Barkscratch : Ding 10. Worked through a lot of quests once again. Still very light on the content and the interest – but they keep things from being a grind.
There seems to be no penalty to deleting quests – if you delete them, you can restart them at any time without a problem. And quest chains? Pah, we don’t need those in Vanguard! So I cleaned out my quest journal as things were getting very confusing. The journal interface, really, sucks – no quest levels, no difficulty indicators, the ordering seems to be random, no way to size it nicely. By the end of the night I had one or two items in there only.
Partly for this and for other reasons, I attempted to install an alternate UI – but enabling it only crashed Vanguard. Loading it in-game did nothing. I’m going to guess/assume that it’s because I’m on a trial account. Nobody else claimed any trouble with the UI on forums.
I got started on crafting as well. Given that Barkscratch is a metal gatherer it only seemed fitting to have him be a blacksmith; alternate choices were outfitter and artificer. Visited my trainer who got me started making a metal bar. There’s a lot of things to do crafting metal, and I ran through it with some interest, then selected a work order.
Now, apparently work orders and related items are special tasks you can do to get started on crafting; and supposedly are your primary means of advancement in crafting. Mmmm. If that’s true why bother to craft ? Well, you would if it’s a lot of fun to do. I finished my work order, and decided to come back to this sphere later. The crafting is either very deep, or overcomplicated, I can’t decide which.
I really wish I had bigger bags. You get a large “general inventory” area that your items go into; and slots for two bags and a backpack. I bought four-slot versions of both. As near as I can tell, you can’t put bags or anything into your “general inventory”, nor bags within bags. There’s also a tent-looking icon I cannot figure out right next to my backpack icon. Filled and emptied my bags several times, and dumped lots of stuff into the bank.
Got re-started on diplomacy too. Now, of all things, I didn’t realize something about the menu option for starting a parley. There’ll be some text; a number of icons, which help you understand when items are not available for that parley; an indicator if you need some “presence” to engage in parley; and a skill number. The number is the skill requirement; leading you to believe that taking on a parley near your skill number is most likely to result in getting points.
So unfortunately looks like that’s the function of the points – access to diplomacy quests. But that helped me figure out how to deal with the soldiers. Each one apparently had an interview choice, and another practice choice. You were supposed to finish the interview with each soldier and then with the boss-lady. Either that, or get to 30 or 40 points in diplomacy.
Eventually I beat each soldier except for one stubborn dork I just could not beat. The head soldier lady was great – once I got the strategy for dealing with her, it was easy to grind points up to 40. I switched off between her, tough-guy, and the other soldiers until I was finished. I also managed to get additional quests at 30 and 40, and get more cards and better understanding of the system.
Armed with this success and knowledge, I tried once again to finish Side-Stepping and beat the spiritragers. And I managed it – here’s how. (this section to be updated with card names later).
The strategy I picked was one blue card (two cost, three advancement) and four red cards. I needed the red one that gives you points with no advancement (two reds, and one blue, with a red for your opponent), Vulmane Howl (5 advancement, 4 points, 1-2 turn refresh), the red counterpart to the blue card, and the reprisal card that eats two greens and gives four reds. The reprisal, optionally, could be switched for the yellow two-cost card depending on how the spirit behaved.
I tried this quest many times with many different cards before finally beating a spirit this way. Immediately, I wrote the composition down and got to work on the second one. Beat him, and went looking for the third……….. and he wasn’t there. I don’t know what happens to this guy, but he just poofs if you’re unlucky. My guess is he falls through the world, but repops when you start the quest.
Restarted, and had a heck of a time passing the first guy again. It was at this point that I hit on the idea of using the yellow card, to replace the reprisal card. And I succeeded doing that, but ran out of time. After another restart, I bashed my way past the three spiritragers at last, and spoke to Thorolgor.
Horrified, I saw that I was still on the timer and had another parley ! Managed to finish it in time, and at last I had completed Side-stepping. The timer on this quest IS REALLY AWFUL AND IRRITATING. I can only guess that it’s there as a stop-gap bug fix for the disappearing spiritrager; otherwise it’s an amazingly dumb thing for them to have put in there. Like the quest isn’t insanely hard already without the timer ! Argh !
This led me further along the storyline; the trial of a ghostclaw gnoll who is accused of being a bloodhowler in disguise. After another quest or two I got another fun interview step – talk again to five town dwellers. Managed to finish four of them, but the fifth guy resisted my attempts to parley. Looks like another study session will be needed to beat him, like the spiritragers and the soldiers.
But that was more than enough for a day’s gaming so I logged at this point.