Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why I played A tale In The Desert

I'm thinking about starting a new series called "Why I played..." and listing some of the many games and MMO's I played for a significant amount of time, and what I enjoyed about them...we will start with A Tale in the Desert, which, despite my complaints about how it was run, I enjoyed my time with.

The reasons I enjoyed it though revolve around the mini-game style of the various aspects of it. Everything was a mini-game from crossbreeding to glass making. I enjoyed having to be somewhat skilled in parts of the game to actually make them function (especially wine making and glass making, but the latter I succesfully macroed at one point). I would still be playing the game for these aspects if the overall system wasn't so difficult and time consuming.

I am looking for a game that simulates these parts of it, especially if it included an economic reason for making wine or similar items. In ATITD, the economy exists but is a barter economy, which largely sucks for a game. Its hard enough finding something you can make that someone else wants, let alone getting a good idea of what something is "worth." For example, sheet glass for me in ATITD wasn't very valuable as I had max skill in making it, all the equipment and large stockpiles of materials, but to someone who doesn't make glass it could be valuable. Also, I have sold glass for 4-5 ash per pane, and for 150 leeks per pane. It's all variable and relative, and my prices were almost always negotiated.

If anyone has any game recommendations that recreate the good aspects of this game but with better support and a better economy I'd appreciate the answer. Thanks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

ATITD Bastet and Server Population

I spoke earlier about Critical Minimum Server Population and its relation to the Bastet shard of ATITD. Well, more on that, as I've had some time to play and talk with some players. My experiences are in line with what I thought would happen, and a cursory look at the research pages of ATITD's bastet wiki will show it.

The shard is paused at a few critical technologies, one of which is crossbreeding, a technology neccesary for advanced flax and vine production (among other things). On the main shard with this technology, flax production easily increased ten fold by the skilled crossbreeding by Tedra of her flax strains. Flax is used for many, many things in ATITD, so its important to improve production (not just numbers but ease of production too, Tedra's pre-mutagen strains were 5 flax, 5 rotten flax, 5 seeds with one weeding; whereas the current flaxes in bastet produce one or two flax and require two weedings or a weeding and a watering).

So what's holding up this obviously needed technology? Distillation Coils! For a while the technology to make them was locked because of its reliance on other technologies that weren't unlocked. Finding a lithium vein solved that problem, and thoughts were that things would move speedily from there on, but now, weeks later, there has only been one of the two dozen distillation coils donated for research. This is showing another flaw in low server population:

Lower server populations have a lack of skilled people. Like any economy, there need to bee people skilled at different things. Imagine WOW without any skinners, herbalists, or miners. Now imagine WOW without any inscribers or enchanters....or worse, with only two competent healers on the entire server. WOW is a bad example for this, because its much higher base population, and has a currency. Because of the lower population *and* lack of currency, Bastet has a severe shortage of competent labor. This will spell major problems as the shard moves forward, as research requirements only become more specific and larger.

Now I'm not saying that there are no competent people on this server, just that there are too few. You need some basic level of population to support a basic level of competent people in various fields. Nobody wants to be on a server without basic amenities.

I'll be keeping an eye on Bastet to see how things develop. Teppy imagines that this server will take 6 to 9 months to reach end-game. I think it will be much longer.