Friday, January 14, 2022

Are You Sure You're Taking This Seriously?

After an annoying couple of days involving long waits in freezing cars, unanticipated taxi trips and four mile walks (Car Trouble, to quote Adam Ant.) it was great to get back to Chimeraland for a long, uninterrupted four hour session this afternoon. I'm starting to think it might be a genuinely good game, not just a curio and a novelty. I'm certainly getting a lot out of it. 

Whether it's a good mmorpg is another matter entirely. It certainly is one. It has all the relevant social options and group content as well as a plethora of progression mechanics. It also has non-consensual PvP with very few restrictions, as I understand it.

So far, though, despite the server being flagged "Busy" every time I log in, I've seen very few other players. Chat seems to be off by default, one of an increasing number of non-standard choices made by the development team. Since I haven't bothered to switch it on, my experience so far has been quiet and peaceful.

One guy did let fly a ten-second burst of gunfire at me yesterday but since I hadn't then reached fifteen, the fateful level at which PvP opts you in whether you want it or not, I just ignored him and he soon went on his way. 

You can eat the flowers if you want but don't blame me if you get colic.

It's a very long time since being ganked in an mmorpg bothered me any more than being jumped by a mob. Indeed, I just consider gankers to be mobs with marginally better AI. I was considerably more concerned when I read that non-consensual PvP extends to buildings. Someone can come round your house and smash it up with a hammer. Or something.

I don't know how it works, to be honest. I guess I'll find out when it happens. I'm not even sure whether you have to be logged in or whether people can just wander about vandalizing structures as they feel the urge. 

I know from the documentation you lose nothing other than the time it takes you to make repairs. All the mats and furniture get returned to you. Really, it's not that different from Valheim, where giants frequently rock up uninvited to bash down the walls you spent hours putting up. I suspect it will happen a lot less often in Chimeraland. At least I hope so.

This looks like a good spot.

As I mentioned yesterday I was planning to do, today I scoped out a better spot and moved house. It's an extraordinarily simple process, arguably too simple. A single key press with no confirmation returns your entire home to your packs, leaving no trace it was ever there.

In the end I didn't move far. I was thinking of looking for a spot where the almond blossom grows thick beneath the waterfall but when I got there the area seemed pretty well settled already. I would probably have pressed on further but I saw some fiery flashes in the distance that looked intriguing. 

I cantered over to see what was happening. Mounts swim, fight and follow without being asked so it's easy to change plans on the fly. When I got there, I found a couple of players engaging a forty-foot scorpion. The beast was around half-health so I thought I might join in without too much fear of drawing aggro. I have no clue what the protocol for this kind of thing is in Chimeraland but it seemed like a good way to find out.

Chimeraland's mounts are everything Guild Wars 2's aren't. Thank god.

Another thing I learned yesterday, after I cracked and read the official new player guide, is that low-mid players ought to stick to ranged attacks. I had been meleeing and making quite a meal of it so that sounded like welcome advice. I had a decent crossbow from some reward or other so I made a couple of thousand bolts (Very cheap and easy to do.) and gave it a try.

Oh. My. God! What a difference! The crossbow works more like a sub-machine gun or a semi-automatic rifle. Stand well back and spray it like a firehose! 

I went from fights with even-level mobs being touch-and-go to being able to exterminate creatures well above my level long before they could get in range to do anything about it. Sometimes the impact of dozens of crossbow bolts seems to knock creatures off their feet. I don't think a single mob I've attacked has got a hit in on me since I changed to range.

That went well...

Unfortunately, forty-foot scorpions don't need to close to kill you. I was blithely blasting away from extreme range when the monster launched a massive AE and killed me instantly. Fair enough. I revived  back at my home (The old one.) and made the decision right then to move to a lovely spot I'd noticed just around the bend in the river.

It's a beautiful setting. I'd noticed a few houses built on or around natural features so I set my Spirit Stone in an outcrop of rock beside the water, just down the slope from a magnificent mature ironwood tree, one that can't be targeted for lumber by players.

Even though I had a ton of wood in my packs I was determined to emulate the wisest of the pigs and build my house of stone. If someone's going to blow my house down I'm damned if I'll make it easy for them. 

All building work should stop after 11pm. But it doesn't.

There are plenty of nodes that drop stone but as a resource it's still a lot scarcer than wood. I had to make numerous trips into the foothills to resupply. You might think that would get dull. Far from it.

Chimeraland reminds me of a number of games I've played and now I'm going to add another to the list: Zentia. I only played Zentia a few times but I still miss it when I think about it. It had an idiosyncratic style that I've rarely experienced elsewhere, a playful, imaginative, childlike sensibility that managed to feel intelligent and frivolous at the same time. 

When you're out hunting and cats keep running past pushing market stalls in front of them or apes ride by on wooden motorcycles, looking like one of the Troublemakers from McKenzie Crook's reinvented Worzel Gummidge, it's hard to take the whole thing too seriously. When a six-foot tall cross between a cat and a bee jogs past, pushing an empty wheel-chair and yelling how no-one rambles like he does, you might well think about checking the gas supply. 

Slow down! You'll have me out!

I wasn't hallucinating. It really happened. I have the pictures to prove it. What's more, I took them while I was sitting in the wheel chair. As I got close, to take a selfie with the cat-bee, I spotted the "Mount" icon on screen. An NPC running through the countryside hoping players will let him give them a ride in his wheelchair. Why the hell not?

Zentia had an NPC that ran around town wearing a papier-mache dragon's head. You could grab on to him and run along behind and then other players could grab on to you and each other untile there was a conga line of twenty or more, turning the busy streets into a chaotic party. This is the nearest to that glorious insanity I've seen since. Given that, so far, I've barely travelled a couple of miles past the starting area, it does make me wonder what else there is out there.

Penguins, for sure. There are penguins. Big ones. I've seen them. Why penguins are waddling about in what feels like a semi-tropical river valley I couldn't tell you but there they are. Six-foot storks that look like Big Bird, those too. And giant wasps but every game has those.

Let's just carry on and pretend we didn't see it.

There won't be much time for me to go looking for more weirdness this weekend. I'm working both days and with the car off the road until the middle of next week, I'll be walking to work and back, which is going to leave me with neither the time nor the energy to play or to post. Expect a couple of very short music posts at best.

Any time I do get to play, I'll be working on my house. It's coming along nicely albeit at the expense of the progress I was hoping to make on decorating my Mourningdale home in New World. The Winter Convergence event looks like it's going to go unfinished. The trials of a second home-owner, eh? 

No, I wouldn't sympathise with me, either.


  1. That does look interesting. The bee thing pushing a wheelchair has me particularly intrigued. Did he take you anywhere interesting?

    Unfortunately, for me non-consensual FFA PvP is kind of a nonstarter in an MMO. It has zero appeal to me as a gameplay concept. I really enjoy PvP in games where that is the whole point or as sub games within a game. However when you make it a single element of a full featured MMO, you are practically begging a few griefers to come along and ruin things for other players. You are not only giving them to tools to do it, you are telling them explicitly that it's fine to do so.

    1. The bee-cat pushed me around the area with little regard to obstacles. He had me half way up a mountain until we fell off. I didn't wait long enough to find out if he had a destination in mind but I doubt it.

      The PvP thing, like much of the game, is unclear to me as yet. There's a whole PvP continent where you can go for PvP all the time any time but what rules, if any, apply to the other two continents I couldn't tell you, even though I've read the new player guide which does go into it. I guess I'll find out if and when someone attacks me.


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