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Stuckenschmidt

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Just got a mail concerning the Open Beta and I decided to give it a second try. First impression: Foraging now easier with the symbols on the minimap and the "beacon" for my homestead. Great work.

Downside: Is it really that hard to make a tooltip in the Craft -> Inspirationals section, which proficiencies will be gained to what extent by a given inspirational before I craft it?
 

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I have to admit that I like the new graphics for the ground better. Less blurry and more eye-friendly.
 

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Tooltips would be very nice (perhaps even a mini-wiki within the game which tells you what things to do to gain what) otherwise it seems like an interesting game
 

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If this game want to be success must go in good commercial way. And such game cant be success with perm-death on all servers, game is hard. And this dont mean its good. Only total fanboys can do all stuff in short time, beginers had to stuck with guides, salem wiki, and die die many times with bad luck (and starting from begining). In my opinion if there are three servers. On every should be diffrent game difficulty:
- easy (only pve)
- medium (pvp with no perm-death)
- hard (pvp with perm-death)

So every player can decide on what world want to play, and with what game time and style they prefer. Beginers and people who like to build only will have easy server, who like a bit more emotions and not get rage quit after single dead choose medium. And total fanboys and hardcores will still have they own hard server with standard rules. Fair. Dont understand me bad, I know that are people who can do all stuff in 2-3hr or faster, but are also people who like longer style gameplay. For example if someone lose one month character just by stupid mistake he just rage quit, and never come back. And game supouse to be for players, not for ilusion ambitious. We already have real world, we need game to relax not to stress. :p
 
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Stuckenschmidt

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Alright, the basic skills are learned, so it is time to go for "Settling", in order to make myself a home. 11 proficiency levels to go. :)

This is the good thing about Salem. Making slow progress, improve your Avatar`s capabilities and finally bring some civilization to the american outback.

EDIT:

Not as if the civilization-thingy would have been that successful IRL, mind. :p
 
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I was just giving the game a 2nd try yesterday. Very nice changes they have done to the graphics and UI. Feels alot more playable than it used to.

I am starting to get into it again developing my character and re-discovering all the crafting but I just dont think its the game for me. I guess you can say I am more a carebear as I enjoy the crafting and character development but if I lost everything to another player I would just quit anyway so why invest the time.
 

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No you are not carebear, you just know price of your time. All this "hardcore" style playing is just bullshit, if this supouse to be hardcore should be not only perm death but also one character per user. Because what sense in perm death if people making 20 characters every to something else who muling for one main character who never risk nothing?
 

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I was just giving the game a 2nd try yesterday. Very nice changes they have done to the graphics and UI. Feels alot more playable than it used to.

I am starting to get into it again developing my character and re-discovering all the crafting but I just dont think its the game for me. I guess you can say I am more a carebear as I enjoy the crafting and character development but if I lost everything to another player I would just quit anyway so why invest the time.
No you are not carebear, you just know price of your time.
So true. Salem is a great game, but it is very time-consuming. I love it, but after hours of digging and crafting you ask yourself what sense has it all, when all your work is destroyed in a couple of time by characters with hundreds of humour-points, rebuilding your home and skilling your character once more and living in permament fear. I got nothing against perma-death and PvP, but there are people who have a different philosophy regarding Salem (Sandbox, setting your own goals) and those, who want to rule by destroying everyone and everything.
 

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Don`t get me wrong, but it is amazing to see, that the Devs had no time during the last 9 months to avoid items spawn at places, where they can`t be picked up (aka edge of slopes). :wacko:
 

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And while we are at it. I get umpteen "ground is not flat enough"-messages. Is there a way (mod) to display the geometry of the terrain, so it is easier to level the ground? (Hint to the Devs: Comfort functions are not a deadly sin)
 

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Ender client is a solution.
 

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"One week of Salem" - AAR

So, one week in Salem is over. Keep in mind, that I am the casual type of player with two days being completely absent and not playing 24/7 on the other days.

So far, I gained 18 skills, got my own claim and am digging the hell out the landscape to flatten the country and finally build a small house. Considering, that we are talking about an MMO and in respect of my time spend in the game, this is a considerably good progress. In fact, maybe it is a too fast progress. But, on the other hand, we are talking about a PvP-focused environment. I don`t know about the effects of getting killed in terms of skills and proficiency levels, but if things are set to zero again, fast progress is a must. So probably nothing wrong here.

Something I mentioned already mid 2012 was pathfinding. That the avatar stops in front of a slope is absolutely fine. But that movement stops in front of a tree or a cricket is a bit weird. Of course it is not difficult to move around it manually. But it would be nice, if one could click on a target on the minimap with the Avatar automatically evading all obstacles when moving from A to B.

As I said before, forageable items spawn too close to slopes, so the Avatar can`t pick them up. This should definitely be improved.

Digging. It is a good idea to let the player use Control+Leftmouse to let the Avatar dig, until the spot is leveled. But nevertheless I`d like to have a comfort function in the vanilla client, that shows the geometry of the landscape, for it is sometimes hard to see with the eye, whether an area is flat or not.

Speaking of comfort. The beacon to the homestead and the icons for forageable items on the minimap are great and clearly improve foraging. Thanks for that.

Last but not least: Money. Early in the game crafting Savage Charms is the best source for income (is it just me, or do arrowheads spawn way more often than feathers?). And that everything is darn expensive is no problem too. But the idea with the upkeep for the claim is a bit fishy, especially for casual gamers. Right now I have to craft four Savage Charms for the upkeep. Alright, that`s four per month, nevertheless one has to run around a lot just to not lose one`s claim, while one can surely spend one`s limited gaming time with better things. Like running around and bring Law & Lore to Level 20. My personal opinion: Down with the upkeep. No taxation without representation. And so on. :)
 
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Stuckenschmidt

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This digging is really getting on my nerves. It is almost impossible to see with the eye, whether a terrain is "flat" or not. I really want to build this goddamn hovel but I can`t due to these effing dumb bumps.[/rage]
 

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And while we are at it. What is the effing point of these snakes pursuing one across the half continent?
 

Stuckenschmidt

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2 weeks in Salem - AAR

Correct, another week has passed and I have to say, that I rarely encountered a game, that oscillated between genius and insanity as Salem did during the last week. But maybe that`s just because I did not play Simcity 5, but that`s another story. I suggest we start with the insanity.

Remember "Forrest Gump"? Tom Hanks as neat and kind of smart village idiot? When he was running several times across the whole United States? What the movie does not show is, that he was not actually enjoying it, but that he was running for his life, because he was pursued by snakes. Now I am perfectly aware of the fact, that it is WAD, when even the smallest creature is a fierce and deadly threat to a new character in the New World and that, as the character develops skills and gets armed to the teeth, these threats will shrink. But I`d like to ask, if it is really necessary, that encountering a snake equals knockout, since it is faster than oneself, never gives up a pursuit and magically climbs up even the most steep slopes faster than the player? Or that these creatures do not appear on the minimap?

Late last year I was playing the classic city-building game "Pharao". You know: Egypt, Alligators, Pyramids. Talking about monuments. The first step in building them was to clear and flatten the construction site. And now I know what a mind-numbing and exhausting job that must have been. Especially when you are a petty slave, who has to do the job all alone with no help from any more educated guy, such as an architect or surveyor. Just you, your shovel and your eyes. Period. I appreciate the thought in a MMO, to simulate this aspect of construction. But I`d like to ask, why it is necessary to install a 3rd party client in order to get a tool to efficiently flatten an area. And did I mention, that the Ender client also shows snakes on the minimap? No? Well, it does.

These two things alone caused an earthquake worth 5.5 on my upwardly open rage-scale. Not enough by far for a rage-quit, but sufficient to stop playing until the next day.

Now to the good news. I HAVE MADE A FIRE. Tom Hanks again. Coincidence? Don`t think so. But I have learned, that the game is quite rewarding in the cooking department. Despite the fact, that it is rather annoying and completely beyond me, how and why tender drills break, it is absolute fun to start cooking meals as soon as the fire burns (and I advise all new players to keep it burning during the whole game session). This is probably the part closest to the definition of "crafting" in most MMO and therefore my new favorite activity.

Plus I did not only prepare a lot of meals, I finally built my first home. A hovel is incredibly tiny, but I couldn`t care less, since it is mine and I built it all alone. Screw you, overpaid and under-qualified construction companies!

Finally I have reached the point, where I have to seriously begin grinding (aka now the MMO starts). The easy-to-achieve skills are unlocked and from now on I have to raise a lot of proficiency levels in order to get a new skill. Let`s see, whether I have the guts to continue or not. But I hope I do.
 

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Alright, I`m hereby officially impressed. As we all know, America is kinda huge. But I had no clue about what huge. I teleported to Roanoke to sell two Savage Charms and decided to make it back home by walking. I did make it probably about 90% before the snake poison killed me, but it took me a veeeeeeeeery long time to get there. Kudos for a giant game world.

BUG MESSAGE:

After being knocked out and sent back to my homestead, my avatar is invisible. Maybe a good thing, if the snakes don`t see me too, but I don`t think so. Maybe I should investigate. SCIENCE!!!
 

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Third week in Salem - AAR

Had the last week been an emotional roller coaster, this week was a long and quiet river. I was slowly walking along the path of proficiency improvement. Foraging, crafting, cooking, eating, learning. Everything very tranquil.

I increased my homestead to 240 square meters, got my first few additional points for my humors and learned three more skills, the last one being...*drumroll*...agriculture. This opens the door to farming. And if I got it right, I don`t need any additional skills to grow cereal. So now I just need a lot of bucks for nails (compost) and cereal seeds, and my life as farmer is off to a good start. Good to know, that my activities for the next week are fixed.

One thing I enjoy in games but never did IRL is fishing. I like fishing in "LotRO" and "Fable", and it is not different in Salem. Fishing rods and baits are easy to craft and of course wear off. One could argue, that the rod should wear off less fast, but it is not really a drama. At the current pace, it will break after using six sink-knots. I did catch six fish with the last knot. So 36 fish (= 72 filet) with one rod is not really bad. Plus fish makes great food. Seaweed Rolls. Yummy.

Of course it is still a long way to breaded filets, but that`s a good long term goal.
 

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I`ve probably said it already and even more probably more often than once, but the spawn ratio between Indian Arrowheads and Indian Feathers is at least 2:1, but more probably 3:1. And this a bad plan. I`d like to see it changed to 1:1. And if these items spawn at a lower rate than arrowheads now (I could fill a warehouse with these things), I`m perfectly fine with it.
 
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Stuckenschmidt

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I`ve just learned, that loneliness encourages paranoia. Or maybe just that a PvP-environment does that. :p

The last three weeks I`ve stumbled over a lot of Lean-to. Usually with no more than one or two baskets or maybe a whittler`s bench around it. Probably abandoned places by Beta-players who gave up.

But right now I saw a really nice built out place and the owner was even present. Probably he hasn`t seen a living soul around for a long time too. So he immediately switched from "crafting" to "alert-mode". If he knew about my sorry skills and humors, he probably wouldn`t. So I left a comment about the nice and hard piece of work and left. I bet he thinks I am a scout and that a hoard of naked russians will drop by anytime soon. :D
 
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Stuckenschmidt

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Pseudophilosophical Intermezzo
Act I: The Void​

Void is something that one encounters pretty often in one`s life. The void, or better emptiness, of the fridge when one is hungry and all shops are already closed. Or simply the emptiness (aka banality) of life itself one desperately wants to cover with activities. Like, say, play computer games.

But Void is a pretty good term for Salem too.

The player, respectively his/her Avatar, is stranded in the New World with absolutely nothing besides the clothes it is wearing. No skills, no clue, humors close to zero. Thus Void is a symbol for the emptiness of the Avatar at game start, that the player may fill with the content he/she deems necessary/beneficial. The word “Sandbox” comes to mind.

But the Avatar also finds itself stranded in an almost empty world, nearly completely devoid of (artificial) human life, although there is enough room for hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Insofar Void also depicts the unintentional emptiness of the environment one acts in. The word “Death” comes to mind.

A dead sandbox. A dead sandbox? This must not happen. Or is it inevitable?

When I hear “Sandbox”, I think “EVE Online”. I played it for about 1.5 years and it was a nice experience. And entertaining. Miners, Producers, Missionrunner, Researchers, PvP-Crowd.

Plus a lot of forum drama. Risk vs Reward. PvP vs PvE. Griefers vs Carebears. As proud member of the Casual Carebear Crowd, I had a good time in EVE. The reason? Because as well PvP-fans as PvE-players had more or less their own sandbox in HighSec / Lowsec / Nullsec. Of course there was no total security in HighSec, but as long as one wasn`t completely stupid or had extraordinary bad luck, losing a ship there was extremely unlikely.

Salem as it is now seems to be like EVE Online with NullSec only. Does that work? Of course, but it surely attracts less players than an environment that provides safety to those, who want to play the crafting game only. People like me.

To be perfectly frank, I`m rather grateful for the extremely low population density right now, for it enables me to investigate the potential of the game without having to spend much thoughts whether the ten guys in the neighbourhood will kill me once a week just for the sake of it. Because there are no ten guys. There is one a bit more than a minute to the south, but that`s it.

Naturally these things have been thought through and debated over and over again and I`m not about to make smart suggestions. All I am saying is this. Salem as a crafting game has the potential to attract a lot of people who want to build something. And maybe even spend some bucks for it. Salem the PvP-game has the potential to scare all these people away and make them play classic Singleplayer games such as “Anno”, “SimCity” or “Cities in Motion”.

The rest is silence.