Thursday, August 12, 2010
A Tale in the Desert 5 - Day Five
So by day 5 of my adventures in the virtual desert of A Tale in the Desert I'm beginning to settle in. My main activity on this day consisted of gathering and crafting basic resources and then using them to make my house a lot bigger, with the result that I have now quite a spacious compound. I also built a dromedary pen, which was probably a mistake: Attracting wild camels is done by a sort of secret bidding, which puts you in direct competition with the other players in your region. There is only 1 wild camel per virtual day, and it goes into the open dromedary pen which offers the most straw, and then eats all that straw. Thus you basically "bid" for the camel with straw, and the better organized guilds can always outbid the solo players. The other problem is that if you have animals, you need to provide them with food (straw for camels, onions for sheep), which adds a lot of mandatory work load to your daily schedule. I'm not sure that is really worth it for me.
I managed to trade my excess garlic seeds for carrot seeds, and now have 4 each of the 5 different basic vegetables. Thus I started growing vegetables as a new activity. The basics of growing vegetables is simple, you plant the seed, and then water it every time it visibly grows, until you can harvest the vegetable and get your seed back at the same time. The tricky bits of vegetables are increasing the number of seeds, and the yield of how many vegetables you get for every seed. Increasing the number of seeds happens if you grow vegetables under specific environmental conditions, which are unknown at the start of each telling. Players experiment, and then exchange their results via word of mouth or the ATitD Wiki. Yields depend on the vegetable, the location, and sometimes the player. I only tried onions yet, where at my place I get 7 onions per seed, which is already above average.
But from my previous ATitD experience I remember one nifty trick I should try soon: As the yield of growing vegetables depends on location, the difficult part is to know how far you need to move from your current location to get a different result. There is a sort of invisible "grid" overlayed on the map, which each grid square giving you a different yield. Thus the best place to try growing vegetables is to go to coordinate 0,0 of the map of Egypt, and then try growing vegetables at 10,10 and 10,-10, and -10,10, and -10,-10. At least in previous tellings the invisible grid originated at 0,0, so those 4 locations give you 4 different yields for each vegetable, so there is a good chance to find one "good" spot for yourself without traveling all over Egypt to try.
Day 5 ended in frustration when I tried to grow papyrus. At first I was lucky and my only seed gave me 14 papyrus plants, which was more than the 8 papyrus I had dried to get than 1 seed. So I dried the 14 papyrus, got 2 seeds this time and thought I was well on the way to get an ever increasing number of papyrus and seeds. But when I planted the papyrus seeds again, at the same spot on the Nile as before, and not at the same time, the yield of papyrus this time was catastrophic: I only got 4 papyrus out of 2 seeds. So now I'm at less than the papyrus I'd need to get more seeds and am stuck, until I either find wild papyrus, or beg for seeds from another player. And I was following all the advice from the ATitD wiki on drying the papyrus at high altitudes and how to plant the papyrus for maximum yield, and got far less than seeds per papyrus and papyrus per seed than reported on the Wiki. Really frustrating and annoying, that.