Adventure

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

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More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

It was a hot and sultry night and I had that familiar hunger bordering on that of a yearning. I felt a great need for some tail, but alas, I was alone, shrouded in the darkness of my room. Nearly overwhelmed with the desire, I dressed and stepped outside to see who might be available to help me in my hour of need. Blake is certainly a man who knows a thing or two about obtaining some tail, but his lights were off and no one was home. The rapscallion was most likely off on his own tail adventure and had neglected to invite me along.

It had been quite some time since I’ve tasted the succulent flesh and the hunger was real. As I counted my coins and pondered where I could satiate my desires, it struck me. The lawless desert holds many treasures and would make an excellent hunting ground. It would be risky, even a dash dangerous, but I knew this is where the trail would lead me. I loaded up supplies and set off.

As soon as I entered, I knew I was in the right place. I could see the object of my desires walking along the silky golden sand, their bodies gleaming in the sun. I spied an amiable group congregating together and approached with caution, ready to engage in business should the situation warrant.

But almost immediately, the situation turned ugly. As soon as they saw me, I was swarmed. In turn, each leapt upon me, wrestling me to the ground tearing at my armor with reckless abandon. I mounted a campaign to regain the upper hand, but was overpowered repeatedly. More than once I was flat on my back, exposed to their advances. The threesome had their way with me, a burning sensation coursing through my body.

Amidst the shrieks and confusion, I managed to throw myself down the embankment, a technique I have practiced at great length. To wit, I unsheathed my hearty weapon and held it at the ready with both hands, awaiting their next foray.

“The tail is mine!” I declared and lunged at the first Corpion that came in for more. Separated from his comrades, he was no match for my plunges and I crushed through his protective shell to render him immobile. I turned on the other two, skewering one as nature intended while toying and teasing with the second until he attempted an escape by skulking away. He wouldn’t get off so easily. I came for Corpion tail, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got some. And a lot of it! I was going to dine on tail until I collapsed from exhaustion.

With this first trio handled, my sword was ready and I wasn’t yet willing to put it away. I roamed the countryside looking to add more to my quarry. They were in great supply, each putting up a struggle, but ultimately succumbing to my will.

When I was satiated, I returned home to prepare my catch. I am an expert meat handler and I follow a strict set of rules, a ritual if you will, for the correct preparation of my meat.

It may be bravado, perhaps bragging, but as each piece hits the table, I feel compelled to measure the length and girth of it. I may not have the biggest in the Hollow, but I will challenge any who say I have the smallest.

Next, I take great care to stroke and tenderly rub each piece with lemon and a secret blend of seasonings. I work across the full length of it, from tip to base, working until there is a high sheen and I feel satisfied that it’s ready.

Finally, I turn up the heat until the juices come to dripping. When the timing is right, the meat will swell and be at it’s peak bringing forth a flavor explosion in your mouth. It will be so good, you’ll want to cry out in sheer joy. It might even bring a tear to your eye.

Once each piece is grilled to perfection it’s time to sit down to a feast of tail that I’m sure would make many blush. With the amount I’ve procured, I even have enough to store and keep me fortified the next time I stray from home in search of treasure and zombie flesh.

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Oh yes, there you are my little darling. You have exactly what I need.

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I can hardly contain my excitement! Just you wait till I get you home!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After getting down to my last few coins in ale money, I was ejected from the tavern for trying to pay my drinks bill with an Amulet of Testimony. Forgetting I even had such a trinket, it came back to me that I was supposed to go to Harvest and hire a boat. Since I was out of the tavern and it looked like rain, I decided to travel on.

Harvest is a lovely town and I admire their fashion sense when it comes to the color yellow. I strolled down the boulevards admiring all the sunflowers, banners and other adornments that gives Harvest an easygoing feeling. I steered clear of the creepy child encampment where the little nippers set fires and throw rocks due to the lack of adult supervision.

My goal was to find a ferryman to take me across the big waters, so thinking logically, I headed for the docks. Alas, he was not there. Next, I tried the tavern as all seafaring men ultimately need an ale to slake the thirst of a long days toil. Alas, he was not there either.

I then looked in the market, the reagent shop, the armory and tried to pull information out of the town crier. All proved fruitless.

Fruit would have been a good choice, but alas, I spent the entire day looking for this miscreant and didn’t buy supplies before the market closed. I tried to buy ale with my dashing good looks, hopes, promises and dreams, but returned to the curb with nothing for my trouble but some lettuce and I’m quite sure it was meant as a taunt, not a gesture of kindness. If they continued their jibes with some tomato and a dash of bacon, all would have been well.

And thus I sat, contemplating my next move and waiting for the sun to rise. If he was a Ferryman of any respect, I would stand guard by his boat and nab him when he came to check for fares.

He threw me off the scent by coming out early to fish. It was mere coincidence that I asked if he knew of any ferryman in the vicinity and he mentioned he was in a position to ferry me to my destination. He was even in admiration of my yellow cloak and said he was ready to journey on when I was.

But we had a breakdown in our communication. Through multiple prompts, gestures and even hand signals, I tried to convey I was ready for the journey and the sooner we set off the better. I had my sailing leggings, the yellow cloak and the amulet. I even had some spare lettuce I was willing to share. We could feed the ducks, it would be glorious!

Yet, no matter how many times he said he was waiting around for me, he wouldn’t relinquish the rod and reel, hop into his rickety boat and cast off.

Defeated, dejected and disillusioned, I assailed the Ferryman with lettuce, tossed him into the sea, thrashed him with his fishing rod and liberated his row boat.

I felt somewhat guilty over leading him on a low speed pursuit over the waves wherein he nearly downed before turning back. But the quest must go on!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Deadlines kept me out of Release 41, so I was anxious to get back into Release 42 and continue my routine of keeping the Thugs and Bandits in check, controlling the zombie infestation and letting the Elves know I have my eye on them.

But alas, the joyfullness was short lived. As I confronted the evildoers in Serpent Spine Foothills, I realized they attack with the same vim and vigor, and they’re just as astute at sneaking behind to stab me in the back, yet their weapon, if they’re even carrying one, has gone from the Halberd or Axe to the low ranked Spiked Club.

Fair enough, perhaps these are Thugs in Training, but the same was true of the other foes I faced. After knocking them head first into the dirt and withstanding their paralyzing attack, I used to take great relish in relieving them of their weapons, which I could then sell for ale money or perhaps salvage for my own metal working needs. That sadly is no longer the case.

It seems another avenue of earning potential has been pinched off. I’m beginning to wonder how an adventurer is supposed to make enough coin to afford rent, weapons, armor and furniture. Most people expect a little gold for the goods they sell. Some are willing to work for wishes and dreams, but not many.

Let us not forget that rent for a Village property is 1000 gold per day. As it stands, over 100 thugs will have to be crushed by the Sword of Smiting in order to get the paltry 10 gold they might be carrying. At the current respawn rate, that’s more than an hour of mindless grinding and waiting. For a game that wasn’t supposed to have a lot of grinding, I seem to be finding all of it.

I was under the impression there were adventures to be had and enemies to quell, which has traditionally resulted in gold and loot worthy of being of sold. I’m not entirely sure how the masses are supposed to afford goods and services when there is no coin for the effort.

So clearly I am misguided and seek enlightenment on how visiting the Oracle became the highest paying job in the realm.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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