Boundless: Test of the Gleambow

Boundless continues to consume the majority of my gaming time.

I popped into GW2 for quick moments to check out the latest story chapter and meta map – they’re good, nearly everything seems to be improving lately (except servers and routing lag), but the major take-home for me was the realization on stepping into Drizzlewood Coast and feeling, “Egads, there’s just -too- many players around.”

Far be it for me to try and coerce a game into something it patently is not. GW2 is a game of the zerg and mega-zerg, an ode to the power of spontaneously forming cooperative groups. That is one of its strengths. It should play to it.

If I am no longer in a headspace for it, then that’s on me, and not the game.

Surely, in this era of overflowing Steam libraries and free games thrown at you every week, one can manage to find other games for the experience one is craving.

Desperately fighting off an immense urge to re-play Terrarria (that is one -deep- rabbit hole to fall down, a lot of time is needed for that one), I throw myself back into Boundless to at least close some projects before beginning others.

bound5a

The top floor of the farm is about there, sans some ceiling chiseling and the decision of what other crops to install into the two rightmost plots.

I’m having second thoughts about closing up the box, the open cave into the hillside has its own style of attractiveness. Then again, if I can make the entrance look good, with more decorative motifs and/or statues, it may also work. We’ll see.

bound5b

Got my first wheat and oat harvest the other day. 180% and 220% crop yields with 100% seed return. Not too shabby. At 54 seeds, that’s about 100ish crops each growth cycle.

My crafter alt still lacks sufficient skill points and skill page distribution to really get into high level foods (I threw the points into high level brews and tools instead, leaving out weapons, foods and grapples), so we’re bottlenecked there for the time being.

The basement floor is still an utter mess. I used it as a prototyping space for figuring out water systems for flooding rice, and I haven’t gotten around to cleaning up the aftermath. No firm decision on a setup yet either. I gave up and went gleambow hunting.

bound5k

We’re in the second and final week of this event.

Observing the player interactions from afar brings back A Tale in the Desert sociological experiment memories. A ton of them. It’s like the Test of the Obelisk queue all over again.

The forums are filling with drama. As expected, an organized group figured out a way for a majority of players to ‘win’ in an organized fashion, by creating a voluntary cooperative system to partake in.

In this case, apparently cooperating players gather together on a hunting platform in the center of a region. This triggers meteors to spawn at the highest level (level 6) if the group is large enough. Normally, this can only happen once with a natural spawning meteor, and then the group moves on to the next hunting platform, unsoweiter.

The new spin is that they are now using gleambow augments to summon meteors. Summoned gleambow meteors have the colored blocks, but the gleamtrunk mobs do not drop additional sacs, so there is no reason for extra people to go after the meteor, beyond the shared reward of completed meteor, and the actual colored blocks themselves.

A ‘queue’ system is apparently in place. So people line up on the platform, announce they are summoning a meteor, and then (if one follows the group’s rules), only the summoner gets to go and break the meteor they summoned. The group also made portals in all cardinal directions to help the summoner get there as quickly as possible.

Just like the obelisk queue, there are always going to be more selfish defectors. I gather – without going near the entire thing at all, the planet they’re doing it on is supremely laggy for me – that there have been a couple of ‘enterprising’ players capitalizing on this surfeit of near-guaranteed level 6 meteor spawns to grab even more colored blocks for themselves.

Their defence is that the event is titled as a ‘race,’ the in-game rules and devs do not prevent them from snatching up blocks from any fallen meteors, and that competition is part and parcel of the event. It sounds exactly like the defence of the obelisk queue jumpers – building big and extensively is the point of that event, and those who want it should rise to the challenge and overbuild them/be faster.

Some people call this griefing, others call it self-interest or perfectly innocent behavior or possibly an accident of ignorance or playing within the limits of the in-game rules. Me, I think the motives of various people are made super clear by the behavior they -repeat-.

Extra drama points for those who spring up out of the woodwork, claiming victimization and verbal harrassment from the organized cooperators. Their PR spin on things is that the big group ‘bullied’ everybody in the regions nearby into playing by their new sandbox rules, that their boundaries have been infringed by the group choosing to do their activities near their existing territories (they were there first, and this group just muscled in and decided this space was theirs now), and they certainly will not play by the group’s rules and if they can disrupt the group, they will.

Mind you, the whole reason the group exists is also because of the mutual greed of a level 6 meteor (a HUGE amount of colored blocks) prompting cooperation via enlightened self-interest.

Me, I’m not touching the entire angle, from either side, with a ten foot pole. As tempted as I am by the thought of a level 6 meteor all for myself, it is tempered by the realization that I would have to stand in a line for possibly 15-30 minutes before it comes around to my turn (can there be anything more boring), plus the thought of all these defectors just beelining towards every meteor, ready to spoil the experience and getting a kick out of it.

My solution is the same solution as the obelisk solution. Patience and outlasting the drama and choosing the correct time and space to profit.

The gleambow augments can be used even after the event. Firing one off when nobody’s noticing is the best way to not have a meteor get stolen. Granted, it’ll only be a dinky level 1 meteor, but meh,  it annoys me more to have to ‘share’ a larger meteor with people who invite themselves to the party. I’m fine with my own private party when nobody’s watching.

bound5l

So I’ve been sneaking around on the Aussie planet (hoorah for 100ms ping), at timezones when only the Oceanic players are awake, and staring intently at my atlas for any signs of nearby players. If there are any, I scram off to another region for more quiet, uninterrupted personal time with my lil round balls. *coughs*

bound5m

With no one else around, I have complete say.

I move to the center of a region to trigger my own meteor. I’ve learned how to look directly up into the sky and identify the one and only comet trail appearing near directly overhead and streaking to a nearby region. I chase it.

I get there, looking all about me to make sure no other red squares indicating other players nearby pop up on the compass. I make my own decision to lose or complete the meteor, based on what materials it’s made of.

Losing the meteor leaves my timer fairly intact (around 2 minutes), and I busy myself shooting the gleamtrunks for those remaining seconds. I pop about 6-10 sacs each dinky meteor I give up. If it’s gleam, then I collect fewer sacs (maybe 2-4) then I smash the meteor and collect a small, dinky amount of gleam.

Then I’m on the move to another region and grabbing at least 4-5 dinky meteors in 30 minutes or so. The return may or may not pall compared to those standing in line for their giant level 6 meteors. But it certainly has more action to keep me engaged and less drama.

If I bump into someone else, I usually give up the meteor. It’s one meteor. I’m not going to be as fast as the established players. I saunter over, pick up whatever sacs and the final completed meteor reward is there, and then I LEAVE. The entire region. Because I’m not going to keep triggering meteors for super fast players to snatch up under my nose. They can trigger their own meteors by themselves.

There is no fight. It is ships momentarily passing in the night, and then we’re gone, never to bother each other again. They get their own meteors over here, I get my own meteors over there. It is hermit poetry.

bound5h

I have no standard of comparison with the industrial big boys, but I am not playing at their levels anyway. In my own turtle way, I have collected a decent amount of rare colored gleam. As a satisficer, for now, it is enough.

I don’t plan to build with rare colored gleam, so that’s one demand drain lifted. I’d like to have enough to do the goo mutation thing, but I don’t have the faintest clue how to goo farm yet, so one has no idea how much one really needs. At experimental stages, 3-4 of each gleam doesn’t sound that bad, and that seems to be what is gradually accumulating haphazardly in my dump storage.

In fact, it’s getting full. It’s getting to the point where I stare down into the neck of the container and realize that this is no way to keep a library of rare gleam colors, because I don’t even know wtf I have.

I look at all the storage blocks and shelves of my current base, and with a sinking feeling, realize that a) I don’t have enough empty spaces for this amount of colors, and b) it would be a bad idea to mix rare gleam with gleam obtainable from existing planets, how would I tell them apart?

You know, for only wanting to build functionally, I am doing a LOT of building in Boundless. *half-hearted grumble*

I decide on another sub-basement. I hate ruining the countryside with eyesores.

bound5d

First layer of digging. The waterfalls are inadvertent hilarity caused by digging underneath some of my farm plots. (At least it’s not lava.)

I put in another protective yellow gleam ceiling layer.

bound5c

Then I sit around and try to work out the colors. I suspect Boundless holds my building attention more strongly than Minecraft simply because of the colors.

In Minecraft, colored blocks are either an afterthought or need a fair amount of dye/industrial processing to get sufficient blocks for building. In Boundless, most everything has inherent colors.

I picked up a ridiculous amount of dark blue rock the other day while hunting for emeralds. I didn’t want to throw it away, so I turned it into marble, thinking I might make a blue color scheme building at some point.

An underground sub-basement for gleam and storage of other things with colors sounded too depressing to make completely blue. (Also, the amount of naturally blue rock was limited, and I didn’t want to delve into paint sprays just yet. Work within one’s limits and all that.)

bound5j

One thing led to another, I wound up with high contrast, light-colored floor and ceilings to offset the dark blue walls and the black storage cabinets.

I also did a ridiculous amount of prototyping in-game. There was a lot of construction and deconstruction.

bound5i

It eventually iterated into something that looks passable.

255 possible colors, divided into 28 sub-groups, and a cabinet stack for each of those 28 shade/sub-groups. Should hopefully be enough for the moment.

It is interesting to note that I do a lot more planning and prototyping and iteration of builds in Boundless. The effort required to mass produce enough blocks for a build is not insubstantial. This has a carry-over effect where I test and re-test and prototype until I’m fairly happy with the result, before I set the machines in motion.

Anything with more ease, and I would probably get a lot more careless about my builds.

bound5o

Final prototype layout in place. Now to replace everything with actual storage blocks, and hope nothing else goes wrong.

It’s not been all meteor chasing and homebody building. I scraped together enough time to pop by the latest exo-world as well. My first T7 exo-world. More milestones reached. More on that another time.

bound5f

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