April 20, 2003

Just a few days ago I started playing A Tale In The Desert, a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that I've been seeing rave reviews for. But all the sites say that it will be a sleeper hit, and now I know why.

First off, there's no combat. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. The closest you get to attacking someone or something is playing a strategy game against them. But there's a LOT of building. And doing. And stuff. SO MUCH STUFF.

Second, there are quests in the game, but they're not Steal The Sacred Eye of Offler quests. They're Build A Tent quests. Which is harder than it sounds, because to make a tent, first you need canvas. And to make canvas, you need twine. But to make the distaff to make twine, you need bricks and boards. But to make boards, you need a wood plane. But to make a wood plane, you need.....
Basically, you make everything you need from scratch, either with your own hands or with someone else's help.

Which brings me to the social aspect of the game. There's a quest (Leadership) that requires you to have shrines built in your honor. And the only person that can build a shrine for you is a complete newbie. And the only way they'll build a shrine for you is if you take them around the game, introduce them to everyone in the area, show them how everything works, etc.
So you'd think that everyone would begrudgingly do a halfassed job of teaching and whine when they didn't get a shrine. But the social spirit in this game is so intense that some people take hours out of their time to show someone how to play (and it's pretty complicated) without even needing the shrine.

And what do awaits the average player? Well, learning the culinary arts, building sculptures, raising livestock, horticulture (there are strains of plants that people can cross!), worshiping gods, running for public office, and so on and so forth.

I'm surprised I got any work done this weekend.

Posted on April 20, 2003 11:06 PM

Are the culinary and horticultural stuff real? I mean, could you actually do the stuff you learned in real life? If not, that'd be neat.

Posted by: michele on April 21, 2003 04:34 AM

Goddamit! That was me, Jason, who just posted, not Michele.

Posted by: jason on April 21, 2003 04:35 AM

and that doesn't sound like something i would say at all.

look jason, you let me into your home and i barf all over your computer settings. just like the goddamm dog and the shoe.

Posted by: michele on April 21, 2003 08:38 AM

back when i was first getting into atari as a child, i'd tell my dad about all the violent video games i liked, and he'd helplessly ask, "aren't there any games where you... grow flowers?" i'll let him know that our society as progressed.

Posted by: holohan on April 21, 2003 09:21 AM

Jason: Sadly, I can't make Weird or Hot in the game. But perhaps someday a game will allow me to recreate the mythic culinary creations of freshman year at UPS.

Holohan: When I remember those violent atari video games, I get all nostalgic and weepy. Seeing those square bullets thud into the bad-guy-pixellated-mass has made me the violent man that I am today.

Posted by: Jacob on April 21, 2003 09:43 AM

Damn, I had almost forgotten about Weird and Hot. Those were some damn fine dishes. Come to think of it, I have been having a serious craving for the odd combination of hot mustard, plum and soy sauce flavors that was the hallmark of Weird. 4-cob, you need to publish the recipe for Weird so I can recreate the tastyness.

Posted by: Doug on April 21, 2003 05:25 PM

1 pkg. Beef Top Ramen
Chinese hot mustard
Plum sauce
Soy sauce
Unnaturally-red chili sauce

Make Ramen, but separate noodles from soup. Throw away soup. Moisten noodles with plum sauce. Add soy sauce until sickly brownish purple color forms. Add 2 pkg. Chinese hot mustard. Top with chili sauce. Feeds 1 person who is not you.

Posted by: Jacob on April 21, 2003 06:29 PM

ha! watching you two cry while eating that was one of the more enjoyable episodes in my life. other than the fact that i was nervous your heads were going to explode. plus the smell was so godawful.

Posted by: michele on April 21, 2003 06:37 PM

No no no. Doug and I were not silly enough to eat Weird. In fact, if I remember correctly, Doug was smart enough to avoid tasting it altogether. I had a bite and then gifted it to Bill. Poor Bill.

Posted by: Jacob on April 21, 2003 07:30 PM

Fuckin Bill would eat anything. I know this is just becoming a reminiscence comment line but i don't care: remember when Bill swallowed a mouthful of salt and then puked? And the time he drank a concentrated package of juice?

Posted by: jason on April 22, 2003 05:38 AM

you ate the other one though and that was pretty bad too.

shit i remember the juice concentrate. i can't believe i lived with that wild man for two...uh three years. just so we're clear though he ate and did nothing exciting in the last 2 years. all his efforts at culinary prowess were exhausted freshman year i think.

Posted by: michele on April 22, 2003 08:18 AM

I fondly remember Bill's Juice. And I fondly remember the alcohol Julian kept secretly pouring in it to get Bill drunk.

Posted by: dianna on April 22, 2003 09:12 AM

although i'm curious how you remember that, dianna, i must also laugh at the memory of bill complaining that his juice kept going bad so quickly and tasting funny. and then how he had to keep it in his room in his personal little fridge.

Posted by: michele on April 22, 2003 09:33 AM

Yarrrrgh! Stupid Mr. Forgetting-To-Replace-Dianna's-Name! I hate you so!

Posted by: Jacob on April 22, 2003 10:25 AM

Holy shit, was that why he started putting it in his personal fridge? I either totally forgot or had no idea to begin with. Julian was a fucking genius.

Posted by: jason on April 22, 2003 10:26 AM

well he kept thinking that there was less of it, which is odd since the way julian was going there should have been MORE of it. so he mainly moved it, i think, because he felt people were poaching on his territory. but possibly he knew about the alcohol...

jacob/dianna name stealer: hee hee.

Posted by: michele on April 22, 2003 10:34 AM