Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trying A Tale In The Desert

I first heard of A Tale in The Desert on The Van Hemlock podcast.  From listening to Tim and Jon I gathered that if I wanted to play the game, I would need to start playing at the beginning of a telling.  The new telling, #5, began on 7 August.  Tobold has jumped into the game and I heard on Van Hemlock #115 that Jon is playing again.  But here is the passage from Tobold's latest post that had me actually downloading the game.
"Don't be fooled by the lack of combat in A Tale in the Desert. The possibilities to harm your fellow players in ATitD are huge, and make EVE look like a game for wussies [emphasis mine]. Have you ever noticed that all the big stories you hear about EVE aren't actually about PvP in the form of ship combat, but involve things like infiltrating guilds, betrayal, and bank scams? A Tale in the Desert eliminates the combat part and goes directly for the throat, forcing players to interact with each other socially, with the stakes being higher than in any other game. In A Tale in the Desert players can even be voted out of the game, being banned by the demi-pharaoh, a player elected by the other players. And it is exactly *because* players have such huge potential to harm each other that A Tale in the Desert often plays so much more civilized than other games. If being a jerk can have serious negative consequences for a player, then he might be thinking twice about it."
With 24 hours of game play free before being asked to pay a subscription, I have to at least try the game, if only to say I play all the good crafting games.  I completed the tutorial this morning and here are my initial impressions.

Movement - Movement is point and click on the spot you want to go to.  It takes some getting used to if you are used to the WASD movement of most Western MMOs.  I've found that I actually adjust my camera view a lot to make travel easier.

Harvesting - Unlike all the other MMOs I've played, resource nodes are not always visible on the ground.  Going through the tutorial I needed to harvest slate, which was only visible to harvest when an icon appeared in the upper-left hand corner of my screen.  I have the feeling this is only true for resources found in the ground; I had no problems finding wood.  In other words, the harvesting system is a bit more realistic.

Learning skills - At least in the beginning, skills are learned two ways.  Initially, the skill is learned from a university.  After that, skills are improved upon by actually doing the task.  And you can fail at doing a task and lose your harvested materials if your skill level is low enough.

Zoning - No, I'm not referring to instancing.  ATitD looks like it has zoning laws.  At least I couldn't build a work bench (okay, I forget the actual name) within 300 feet of a university.  I'll be interested to see more about zoning in the game.

Those are just some quick impressions after about one hour of play.  A Tale in the Desert is an intriguing game and if the EverQuest 2 Extended beta were not coming out this week, I might actually commit myself to making it my #2 MMO.  As it is, I'll have to wait and see.

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