Choose My Adventure: Making the world (a better place?)

Here we are, drawing closer to the end of our Choose My Adventure journey, and I feel like I have just barely gotten started in Xsyon! There is so much left to do; I haven't even scratched the surface of my goals yet. Since construction is a slow process and gathering resources is taking longer and longer each day (you should see the workout I get hauling logs!), my personal fortress is still just a few completed walls and one pillar. I also haven't managed to circumvent the lake, find any chalk, or convince anyone to let me be President/Supreme Ruler of the Lake.

All right, maybe I haven't really tried hard at that last goal, but this week has seen your CMA correspondent meeting and greeting neighbors throughout the region, gathering resources, politely declining tribe invites (I will remain true to the vote throughout our adventures), and attempting to improve my skill in architecture. Also, I have enjoyed some relaxing fishing. As jaunts into the wilds for wood became longer each day, I kept watch over my shoulder with a touch of apprehension, always on the lookout for hostile folks and animals alike. There is always some question as to whether or not the elusive animals are in the game, but I have had a couple of run-ins with a mama and baby bear that ended poorly for me, so I try to never let my guard down.

What else did I learn this week about life on the shores of Lake Tahoe? Hike past the break to take a look at this week's adventures in Xsyon and then vote on how we approach combat for our final installment of Choose My Adventure.

While it may seem boring to some to slowly build a world from scratch, I find it it fun and rewarding to actually put time and effort into creating the world around me. Honestly, I have never subscribed to the idea of instant gratification, and if this game is so slow-paced that it drives that type away, I would not complain. There is a satisfaction that comes from actually creating something with your own hands (virtual or otherwise) and the depth of the satisfaction is directly proportional to what you put into the project -- any master craftsman can attest to that. Contrary to some of the comments flying around on the official forums about how the game is a flop and needs to have everything put in right now, Xsyon's Prelude was never about fast-paced action but rather about a time to build, stock up, develop skills, and expand your tribe. Anyone who comes into the game thinking otherwise will definitely be disappointed.

Crafting, continued

Besides socializing with neighbors (a valuable skill if you need to call upon one for assistance), I primarily focused on crafting during this last week. I hear that some people are at maximum skill level (90) for a number of crafting professions, but I will not grind enough for that distinction. Personally, I am avoiding being a jack-of-all-trades so that it is meaningful for me to find people with other crafting skills to trade or barter with.

One thing I found disheartening was that others crafted items and saw their crafting skill improve, resulting in acquiring some random additional recipes. I have yet to get new recipes or even see my architecture skill increase; apparently, I haven't built enough yet. For one, all I can do is place structures. I was trying to only build structures with meaning, but getting the materials back to the homestead in order to craft things is much more intensive for architecture than for other disciplines (see previous comment about hauling logs) whose crafters can simply bend down and scavenge or gather almost anywhere. Not only must I transport each log separately, but each spiked log wall takes 10 long logs of the same type, which further complicates the crafting process. Heavens forbid if your area is deforested and you need just one more weeping willow log. The other structures are the same, always requiring the same material to be used.

I am about to delve into mass production of pointless barricades that take only gathered branches and crafted twine in order to improve my skill. However, I don't want to litter the land with these, so that means I will go ahead and craft, then dismantle. Such a waste of resources!

Another key fact I have recently learned is that in order to gain the experience in architecture, you have to be the one who places the project and completes it. Although this doesn't affect those of us on single-man homesteads, anyone who was placing projects and letting the architect finish them was cheating both characters out of the experience points.

Advancing

As your skill in activities increases (from running, to jumping, to crafting, etc.), you receive experience. When your experience bar is full, you receive points to spend in your skills. The current front-runner for gaining experience is actually fishing; the skill-ups are quicker. I have also seen folks running into objects in order to increase their running skill without having to wander all over; although I am quite sure some are AFK grinding, others were actually there and talking -- they just didn't want to wander off cliffs and the like. A word of advice: When increasing your jumping skill, do not jump off the side of a mountain, even if it doesn't look that steep. The jump mechanic has an extra hop at the end that lands you much farther out than expected, and you are not likely to survive.

Exploration

If there is one thing available in this game, it's exploration. It is also time-consuming; the world may be small, but it is not quick to cover on foot and there are no other methods of transportation. Add in having to dodge cliffs, go around mountains, and avoid anything that watches you hungrily, and you can't travel in a direct path to make better time. My travels are currently just about meeting people, finding resources, and familiarizing myself with the area. My ultimate goal is to navigate using my surroundings instead of the position indicators.

My other goal is to find a nice deposit of sand -- hopefully not too far away, since I have to cart it all back in my little backpack. Even with maximum strength stat, I still can only carry a little at a time, and sand is needed to make mortar, a staple in all stone construction. I also would like to discover the elusive chalk, as I know plenty of crafters who will pay plenty to get their hands on some.

Survival tips

If you plan on making a long journey, I would suggest emptying your pack of anything non-essential to the journey. Not only could you lose your belongings to some crazed killer, but the added weight will slow you and make the trip longer. As it is, you have to stop and rest often -- more breaks is a tedium you could avoid. To rest, you can either sit by pressing "v" or lie down by pressing "b"; lying down does energize you more quickly.

If you brave carrying a fishing pole, you can fish to eat, otherwise you may want to carry some plants that you foraged. The whitefish will nearly fill you up from total hunger with only one serving, whereas other fish and berries will only satisfy a bit of your hunger. Water is plentiful to find and drink (click on the water drop icon in the resource tab as if you were gathering and you will bend down to drink in any body of water).

For anyone who hasn't yet experienced night in the game, it is quite dark, even more so in screenshots than in the game itself; what looks OK in-game comes out indistinguishable and needs some lightening to be visible. A friend told me that he set his gamma settings higher, but I did not find any visual setting that would allow for better viewing during the night. With this in mind, it can be both easier to travel safely in the dark (if you are alert and hide) or more perilous (as others can hide and ambush you better).

Tune in next time

One area that we have not yet covered in Xsyon is the combat. Testing combat now will give an idea of the state it is in currently; however, know that combat systems are not quite in place yet. So this week's poll is all about experiencing the combat portion of the game. Please be sure to vote by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 3rd to have your say in how we approach combat. Then watch the comments to meet up with me in-game on Monday to really test this feature with (on?) me.

I will admit right up front that I will not be looting any players I kill (assuming I am the victor, which is a big if); I am just testing the system, not trying to rob readers! I'm not quite sure how my editor would take the abuse of readers...
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Strap yourself in for the ride of (six weeks of) your life! Where are you going? Well, that's entirely up to you, the Massively readers, to decide -- the where, the what, and the how are all directed by you. The who is MJ Guthrie! For the duration of Choose My Adventure, her virtual life is in your hands! Join MJ in-game and on-site to be a part of the adventure and watch the story unfold.
This article was originally published on Massively.