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Bear with me. There's funny at the end. - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
Bear with me. There's funny at the end.
I've been playing the latest iteration of A Tale in the Desert, an MORPG that focuses on crafting and elaborate challenges instead of milling through monsters and NPCs. In the latest telling, the makers have introduced a level system to the game. This system does incorporate some neat features, but there are definite problems with it. The most basic is that the majority of players are far more interested in gaining levels so they can participate in more tests than they are in actually doing the tests themselves. This results in, for instance, lots of sculptures erected for the initiation to the Path of Art & Music that are utter crap but are still voted "interesting" by others who also take the view that it's just about getting the pass. The chariot stops are so littered with boring if not actively ugly pieces that the game ends up lagging terribly whenever you run into town. There's a reason why I settled on the frontier.

The other obvious problem is the fact that the various tests are wildly imbalanced in terms of the amount of work that's necessary, but they still result in the same rewards. Some tests require full weeks of work to prepare and that effort still doesn't guarantee a pass. In contrast, some of the other tests seem to be virtual gimmes. This was best illustrated when I was running through Seven Lakes last week and someone posted to the regional chat looking for "someone of the female persuasion to introduce himself to for the Test of Marriage principles." I hadn't started the test yet, so I asked what he meant...

"In order to pass principles, you have to 'introduce' yourself to a potential mate."

"That's it?"

"That's it."

"Alright, just so I'm clear on this, you gain a level for the equivalent of going up to someone in a bar and saying, How you doin'?"

"I'm not even sure that it's that complicated."
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komos From: komos Date: June 12th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Happen to know where he's settled? My guildmate and I are in North Karnak.

We live in a swamp. In the desert. (It's complicated.)
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: June 12th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Funny thing... We built an obelisk, and it didn't fall over, burn down, or sink into the swamp. As of yesterday, I think it was still the tallest in all of Egypt. That was boggling to think about, especially since we're just a couple of casual players.
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: June 12th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh yeah? How big?

I snuck into the edge of the Hinterlands (the region formerly known as VoK) and built a 14-cubit obi to pass. Turned out I wasn't the only person to have thought of it...

I'm settled in Lower Egypt, right on the tip of the Red Sea. I've been working on mining like a fiend today, and now I'm making nails so I can make brick racks that don't fall apart all the time. Once I'm done with that, the foundry compound! And then more metal! And more charcoal to cook the metal! Man, I have WEEKS of mining and smelting ahead of me...
komos From: komos Date: June 12th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
59 cubits. Karnak went high crazy fast, though it seems that they may have slowed down. To be fair, though, I've no idea what's gone on in LE, which seems to be as happening as Karnak ever could be. I do know that 7L, the place that wanted bragging rights for opening the test, had about half that when we checked on Saturday.

I heard people were getting shouted at in outlying areas for sneaking in obs. (The most persistent rumors are coming from Khartoum...) I thought it was weird because that's a time-honored tradition, and will become increasingly necessary if/when the "look what I can do" obs go up.

I think we're a bit behind the curve, but we're trying to take it easy and not burn out this time around. Should be able to finish my initiations before too long and then start looking towards the worship and art tests. I honestly think one architect in the family is enough. ^_^
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: June 13th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, looks like LE is at 53 or 54 now. Scary. I know how long it took me to make the twelve or so linen mine required. I can't imagine how much longer it took for that big an obelisk...

Qatara and DoS were getting pretty irritable whenever somebody else came through the region for a while. If you even asked about obelisks, it was torches-and-pitchforks time...

I'm also trying not to burn out, but I just started mining and now I can make all this metal stuff! It's so cool! Plus Improved Brick Racks...
komos From: komos Date: June 14th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, it didn't hold for long. We had it for about two days and then Karnak shot up again to 64. And then to 67.

We needed somewhere in the realm of 3500 flax to put it up, so you can guess what I spent my time doing last week. ^^
komos From: komos Date: June 12th, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and nice work on the meteors.

...assuming I'm remembering correctly that you unlocked the 1st altar?
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: June 13th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)

I didn't, actually, but I've been documenting and organizing people to experiment with the bits of stuff you get from the altars. I've got a small guild for interested people, but I need to make it a lot bigger so more people can sign up. The core is devoted, though.

I was, though, the first person to figure out how to sneak into the Hinterlands with a ferry boat, and the first person to get kicked out by Gentry. That was fun. 8)
komos From: komos Date: June 14th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's beyond awesome.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: June 12th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad that's not a real life test, cause I couldn't pass.
komos From: komos Date: June 12th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
According to Sky, it is a little more complicated to pass the principles in that you have to: a) introduce yourself, b) have someone introduce themselves to you, and c) witness a wedding. That being the case, I'm even more amused because I have Owen Wilson in my head in The Wedding Crashers going up to a lady and saying, "How you doin'?"

If I thought you had any time, I'd invite you to come play. It's kind of trippy.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: June 12th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I went to the website and looked and really had to resist. REALLY had to resist. Starting Thursday, my life won't be my own until... well, ever. ;D

Going forward, my life REALLY belongs to entertainment.
komos From: komos Date: June 12th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and I'd not be passing any time soon, either. I'm too damned shy.
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: June 13th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Aw. It's just a menu option....

Conveniently, I'm playing with stophittinyrslf (AKA Nikka), so we have built-in people to meet and then marry. Makes it much simpler. I'm also shy enough that I'm not sure I'd be able to work up to even the menu-driven introduction thingy...
komos From: komos Date: June 14th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking rl situations, but I'm honestly not sure that I'd be able to go through with the Test of Marriage if it weren't for the fact that I also play with someone I know. The "can log in as you" clause is a little much to allow internet strangers to have. Too many horror stories.

I'll see if we can't drop you a line in game at some point. I'm about ready for another good run, and I don't think I've been to LE since Beta.
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: June 14th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sure, head on up. Sign up for my very exciting guild, The Kings of the Divan. We have iron and copper mines! And IMPROVED BRICK RACKS!!! Those were well worth the effort to find the mines, I tell you.

And yeah-- were you around for Jumb getting banned in T2? That's a kind of dumb story, if you missed it, but involves somebody clueless marrying a known griefer who then screwed around with her guilds and got himself banned... That sure caused some arguments.
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