Monday, September 12, 2022

Free Parking In Noah's Heart or This Is Why We Can Have Nice Things

Look up and you'll see the new Parking Space I installed this morning in front of my house in Noah's Heart. This kind of personalization is one of the things that endears me to the game.

I forget when I got the recipe. It was a reward for something I did, possibly hitting Craftsman Level 3, which happened quite a while ago. I haven't been focused on crafting so I've been levelling very slowly, or at least I think I have. I don't really have anything to benchmark against.

Anyway, however I got it, I remember the recipe appearing in my bags and wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with a parking space. It's not like there are zoning regulations or parking enforcement officers. Or are there?

I added it to my recipe book. To make it I needed hard stone, iron ingots, meteoric iron, mysterious material (That's the actual name of the mat.) and a Construction Permit. All easy to get except the last, only it seemed I already had one. As usual, I have no idea where it came from. Maybe as part of the reward when I got the recipe. Who knows?

I still didn't really understand what the Parking Space was for but I was guessing maybe it might let  me park my vehicles outside my house. That would be cool. More practically, placing the thing also gives a very large amount of Decoration and Utility, the two stats you have to raise to upgrade your house level. My house is Level 8 now and it's getting harder to level all the time so a big boost like that would be very welcome.

This morning I finally got around to making and placing the thing and guess what? It does let you park your vehicles, visibly, outside your house. It looks pretty good doing it, too.

I only have one land vehicle, the Sky Devourer motorcycle. I was slightly concerned that placing it on the parking space might mean I no longer had access to it in the open world but I figured I could always pick it up again. I gave it a go.

It was pretty expensive to park, something like 10,000 Home Coins. I'd already spent several thousand earlier. I'd bought a tank for my land crab from the Phantom Merchant, who'd set up his store in my bedroom (There are currently three NPCs standing around in my bedroom. I try not to think about it.) I still had just about enough left so I paid the fee. I hope it's a one-time thing.

My bike looks great parked outside on the diamond-patterned parking space and it turns out I can still summon it and ride it in the open world. Win-win! There seems to be plenty of room for more vehicles so if and when I get any I'll see if there's room for those as well.

My property has a good-sized river running through it, complete with waterfalls and a lake deep enough to swim in. I'm hoping at some point I'll be able to craft a mooring to display my ship. Or ships, even. I'm hoping to expand my fleet some day.

Crafting is also how I got the smart, new outfit I'm wearing. Once again, I forget how I got the pattern for it. I really ought to take notes. I think it must have been from an "Event

There only seem to be a couple of  ways to get the patterns you need to make outfits: Events or Phantom Appreciation. The latter is by far the most common. You have to raise your standing with individual phantoms to the point where they see it as a compliment that you want to dress exactly like them and give you the pattern so you can make your own version of whatever they're wearing. 

Unfortunately for would-be fashionistas, Phantom Appreciation raises very slowly - or rather you have to give them an insane number of gifts to raise it. I've been concentrating on getting Charlie Babbage to like me for no better reason than you have to start somewhere and so far I'm at Affection Level 7 with her. I'd have to max my affection out at Level 12 to get her to give me the pattern for her signature look, the Rift-Echo Set.

I certainly didn't get my pattern that way so it has to have been from one of the mysterious "Events" but since I have no idea what an "Event" even is in this context, let alone how you'd go about doing one, we'd better forget about it for now. The point is, you can realistically expect to get a whole wardrobe of outfits for doing in-game activities, which is a huge step-up from most games with a cash shop.

You can buy outfits in the cash shop. Of course you can. Except, as I write this, in the Fashion tab of the Mall there's a grand total of two. In the Fashion tab of my Tailor recipe book there are fifty-six! 

They do sell quite a few accessories in the Mall - things like glasses and umbrellas and wigs. Tailors can't make anything like that but you can get plenty from those mysterious events. All of this seems quite unusual and worthy of comment. Well done Archosaur. I hope you can still pay the bills.

Noah's Heart is stuffed to bursting with little touches you can bring to your character besides the inevitable sunglasses and bunny ears. Titles, for example. Titles play a huge part in how other players see you, not least because they dispaly as gigantic, glowing, baroque signage over your head. 

You can see the most modest example in many of my screenshots, where I haven't cropped it out. I've been sporting the Cool Summer title almost since I started, mostly because it's relatively discrete and not too bizarre. I have two other permanent titles: Traveller's Amulet and Cute Boy but I have a dozen time-limited titles, including such gems as Friendship Umbrella and Original Mind

Actually, I just used that last one. When displayed, it reads Beginner's Mind, which isn't nearly as flattering! Translation issues again.

Titles also come with stats so the choice of which to display can be more than cosmetic, if that's what you want. Maybe that's why there are no titles on sale in the Mall. Except, no, it can't be that, because other display items on sale there, like Avatar Frames, also come with stats. Archosaur definitely don't have anything against pay-to-win.

Avatar Frames are the borders that go around the postage-stamp sized portrait of your character that appears in the top left corner of the screen. I never for a moment thought I'd have the slightest interest in them - and then I got the Starry Night frame from the recent art-inspired story arc and now I want them all!

Most are quite attractive. Some are really lovely. There are thirty-three in the collection so far and once again only two are for sale in the Mall. How you get the rest is unclear. Seven come from "Events" although which events isn't explained. As for the the rest, your guess is as good as mine. 

There's a social element to the frames, too. I look at the frame of every competitor in Fantasy Arena PvP as I sit there trying to decide which of them I might be able to beat. It gives some vestige of personality to my opponent, someone I'll never meet and who's only face is the face of a Phantom. 

I recognize some regualars as much by their choice of frame as by their name. And I like to think of other people, sitting there, looking at my frame. 

That's just a sample of the way your experience can be personalized and made to feel individual. Granted, it's the kind of individuality you used to see in the eigthies, when a gang of goths turned up at a gig, all of them dressed in variations of black, all wearing black eyeliner, all with their hair back-combed like Robert Smith, but unlike snowflakes, no two of them ever really did look quite the same.

The delight is in the detail and detail is something Noah's Heart has in abundance. I like it a lot.

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