PeteWi the Disoriented

As Portalarium announces their Top 10 Priorities for Launch, I have to both smirk and cringe. To me, there is only one priority, to rethink their decision making paradigm and reverse the myriad of changes that robbed this adventure game of its sense of adventure. Early on, we were on the cusp of the elusive, “Let me finish this one last thing,” because it was possible for the regular player to gather resources, craft items, find recipes and most importantly, earn gold (the staple of every worthy adventure game).

But, those are bygone releases. Today, we are hamstrung by the overshadowing and paralyzing idea of “economy”. It’s more important that a crafter no one has ever heard of is given the opportunity to make an item no one will never buy rather than setting it up so players can venture into the world and create an experience of their own.

As we move forward, in each release the skills and stats are neutered to the point where a 0.1% increase forces the player into a mindless grind. A grind that takes place in a world full of lifeless, flat, and instantly forgettable characters with each trying to tell a poorly written and sadly uninteresting story.

It’s certainly valid to say combat needs to be streamlined, that resource gathering is distractingly slow, that the Control Points are needless scenes, that destroying items on a crafting table is a senseless outcome, that being swarmed by mobs of combatants isn’t the right way to increase the difficulty, and that repeatedly adding a “trap” can be seen as a lack of creativity. But, in a boring game, no one will stick around long enough to be bothered by those.

What we have now is a game that creates an extremely vague and generic experience with no sense of progression or accomplishment. And that’s not an adventure game worth playing.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

During the mini telethon last night, I noticed something amusing as the devs showed off the Colossus scene. From the comments, I believe their demo character was level 60, with combatants showing as green. You would think with his intimate knowledge of combat/defense skills and his “superiority” to his enemies, he could talk and fight and win.

Turns out, because Portalarium believes “swarming” with ranged attackers makes for a “challenge”, the devs had to quickly turn on Godmode to avoid death and embarrassing themselves on a live stream.

Maybe the devs need to turn off the Godmode and advance through the game like a regular player to see how engaging it is vs. how much frustration they suffer. As proved by that little adventure, throwing in dozens of mobs to make something challenging doesn’t make it an enjoyable playing experience.

Additionally, the comment made by Chris about getting special reagents by “sacrificing” yourself was extremely disappointing. That doesn’t sound like a worthwhile or believable game element in any sense.

This is supposed to a game, something fun and satisfying, not a punishment.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

“It was a splendid day. The birds sang, the wind gave a mild rustle to the trees, the sun beamed with a gentle radiance. However, in a strange happenstance, as Podge walked back to the Inn from picking flowers in a meadow for Cascabela’s wedding bouquet, he was struck down by a blast of lightning from a cloudless sky, incinerated right where he stood. The stench was horrific and the townspeople knew almost immediately something was wrong.

“Clearly, this was more than Cascabela could endure. In tears of rage, horror, and disappointment, she locked herself away in her room. Her father, not knowing what to do to console her, offered a small bowl of her battered pickle creation, to remind her of happier times.

“It seemed to do no good. For weeks, no one saw or heard from her. They brought food and endeavored to console her through the locked door. However, there was no reply from within. The food went untouched, the drink neglected, the flowers wilted.

“One day, her father besotted with concern, was left no choice but to forcibly enter the room to check on her state.

“To his shock and distress, he found Cascabela, dead, face down in the bowl of pickles he sent up weeks earlier. He couldn’t take the strain and a malady of the heart struck him down, in the very same room.

“The pickles were immediately stripped from the Inn menu. From that day forward, the town had a mortal fear of pickles, considering them the harbinger of ill tidings. Those letting rooms immediately moved out with no new tenants taking the vacancies.

“With the Inn abandoned, an attempt was made to sell it. But the dark cloud of misfortune resulted in no takers.

“Left with that failure, it was torn down, chopped into scrap and burned for a swine roasting.

“After that, no one spoke of Cascabela or her fated betrothments. The townsfolk erected a small marker and that was the end of that.

“However, to this day, Cascabela is said to be seen within the Inn. And on certain nights, she can be seen eating those deadly pickles in the light of the pale moon.”

“Gadzooks man!” I yelled. “A ghostly apparition! What do we do?”

“I don’t believe there is anything we can do, except share the space and make sure pickles are never served.”

“Blast!” I cried. “Easier said than done! What about gherkins man?” I asked. “Can we have gherkins? They are a delightful and tangy little snack! Not quite a pickle though,” I said hurriedly. “There is a difference!”

“I wouldn’t push my luck,” he said sourly.

“Damn and blast! What about the Grilled Corpion Tail? Can we sell that? As you know, I love me some tail!”

“Well, of course we can!” he replied exuberantly. “Who doesn’t love a bit of that?”

Fini

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

“It was Bevin Thatcher, a world class roofer, that raised her spirits from the floor of a gypsy wagon, on that glorious fall day. He arrived just in the nick of time, as some sort of blight from a cantankerous millworm, had caused all manner of destruction to buildings in the town. He worked like a fiend to make repairs, getting himself into the good graces of all the townspeople. But, it was Cascabela that he took a fancy to.

“After the previous incident though, she was hesitant. But, since Bevin would have no life upon the sea, thus no chance of drowning in such a manner, she eventually warmed to the idea of his affections. She found herself once again wrapped in joy as the two strode among the tree blossoms, had picnic breaks together as he repaired and improved the local houses, and even attended the Fall Festival. It was quite glorious from all accounts.

“But, roofing can be a tricky affair with danger lurking around every corner and on every flight of stairs. While visiting him on the work site, picnic basket in hand, Bevin was blinded by the sun as he worked his way down from his lofty perch. He took a misstep, slipped off his ladder, crashed through a window and fell headlong into a bucket. With said bucket completely obscuring his vision, he tumbled down multiple flights of stairs, suffered a great deal of head trauma as he smashed priceless vase after priceless vase. He then crashed through the front door, obliterating the sturdy oak right off the hinges. Finally, with savage velocity, he plowed into the local pumpkin patch, demolishing the towns prized festival gourds and destroying their sacred scarecrow. It was a stalwart scarecrow and took revenge by skewering the poor lad right through the nether regions. Bevin was horribly mangled and buried in a nearby plot. The scarecrow was mended and placed back on duty.

“A dark cloud of melancholy swept over the festival, many faces glum at the ruination of so many gourds and ill treatment of the sacred scarecrow.”

“Oh!” I cried. “Those poor pumpkins! And in the critical time of the Fall festival. They must have been devastated!”

“Not a dry eye in the house,” he commented.

“And let’s not forget, Cascabela’s man friend quite a nasty tumble. The poor dear,” I said sadly as I sipped at the ale. “Quote a stroke of bad luck all round.”

“Oh, more misfortune was in the works,” he revealed.

“Surely you jest?” I asked.

“Well, as you might expect, Cascabela, was quite a nervous wreck, watching her beau suffer from such a debilitating fall. And she vowed that day to never let her heart be taken again.

“She once again threw herself into her work. And through her sturdy determination, she and her father amassed a fair sum in coins. They eventually opened an Inn with Cascabela and her father taking the top floor as their residence.

“With the Inn as her sole focus, she developed into a first rate cook, making meals for all their guests, with Corpion Tail being a particular delicacy. Cascabela, was even known to sneak out to Wyrmsands and harvest the little rascals herself from time to time.

“One day, a young traveler came to the lodge and took a room. He was a high quality cooking oil and suet salesman, ingredients key to a fine Corpion Tail.

“Cascabela was of course interested in his wares and the two quickly struck a fine business deal. Podge Degras, as he was known, made regular visits to town to restock her supplies and would room longer with each call.

“Podge took a strong fancy to Cascabela, and despite her better judgement, for fear of him walking off a plank, falling off a roof, tripping into a mine shaft, or simply waking up dead, she reciprocated his feelings. After the catastrophes of the past, Cascabela warned him that she lived under a dark cloud and could not fully commit to her feelings.

“Podge understood her hesitancy, proved to have infinite patience, and was keen to simply enjoy her company and the Corpion Tail. It is even said, that together the created something quite new, some manner of frizzled, pan-scalded pickle, dipped in a savory batter. It was quite a sensation with the Inn patrons.

“After nearly a year of their courtship, and no hint of mishap or misfortune in sight, Cascabela finally agreed to take his hand. Podge was a whirlwind of excitement and they opted to be wed, in town, right at the Inn where they first met.

More to come…

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Even though construction has just been completed, I hear tales of spectral and supernatural activity. I have recently been made aware of strange happenings and mysterious visions, including that of a vaporous figure roaming the halls. I declare it a bit of buncombe brought on by excessive drink. But workers insisted they saw a female phantasm, and that she is the unrestful spirit of the previous Inn owner.

“Come now,” I said. “There can’t be a previous Inn owner, I just had the place constructed. You were there, you saw the whole thing.”

“Oh no,” they insisted. “She was there first, and she’ll be there long after you’re gone and the building turns to ash and cinder.”

“Ash and cinder? What the deuce are you talking about? Are you saying the Inn is a tinder box waiting to go up in flames, killing all the unwitting residents while they slumber in their beds?”

“Oh, nothing of the kind,” I was assured.

“Then tell me man! Who is this woman? What is the source of these mysterious happenstances?”

He then sat me down, poured a tall mug of ale, and relayed the story.

“It’s a right sad tale. One of lost love, lost fortune, unexplained death and a wayward bowl of soup,” he began.

“Do go on!” I insisted. “You say there is a lost fortune?”

“It all started a few decades ago where a young woman named Cascabela Bassiere, who owned an inn right on this spot , died a tragic death in her rooms.”

“Oh dear me! Not only do I not see how that’s possible, but what did she die from?” I implored, nearly spilling my ale.

“I will get to that, but first, you must allow me to build some dramatic tension with a wee bit of backstory,” he countered.

“Oh yes, quite right. We must have the backstory in order for this to make sense.”

“Cascabela, had an extremely bright and promising future. She was an intelligent and handsome woman. In the beginning, when running a tavern for her father, she met a handsome seaman named Tankard Biebow, so named for his love of mead.

“One day, when this town was in a completely different location and known as a port city, Tankard breezed into town and met the young Cascabela. She was immediately taken with him and the two become paramours. They stole away nights together, even going so far as to shirk convention and promenade on the dock together.

“During one of Tankard’s stopovers, and in a stupor of cabbage and ale, a combination most deadly, he proposed to take her hand. He vowed that on the return from his next voyage he would be a wealthy man, loaded with gold and gems. He would sweep her away, buy her a manor, and set her up to live in noble fashion. She in turn pledged herself to him and anxiously awaited his return.

“Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. When she was on the brink of giving up hope, assuming Tankard had run off with some rum wench, news finally came that Tankard’s ship, along with all the crew had been lost at sea. It’s reported they were attacked by some sort of mammoth sea creature. A great beast that slashed and tore at their ship, but giving itself an irritable bowel from their repeated cannon fire and ultimately leaving them stranded.

“Low on supplies and limping back to shore, they were caught in the worst storm logged in years. A violent hurricane mixed with a monsoon that generated swells of over 50 feet. Their ship took on water and spilled cargo like loose bowels.

“Clinging to their lives by a thread, they had the indignity of being attacked by pirates, their final coins of booty stolen, the ship set ablaze, then sunk, and the crew left for dead or worse.”

“Gadzooks man!” I cried, nearly falling out of my chair. “You don’t hear about that sort of thing every day do you?  Attacked by pirates, and the booty stolen? It’s usually one or the other, not both. What did she do then?” I ordered another ale for the two of us, anxious to hear the rest of the tale.

“As you may expect, Cascabela was devastated by the news. It was days before she was back at the tavern, in a sullen mood, but much to the delight of the patrons, who hadn’t been able to order a drink during her absence.

More to come…

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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