Wednesday, August 11, 2010
A Tale in the Desert 5 - Day Four
The virtual Egypt of A Tale in the Desert is huge. On day 4 of my desert adventures I spent a whole 5-hour playing session running through Egypt. The plan was to visit the various Universities of Worship, of which there is one in each of the 7 regions of Egypt, and get vegetable seeds from there. There are 5 different vegetable seeds you can get that way: cabbage, carrots, garlic, leek, and onions, with onions being the most critical, as they are needed to feed sheep. In previous tellings Egypt had more regions, thus more Universities, and getting those seeds was easier. With less regions, one needs to run more between universities, and has less chances to get all the seeds.
I started out in my home region Sterope, which is in the middle of Egypt. From there I ran to the western region of Celaeno. There is a hardcore guild settled there, so I not only could get seeds, but also some technologies they had already researched ahead of the other regions. Then I headed north to the north-western region of Merope, which wasn't all that easy, because there is a mountain range and river in the way. There are very few people living in that region, it is more a place for hermits to settle, and the geography looks as if the devs ran out of time and patience when modeling it. From there I ran back towards the Nile delta region of Taygete, which is heavily populated. Finally I ran even further east, to Sinai. At that point it was already getting late, and I decided to use my accumulated travel time to teleport home, across the Red Sea, instead of running back.
So now I have 5 regions out of 7 done, but the two missing regions are those bordering my home region to the north and south, Aicyone and Maia, so the last two Universities of Worship will be less long to reach. From the 5 random vegetable seeds I got 1 leek, 2 cabbage, and 2 garlic. But in Sinai I met somebody who had gotten onions twice and no cabbage, so we traded, and now I'm only missing carrots.
Most of the tour I made by running on roads. One of the features of A Tale in the Desert that appears stunningly obvious once you experience it, but is fairly unique, is that you run faster on roads than in the wilderness. The disadvantage of running on roads is that your chance to find wild sheep or papyrus are less, because somebody else probably already saw them if they were close to a road. The advantage is higher run speed, and meeting more people. That way I got my 21 signatures on my Leadership initiation test petition done, and as I also got 21 people declaring my sculpture for the Art initiation as interesting, I finished both tests and made it to level 5.
I also wrote my first law proposal. I was thinking that if players would get the salvage skill earlier in the game, preferably as part of the citizenship task list, they would be more inclined to clean up after themselves, and not leave Egypt littered with abandoned wood planes and flax combs. Now if you have an idea like that in another MMORPG, there isn't much you can do about it. You can propose it on your blog or on the official forums, but chances are that no devs are listening. In A Tale in the Desert this is not the case. You write up your idea on a petition, go round and gather signatures, and if you get enough of those, the petition will be voted upon. If the majority votes for the new law, the devs will implement it, unless they find the idea unbalancing enough to veto it. This is an extremely powerful system, and I don't know any other MMORPG (apart from text MUDs) in which players can vote to get the rules and code of the game changed.