… so here’s what I have so far… for now I’ve shelved SouthSea Rutherby in favor of what I believe will be a long line of fresh starter-captains. I’ve been playing for a while now so I know this isn’t true representation of a new player experience, but I’m hardly the best gamer and have taken steps to test what I can (and no, this isn’t merciful mode!) So, without further ado:
[u]The completely unaided adventures of the new "Bothington family"[/u]
My first captain was Harland Chesterfield Bothington, who inherited the tramp steamer "Salt's Complacency" from a distant relative in Fallen London. I chose to make this character a poet in order to test how character with no combat-viable stats would fare on his first venture to the open zee, so with little capital to spare, we loaded up what fuel and provisions we could afford, got the latest news, and a commission from the Admiralty for spying on Gaider's Mourn, which is one of the harder places to find in my experienec, though a profitable place in times past. Finally, we agreed to transport a single colonial immigrant from Wolfstack to Venderbight. On the way, we encountered pirates right off the bat, sailing north around the cape. This first encounter wasn't actually that hard -- the framerate has improved with the latest update, and the firing solution concept is fairly straight forward, so even without any bonuses to speak of we were able to sink the steam-pinnace and take a firkin of prisoner honey. The downside was the amount of damage we took -- nearly half the steamer's hull was damaged in the exchange. I decided to forego Hunter's Keep until I more badly needed the supplies and sailed onto Venderbight without further issues. The tomb colonist's less-than-reasonable demand for wine wasn't something I'd be able tomeet for the foreseeable future, so I decided to explore the area, where, to my surprise I discovered a Soothe & Cooper Longbox. I sold my news (terror was still low), visited the First Curator, and headed back to London, where I went through customs without trouble.
[li]Since I had no edge at this point (and figured my first character would be the one to most easily make mistakes) I accepted the aid of the Blind Bruiser and decided to set out east and (against my better judgement) look for Gaider’s Mourn. The news of Venderbight was paid for by the Admiralty, but I could not afford ship repairs…[/li]
[li](MY FIRST MAJOR OBSERVATIONS: terror and combat are fairly well balanced; terror could be a bit higher but is fine as is. Early trade options are pretty limited but a few story options to encourage wreckless wonder and exploration would get players to sail out there into the dark. My only major criticism is that the two repair options are just too close to each other in price – if the cheaper option were 50 or even 60 echoes I’d be more inclined to risk it, but the extra 25 echoes just didn’t seem that much of a stretch in price. Anyway, back to the game:)[/li]
[li]My initial outward venture eastward turned up little of consequence at first. By this point, I’d figured out that turning the light on and off was thebest way to pick-and-choose my encounters. I had a fairly uneventful discovery at Mutton Island (resulting in a tale of terror) and while looking for Gaider’s Mourn I eventually found Station III, where I got lucky again in trying to force the Longbox into a the lab (for more payment).[/li]
[li](MY SECONDARY OBSERVATIONS: The small, glowing angler crabs that can be eaten to reduce hunger are interesting because they can feasibly extend the life of supplies, but I very rarely am able to utilitze them at any tactical point in time because the move appear so randomly. If there were anyway to move the slider-bar that effects when my crew eats, I could definitely make proper use of it. I think this would be a very worth-while mechanic in the game. I also have learned the value of utilizing the lights, and see the advantage of having Admiralty yards repair my ship in exchange for favour. Finally, I appreciate just how many secrets you can gain with a decent pages skill. Pages is still too hard to increase, give nit’s a stat that distracts from more utilitarian stats, but I appreciate the fragments gained from discovery and it is the single most encouraging way to reward captains for ambitious exploration). [/li]
[li]From Station III, I once again, and for the third time, had good fortune. Between getting the Longbox, getting it into the lab and actually finding Gaider’s Mourn, I was feeling pretty lucky. This feeling of luck persisted when I discovered the Shepard Isles, gained a memory of distant shores via a beach concert, and somehow managed to sneak up on a giant Western Angler Crab and slay it without taking any damage. By turning off my lights and flanking enemies (and spending several secrets on veils, thanks to the geniual magician I’d hired in port), I began to master positioning myself in battles, so long as enemies didn’t appear in inconvenient places.I also learned when to fight and when to flee, based on positioning and provisions. I got so good, in fact, that I managed to sink an actual pirate frigate outside Gaider’s Mourn without it managing to land a single shot on me. [/li]
[li]Gaider’s Mourn wasn’t bad – I had prisoner’s honey and wine as prizes from my conquests and made enough money to pay for fuel and supplies to get home. This, however, left me with less coin than I’d needed to go to the Arrant Limpet. The admiralty spy requested additional pay, but only a little, And, once again, I got yet another lucky break when spying on the Mourn (again, this was not Merciful Mode and there was no save-scumming). Unfortunately, this made me a little too confident in my abilities: when I left Gaider’s Mourn I easily sank another Frigate (again with no real combat stats) and I felt bold enough to try a second mark: I was on my way home and my target was only a crack pirate steampinnance, but it managed to do enough harm to get me to 11(!) hull and
I had to sneak back to Fallen London with my lights off for the bulk of the journey. Thankfully, I avoided the other pirates and small Jillfish and sailed around them on my way back home.[/li]
[li]By the time I returned to Fallen London I had a small fortune in admiralty commissions, thanks to Station III and my info on Gaider’s Mourn (I sold the strategic information because I didn’t think I’d be able to get another one). Ship repairs were not cheap, however, and I didn’t have enough favour to get help from Admiralty yards. Even so, I still had enough coin for another officer (I chose irrepressible cannoneer in the hopes that I could utilize the Iron stat). I also had enough coin left for some supplies.
[/li]This is where I made my one, capital mistake.
[li]I had just accepted a new commission from the Admiralty to investigate Mt Palmerston. While in London I’d been approached by the Blind Bruiser and accepted his request (I felt like refusing him would be trouble). I noted that it would be convenient to do both the commission and the delivery at once, but then I remembered that fuel is cheap in Mt Palmerstone and not supplies. So, I took a gamble and bought more supplies in London than fuel. This was a mistake because the price difference (though a wonderful alternative to the eastern locations like the Khanate or Harbour Provisioner locations) isn’t much different from London. I could recall celebrating the cheaper price in Palmerston because the nearby locations were so much more
expensive (8 echoes instead of 20? Yes indeed!) But London charges 10 for everything – what I SHOULD have done was buy a lot of fuel and supplies in case I couldn’t find Mt Palmerston. But, sadly, I took the directions from the admiralty (a helpful hint said it was northeast of there). I’d already had luck finding both Port Cecil and Shepard isles using the Zee Bat (which is still a wonderful feature, by the way), so I thought I’d find Mt Palmerston easily.
[/li] I just didn’t. I did find the Chapel of Lights (and used the free food to conserve supplies). I even managed to take on a bound-shark and another pirate for much-needed fuel. But I still ran down to my last barrel without ever finding Mt Palmerston. Nevertheless, this was not the end yet By hunting Zee bats and burning the extra supplies, I managed to find the snares – I traded supplies with the guinea pigs in exchange for a generous supply of Parabola linen, and crawled back to Fallen London to buy more fuel.
[li]It was almost enough. The fuel I got made me confident that I could get back out to sea, find Mt Palmerston, and still have enough echoes left over to buy more fuel for the return trip. I reduced terror at Hunter’s Keep instead of London to save money – I did everything I could! But alas, the next two locations I found were not Mt Palmerston, but the Salt Lions and the Khanate, and my ship ran out of fuel and supplies just outside of Khan’s Glory. [/li]
[li]Even so, I managed to spend at least a dozen secrets in raising stats. I am a bit torn between saving my pages stat or my veils, but may go with veils since I invested in it and have already taken advantage of the pages stat by getting extra secrets. If I’d wanted to keep pages (Like my original character Southsea Rutherby) I’d have started with the philosopher, since that’s the only way to get an officer who raises the pages stat). [/li]
[li]My next character isn’t going to be Harland Chesterfield Bothington Junior – too posh a name for a rooftop-urchin – instead he’s imparting his wisdom to the cabinboy, a shady young miscreant named Cobb. But Harland will be returning after Cobb’s (most-likely) demise, and the family will regain its legacy with Harland Chesterfield Bothington III.
...So that's my first character. I find both humorous and insightful that we both chose to start with poets (and glad nobody went with Iron to start with). I'm planning on continuing with Cobb, but I want to see what other zailors come up with.
[li]The game is playable, and some aspects are better now than ever before. Terror probably needs to be a bit tougher, and in-game battle events might be a good idea at higher stat levels, but so far I think a bit more advice in the tutorial is all it really needs. Of course, I’d logged a lot of time in the game before attempting this fresh
start – I utilized a lot of knowledge that new players wouldn’t have, so I think some fresh new "delicious friends" might be necessary. I’d also like to reiterate that a sliding hunger bar might be nice.
… Anyone else trying a "fresh start" to see how the game plays?
edited by SouthSea Rutherby for formatting – I’m just too busy to put in the time I wish I could – on 11/26/2014
edited by SouthSea Rutherby on 11/26/2014