper review, I'll present it as a list.

1. It wasn't my first Thief mission, historically; started with Running Interference, a long time ago. That must be part of the reason I've never been particularly impressed with Bafford's. I think the biggest drawback is very strange layout of the residence. It looks as if 80% of the area consists of halls, corridors, staircases and foyers. Tiny mezzanines between 1st and 2nd floor are the weirdest: I don't know what's the purpose, it's usually a chair, table and a bookshelf or two; a huge waste of space really. Some of them have a small amount of loot, but that's it really. It seems that 10+ guards are patrolling a dozen of empty rooms, and one might ask a question: where are all the bedrooms, where is a dining hall, a ballroom, a cloak room, a study? I think it leaves too much for our imagination to fill.

2. On the other hand, the first level already has signs of good things to come. Guards talk about the bear pits (one of all time faves), drunk Benny near the well, a small portion of streets and sewers with not-so-obvious loot, love all of it. I also like the secret passage leading to Bafford's throne room, and that small counting cell in the basement, really nifty stuff. Interesting, hard to reach places, alternative ways and readables are always welcome, so there is a couple of things to like here.

3. Looking at my latest mission ranking (~2015), Lord Bafford's Manor is losing some of its appeal, but I agree with consensus: we can't expect too much from introductory missions. They need to be easy to explore, not complex, but full of atmosphere... and that's where Bafford succeeds. It ranks below average for Thief TDP/Gold, but it's hard to dislike, and I see where the sentiments come from.

Grade: C
(Tiers: S / A / B / C / D / F)