Posted by: mrrx | February 3, 2007

Vanguard Post #2 – Diplomacy, Harvesting

Another Vanguard session – and, I’m really enjoying it.     I just might be hooked; except that many games look great at first and then get boring.    Clearly, when I’m hooked I’m hooked but I guess I’m very cautious until I get there.    Anyway…………

Got out of the little Spirit Outpost where Vulmane start, and made my way to the actual town of Dahknarg.     Now this is an actual town – banker, trainers, crafting, etc.     I managed to start the harvesting game here first.

You are allowed to harvest two resource types in this game; you can apparently help harvest anything in a group, if someone with the right skill begins the harvest.    I selected both of the rocks, gemstones and metals.      Managed to harvest a bare two or three so far, which is probably OK – I haven’t actively searched for nodes.

Did some more combat, and made level 7 – did my first corpse runs as well.     There are several quests involving Bloodhowler gnolls, and many of these gnolls are bowmen-types.     They are not easily killed by a druid’s root-and-nuke behavior; in fact, you have a very good chance to die.    So I decided to hang back on combat and get diplomacy going.    To start, you visit a trainer in Dahknarg who is your first “opponent”.

Boy oh boy, is Diplomacy in this game different.    Interesting.    Complex.   Uncomprehendable.    If you’ve played Magic The Gathering, you supposedly will know pretty much how it works; I played computer versions and I was totally lost at first.

You get some explanations, but the explanations are forced, strange and useless.    They talk about demands, expressions, and other impenetrable nonsense.     The way to understand it is to engage in diplomacy in the game.

On the right side of the window is a meter with two numbers – yours, and the other guys.    This is how many “points” left until that person wins.     IE, whoever gets to zero first wins the parley/diplomacy round.    The numbers sit on top of a meter with a position marker, and whoever has the marker on their side at the end of a turn loses a point (or, no points are lost if it’s in the middle).

In the middle is a set of four colored icons, of which one may be ghosted out at times.    Points accumulate here, and represent power you can spend by playing various cards.     You get a deck of cards, of which you can select any five to play a round with.

Does any of that make sense ?    Yes ?   Good.   If not, don’t worry about it.    You get used to it fairly quickly and then it’s fun, and you have plenty of opportunity to practice on denizens of the town as you follow the diplomacy chain quest.

I did fine until I got to the quest “Side-Stepping”.     This one requires you to run like a bat out of hell outside of town, onto a hill with three spiritragers on it.    You must parley with all three successfully to enable you to speak to a friendly spirit they have blocked off.    To make matters worse, you have a nine minute timer, and they are extremely hard to defeat with the cards that I have.

I set up many different strategies and none of them succeeded twice.      Managed to clear the first and the second, but struck out on the third on one trip.     Trying to employ the same strategy a second time resulted in failure.    Oy.     I have no idea how I’m going to complete this thing.     There is, far as I know, no site yet dedicated to documenting the quests, so spoilers are out for the moment.   Decided to give up on it and try later. 

This leaves harvesting as a probably “good idea” for a next step, and selling it on the broker.    That, and exploring some more and looking for more quests and adventure levels.     Enough levels and the Bloodhowlers should be killable you would think, or perhaps just grouping up now to defeat them.

I was pretty disappointed with the way quests are structured actually – except, so far, for the diplomacy ones.     One required me to visit many inhabitants of the town, to discover what was going on, in order and with a variety of different things to do.    So, hopefully they get more fun as your level increases.

And Barkscratch the Vulmane Druid is on Vgplayers now, right here.   Sitting pretty at #522 for quests completed among druids on the server.

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