Monday, 16 February 2015

Seeing things in a new light

It's been a quiet month for me ever since the Arcanes' January quest came to a close. I won, by the way, which meant I got a Maniacal Tendencies, which I promptly traded away (and received an extremely generous return...seriously, it was much more than I should have gotten, but the person, who was fully aware of the values, kept throwing stuff at me). As a result, my paladin is pretty decked out now, and my augurer has hit the 1800 hp threshold. Pretty swanky! On top of that, my new thief has more or less been equipped, while my current one has been swapped over to devout and isn't looking super destitute, which is a win in my books.

I've been spending some time lately playing some other games. In particular, I've been playing Starbound (with a friend) and Darkest Dungeon. If you've never heard of these games, Starbound is one of those explore/build types of games like Minecraft and Terraria. Like Terraria, Starbound is 2D. You create a character from one of multiple races and start on a broken spaceship and go planet/system-hopping to try and repair/upgrade your ship, completing different quests to advance the storyline. It's currently in beta, so the questlines aren't complete yet and there isn't much of an end-game beyond "build a fancy home somewhere on a planet you like", but with a friend, Starbound can be really entertaining.

Darkest Dungeon, another early-access type of game, is a roguelike dungeon crawler. You build a party of four characters of varying classes, then go on runs through procedurally-generated dungeons in a sidescrolling format. Combat is turn-based and seems inspired by diceroll systems.

These two games really encapsulate what I enjoy most about Realms: Starbound gives me that feel of exploration and adventure. That tingly feeling of finding a chest somewhere and getting a cool new piece of gear or vanity equipment will never get old! Darkest Dungeon, on the other hand, inspires that traditional P&P feel. It's a gritty affair where a sudden crit can flip your entire run on its head.

What I've come to learn through both these games is the importance of perspective. If you watch the Youtube personality NorthernLion, he's been doing a playthrough of Darkest Dungeon. There is one episode in specific that will boil your blood at the way he spectacularly fails at a run: his objective is to essentially find three corpses in a dungeon. For whatever reason, NorthernLion passes by several animal corpses and doesn't think anything of them; he even talks about them at one point, and how he won't touch them (interacting with various objects can lead to adverse effects; for example, having a character touch a corpse without herbal medicine/anti-venom can lead to your character suffering a temporary DoT from being diseased). So he bumbles around for over half an hour, confused and wondering if the game is bugged because he "can't find any corpses". For whatever reason, he has the image of a human corpse in his mind, and never once stopped to re-evaluate his assumption until near the end when he realizes he's been traipsing back and forth over the animal corpses the entire time without stopping once to inspect it - clicking on them to look costs nothing, only actual interaction with the objects is risky.

In Starbound, you can run into some pretty sticky situations. My friend ran into a prison with a ton of aggro guards, and even with the highest tier of armor and weapons, got shredded quickly. I tried it and attempted to take it slowly, wanting to lure each guard out one by one...but even then, I failed. So I decided to go about it another way: I just dig around the prison, poked small holes in the walls and shot at the guards from my position of safety. I saw an account from another player on Reddit who found an enclosed treasure room full of flame-spewing mechanical spiders. Instead of busting through the wall and trying to kill them all, he instead filled the room with lava, which killed the spiders but left the treasure intact.

So how can I apply these lessons to the Realms?
- When I go exploring, always take a critical look at the assumptions I'm making. This can be pretty essential in the age of Rodpedia, where maps and item lists, and notes/instructions are often kept, which pretty much supply loads of assumptions for you.
- Always look for that other way to skin the cat. There might be another way into a keep, there could be a simpler way to complete a quest. Never assume you just have to kill a mob to get something done.

Anywho, that's enough from my end. If you've got a bit of money to spare, I would suggest trying out Starbound or Darkest Dungeon, if those games seem to be within your range of interests, I'd give them a look and possibly pick them up (and play them in between pops, of course).