My days of being highly enthusiastic about sitting down to learn an entirely new system, product, software, or game have receeded into the distance in my life, along with my free time. I’ve found that I’m a LOT more impatient now when it comes to wanting to know how to do something right away. Fortunately, most MMOs are easy enough to pick up if you’ve played others, but there are a few outliers, and Shroud of the Avatar is kind of one.
Sure, there’s enough that’s familiar to allow me some measure of navigation, but it’s not 100% WoW compatible (if that’s a term). The combat system is… weird and hinky and will take some understanding. As will the character builds. And the crafting. And all of the other little touches that are meant to get back to a roleplayer’s world but are sometimes inconvenient.
What I really need to do is carve out a swath of time to play SOTA and nothing but, to REALLY learn this game and not just dabble in it. Of course, that thought comes about the time when every other MMO on the planet has dropped some major update, so this imaginary swath might be a long time coming. I suppose that’s okay; SOTA isn’t planning to launch until later this year, if that.
I had to roll up a new character due to the newest release. My goal is to futz around enough so that I can hopefully do the Release 17 tour (and get my fez hat!) before Release 18 comes about.
I didn’t notice the above tutorial tip the first time I went through this. Huh. So you’re saying that looting dead bodies might have a consequence? INTERESTING. I like it when a game doesn’t take standard mechanics for granted.
Water graphics, you… aren’t quite there yet. That’s a nice way of saying that you U-G-L-Y. It’s like wading into mediocrity.
I guess one of the changes that came with this update is that to leave the tutorial, you no longer have a convenient glowing portal, but have to take a hidden boat. Boat it is!
NPCs apparently are more complex than mindless questgivers and vendors. For starters, you don’t know their names until you ask, after which the game will show their name instead of a generic description. Also, according to the help window, NPCs will react to you based on your various virtues and decisions. I can’t lie, this is pretty cool, although I want to see it in action. Reminds me a bit of what they were angling for in Ultima X Odyssey, with the virtue choices and whatnot.
After selling off the rusty swords I looted from those skellies, I bumped into this clockwork man, whom I correctly assumed to be the tour guide. Also, that was its name. He mentions a half-dozen places that I have to visit and find the other tour guides in order to win that dorky hat. Ohh, I want it bad. So bad.
This happened. Killed it. Dressed it. I am such the woodsman.
I have to say, the most disorienting thing about SOTA is the complete lack of a radar or easily accessible in-game map. Sure, I have three maps in my inventory, but none of them are for where I’m at. I’m afraid to wander far and get lost, and I really want to methodically explore this town.
Wait, after looking closer, one of the maps — Braemar — is for where I’m at, even though my compass says Soltown. That’s not confusing at all. According to the map, only four of the buildings are the actual computer town, while the rest of the structures are player housing. Well, four is better than forty for a start.
The local tavern is a warm familiar-type place, so I hang out in here for a bit, people-watching. Lots of weird masks. The barmaid doesn’t have any quests other than the quest to sell me drinks. I’m poor, so no thanks.
A chamber pot! Even in SOTA, you gotta take bio breaks.
Time to blow this one-stoplight town. Feels like there should be quests to do, but I can always come back.
Here’s another example of SOTA’s breaking from the MMO norms: it’s overworld map. When you leave an area, you appear on this map where you can physically move between points of interest (and see others running around too). It’s kind of neat but does make the world feel more fragmented.
You can also get attacked on the map, Final Fantasy-style. Thanks for the free XP, wolves!