Monday, October 18, 2021

A Portmanteau Post Packed With Plangent Yet Pointless Peroration. And It's Not Even Friday.

It would be nice to be able to post about something other than New World but since that's about all I'm playing right now it might be hard to come up with anything much. I suppose I could give it a try, though. Let's see...

Well, I did log in to Neverwinter Online a couple of days ago. Shintar posted a PSA about some great freebies there that sounded too good to miss. 

There was a bit of patching but it didn't take too long to get in. I found the window where you claim stuff without too much difficulty. Naturally there was a lot waiting there because that's what happens in every Free-to-Play, when you step away for a while. Makes you scared to come back, sometimes.

I had plenty of bag space for once, so I took a risk and claimed everything. To my considerable surprise I still had plenty of bag space afterwards. Then I spent a while looking at those legendary mounts Shintar mentioned. 

That was white space
until I clicked on the blasted box!
There were five to choose from, three of which were either hideous or nightmare-inducing and one of which I thought looked a bit dull. Shintar says it's a "classic" but I don't have the Neverwinter background to know why. 

There was one I did like the look of, a kind of translucent stag with constellations under the skin. I picked that one. It definitely seemed worth having logged in for. 

Then I had to go and push my luck.

There were quite a few unopened chests and boxes and suchlike in my bags and as I said, I had plenty of inventory space, so I made the mistake of opening one of them. After that I didn't have any inventory space at all

There was so much packed into that one little box it filled every last slot I had and probably then some. I don't know what it all was. I was so annoyed I logged out without looking at any of it. See? I told you there was such a thing as too much free stuff!


Give me a second. I'm going to take a deep breath and log in again so I can get a couple of screenshots... 

... make that half an hour, three Reddit threads and two forum posts. I was just about to watch a YouTube video, when I finally found someone capable of explaining clearly and succunctly how to swap one mount for another. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult.

Worth it in the end, though. It's a nice-looking mount, even if it does look as though it's got a goiter. You can't really see its head, just one long, fat neck. The stars are pretty, as I hoped they would be, but the stag also changes color continually, cycling through a range of blues and greens from indigo to pale jade. Certainly an upgrade, visually, from my Marbled Stallion and it goes without saying the stats are far better.

None of which is going to make the least difference if I can't play because my bags are full. I think it's mostly new gear from the recent levelling revamp but there are at least another eight unopened boxes in there, too. It'll be a while before I dare open any of those.

As well as dropping into Neverwinter I did make one, desultory attempt to take a first look at Gloria Victis, the game I got for free when MassivelyOP dropped some Steam keys for it a while back. I got as far as installing the game but when the login screen opened it wanted me to go register an account somewhere and I so didn't want to do that I logged straight out again and haven't been back. 

Clearly that says everything that needs to be said about how genuinely
interested in playing GV I must be. I've made dozens, maybe hundreds of accounts for games over the years, some of which I had no intention of playing for more than a hour or two.

Even so, it's not really that I'm not curious to try the game. It's that I do get very irritated with games that are on Steam but also insist on separate accounts with a third party before you can play them. Make up your minds, guys! Either it's a Steam game or it's not. If anyone's taking notes about barriers to entry, that's quite a high one for me.

There was no such double-dipping when it came to the Lord Winklebottom Investigates demo. That, if you remember (I'm sure you don't. Why would you?) was one of the handful of games I downloaded during the last Steam Next Fest. Also, so far, the only one I've played.

Is it any good, I imagine you're asking. I have to imagine because I'm pretty sure no-one's asking anything of the sort. With a name like "Lord Winklebottom Investigates" everyone's mind must surely be made up already.

Actually, it's not bad. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was good but for a game in the relatively early stages of development (It opens with a warning that just about everything from the voice acting to the puzzles is likely to change before release.) I found it quite entertaining for about half an hour.

The pictures are moderately charming, if a bit rough and ready. The writing is mostly solid, raising a slight smile at the appropriate moments. The puzzles are comfortably logical within the paramaters of the genre (i.e. Utterly ludicrous but no more so than usual.)

Perhaps worryingly, given the warning, the aspect I most warmed to were the voiceovers. The two main characters come across as pleasantly understated, the line readings are accurate, there's a wry sense of humor in the performances and the two actors are convincing in the roles of lifelong friends and colleagues. Some of the other characters are a little accenty but again no more so than you'd expect in something like this. I've heard a lot worse and in games with a much bigger budget.


Despite those mildly positive opinions I didn't stick with the game for long. I've played a lot of point & click adventures over the last couple of years and it's gradually dawning on me that there are some serious structural problems with the genre itself that the better games manage to conceal behind great graphics, voice acting and writing.

Put simply, I like the adventures but I could do without the pointing and clicking, which does cast a shadow over the whole concept. By far the most enjoyable games involve much more talking and much less "click object A on object B". Broken Sword, Disco Elysium, Neo Cab, Kathy Rain, the whole Blackwell series, they all involve far more conversations than they do clicking one thing against another and honestly they're better for it. I'm beginning to suspect the optimum number of actual puzzles would be zero.

Come to think of it, I don't believe there are any in Neo Cab so maybe that one shouldn't even be on the list. Just demonstrates how confused I am over where the boundaries lie with these things.

Other than that, I ran around in Guild Wars 2's World vs World for an hour after I got home from work on Saturday because I was too tired to deal with the evening lag in New World. I can always play WvW. It's so relaxing, which I know is a strange thing to say about what is effectively open-world PvP, but it's true.

I still haven't found a moment to log into EverQuest II since New World arrived. I know there are a couple of panda quests backed up there, waiting for me, but those aren't going anywhere. I'm also missing the Nights of the Dead holiday, which is a bit more time-critical. I haven't even looked to see if there's any new content for that one. I really should do that.

Today, though, with the whole day to do whatever I wanted, I spent the entire morning playing New World. For me, it's a different game on a weekday morning. No lag, no frame-rate issues, no competition for anything, anywhere. Out in the countryside I could be playing a single-player rpg for all the players I run into and even in towns I only see a handful. 

In the evening, though, at times it's a slide-show, which could be a problem, not least if the server merges pack in even more people. It's seriously affecting my choice of where to live. 

I hit Level 20 Standing in Everfall last night, meaning I can now buy the house there I wanted. I even have the ten thousand gold to pay for it, although then I'd be broke. Trouble is, as I said a few posts ago, I'm having serious second thoughts. No other settlement feels anything even close to being as laggy as Everfall. I haven't bought the yellow house at the top of the hill yet and right now I'm minded not to.

There are a couple of upsides to the rethink. One is it was really easy to get to 20 Standing and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. It only took just over a week, too. I feel confident I could do it again for any settlement. In fact, more than that, at the moment I kind of feel that raising faction with the various towns is my main motivation in the game, something I like doing more than just about anything else. Maybe I'll get to 20 Standing in a bunch of them before I decide on where to buy that crucual half-price, half-taxed first home.

The other is that I dinged 35 this morning and the perk for that is the right to own a second house. I had that plan I mentioned of maybe buying a big house at the first-timer discount but not living in it immediately so as to avoid the rent. Instead I'd buy a cheap home somewhere quieter, where I'd live until I was much higher level and presumably richer. 

That's a realistic possibility. Or it will be when I've made some more money. Right now I can't afford to buy two houses, big and small, even with the discount.

Making money; that is my next goal. Not sure how I'm going to do it yet but I imagine it will involve selling stuff to people who are too powerful and important to go get it for themselves. That's usually how it goes.

As for posts about New World, which I notice this has somehow managed to morph into, there will be more. I made some notes while I was playing this morning and there's at least a post and a half in there. Oh well, I'll get it all back in spades from everyone else in the blogosphere when Endwalker arrives, I'm sure.

And that's my queue to finish up here and go play New World some more before the roads start to fill up with jogging harvesters and levellers and the towns turn into slow-motion jitterfests. I think I had some ghouls to kill and a painter's easel to place by a waterfall. Don't ask.

Also I seem to remember I had some bags to empty. Pretty sure there was that. 

There's always that.


  1. I like the Cosmic Stag too, but I already had that one! The Black Ice Warhorse was one of the game's early lockbox mounts, so it was the coolest thing at the time it came out. Nowadays there are more exciting options for sure, but I've retained a soft spot for it.

    And yeah, the inventory clutter is real... it took me some time to deal with all the new rewards I'd suddenly earned retroactively when mod 21 came out. A lot of the stuff in your screenshot looks like gear, so if you feel like giving it another try at some point I'd just start by going through all the gear items and following the rule: equip if it's an upgrade, if not just right-click and either add to appearance library if you liked the look of it or convert to refinement points otherwise. Similarly for the enchants, just pop them into an empty enchantment slot or just right click to turn into refinement points.

    1. Ah, I figured there must be some history to the Ice Warhorse. While i was taking the screenshots I had a quick look at some of the items that were obviously gear - they varied from huge upgrades to not as good as what I already had, which shows what a ragbag I'm wearing!

      When I get a moment I'll go in and do just as you said - last time I played I had two completely empty bags and it really does make a big difference to my motivation to log in, knowing I can actually just get an hour of doing stuff, not an hour of making space then having to log out.

  2. A proviso: the first half is NOT half-taxed (there's a developer post about it today, although as a house owner, I know this already). I chose small house in Everfall as my first, am currently debating my second - and in hindsight, I would have chosen larger house in Brightwood as my first house. Everfall is central to everthing until mid-40s, then it's far away, whereas Brightwood is close to many of the higher level zones - and the houses there don't look too bad.

    1. Yeah, I spotted that in the patch notes. It does make a difference to my decision but only in that it makes it a little less crucial. I'm not as interested in the functionality as the aesthetics for my major purchase. Both the places I'm considering are very inconveniently positioned but I'd rather have somewhere with a view I want to look at. I'll settle for something small and central for the convenience factor.


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