Tobold's Blog
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.
So how did you decide which region to start in?
In Tale 2 I had started in Sinai, and later moved to the Nile delta, because proximity to the Nile has some advantages, for example for growing papyrus. So in this telling I wanted to start somewhere else, but still close to the Nile, and that brought me to Sterope.

Note that when you start ATitD you can teleport in your first 4 hours up to 20 times around to various random starting locations until you find a nice spot. However it seems that the list of possible starting positions isn't completely random, and people trying to get to me in Sterope reported that it wasn't on the list any more. Presumably due to already being relatively crowded.

Although of course "crowded" is a relative term, ATitD is never really crowded, because there are still less than 1,000 players on the server, and the map is so incredibly huge. But in the more populated areas, around the schools, many houses can already be seen.
Although Tobold has expressed skepticism that he'll play for a long time, I'd like to encourage any Tobold readers to try the trial out (24 hours of playtime) and find our little group in Sterope. When you get in the game, send a whisper to Jongo (myself) or Tessie (my fiance) and we'll provide you with a starter package.
We've already got one Tobold reader established in the area, and it's fun to have a minicommunity that shares an interest.
Ahh, I bumped into Tessie last night. I initially teleported to Tobold but he was in the middle of his marathon so that didn't help much. I ended up running from Caelano Riverside. Took about 30 mins, and when I got in to Sterope, I used chat to find someone (ended up being Tessie) close to where I wanted and teleported the last bit.

Still working on citizenship (just learnt Clothwork) and plan on setting up on on a nearbye lakeshore. Is there a blogger guild yet?

Char name is Sassi by the way.
I was also one of the people scaring the pants off Tobold when running around Egypt by appearing in the middle of the road :D

After looking for some time for Sterope I gave up and settled in Merope. By settling I mean building a wood plane and little more. After Tobolds comments though I guess that I will try to reach Sterope and settle around there better. I dont consider myself too much of a hermit ;)

Ill check if a see any of you around.

By the way, I found the first couple of hours very interesting indeed. After having tried WURM and its frustrating feeling of loosing everything constantly. ATITD was much more relaxed and fun.


PS. My avatar is named Zunerix.
I gave it a try last night. Didn't get much time to play with it. Got up to the point where I am ready to build the flax comb. Pretty fun really.

Can't remember what region I am in. Tried a few different ones. Couldn't find Sterope but now that I have some names I may head that direction.

I do like the idea of getting salvaging earlier for cleanup. I was surprised when I tore down my first wood plane and got nothing from it. I didn't expect much but it was a bit of a let down to not get at least piece of wood back out of it. Do abandoned wood planes and such eventually decay and disappear? I would think they would have to. You sure do see a lot of them around.

Comparing it to EVE, I have to chuckle a bit at the EVE community. There is much talk right now about what Incarna will be like. That is the update where people will actually be able to leave their ships and walk around the space stations. My figuring is that it will be a lot more than a glorified chat room or second life in space type thing. I just don't see CCP bothering with it if there is no content in that portion of the game. My theory is that they will allow for commerce and manufacturing and such. Basically make space stations the safe, PvE portion of the game that seems to be so very missing in that game.

Wow, you should hear those freaks shreak when you suggest there could be a place in the game where people could go to avoid PvP. The freak out. "No way, never happen, its not the EVE way." "You have to have PvP to drive the economy. It will collapse without it." Talk about not being able to think outside the box.

How cool would it be to have something like this game in terms of complex crafting and cooperative play but set within the vastness of all the planets and space stations of EVE. Sure you would have the ability to cross over to flying spaceships and pvp but you could choose to never go into space beyond paying for a safe shuttle flight between empire worlds.

I think it would be cool. I think it would draw in a huge crowd that enjoys tradeskill games and building. Besides, it would be nice for the carebears to get to feed off the tears of the po wittle piwates for once. hehehe.
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