|Tell that tree that I've had enough of its amateur shenanigans!|
I was finally able to get off of the newbie trial island, hitting level 11 in both adventuring (Disciple) and Diplomacy. The last quest area would have been very tough to solo, but was fine with a second person - fortunately, there are people running around the temple during peak hours.
|Triumph of the horse that let me choose the color of its saddle-blanket equivalent.|
Intercontinental travel is handled by a system of teleport crystals - for a very small fee, players can teleport to the location of their choice, and the NPC's will even offer breadcrumb quests to all the level-appropriate locations in the game. Once you're actually in the zone you want, though, your only guide is a compass that does not indicate altitude, or even whether you're on the right continent.
The second diplomacy quest once you're off the newbie island points players at one of the game's major cities, which I had never heard of and was not located on the continent I was on. First, I went to the correct coordinates, which were clearly indicated on my map even though they were on the wrong continent. Then I somehow missed a turn and ended up in the city docks, trying to figure out why I couldn't get to the coordinates which were up above on top of the cliff. A few steps later, you're sent off to another city on yet another continent, and again it took me a while to figure out that the new location was not actually in the place the compass seemed to be pointing to.
Fans of the sandbox and immersion may argue that this system is realistic (real people may assume that you know approximately where famous cities are) and leaves more for the player to figure out on their own. Fair enough, and perhaps this would have impressed me back in 2005. Today, the fact that it takes 5-10 minutes to ride my horse from the teleport point on the outskirts of town to a Fed-Ex quest objective that I actually know how to find (and will immediately leave for the next mission) is a dealbreaker by the second or third time it happens.
|A shiny flight beacon, for a "how to use the rental flying mount" tutorial.|
And so, I wandered off without much fanfare. Not because I was out of things to do, or because I hated the game, but simply because there were other things that I would rather spend my time on. I guess that's a mixed review, but I don't especially fault the game for it, and I hope it sticks around for people who enjoy it.