Glitch: Updates

So much for good intentions and the vagaries of real life. Long overdue on this post, but nevermind, we push on.

I haven’t managed to spend a lot of time in The Secret World lately. The story and atmosphere are still interesting, but I haven’t been able to shake the feeling this week that it all takes too long. Wait for patch, wait for client to load, wait for loadscreens per zone, wait for the NPC to finish voice-over talking (I -could- skip it, but then what would be the point of playing the game?), wander over to whatever area, killing several umpteen dozen mobs along the way for the quest, rinse and repeat.

It’s not bad, by any means, but anticipating the many waits puts me off even starting. Sort of MMO procrastination. How strange.

So instead, I have been dabbling. My current retreat has been Glitch, with a side of desultorily attempting Fallen London/Echo Bazaar once more. (I’m stuck in a Nightmares loop, and haven’t had the patience to keep logging in every couple hours for the measly 10 turns to get out.)

I’ve been messing around with Glitch since Massively introduced the game, but taking it slow and steady and with many breaks in between. To me, it’s a whimsical, musical crafting sandbox. It’s amusing how many A Tale in the Desert players also play the game (I see a lot of recognizable names on the global chat.)

Yep, I said sandbox. Mostly because there is no one linear commonly-accepted path to advancing in the game, and there are also too many things to do all at once. To me, a sandbox game is one where you have to pick your own goal and work on it and choose your next direction when you’re done. It’s also a toy, in that you can play with it and have fun in a totally non-productive way if you so wish.

Glitch, to me, works that way. You can run around the world exploring and seeing new sights, taking screenshots along the way. You can visit and socialize with people. You can choose to chase the umpteen Achievement badges. You can work on the quests that pop up as you earn new skills and do new things (mostly it’s a good goal for newbies, but in the mid-game, I’ve mostly stopped paying attention to those. My personal goals are more interesting and take precedence.) You can customize and decorate your avatar or your house, or arrange furniture around like you’re playing with a dollhouse (though extreme vanity would cost real money to buy the pretty stuff. Me, I’m cheap, I’m okay with my house looking like all the furnishing came from IKEA.)

An interesting trend are the new additions which are pushing Glitch in the direction of being also a platforming game. I previously teased Guild Wars 2 for being a 3D platformer with all their jumping puzzles, and Glitch seems to be the new 2D kid on the block. They added two new areas, Roobrik and Balzare. I have no idea what they’re really called, but my name for them is Imagination Forests.

They’ve quite a number of imagination quoins (those floaty things) in each room/zone, and the whole place is made up of lots of tall trees and platforms. So you get to jump back and forth to collect all the quoins to the accompaniment of bouncy cheerful music. There’s a random chance of each IMG quoin having a higher than average multiplier on them, so you stand to earn a higher total IMG per Glitch day from them to make all that bouncing around worth it.

I quite like them. The place to go for really high multiplier quoins is still the Ancestral Lands, but I don’t really like to visit AL daily. The time limit on staying in the Ancestral Lands always adds “gogogo” pressure, you may chance on juju bandits you have to dodge or lose an item (easy enough, but stressful when you worry about browser lag) and worse of all, AL is crowded. Everyone’s already been by and scooped all the good stuff, usually.

My uncompetitive bone would much rather meander about the forests, sending my avatar playing around the branches like a little boy with nary a care in the world, having the freedom to back and forth in and out of my house as I feel like it.

Seeing as I never regularly managed to fill my quoin limits for the Glitch day previously, these forests come in very handily. Now I can. And bonus IMG is always good for spending on the upgrade cards, which is a relatively new system the devs added around the same time as the new housing, when they removed xp and replaced it with IMG that could be spent.

Speaking of the upgrade cards, the other contributions to platforming include the triple jump cards, which increase the height of the triple jump you can do, and a new series of “Ticket to” various places called Arbor Hollow, Cloud Flight, Sky Plunge and Radial Heights. Activating the cards brings you to a special room where you get to jump around and collect quoins, and if you manage a special pattern (at least in Radial Heights) you may get bonus rewards. Mostly, I love them for the sheer glee and delight of flying around and soaring, screw the quoins.

Radial Heights especially has fantastic music. (Take a gander at the youtube video.) When I first visited that special room, the music charmed me to such an extent, after finishing lighting up all the stars and picking up all the goodies, I decided not to leave and spent a good fifteen minutes just bouncing around in no set order, hitting stars and having them chime along to the music. Sort of impromptu music making. I bet many kids would be mesmerized by that room.

I think part of the charm of Glitch, especially for adults, is that it gives us permission to unwind and harken back to days of childlike imagination. It’s very good at what it does.

Nothing you do is wrong in Glitch. Inefficient, maybe, but if efficiency is not your goal, why bother? And even if you accidentally do something “bad,” like mismanage your energy and run out and “die,” you go to Hell – which is an amusing enough place for being dead, affords an exploration badge the first time, and increments a death badge achievement, which encourages some to die on purpose daily.

And like I found out, by sheer accident, there’s also a new death-related badge added recently.

Rofl’ing on reading the text truly cut the pain of accidentally falling over and conking off when I didn’t want to.

As for what I’ve been doing in there, about a week or two ago, all my house-related skills (furniture making, fiber arts, etc.) finally completed their long offline learning times, and I decided to start belated house improvement. (I think most established Glitch players have long completed those things, and me, I’m just starting, heh.)

You can hurry the learning of skills by regular donation to favor shrines of the Giants, but I kept metagaming and thinking “grinding” and “itemsinks” and “my god, I’m actively wasting my time buying into this hamster wheel of frantic activity that gets swallowed by the trash cans of the game, just to speed up something that’ll take 14 days to maybe 7 days if you work your fingers to the bone.”

Seeing as Glitch isn’t the only MMO I’m playing, it was less stressful to just set the offline skill and forget about the game and let it do its thing in its own time. Patience works wonders.

Now I could have hurried house improvements by buying stuff from other players, but I just don’t get my fun from the game that way. I prefer self-sufficiency and do-it-yourself over currency trading. I worked on the second floor addition to my house – something which took a surprisingly huge amount of resources I never bothered to collect, so I had to go around to get them (the players have developed various resource routes using their home streets – something truly ingenious, if a little game-breaking, imo, as it concentrates a lot of previously spread out resources into one place. Using these resources grants the player who created them extra IMG, so it is a mutual benefit social exchange.)

I don’t know if there are hardcore Glitch players who bother visiting all the streets to collect the total amount of potential resources a day. I do know that after 2-3 streets, my already-quite-full-of-random-crap bags were close unto bursting and I headed back home instead.

That done, I’m back to my goal of carpeting the walls in Storage Display Boxes or SDBs.

Previously, the only way to store goods in houses was to chuck them all over the floor. This makes for a distressingly messy house and makes it hard to find anything in the piles of stuff. (You could also lock them away in bags in cupboards, but it involved lots of clicking and opening of storage items to find what you wanted also.)

My house is unfortunately still mostly in that state, but if I get enough SDBs on the walls, I figure I should be able to take most of the junk off the floors eventually.

And maybe even get the pets out into the yard.

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