Monday, May 9, 2022

New Horizons

Yesterday, I happened upon a news item at MassivelyOP that took me completely by surprise. 

It wasn't the one about whoever it is behind Bored Ape Yacht Club making an MMO and getting things horribly wrong, although that was a bit weird. Do any of these cryptobros claiming to be making MMOs ever actually, y'know, make a game? That works? That you can actually play? That anyone wants to play? And if they do, how come they can knock one out so quickly when everyone else seems to take about five years?

No, it was this, about Chimeraland getting an official North American release. As regular readers will no doubt remember, this blog was all about Chimeraland earlier in the year. I racked up nearly twenty posts about the game in around six weeks, before End of Dragons came along and muscled everything else out of the way.

I've been meaning to get back to Chimeraland ever since. Not only was I enjoying it but I also want to see whether my house still stands and I'm curious whether there've been any significant changes while I've been away.

Whenever I was on the verge of logging in again, though, something else always seemed to crop up that seemed more pressing. With the puppy taking huge bites out of the furniture my hand the day, opportunities to catch up have been harder to find than ever.

Of course, I did log in immediately prior to starting this post, aiming to gather a few pertinent facts and take some appropriate screenshots, only to find the servers are down to correct a monster-spawning issue on the central continent (Too few monsters. Can't have that!). 

With luck they'll come up before I finish and I'll be able to check if my house still stands and report back. If not, well I have plenty of screenshots I haven't used yet. I've taken more than six hundred.

Once I can log in again, the real question is whether there'd be much point. If the game's going to get a bona fide English-language launch in North America, maybe I'd be better off waiting for that and starting over when it happens.

I'm always amenable to new beginnings. It's fun to start over in mmorpgs. I used to do it all the time and I was thinking only recently how odd it is that the continual drip-feed of new games means I don't seem to be able to find the time to replay old ones the way I used to.

There's also the possibility there might be new content or at least newly-localised content in the Western release. The translations in the Asian version I've been playing are decent but there are some ambiguities. It would be good to see a more idiomatic translation.

Then there's the question of latency. Lag, if you prefer. I confess I'd actually forgotten about the physical location of the servers where I've been playing until now. I never did get all that much lag, only now and again. The game almost always felt responsive enough that I didn't feel in any way inconvenienced.

Whether things would be better on a North American server depends where exactly in the continent they put it. North America is a big place. I get very good ping to the East Coast but if the servers are in California, another three thousand miles further away, it might not be much better than it is in Singapore.

Given that the North American release is being prefaced by a closed beta in Canada I suspect the servers will be on this side of the map, which would suit me very well. The next question, then, is should I apply for that beta?

That's an easy one. No. If it was an open-ended test then maybe but it's not. The beta begins on Thursday and runs until the following Tuesday. Just five days. Definitely not worth the effort since I already know what I think about the game and there's no chance I would spend long enough in the beta to give much in the way of valuable feedback in such a short time.

Unless it's just the first of a series, such a short beta does suggest a quick turnaround to the full, live release. It sounds like much more of a technical stress test on the servers than any kind of developmental process. 

I guess that also means there won't be much in the way of specific localization for the new market after all, not unless all the work's been done already. I would expect the NA release to be materially the same as the current version that's running in South-East Asia.

And why not? As I said many times back when I was writing about it a couple of months ago, Chimeraland is a very good game. It's a bit rough around the edges, here and there, but it's significantly more finished and complete than any number of other mmorpgs I've played were when they launched. If it ain't broke, as the saying goes...

The only remaining question would seem to be whether or not I want to give up all the work I've already done, the time I've put in, in order to begin again from scratch. There's the good old sunk cost fallacy to consider but I'm generally not one to let that color my decisions too vividly.

I did put in a lot of hours but a very large percentage of those were spent figuring out systems and mechanics. Learning how to play the game. I haven't been away long enough for that knowledge to dissipate so I'm confident I could get back to where I am now in a fraction of the time.

I could also do a better job of some things, quite specifically like where I chose to build my home. I was happy enough with the spot I picked last time but I saw many better as I travelled around the world. I'm certain I could fins somewhere more congenial.

I'm also pretty sure I could build a more coherent and convenient home. I'm quite proud of the one I have but I made some design choices that aren't ideal and they're getting in the way of future developments. It's possible (Although by no means certain.) I could do a better job of things, second time around.

Another consideration I hadn't entirely taken on board is that Chimeraland is cross-platform. You can play either on PC or on Android. It might be interesting to try the NA version on my Kindle Fire, assuming the aging tablet will even run it.

Having thought about it as I've been writing, I think I'll almost certainly start over on the NA servers when the time comes. I wouldn't consider transferring my existing character even it was possible, which I'm guessing it won't be. Most likely, I'll just end up with accounts on both the SEA and NA versions of the game. Maybe even on the European release, too, if there is one sometime down the line.

The servers still aren't up so I'm going to leave it that for now. I will drop in when they come up just to see if my house is still standing but I'll put any thoughts of further progress to one side at least until a firm date for the NA launch appears. 

If it's soonish then I'll wait. If it's not, well, I'll probably wait anyway. 

There's so much going on and so little time to fit it all in. Just like always.


  1. Well, I've been playing Chimeraland all the way to now and this bit of news explains why the name of some stuff changed with the May 7th server update. I just got the current level cap of 65 on my main and have built 6 different versions of my house in 3 different locations. Despawning your house is a stressful move because building a new one takes some serious time and means not doing anything else (no dailies, no pet stuff, not trading) until the new project ends up and, God willing, both location and house design work.

    But then I've just become a serious house builder determined to stretch the system to its limits...

    Also started a second char in a different server as I needed a char to take some measurements before starting house #4 (which had to match certain features of the spot I chose for it) and now that little second char is about to be involved in some more serious house building...

    Veteran tip for newcomers? What makes pet power it's maturity pills, not pet level or grade. Developing a grade A pet to its full maturity takes a fuckton pills (and/or consumption of eggs) and the arcade machine will only provide so many pulls playing once and only once the pet devouring minigame. Don't waste those reward pills on random pets.

    1. I felt a little guilty, bailing on Chimeraland so completely when other things intervened. It wasn't my intention but as usual, once the habit of logging in every day was broken it quickly went to not logging in at all. It's happened so many times now, with so many games, I din't really know why I'd expect anything else.

      The upside is that if I ever liked a game to begin with, I usually end up going back repeatedly, often for years. I imagine that's what will happen with Chimeraland, particularly with the NA restart becoming an option. It is an excellent game in many ways and I can see it becoming popular in the West - *if* it gets the attention. Most imports seem to just vanish almost unobserved, sadly.

      I guess you won't be moving, given the degree of investment you already have on the SEA servers. I feel your pain with the house moves, too. Landmark had a template system that was supposed to allow you to blueprint your house, tear it down, then re-assemble it in another location. It did work, but as you describe, the problem was the terrain; unless you moved from a completely flat plain to another completely flat plain, something always didn't fit and the whole thing went wrong. At least you didn't have to rebuild form scratch, though.


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