Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Mr Squeaky And The Pants Of The Yearning Sea : Project: Gorgon

I was going to post a quick update on the very satisfactory progress so far of the Project: Gorgon Kickstarter campaign but Wilhelm beat me to it with a comprehensive overview. Instead have a few random observations about the game itself.

It's been a week or two since I last logged into the game but last night I managed to get in an hour or so. I felt like I got a lot done in a short time but by golly there's a lot to do and really Ive barley made a dent. All the recent coverage, particularly Syp's adventures, made me realize that, while I'd run around a lot and taken a hatful of screenshots, I hadn't scratched the surface of the gameplay itself. Or even thought about it, really.

Don't look at me! Just because I'm a cat doesn't mean I know anything about worms!

Take skills for example.There are dozens of them. P:G uses an open skill-based system and I don't really get on with those all that well. It's not that I dislike them. I just forget to use them. My general approach when offered a wide range of skills is to grab every one that I can get my hands on and then do nothing with almost all of them.

Planning ahead and working out builds or synergies is not something that comes naturally to me. I don't hate it. I don't even avoid it. I just tend not to remember I should be doing it. If I start at level one with a bow and a sword there's a better than even chance I'll still be using a bow and a sword a month or a year later even though my character could theoretically be using any of a score of weapons. I started at level one with a bow and a sword by the way.

Only my desire to keep hold of my money saved me from a life as a short-order cook.

My only P:G character dinged 15 in Sword last night. She's pretty handy with a blade now, at least by the standards of the first zone. The second zone is a bit hit or miss for her when it comes to combat. It reminds me a little of classic Everquest in that very tough creatures wander around among much weaker ones.

There is a means of predicting the strength of Monsters (if you can call a cow a monster, which I certainly can when I've just been trampled to death by a herd of them...). They have three little hearts by their names that indicate something along the lines of Armor, Health and Power.
Just because you have a cute name doesn't mean you can get away with murder. Oh, wait...

It was all explained somewhere in the tutorial, I think, but it was over a year ago that I went through that cave and I was hardly paying attention even then. And anyway, whatever the significance of these symbols might be, it tends to escape me when I'm being mauled by tigers or electrified by Mr Squeaky.

Ah yes, Mr Squeaky, the talking rat. I made his acquaintance unexpectedly while stumbling about in the near-pitch black of Project: Gorgon's recently-extended night. I didn't have time to take in the finer points of his argument, whatever it was; I was too busy fighting for my life.

Apparently only the mantis who wear hats are intelligent. You'd have thought it would be the other way around.

Foolishly I thought that, being as he was a named rat in the starter zone and the unnamed rats are one of the weakest of all the mobs there, I'd be able to teach him a fine lesson for his impertinence in challenging me. I hadn't reckoned with his technological capabilities, although perhaps his ability to string a sentence together should have alerted me that he was no ordinary rodent.

Okay, try this apple.
I still have no idea what he used to electrocute me with. Unlike the helpfully named "Venom" and "Acid" spiders or the "Skeleton Swordsman" Mr Squeaky's weapon of choice remains a mystery. It didn't get me any Death XP either, so I guess I've been electrocuted before. You'd think I'd remember.

For a small MMORPG still in alpha Project:Gorgon has an almost embarrassingly large amount of content. You have to find it for yourself but there's stuff to discover just about everywhere. Nothing is flagged up, there are no floating question marks or feathers and the only things that glow are things that ought to glow, like magical portals.

Despite the lack of handholding it's remarkably easy to spot all kinds of objects or anomalies that just demand to be looked at more closely. When you see a great, ugly statue sitting in a field it's entirely natural to go over and peer at it. Possibly less so to take things out of your backpack and place them between its great, fat hands to see what might happen but if there's a helpful hint to that effect then, of course, that's what you do. So there is some handholding after all. Figuratively and literally.

Last time I wrote about Project: Gorgon Carson 63000 commented astutely that enjoyment of the game is predicated on sharing its creator's sense of humor. Given the sheer amount of whimsy going on that has to be a caveat. Fortunately Eric (or Sandra) is almost as amusing as he (or she) thinks he (or she) is and much of the wit is indeed passably witty, at least by the admittedly forgiving standards of the genre. It amuses me anyway. Particularly the item descriptions.

A lot less amusing last night was the endless bickering in general chat. I logged in in the middle of a vituperative argument about the merits and otherwise of various internet organizations dedicated to mayhem, mischief and free speech. The speech was too free by half for my tastes so I turned general chat off, the first time that's happened in all the times I've played.

It's not a proper MMO if you can't swim in a sewer.
Another sign of the growing success of the current promotional campaign I guess. A recent patch note explained that there are now so many people trying to get through the tutorial at any one time there aren't enough skeletons spawning for them all to kill, which means players are leaving the tutorial under-equipped. Eric's left a bag of gear for them to pick up as they go so they at least have a fighting chance of defeating farmyard animals in the big world outside the cave.

As he says, a heavy increase in player numbers is a nice problem to have, but I bet it's a bit of a shock to the system all the same after months, years almost, of being able to count the people online without needing to take his socks off. The Kickstarter is only half way through but there's no doubt already that it's been a thumping success. Let's hope the game and the team behind it can handle that success as well as they've been able to handle failure up to now!

6 comments:

  1. It's 63000 not 36000, but that's cool, it's just a ridiculous number I once added to a screen name because the first few suffixes I tried were already taken. :-)

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    1. Doh! Sorry! And it's not like I didn't have it right in front of me when I cut&pasted the link...

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  2. I also met Mr. Squeaky on my first night in game. I didn't try to engage in conversation with him, but he still saw me, shouted "You murderer!" and then threw what I assume was lightning at me. I died pretty quickly. :)

    I need to find that sewer entrance! I have a quest down there. Now that I know I have to swim to find it, I'll look for it again!

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    1. I found the entrance to the sewer entirely by accident. It's in one of the lakes I think. It's certainly underwater. It was night and I was disoriented but I saw the glow of what I now recognize as a portal and made for it to see where it went and it went into the sewers. The sewers in turn lead into The Crypt that you access from the graveyard so you could go in that way but there are a lot of angry spiders and undead on that route.

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  3. I had to do a summary because I have totally failed to get back in and actually play PG during the campaign. That was my plan. And then I started building a new base in Minecraft. Also, jury duty, which has thrown off my whole routine. In fact, this comment comes to you from the courthouse during our morning recess.

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    1. Heh!. I don't envy you jury service. Did it once and managed to get out of doing a second time. A lot of waiting around in uncomfortable, windowless rooms is mostly what I remember about it.

      P:G really seems to have picked up some community advocates this time round. Judging from general chat I'm not at all sure how well the influx of curious tourists is going to mix with the long-timers but that's Eric's problem and I'm sure he'd rather have it than the crickets that chirped the last two times.

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