Wednesday, January 26, 2022

You'll Never Get Me Up In One Of Those Things...

I played a lot of Chimeraland today. I took loads of screenshots, some to remind me of things I wanted to write up in a post, others because the game can be so goddam pretty, when it wants to be. In the end, I played so long and took so many shots there's probably enough material for three or four posts, easily. it would be three in the morning before I finished typing it all up.

Yeah, I'm not doing that. I thought about doing another photomontage-with-footnotes instead. They're always fun and they don't take too long to put together. In the end, though, I decided to stick to the one thing I knew I was going to write about as soon as it happened, which was that I got myself a flying mount!

That's him, right there. He's not much to look at, is he?

He's a vulture or, to be exact, a Vultura. Most creatures in Chimeraland are... well, they're chimeras. Two or more animals melded together by some freakish magic. What animal other than a vulture was involved in this combination I have no idea. When you see a Litiger it's pretty easy to work out what happened (A Lion and a Tiger loved each other very much...) but when all you have to go on is a loose letter "A" and what looks like a halloween mask grafted onto a bird's head, well I'm open to suggestions.

I learned today, as I was grubbing around the Chimeraland subReddit, trying to work out how to get my supposed "flying" mount to lift me higher than three feet off the ground, that you can do the mix-and-matching yourself. You can graft wings onto a big cat and fly in style... if you know how.  

I don't, yet. I think it involves feeding one kind of animal to another and hoping the traits you want carry over. Or something. Like all of Chimeraland's systems it's bound to be complex and require both thought and effort.

How did I get my Vultura, anyway? Was it some login freebie or a quest reward? Was it hell! I caught it myself. Not only that, I did it unprompted, spur of the moment, seat of the pants, all that good stuff. Here's how it happened.

I was out looking for a chilli pepper bush to photograph for that ranger whose picture I used in yesterday's post to illustrate the "come back and do this every day" nature of modern mmorpgs. She's human (I think) but she hangs around in one of the beast villages, the only one I've found so far, even though she has this thing about wanting to see the world.

My character had a chat with her... hell, I may as well use my character's name for once, seeing as how it's there in every one of the selfies I've been posting... Floradyne chatted with the ranger, trying to persuade her to go travelling but reading between the lines there's some kind of romantic tryst the ranger's hoping will happen if she just hangs around where she is for long enough, so she's going nowhere.

What she wants is for Travellers (Which is what player-characters and, confusingly, NPCs that behave like players, are called in the game.) to take snapshots of various things and show them to her, so she feels like she's seeing the world. It's that panda from EverQuest II all over again. The things she's interested in seeing are about as random as Yun Zi's, too. Today she wanted me to photograph a chilli plant, a Vuldo (It's a big, blue bird.) and my dressing table. 

The village is on the edge of the desert and I figured there might be chilli plants there so I was out on the sands looking (And overheating - as I think I mentioned, Chimeraland has a well-developed weather system complete with debuffs.) when I noticed something flapping around not too far above me.

I knew there were flying mounts in the game although I haven't yet seen anyone fly by on one. There are also mounts that go underwater, something I very much need to do. There's stuff on the sea bed I need. I'd already been out looking for one of those, without success but I hadn't made much of an attempt to find a flying mount yet.

Actually that's not entirely true. I caught a weird giant mosquito yesterday. I had hopes for that but it turned out to be a combat pet, not a mount, which is probably just as well. It would give me nightmares to ride the thing. I'd show you a picture but for once I don't seem to have taken any, which should tell you plenty about how repulsive it is.

Seeing a bird about her own size gave Floradyne the idea to try and capture it. She'd just crafted a much-improved capture-gun (Look, it has a proper name but I can't remember it and I'm up against a deadline here so I don't want to have to log back in and check, okay? Just go with it!) and she'd been having great success with it so her chances looked good.

Capturing creatures is fun and fairly easy once you get the hang of it. I may go into in more detail another time but the gist is this: you beat up the creature you want to capture until it's all but dead, then you bring out your capture-gun and blast at it until a big, blue bubble wraps the creature up and drops a tiny version of it at your feet. Or, more likely, a hundred yards away in some bushes.

Nearly always, what you get is a temporary version of the pet, one you can summon for five minutes before it vanishes for ever. That sounds feeble but the real purpose of those is to feed them to your proper pets. That does...something. I'd tell you what but I haven't tried it yet. I have a bag full of temporary pets and feeding them to the permanent ones is on my to do list. I'll get back to you when I've done it.

Once in a while, instead of a temporary pet you'll get an egg. That's when you dance around, waving your hands (Or paws.) in the air and singing for joy. If you have a Hatcher in your house you can put the egg in it, sit yourself down on top, wait a couple of minutes and out pops a permanent pet version of whatever it was you caught.

Again, there's a bit more to it than that, although I'm not sure how much. The temperature has to be right, I know that. 

I was exceptionally lucky. I only had to kill a couple of vultures before an egg dropped. I was so excited! I ported home but just as I was about to pop the egg on the Hatcher i noticed it was night and the temperature had fallen to fifteen degrees Celsius. I checked the egg and it said it needed "Warm" temperatures to hatch. I didn't know what that meant, exactly, but Floradyne figured so long as she was neither shivering nor feeling dehydrated it was probably about right.

Still, we waited until the sun came up and the temperature rose to a balmy 20C before we started. That turned out to be exactly right. As the process runs you can see two temperature gauges on screen, one showing the current ambient temperature and the other the temperature the egg needs to be. They were identical. Phew!

At this point I still didn't know for certain whether the Vultura would be a mount or a combat pet. It wasn't until the egg hatched and I was able to look at the details in the Pet window that I saw it was flagged as a "Mount". 

Obviously I couldn't wait to try it out. I "Deployed" it and went outside to give us plenty of room. Then I pressed "G" to mount. Next thing I knew I was upside down, high in the air, moving. The world lurched and we were right-way up as the vulture barrelled across the river at speed. I tried to change direction but the whole world span crazily again and before I could figure anything out we were on the far bank, back on the ground.

I won't go into details about the next twenty minutes. There was a lot of getting on and getting off. There may have been some swearing. If you've read any Terry Pratchet, think of Granny Weatherwax trying to get her broom started. Reddit, for once, was no help at all and the lack of anything remotely resembling a wiki is a distinct problem when it comes to moments like this.

Finally I noticed a tiny on-screen prompt down in the bottom right-hand corner. That's where the game puts little indicators to let you know what keys to press in certain situations. To get a flying mount to, y'know, fly, you don't do any of the usual things I've learned from other games. You don't hit the space bar or Page Up or use mouselook. You press "Shift". 

Of course you do. Never mind it's the "Sprint" key. 

Once I'd gotten that sorted we were airborne. And then we were back on the ground. Again.

It took me a while longer to realize the mount uses up stamina to fly in exactly the same way a character uses it to sprint. Okay, now that choice of key is starting to make sense.

After a while I'd just about gotten the hang of it. The controls aren't the smoothest or the easiest but like most things in Chimeraland that just adds to the sense of involvement. Not to mention the Vultura is most likely about as entry-level a flying mount as you're likely to find. Pretty sure no-one's going to be keeping one once they've grafted wings onto a Litiger. I expect the bigger ones are steadier. They'd pretty much have to be.

My Vultura will very much do me for now, though. I've had plenty of flying mounts in my time, nearly all of them flashier and cooler than this one, but I'm not sure I've ever felt such a sense of satisfaction in getting one off the ground before.


  1. Congrats! Sound like a nice adventure all right.

    1. It was fun. Plenty more adventures to come, I hope.

  2. Congrats on the flying mount, it sounds like quite an involved process. I was trying to come up with something from the screenshots but I have no idea what the vulture is suppose to be mixed with...maybe another vulture?

    I've been really enjoying your posts about this game. I never heard of it until you started writing about it! I thought this was region locked since I couldn't download it on my tablet but apparently the PC version downloads just fine. Definitely going to check this game out for myself.

    1. It isn't available for my Kindle Fire, either, which is really annoying because it's perhaps the first cross-platform game I might have played on both tablet and PC. I thought it was because the Fire isn't that advanced but the recommended specs for Chimeraland aren't that high so maybe it is region-locked on mobile.


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