Author Archives: paeroka

Getting started in Trove: A few helpful tips

With the game’s officially launching this July 9, I thought it could be helpful to provide a few tips to get you started! Especially since you can already create an account and start playing right now if you want to!

In general, Trove isn’t a very complicated game and the tutorial explains a lot already. But as with every new game, some things can be confusing or unclear in the beginning.

Trove Barbershop

My character as an undead

First things first: You only have one character slot! Accordingly, you should choose your name wisely. This will be the name that others will know you by. But don’t worry about the different classes (there will be 11 different ones when the game launches). You can easily switch between those classes. Also, cosmetics can be changed for every class. Your Knight can be a white-skinned male with a mohawk and your Candy Barbarian can be a lady with ponytails – or an undead if you prefer that look. Not everybody is bothered by that, but I cannot create male-looking characters, because my character name is “Paeroka” and it just sounds female to me. I like having fitting names for my characters. Others aren’t bothered by that in which case you can ignore this paragraph. :p

Speaking of different classes: Equipment stays equipped with the class when switching to a different one. So, that really great sword on your Knight can only be found when switching to the Knight. If you want to use it with another class, you have to unequip it first. There is no “binding” of equipment, though, so unequipping something from a character is done with just a single click and you can even trade the item to somebody else if you want.

One thing I worried about when I first tried out was Trove was my cornerstone. I had placed it somewhere in the world where it had looked nice, but then realized that I would probably not find it again when I had left it to explore the surroundings. However, your cornerstone is not put on a static place. It moves with you and you can “call” it whenever you see a free cornerstone base. Just click on the sign with the question mark and your cornerstone will appear!

Trove_Monocle

My character as candy barbarian in her cornerstone

If you’re wondering why you should even bother about the cornerstone: When you placed it in the world and then you die, you get resurrected there instead of at the spawning point of that world. So, placing it near you every now and then isn’t a bad idea. Also, you can place a lot of useful items in there like the deconstructor that lets you deconstruct items to get materials.

You can join up to 5 clubs. Clubs are like guilds in MMOs. You can only represent one club at a time (the club name appears behind your name), but you can read and write in all your clubs’ chats and access all of your clubs’ worlds. If you’re just starting out and plan to have a little club with just a few friends, you can certainly do so. At the same time, having this little club and finding an already established club that lets you use all the convenience items (crafting stations, portals and so on), are not mutually exclusive!

Trove_Welcome ScreenWhen you log into the game, you will see a big Welcome screen. This one also shows you which bonus is active on which weekday. If you’re a casual player who doesn’t get or want to play that often, use those bonuses accordingly. E.g., wait for Mondays to harvest things you planted in your garden as you will get more loot harvested this way. On Wednesdays, you get extra glim from adventuring. This is the glim you get from riding through grass with your mount, for example. I personally try to do my daily (doing dungeons for extra cubits) in the Fae Forest regions as they sometimes have dungeons with an abundance of glim around them. I just ride through it all and then do the dungeon.

Trove Fae Forest and Glim

A dungeon in Fae Forest with lots of flowers (which drop Glim when you ride through them)

Often times, I find myself getting distracted when roaming the map to find dungeons. All that ore! I need to have it! But seriously, I have hardly ever run out of Shapestone (the purple ones) so far. Infinium, however, is quite different. Most of the time when something I wanted to craft required Infinium, I had to go get some. And this seems to be the general rule: When you need something, it definitely won’t be anywhere to find. So my advice to you would be to not get distracted and harvest all the ore when you’re actually on your way to do something else, but as soon as you see Infinium, make an exception and grab it!

Trove Infinium

Shapestone ore (pink ), Formicite ore (blue) and Infinium ore (yellow ) – listed in increasing rarity

And speaking of grabbing: There is no stealing from others! Everybody close to you has a chance of getting loot when you kill a mob. Everything you harvest (plants, glim, ore) goes to their inventory as well – that is, both of you get the same amount of loot each! And everybody gets XP for killing mobs. On the downside, this can lead to people following you around and not doing anything, but I have hardly ever had that happen. In most cases, the other players and I fought together and mined together peacefully and happily.

One word of advice for when you want to afk: Don’t do so in seemingly save spaces. Every now and then, a Shadow Invader will spawn randomly and it has only one target: You. These mobs drop from the sky, by the way (and in my personal experience, they tend to do so exactly in that moment when you decide to quickly go grab a coffee in the kitchen or open the door for the mail). You can usually hear them arrive, though, because they make quite some noise when they spawn.

Trove Personal Chest

Personal Chest UI (the lower half hiding behind the chat will be fixed soon)

When it comes to storage space, there are four different kinds of chests. One is the Personal Chest. As the name suggests, this is only for you! Nobody else has access to your storage. When another player clicks on a Personal Chest, they will only have access to their own stored items. The Club Chest and the Club Officer Chest are for fellow club members and/or officers. So be careful when placing items in there. Again, only those belonging to your club will have access to those stored items. Last but not least, there is the Community Chest. This one lets every single player access the same storage. So only put something in there if you want to donate it to whoever accesses the chest next and decides to take it. This chest is not for trading items. Use the Trading Post to do so.

Last, but probably not least, a rather new addition to the game are the “Challenges“. You can only participate when you have reached mastery level 30+, so this isn’t exactly a tip for beginners. But when a challenge is active, it lists classes that get a “bonus”. A challenge asks you to complete dungeons in a specific biome. When you do that with a class listed with a “bonus”, your count goes up by 3 for each dungeon completed instead of only 1. If you want to know more about challenges, read this guide on Waiting for Rez.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (June 2015)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! This is the place where we take a look at all those little pieces of gaming news that have attracted our interest and talk about what’s recently been in the spotlight of other fansites.

Dragon Season is in need of a few donations in order to keep paying for the website. There is a longer explanation on what is being paid with the donations on the donation page. Of course, nobody should ever feel obligated to pay for anything! But if you like what we(*) are doing and you feel generous, we would greatly appreciate your help! As explained on the website, all money will only be used for running the website and for giveaways. No writer or administrator gets paid! After all, most people that I know who write for a fansite or a gaming blog do not do it to earn money. In fact, most of them spend money on this hobby and do not earn anything from it. Dragon Season is no exception and the last thing we want is having to add advertisements on the page in order to pay for the site’s bandwidth…

(*)I say “We” because I am a writer for Dragon Season. I haven’t written much, but I am helping with the organization and well, I do have this blog here to maintain as well. :p

trove-logoIn 15 days, Trove will officially launch! The game is currently still in beta and yes, there are still bugs around. The developers have shared a “hit list” of what they want to fix before July 9. As far as I can see, all the bugs that I noticed are on this list. I am still very optimistic about this game’s launch as the game has consistently and quite swiftly gotten better with every patch. Other than the bug fixes, they also apparently want to stress test the server and are asking all players to join them on June 25 (12:00am PDT – 11:59pm PDT (GMT -7)). As you can see, the stress test will last for 24 hours. In case you are wondering, copy and paste “12 am PDT” to google.com to see it in your local time. If you do try to log in (either successfully or not, depending on the server’s state), you will be eligible for a Flask coin which you can use to unlock a healing flask or an emblem (adding an effect to your heal) and 5 Piñatas – the latter is only for the players above mastery level 30. However, keep in mind that right now, everybody can create an account and join the game. So if you’ve been curious about it, why not give it a try on stress test day and get this nice Flask coin! Also, both the flasks and the emblems can be unlocked with in-game currency, but it’s still nicer to get one for free. ;)

GW2_Logo_kl_transparentGuild Wars 2 has received quite a big patch this week and Lion’s Arch has finally been rebuild. As I previously took screenshots of Lion’s Arch: in beta, after release, when it was burning, once it had burned down and the last one was to recap what happened – including screenshots of Lion’s Arch with various holidays decorations, you can expect to see the screenshot gallery get expanded with pictures of the new look! I wish I had the time to do that right now… in the meantime, here is one. Just one… Ahem.

GW2 Rebuilt Lion's Arch June 2015

Last but not least, the list of games I’m currently playing will be a tiny bit longer now that the Steam Summer Sale has come and gone. The first game we bought was Nidhogg (2-pack, because this game is boring when played alone) and the next day, bookahnerk left to buy a second controller. You can play the game with the keyboard, but I found it much clunkier than the controller (and I’m usually a fan of keyboard controls). We ended up playing the game on his birthday party that day with friends and they had a lot of fun! They even started a tournament, but then… I don’t actually know what happened as I’d just gone to the kitchen to refill the food. I think they ended up not being able to decide peacefully for one tournament format and then just dropped the idea and moved on.

NidhoggWe both also bought “Craft the World” – a Terraria-like game with dwarves. How could we resist? And on the last day, I got the Tropico 5 expansion “Waterborne” and Life is Strange Episode 1. I don’t know yet if I like Life is Strange or not. The first encounter with the game had to be stopped quite fast, as while it has a third person perspective, you cannot scroll out far enough and my stomach did not like it that much. I’ll give it another try soon. I previously said that I had wasted my money on Tropico 5, but I have to take that back. While I did waste some money by buying the game immediately when it got released (as I could have gotten it for much cheaper if I had waited), I at least do enjoy playing the game now and have been doing so for quite a bit these last few days. Other than that, we both behaved and managed to hold back – or rather, there weren’t that many games that we really wanted. Our wallets are quite grateful for that, of course, and will now have some time to recover until the next big sale starts…

Trove will launch on July 9

Every player probably knows at least one of those games who seemingly stay in open beta for an eternity. Some wondered whether Trove will be one of those games. However, Trion Worlds have now announced that beta will end on July 9 when Trove will officially launch. And that is not all, it will also come to Steam that day!

The biggest question now is: Is this game ready for a launch? – To which I would say: Oh yes, it is! It has received several new features like fishing and the sky world in the past few weeks. Some new classes have arrived, the user interface has received an overhaul. We even got some quality of life changes (when crafting something, the game does not only look in your inventory bags for needed items, but also in your personal storage chest).

The most annoying bug I’m currently experiencing is that my pirate captain does not stop auto-shooting when a fight is over… or during a fight, even. This can be a problem when you need to use a healing potion and the game doesn’t let you, because your character is doing something else. However, this was introduced only recently and I’m pretty sure they can fix it again fast. It does not seem to appear with other classes. And hey, if that is the big issue (talking about issues that make the game harder to play or even unplayable, of course!), then the game is in a pretty good state, right?

Trove_Quest complete

I deliberately left out “lag” and “latency issues”, because as they also announced, we will also get servers located in Europe. If I understood them correctly, we will not get separated from the other players. We will just automatically be placed on maps located closer to our physical location (that is, to servers located in Europe). But you can join friends on their maps and I strongly assume that this function will work just as it does now. And since they specifically say “EU adventure worlds”, I guess this excludes the hub – and it definitely excludes the club worlds. So, international clubs won’t have anything to worry about here.

With the end of the beta, we will apparently see the start of a new beta, too! The PvP feature will be introduced to us players. If you don’t like PvP, don’t worry. It sounds like they will rather make it like a mini game that you can participate in if you want, but you will not be forced to PvP at all! If you ask me, “serious PvP” would not even work in Trove. The game just isn’t made for this, nor balanced around this feature, so everything but a mini game would be too much. But offering something (as a voluntary action) for those who do want PvP? Why not? :)

Either way, I am excited for July 9, even though I don’t think I should, because nothing will change for me. There will be no wipe, so everything I already have will still be there and other than patches introducing new things, I will not get anything new either. By the way, this also means that if you want to jump into the action and get started with Trove right away, you absolutely can! It is free to play, it will stay free to play and you can create an account and start playing whenever you want.

Anyway, even though there is nothing “new” for me coming, I like to see that they take this “brave” step and push their baby out into the real world among all the other “grown-up” games that have exited beta. It just makes it feel more serious.

The Seven Gaming Sins – NBI 2015 Talkback Challenge #4

nbimediumThe 4th “Newbie Blogger Initiative” topic has been released this weekend: “The Seven Gaming Sins“. This one is not a single topic that you can write about, but seven questions instead. What they focus on is probably rather obvious… ;) So, here you go. My answers to Joseph Skyrim‘s seven gaming sin questions.

Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

My favourite races are dwarves, gnomes (in World of Warcraft) and asura. Does this answer the question already? :p I do like characters (I mainly play female ones, so I’ll concentrate on those now) that are aesthetically pleasing to me. But this is a very subjective term and far from the tiiiiny waist and huge breasts that game designers like to put on some of their characters. I do like my characters wearing clothes that show their body, but I can do without the skin. So, I would say I am in between. I like “sexy clothes” as long as they are not over the top or look silly on my character (like a dress showing off breasts that asura just don’t have).

Gluttony Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

Oh dear yes. I recently told myself to at least try to play some more games and finish them and I have been kind of successful. Tropico 4, Torchlight I and Shadowrun Returns have been played through. I am currently giving Skyrim another try (no promises here) and have also picked up “The Book of Unwritten Tales”. I strongly predict I will finish the latter in a bit as it’s very entertaining to play. As I just said, I picked up the latter. I have not stopped buying new games, I just try to slow down and finish some I did buy some time ago. At the same time, especially with games like Civilization or Warlock 2: The Exiled, there is the open question: When is such a game finished? With those games, I instead look at how much time I have spent in the game and if it’s a couple of hours (depending on how much money I spent to buy the game), I am satisfied. I always like to compare it to the price/hour for a cinema ticket.

Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

I have refused to do something in game that was not fun and the rewards were lacking, yes. But as long as something is fun – or an activity leads to something that will be fun later on – then I’ll do it regardless of the rewards. Rewards are a nice bonus, though. :)

Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

No, I don’t ever leech or go AFK unless there’s a need for a bio break – which I would inform people about in a dungeon run, for example, so they know I’ll be gone for a minute. I don’t discourage people from playing the game, no. I do discourage them from trying to make me come, too. ^^ In MMOs, when I see somebody needs help, then I usually do help. Unless it’s a person that passed me before without helping me. In this case, I deliberately choose not to help either (though this would not be “sloth” but “wrath”, I guess).

Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

I have gotten angry with others countless times. Most of the time, those are random players who were rude, impolite or just generally offensive. I tend to rage and rant in front of my PC, but not in public chat and not in direct messages either. Blocking them is much easier and faster and more satisfying because they can’t talk back to you. ;)

Stalking people has never even occurred to me. I only remember one person that annoyed me very much – unfortunately even a fellow guild member until we finally decided to flee from that server – that popped up wherever I was. So, it was the other way around. But I don’t think he stalked me. He just happened to be a very active player (and yet, still a very bad one who insisted on knowing everything better…). That one player did get me close to yelling at him, but instead, I opted for laughing in front of my PC instead. Oh, the stories I could tell (well, if you’re a WoW player, at least…).

Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

Of course! Who doesn’t know the feeling of trying over and over and over and over again just to see somebody pass by, hop around a bit and get to the end of that jumping puzzle to reach into the chest and pull out a precursor item? Grmpf. ;) I usually don’t think they are cheating. I just think they are there to make me feel especially incompetent. :p No, seriously, unless they appear and disappear randomly at various spots in the world (teleport hacks – I’ve seen them often enough in Warhammer Online), then I don’t think they are cheating.

Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?

I demand grouping with sensible people! People who know that others make mistakes, but who try their best to help each other and have fun. I admit, I get frustrated when there is another player who is severely underperforming even after telling them how to do something (e.g.: Do not stand in the red puddle on the ground. It’ll kill you instantly!). But I haven’t kicked them out yet or asked to have them removed from the raid, because this would also make me feel bad. I usually just hope that one day, they will finally understand what that red puddle looks like and get out of there quickly enough – or get a better PC or a faster internet connection which could also always be the reason for why they are performing the way they are.

“What made you a gamer?” – NBI 2015 Talkback Challenge #3

nbismallThis post is part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative and the third Talkback Challenge asking “What made you a gamer?” When I saw this question, I knew I had to join in and talk about how I got to where I am today now (gaming-wise, of course).

GC2011 Commodore 64Many years ago (I felt like saying “Once upon a time” here…), my brother, who is 6 years older than me, had bought a Commodore 64. I don’t remember when exactly we started, but I do know that our parents, my brother and I sat in front of the C64 playing the olympic winter games together. The video below lists 1985 as the release date, but I know we played it a few years later. I was still too young in 1985 to be playing computer games and know what I was doing. :p But I was young enough to not be able to successfully play against my family. We still always had lots of fun and me being the last was not an issue. Instead, my family always told me and showed me how I had improved over the time and how I had gotten closer to their scores.

Not that long after, my brother decided to buy an Amiga and sold the C64 to me (yes, we were that kind of siblings where giving something to the other for free was out of question ^^).


(Sorry, the video is in German – but you can still watch the awesome graphics and listen to the amazing sounds of the game!)

I also remember my brother playing “Airline” and explaining to me what he was doing. “Now I buy another plane, then I decide for a route that this plane should take… long distance is not available yet, I will need a bigger plane for that. I will have to hire a pilot, …”. I sat there nodding, eagerly taking in everything he said and then, excitedly, I asked: “So, when do we get to fly that plane? :D” and he looked at me kind of baffled and replied: “Fly? Nonono. This is not such a simulation game. We will not get to fly in that plane. We are the airline manager and we…” and he went on and on to explain the concept of this kind of game to me while my face had gotten very long and I asked, hoping he would say something differently: “So, we will never see this plane take off into the air?” To his defence, he had been incredibly patient with me trying to explain to me why this kind of game was so awesome and so much fun and how adding a flight simulator would destroy this kind of game. I still sat there and watched him play. I slowly learned what to do when and how. And when that C64 was finally mine, Airplane turned out to be my favourite game. I also clearly remember one afternoon where I sat in front of my C64 with a friend and I had been explaining the game to her when she interrupted and asked: “So, when do we get to fly this plane?” – I looked at her, baffled, and replied: “Fly? Nonono. This is not such a simulation game…” Only that I had been less lucky with her than my brother had been with me and she asked to play something differently. We turned off the C64 and went outside, I think.

C64 Airline

C64 Airline

I don’t remember exactly which games my brother and I had been playing on the C64 and the Amiga… but I do remember that we played Bubble Bobble and Double Dragon together. I think that was on his Amiga. Now, my brother and I never got along too well and we used to fight quite often. But we never did so when we were playing those games together. On the contrary, our mum even had to call us several times for lunch as we were still fighting against NPCs in Double Dragon and had had no intention of leaving to eat.

At some point, the C64 had not been able to hold my attention anymore. I never got any new games for it (wise decision, dad… ^^). My brother had also started to be interested more in music and going out with his friends. But then, the new kid in town arrived, the Festival du Jeu Vidéo - 2010-09-11 - Game & Watch Donkey KongGameboy! A friend of mine had owned one and had shown it to me. Of course, I wanted one! I had to have one! It took quite a lot of convincing my dad to finally be allowed to buy one! And guess what happened next? Especially when we were on a vacation (which happened right after I had bought my Gameboy) and whenever we went to a restaurant, I could say “bye-bye” to my Gameboy as my very own father had tried to make absolutely sure that nobody would ever beat his high score in Tetris. My mum got close and managed to beat him, but he soon changed that and got an even higher score than before. Me? Well, I liked watching them play, at least. As a side note, my dad still owns the little orange Donkey Kong game and Pacman. Both also still work!

Since I never had that much money, I only bought a few games for the Gameboy and then lost interest again at some point. Years later, my dad brought home a PC with… I think Windows 95 on it. I used it for school, but not for gaming. It took a few more years and another friend to show me The Sims (the first one). I had also then bought “Cultures” as I had seen the game in a shop for a cheap price and I had figured that the PC we had would be able to play it. Thankfully, it did! Also, let’s not forget Sim City 2000. I was hooked! And I used to chat with friends who also played that game about our cities, what had happened in them, how we had built them and so on.

In February 2005, bookahnerk had gotten World of Warcraft when it had released here in Europe. In December 2005, he bought a copy of the game for me, so I could play with him. And that, my dear readers, is when I became a gamer. – Yes, you read that correctly. This is the moment where I started calling myself a gamer. Not at any other point before that. Nope.

WoW Undead Poets Society

I realized this when I had seen the topic for this week’s “Talkback Challenge” and I think it is weird and possibly also silly. I have actually been gaming all through my life. It has never been the dominant hobby taking over all other interests in my life, but it has always been there. I have fond memories of me and my family being gamers together – and yet, I never thought about us as being “gamers”.

MMO shelfA year ago or so, I was talking to my mum about computer games and then said to her: “Mum, you’re a gamer, too!” You should have seen the confused look on her face. I asked her: “Tell me, what were you doing before I started talking to you just now? In fact, what are you doing while I am talking to you?” “Playing a game…” (It had been Bookworm, I think) – “HA!”, I replied… and she started to laugh with me and said: “I never looked at it this way, but you’re right. I am playing a computer game. I am a gamer.”

It is really this simple, isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be “serious games”. You don’t have to be a “hardcore player” or anything. If you like video games and play them once in a while, then you are a gamer. For me, it’s a fun nice little pastime, especially when I can spend that time with my friends and loved ones and I take that over watching a film any time. Probably because my gamer parents showed me how enjoyable spending time together like this can be!

Folk Tale – Is it worth it now?

This week (until May 8), Folk Tale is on sale for 13,79 € on Steam and you may wonder: Is it worth that much money?

For me, games that interest me start being “worth it” below 15 € if they’re new(ish) and below 10 for older games… very old ones below 5. Don’t ask me why, that’s just an arbitrary number that my brain decided is a good anchor.

First things first: Folk Tale is in Early Access on Steam. It has been in development for a very long time (okay, “long” is subjectively used here) which is also because the developers changed the direction of the game and are making it a sandbox game with editors for us players to use and create our own maps and scenarios.

Folk Tale Logo

My readers may remember seeing the topic of “Folk Tale” pop up here from time to time. In fact, it seems that I write about this game about once a year (June 2013, February 2014 part 1 and February 2014 part 2 – and then May 2015 now). The thing is: I actually cannot tell you what has changed in the meantime! I did not have the time to follow its development last year, then I decided to just wait for it to get released and then I got interested in it again this year, but still lacked the time to play with the editor mode. I have been watching the livestreams on Twitch every now and then, but those mostly happen right after I have come home from work and I just cannot concentrate too much at that point and usually just listen to the game’s background music and to the developer’s accent while preparing dinner. :p

Additionally, quite a lot has been added actually and been tweaked with. What I do know is that apart from lots of work on the editor, the old tutorial is gone and a new one is being introduced. You can read more about this in their latest developer blog post.

I have not tried it yet, so I figured when I saw this game is on sale, that I should give the tutorial a try to write about my experience here. You know, just in case you are trying to decide whether to buy it or not and want somebody’s opinion. I am going to warn you, though: My opinion is not meant as a “you should buy it” or “you should not buy it”. Please do not take it as a review or anything of the sort. It’s just my own opinion that you can use to make a judgment of your own if you want to.

The tutorial map has voice over already and it slowly guides you through building a functioning village. I admit, when I first played Folk Tale back in 2013 with the old tutorial I was a bit disappointed. The game I had seen in the tutorial was fine, but when I had first read about the game, I had imagined it to be more similar to Cultures. A gaming series that I will forever hold dear! I spent way too many hours – while studying – playing the game. Okay, maybe Cultures (the first one, not the sequels) was a taaad slow sometimes. ;) Still, I loved the graphics and the game design. So, Folk Tale was good, but did not quite fit that niche. The sandbox direction changed that, though. It feels almost exactly like Cultures and I really love that!

The first thing you do is place a supply waggon, so your villagers have a place to put all their important supplies (the usual: stone, wood, food). After that, you gather a bit of wood and food to get you started. Then you place a woodcutter hut, a fishing hut, a hunter’s lodge and, of course, fields, a windmill and a bakery. Once again, this is exactly what I did in Cultures… or Banished, for that matter.

The soundtrack is really nice to listen to, even for a longer amount of time. I know too many games where the music sounds nice, but the loops are too short and it starts to get on my nerves in no time. With Folk Tale, I can have the game open in the background and just enjoy the songs for a while. Including the birds’ chirping when you’re on a map. ;)

The graphics are more on the comic than on the realistic side and I have to admit, I actually prefer that over the realistic graphics. The voice overs, as far as they are available already, are also really good. Your villagers only have two voices, though: Male and female. I don’t know if more voices will be added.

The economy is in there already with chains like fields, windmill, bakery and well as well as a hunting lodge plus a butcher. Villagers produce and use goods and they can be happy as well as unhappy. If they become too unhappy, they will leave the village leaving you with nobody to work for you.

But building and micromanaging your villagers’ needs is not all there is in this game. It is not like Banished where you focus on building with nothing else. In the tutorial, you are soon introduced to pesky kobolds that you need to fight against with your villagers. So be prepared to train your villagers to defend – and expand – their village! This is another similarity to Cultures where you could train militia as well as equip them with certain items (more so in the sequels than the original Cultures game).

And just after I had typed this and fought against the kobolds successfully, the tutorial asked me to place down a blacksmith. The only problem is: There are apparently more enemies in the fog of war and arrows appeared that shot down my building before it was even built. The resources to build said building were already spent, though. I also then got a message that my villagers were under attack. By clicking on the notification icon, I was taken directly to the action and only saw my villagers walk back towards the centre of the village. I have no idea what attacked them, but thankfully, no villager got seriously harmed either. ;)

With not enough stone, I had to find some and ask a peasant to collect it manually since the tutorial has not yet asked me to build a stonecutter’s lodge. Some people may not like that, but I actually do. This made the tutorial far less boring than some “on the rails” tutorials. On the other hand, if a tutorial goes too fast and overwhelms you with information or if the controls are hard to handle, then I also get frustrated easily if something goes wrong in the tutorial.

Folk Tale_SwampAnyway, this is enough about the tutorial. What else is there to do at the moment? There are a few maps you can choose with indicators of their difficulty (ranging from easy to hard). I have not tried them out, but the swamp one looked interesting, at least. Well, it’s a swamp region where you can settle with your villagers. Not too inviting, but I still liked the look of it.

Right below the “New Game” button, you can find the editors. You still have the map editor that’s been in the game for a longer time already, and then there is the character designer. The latter is funny to watch, especially with voice animations turned on, but other than that, it doesn’t serve a purpose yet, I think.

Folk Tale Location Editor

The Location Editor

The map editor still looks similar to when I last played with it. However, I am completely lost when it comes to the controls in this editor. Thankfully, Games Foundry (the developers) make heavy use of the Steam forums and you can actually find a subforum for this editor there complete with guides etc. Since I already wrote about this part and do not want to read up on the controls again now, I will not write about this again here. But I do feel the need to add that my old post about this editor doesn’t do it any justice anymore, I think. Just by looking at the kits (each kit contains several items you can place that all belong to that kit’s theme), I can already say that a lot of things have been added. When I worked on a map, there were maybe three kits to choose from. Now I counted 33 kits. Some with only a handful items in there, some with more than 100.

Folk Tale WorkbenchOne more feature has been added to the map editor: The workbench! Now this is a feature that I would really love to understand and be able to work with right away! Of course, it took me several minutes now to figure out how to even open this feature. :p As with many other things, there is a guide available from the developers. It is quite easy, actually. You just press “Y” when you’re in the editor. With the workbench, you can create quests and world events, apparently. This will eventually enable all players to create their own maps and missions with goals to reach etc. I am already looking forward to seeing what all the creative people out there will create.

All things considered, I still do not regret having paid money for this game almost two years ago. True, the game is still not finished and yes, I wish it was. :p I am still confident, though, that they will finish this product and that I will enjoy it once it is here, because over the course of the last two years, it has slowly but surely become more and more the game I had at first hoped it would be one day. And once again, the reason why I am confident is that there are constant updates – not just patches that progress the development, but also communication from the developers. You can watch the livestreams on Twitch (or on demand if you missed one) where one of the developers shows you what they are working on and even answers questions that the chat asks (which means that you can ask questions, too!). So if you don’t know whether you want to invest in this game, head over there and watch the videos. You can read through the Folk Tale forums on Steam or read more about the game on the official website.

Games in unexpected places

Part of Koblenz

Part of Koblenz

This weekend, bookahnerk and I had been on a short vacation to Koblenz. The town itself was okayish, but nothing really great. We had primarily chosen it because it’s right next to two big rivers: The Rhine and the Moselle. Unfortunately though, the weather wasn’t too nice either. I can imagine that in summer with lots of sun, the place is gorgeous!

Now you may wonder why I’m babbling about my offline life as I usually don’t do that – but it will become gaming-related in a bit (though offline-gaming, but gaming nonetheless).

On Saturday, we had decided to take a trip to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. You can get there by taking the cable car. That probably saved us about trip by foot of about an hour or even more. Also, the view was awesome! The fortress itself was a bit like a maze, at least for somebody like me who does not have the greatest sense of orientation. It was also impressive to look at. Several parts of the inside had different exhibitions (link in German only. Sorry!). One was devoted to the regional wine – unfortunately, the wine tasting was not open. :p Another exhibition was about archaeological findings from the area, some dating back to about 2000 B.C. There was also a rebuild flat (hover your mouse over the panorama to see part of the flat) from when people used to live there in the 50s (post war, that is). This was more depressing than anything else, because as we were walking through the various parts of the fortress, you could always hear – and clearly see – the air dehumidifiers. And yet, you could see, feel and smell the humidity everywhere. This is definitely not a good place to live at (on the other hand, it most certainly was better than no roof above your head at all). And I also do not envy the people working there today.

Anyway, the exhibitions and the place itself were still nice and we did not regret taking the trip (did I already mention the cable car with its amazing view? ^^). But now comes the unexpected part. So far, we had seen the history of the place and the region. Then I turned around a corner and stared at a 1,50 m high Playmobil figure. What the… It turns out that Playmobil turns 40 this year and of all the places they could have chosen, a Playmobil exhibition was set up in this very fortress.

Playmobil_Figures

I remember Playmobil from my childhood, but I confess: I was a Lego fan! I think it is a bit like the “Star Wars or Star Trek” question with almost everybody having a favourite (Star Trek here, by the way). Also, my parents had gotten Lego for my brother and I got to play with his Lego, too, and then get some of my own and they refused to also buy me Playmobil. I had a few things, but nothing big, from relatives or friends of the family who hadn’t known that we collect Lego instead. :p What I preferred with Lego is that you can build everything that you can imagine. A red Lego piece can be part of a gigantic mushroom, a racing car or a spaceship. A red Playmobil roof will always be a red Playmobil roof. On the other hand, the Playmobil figures, both the humans and the animals, were much nicer to look at, more realistic than the little round yellow thingies that Lego had. I always wished I could combine those two.

So there we were staring in awe at all the different models, reading about the history of Playmobil. It was certainly interesting and while walking through the exhibition, there definitely was no difference between the children who probably have lots of Playmobil at home right now and us adults who were walking around, pointing at things going: “Oooh, I had that!” or “Oooh, I would have loved to get that if it had been available when I was a child!” It’s just that in the middle of this fortress with its century-long history, it seemed a tad out-of-place to be there. Still, nice! And I like when “gaming” in whatever form sneaks up on us and reminds us that we all like good games no matter how old we get.