ATiTD – Compound Expansion

Materials List
Materials List

I was determined to expand the compound I started earlier, so I took stock of what I needed and began gathering and crafting it.

My Compound
My Compound

After a lot of wood planing, flax planting, and assorted other repair and gathering tasks, I finally amassed the materials needed to finish my compound. And it is cool that I have created a building on the landscape of this game! If you go to the River Plains district, across the road from the School of Architecture near the water… you can’t miss it. 😉 Be quick though, I didn’t plant a cornerstone so the building will slowly decay and eventually vanish, unless I subscribe and get a cornerstone, or learn the repair skill and fix it up every so often.

Level 2
Level 2

The pyramid icon at the top opens the character advancement chart. In it, the top row is highlighted (corresponds to the Architecture tests), and the leftmost icon with the double obelisks is glowing, meaning I’ve completed that task (which was to build and expand a compound in order to complete the Principles of Architecture).

In most games, getting to level 2 barely requires effort. Not so in this game! I spent quite some time crafting and gathering to finish and level.

My chief complaint so far is that many operations are very “clicky”. For example, making bricks. Just picking the finished product up, six at a time, requires four clicks:

  1. Click the brick rack
  2. Click “Take”
  3. Click “Bricks” (instead of “Everything which cleans up the brick rack)
  4. Click “Max” (Flimsy brick rack contains 6 bricks. Take how many?)

Somehow that should be designed to require 2 clicks at the most.

Some tasks I find annoying, such as gathering slate. It can’t be gathered until you are standing near it, and there is no visible graphic for a slate node (neither is there for sand or mud, but for those you can just walk in the beach area near water). Slate is also found near water, but in fewer places than sand or mud (which are basically everywhere). Looking for slate involves a lot of trial and error: walk a little bit, see if the “gather slate” icons appears, back track, click-click-click to search in little increments around the invisible spot that triggers the icon, etc.

I need to do some hard thinking about whether or not to keep playing. I haven’t used up my free time yet (24 hours in-game), but I must be over halfway through it, if not more. Not all tests are so crafting intensive – one involves solving puzzles made by other players, another involved identifying plants, etc. This game is very different that other MMOs I’ve played. It is certainly a bold and different vision of an MMO focused on creating and building, and I kinda want to support it.

What I’ll do is study the various tests available and see what kind of variety I would encounter if I decide to continue. I’d like to play something different, not just combat-based fantasy-themed games. However, I find I miss the occasional combat in this game.

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ATiTD – Building a Compound

As a newly minted Level 1 Citizen, I set out to do the natural thing in an MMO – level up. 😉 Leveling works a little different in this game – instead of killing stuff for experience points, I had to finish a test.

Tests are organized into groups of disciplines, with each discipline containing seven tests. Each discipline also has Principle “intro quest” (e.g. Principles of Architecture) that must be finished first.

At level 1, the only tests available to me were Principles of Architecture, Principles of Body, and Principles of Harmony. In each case, completing the Principles would allow me to take further tests in the Discipline, and earn a level.

The Principles of Architecture required resource gathering, Principles of Body required identifying plants within a time limit, and Principles of Harmony required talking to several other players and meeting ones with various titles.

Of these, I opted to work on the Principles of Architecture. The Principles of Harmony looks like one to try later when I find a hub of players – so far I’ve only seen around 5 total. And I ruled out Principles of Body since I haven’t learned how to fast travel yet (“Exploration Travel”). Thus, I ran to a School of Architecture and clicked to see what I had to do.

Architecture entry
Architecture entry

The Principles of Architecture task is to build a compound then expand it,

Compound tuition
Compound tuition

and the tuition is 100 boards and 200 bricks.

Gathering the wood was easy enough – I ran around to various trees and gathered wood from them. Unlike other MMOs, the resource nodes here doesn’t vanish after being harvested, they stay in the world. (For that matter, resources don’t show up on the mini-map so far as I can tell). But, that doesn’t mean you can click furiously on something and harvest all you need quickly:

Resource timeout
Resource timeout

This didn’t actually hold me up much since I ran between three clumps of trees, and by the time I was back around, the tree was ready to be harvested again. I did keep track of how much time this took, and it was 4 minutes to gather 100 wood.

Turning that wood into boards was another matter – that requires a wood plane (which I had already built). So I started planing my wood into boards, but after a bit, the plane broke!

Broken wood plane
Broken wood plane

Making a stone blade required slate, which I gathered… to sum up, between broken blades, gathering slate, and planing the wood, it took a total of 18 minutes to plane 100 wood into boards.

Hm….

Anyway, onto making bricks. Since bricks take sand, straw, and mud, I started gathering them. Sand and mud came from the banks of a nearby river, and is easy to gather since you can specify how much you want to pick up (there is even a “max” button). Straw took a while, because you have to gather grass, then drop it and wait for it to dry into straw (the bundle changes color). All together it took me another 23 minutes to gather resources – there was a little bit of inventory juggling in there, plus I probably wasn’t as efficient drying grass into straw while gathering more.

Making the bricks took another 17 minutes (I used two brick racks) and then I ran back to the School of Architecture to pay my tuition. The next step was to build a compound, which requires… 100 boards and 200 bricks to start, and then more materials to expand in order to complete the task.

ATiTD – Citizenship

I just had a few things left on the checklist/intro quest: learn the Clothwork skill, build a small distaff, spin twine, and tear down my Wood Plane (I guess that last one teaches you to clean up after yourself rather than leave little buildings all over).

Waiting for flax to rot
Waiting for flax to rot

Tuition for Clothwork was 20 Rotten Flax, so I spent some time growing and harvesting flax. Then, I threw it in the water and waited for it to rot. When it was ready to be picked up, the orange buoy turned to white.

My Crafting Area
My Crafting Area

Next was building the small distaff. That required boards, brick, and wood, so I gathered from a few trees, and also made bricks. Eventually I built the distaff, and stood back to admire my little crafting area by the water.

Citizenship
Citizenship

After spinning twine and tearing down my wood plane, I became a Level 1 citizen!

This game is certainly a lot different than other MMOs. So far so good, but I’ll see what gameplay has opened up now that I can take Tests in the various Disciplines of Man.

ATiTD – New Arrival

A Tale in the Desert
This is going to be very different…

For a long time, I have been interested in trying out A Tale In The Desert, a non-combat MMO focused on crafting and trading. I finally decided to do it!

Initial Exploration

New Arrival
New Arrival

Logging in and creating a character was simple… in fact I just took the defaults because there didn’t seem to be a preview system. Basically I could select a few attributes (hair color, clothing style) but I had to close the menu to see the effect, and after a few minutes I just took whatever happened to be there.

Running Through Grass
Running Through Grass

The tutorial started out with some simple tasks: rotate the camera, movement, and simple resource gathering. After a quick lesson on how to pull up the map, I was off to find a School of Architecture.

Stone Blade tuition
Stone Blade tuition

I made my way across the landscape to the School of Architecture, where I was to learn Stone Blade Fabrication. Learning from a school is easy: merely click on the school and select what you want to learn. Paying tuition is a different matter, because it involved bartering resources. The cost for Stone Blade Fabrication is 7 slate, and I had none.

I followed the tutorial directions and went to a nearby river to look for slate. I clicked on everything, but to no avail, I couldn’t find slate anywhere! Then I noticed the “gather slate” icon would appear at certain spots. It seems the the slate nodes have no visible graphic on the landscape, other than the gathering icon. I finished gathering slate by inching along the shoreline, stopping wherever the icon displayed.

My Wood Plane
My Wood Plane

This pattern continued – gather resources to pay for tuition, learn a new skill or buildable project, gather more resources to make the next item in the tutorial. Eventually I built a Wood Plane, which I am proudly standing by in the above screenshot.

After that I build a brick rack and then dried bricks… feeling happy with my progress in the game, I decided this was a good stopping point – in the overall intro quest to become a citizen, I’m midway, at the point where I need to visit the School of Art and Music and get flax seeds.

Flax Harvest

After a little break, I fired up ATiTD on my Windows notebook instead of my Mac, and played a bit more.

Growing flax
Growing flax

I traveled to the School of Art and Music and picked up 3 flax seeds. The tutorial instructions were “See if you can figure out a way to grow more flax”. Hm.. what could that mean?

I didn’t over think it and just planted a flax seed and watched… a few seconds later the graphics changed, adding some greenish plants to my flax plot. I checked the action menu and there was an option to weed the garden, so I did. This repeated but eventually I was able to harvest flax.

Now I had 2 flax seeds and 1 flax, so evidently what the tutorial message meant was that I need to figure out how to get more flax seeds.

I planted another seed and this time, didn’t do any weeding. Eventually when I checked, I discovered I grew a “wild flax plant” that could be harvested for seeds – aha! With this figured out, I was able to balance growing for seeds and growing for harvest and accumulated the flax I needed.

So far so good, and next time I play I’ll push to complete the welcome/intro checklist and become a citizen!