Monday, October 21, 2019

Halloween, Project Gorgonified

Tis the season for all MMOs to undergo a facelift of a spookier sort and Project Gorgon, the quirkiest MMO of them all, is no exception.

Pumpkin Mimics . . . it's a thing

It's Halloween time in Serbule, and it all started about a week ago. There was a strange precursor quest that happened a little bit before the real quests started. Basically, you talked to a goat, he had you click on a box, and you became a giant bat until removed by a potion that costs 4.5k councils.

Weeeeee! Flying!

I had a lot of fun flying around as a giant bat. It took a bit of asking in Guild chat to figure out that I needed to press R to fly and F to land. Once that happened, I was visiting all kinds of weird empty spots in Project Gorgon. Being a bat has a whole skill line that actually just got revamped a bit with the patch that contained the *real* Halloween update.

Side note: Being a Giant Bat helped me uncover a really big missed opportunity. There could be a whole secret bat city atop Serbule castle! That really needs to happen.

With the patch the goat NPC was removed and the *actual* Halloween celebration began. It features a whole lot more pumpkin decorations around town and a bunch of quests.

A Giant Bat between two pumpkins . . . that's me!

We're talking four or five complete quest chains that will have you doing everything from baking candied apples to running 144 kegs of beer to a party for the Goddess of Whimsy . . . to offering a skull to an alter and fighting Lord Serbule's ghost.

Halloween is all about the Goddess of Whimsy

You'll also find various areas that didn't have undead, now have undead. Like these Flapskulls in the Ilmari Desert.

They don't actually have legs, that's my pet biting the flapskull from behind.

Also, it appears about half of the tigers in the lower level zones were replaced with undead archers. I know this because there's a quest to make some spooky punch, which requires 4 cat eyeballs -- they were a touch harder to find with less tigers around. The punch decoration was worth it though.

Reminds me of the old spaghetti brains gag in neighborhood haunted houses.

Overall the Halloween quests are fun and a nice distraction from the usual game, and if there's anytime to be playing Project Gorgon as a bat, it's right now.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fire Magic Fili-greed

It's been a month now since I took the plunge and paid my 40 bucks for Project Gorgon, and I've put in a solid 186 hours according to my Steam profile. Granted, a chunk of that is just hanging out afk on the login screen, but I really feel like I'm getting a hang of the game and know my way around at least the initial zones.

You might say I've jumped over a few lakes in my days here

Probably my biggest hurdle to date came just a few days ago when I reached level 60 in my Fire Magic ability and found that to earn access to levels 61-70 it would take an astounding 95,000 gold.

Pretty much everything in game got put on hold at that point as I then began an epic gold hunting campaign that lasted three or four days. In the end, I guess the sticker price put more of a shock on me than the actual grind for the gold.

Many Project-demigorgons died to line my pocketbook

Most of my 95k came from completing the Casino Daily Excursion every day. It's worth a cool 10k all by itself as a quest completion reward and you can usually pull an additional 2-5k from all the sellable vendor drops you get alone, and if you spend the resulting casino chips on a Cashfall Match-3 game, you can net an extra few 1,000 depending on how lucky / good you are at Match 3.

I really like doing the Daily Excursion with my guild. My Guild Leader is very smooth at pulling mobs back to the group and we have few mishaps on the "easy" missions like Wolf Caves, Yeti Cave, and Winter Nexus . . . let's not talk about the Dark Chapel . . .

Outside of this I started looking at things like Work Orders, which I completely (and definitely to my fault) ignored while leveling up.  What are Work Orders?

The Work Order board in Serbule near Fritz the Boatman

Well, at certain activity hubs you can find these big bulletin boards. Clicking on one opens up a UI that fills with possible "jobs" that will pay money when you complete them. The majority of them are crafting based, e.g., Bake 10 Fried Chicken and deliver it to Fritz the Boatman.

Fritz ate a lot of my fried chicken and more over those 3 days.

While completing work orders, I also went on a crazy killing and skinning spree in Etibule. I'm pretty sure everyone in Etibule was like . . . yikes . . . this guy needs to be locked up, but by the end I had a huge haul of skins and vendor trash that sold for a lot of money.

. . . and of course, I completed a lot of War Caches like I talked about in my last post. They're typically good for 2-5k depending on inventory space and which vendors still have cash to buy all this nonsense.

Pretty much I just sold everything.

Usually I'm much more cautious about saving items and tucking rolls of precious crafting goods away for another time . . . but not when i was on the hunt for money. I was single minded in regards to "Tom's fire magic charity fundraiser." Has kind of a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

The funny thing is, it only gets worse. I don't even want to think about what it will cost to raise my Fire Magic from 71-80. /shiver

On the plus side, I'm one-shotting creatures with fireballs like never before. The power bump is awesome.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Cache me Outside in the Ilmari Desert

The Ilmari Desert story is probably one of my favorites that I've read about so far in Project Gorgon. It involves a war between races and the total annihilation of a land by witches who used a magical nature device (dubbed, the naturesphere) that caused a three-year long lightning storm. This storm eventually changed fields and farmlands into a sprawling desert.

Staring into a portal leading to a War Cache . . . so pretty! So loot-filled!

Fast forward to now . . . underneath all this sand are old military bunkers set up by the Witches (aka the Crone Hegemony) and the council's representative, Sir Johnson, is looking for all the weaponized Xendrite from those bunkers that he can get his hands on. But for me . . . it's an opportunity for adventure and to earn money!

The War Caches of Ilmari have been my bread and butter for the past 10 levels or so. Every day I hop in, pick up a new War Cache from Sir Johnson, and head out to find one of these mini-dungeons. At my level they take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on which Cache you get, and they each feature similar mechanics.

In a nutshell:
1- Find the war cache
2- Find the Weaponized Xendrite (or sometime other goal)
3- Solve the Minotaur Chest
4- Turn in to Sir Johnson
5- Wash, rinse, repeat

Grimilkin and Mega dust storms . . . just two of the things that want to kill you in the desert.

Find the War Cache
This took some asking in guild for me to really figure out, and it actually explained a lot about another system I was confused by in Project Gorgon. To find a War Cache, you have to click on the map that Sir Johnson gives you.

When you click on the map, a little red circle descends on to your game map. Run to that location. Click it again. Inch your way to that location based on the coordinates it gives you. Click it again. Inch maybe one more time because it's tricky. Click it again and BAM!! You unearth a portal to the War Cache.

Click the map and let the red circle guide you to the War Cache. NOW I GET IT!

The first time I did this procedure a light went off in my head. I had gained the surveying skill earlier in the game, and I had no idea how to use the map that it gave me. This uses the same technique. You click on the map and it leads you to a location where some valuable mineral is stored in the earth.

Now I get it.

Find the Weaponized Xendrite
Typically you find Weaponized Xendrite tucked away neatly in lead-lined chests throughout the War Cache dungeon.  They can often be hidden behind gates that require you to solve a little lever puzzle or just lay beyond rooms full of monsters. Other times the Xendrite is located inside a creature that has swallowed it or some other such nonsense. Just read the quest log if you're truly lost on where to find the Xendrite.

Lots of twist and turns with enemies every direction.

Each Cache usually features 3 different types of creatures and one dungeon boss. Difficulty has ranged anywhere from moderate to OMG NEVER DO THAT DUNGEON AGAIN!

Such was the case just yesterday when I stumbled upon a War Cache that featured mummies and hook horrors back to back. It was a nasty combination -- especially given that mummies can give you a disease that makes you take TONS of damage from bludgeoning attacks. There's a potion back in town that you can barter for that will cure this disease, but I'm just going to not do those instances that feature mummies from this point forward. /shiver

Solve the Minotaur Chest
This is really an optional goal, but each War Cache has a chest with a riddle lock upon it. You are provided 10 random symbols. Place four of these symbols in the correct order and you solve the lock -- thereby earning yourself a couple of really good pieces of gear.

Around the dungeon you'll find these symbols pop up on random walls and tucked away in secret corners. The purpose of this is to help narrow your ten symbols down a bit. It isn't guaranteed that the symbols you find will be used in the lock . . .it only narrows your choices.

Typically I open up my handy dandy notepad the game provides me and start writing these down as I stumble upon them during the dungeon. When I wrap things up, the Minotaur Chest is the last thing I do before I exit the dungeon -- piecing together all my clues to open the lock. (You can still solve this whenever though . . . if you're good with puzzles, no worries.)

You get 12 tries at the lock. If you don't get it, the lock is stuck permanently unless you have a lock pick. Lock picks can also be bartered for back in town. Once you get the hang of how these puzzles work, however, you probably won't be needing very many picks from that point forward.

I tried tracking all my answers to the Minotaur Chest to see if the same combination was used upon second entry into the same War Cache. The answer was no. The combination changes when you re-enter the dungeon. I'm going to keep tracking them and trying them just on the off chance it repeats the pattern or there are two or three different combinations per War Cache.

It's just a process of elimination, really . . .

Turn in to Sir Johnson
After you exit the dungeon, it's just a short sprint back to town (be careful though . . . there are things in the desert that are very VERY nasty). Sir Johnson exchanges your Weaponized Xendrite for "Sir Johnson Bucks". These can be bartered with the fairy just behind him for level 60 gear, lock picks, and mummy rot cure potions.

Just what are Sir Johnson and his fairy friend gathering all this Xendrite for, anyway?

If none of that sounds attractive to you, each Sir Johnson buck is worth 250 gold (councils) by themselves, and you can hold on to them for the next time you're in Serbule.  Velkort will buy them in town at face value.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Gotta say, I typically really love these little dungeons!  They provide a good challenge and pretty good rewards. I've gained 10 fire magic levels from grinding them and died countless times to tricky room pulls and surprise respawns.

It appears to be a pretty long 20 minute timer if you accept a War Cache and then trash the quest because it . . .you know . . . has mummies inside of it, but I'd rather wait the 20 minutes than bang my head on the desk from dying over and over.

Someday when I'm level 80 or 90 I'll come back to these and laugh at how easy they are now. Maybe they'll become a quick farm for gold. /shrug  As for now, it's my main method of passing the time in Project Gorgon.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Kur-sing the Mountains of Project Gorgon

After spending a long time running around almost every inch of Eltibule, a Project "Gorgonite" like myself starts to look elsewhere for entertainment, and that seems to come in basically one of two (or maybe even three) flavors depending on your level.

To clarify, "Level" is a little bit of a strange concept in Project Gorgon since there isn't a nice big number anywhere on the screen that says, "Level 30!" I mean, you level your skills up and that's really the only gauge you have to know your level.

In my mind it all comes down to one skill . . . Endurance. Yup, if I was forced to pick a skill to say that's my level, Endurance feels like that yard stick. That and you know you're ready to move on from Eltibule when you can finally face off against these guys.

My vote for scariest insect in Project Gorgon

They're called "Tor-Urak" and are the scariest freaking giant insects you'll ever encounter. They spit boulders at you, have a Sarlac Pit style mouth, and come with a nasty knockback effect. I've left behind several tombstones from these guys chasing me down while I was trying to sneak into Hogan's Keep. They patrol outside there and around the portal to Kur Mountains, which is the real subject of this blog post. I digress.

Once your endurance is around 30, you should look at heading to either Sun Vale or Kur Mountains.

Personally I headed to Sun Vale, and honestly I think it was the right choice. That said, there's really not a lot to do out in Sun Vale. It's an unfinished zone that the developer fully admits has more to come, but the Sun Vale route allows you to kind of grind out some extra experience beating on trolls and the "bad" fairies, which seem to have a little bit of a war going on. You can pick up the Hammer trait here from a friendly Troll, and there's a patch of "good" fairies that have a few quests for you (I'm finding that quests aren't straight forward guides through the content.)


I didn't step foot into Kur Mountains until about a week ago. It's much less friendly than Sun Vale, but seems to be better fleshed out as far as content goes and has absolutely breathtaking views.


You'll notice in that screenshot above I have on a different outfit. When I first arrived in Kur Mountains I was getting frost bite from cold exposure really quickly. Once Frost Bite sets in, your character is on a fast train to death until you can put down an emergency fire.

What you really need to do is get yourself a big batch of "tufts of fur." There's a friendly outpost up North in Kur Mountains (it's kind of a straight shot through the icy waters and mountain range in the picture above) that trades Tufts of Fur for Insulated pieces of gear.

Cold weather gear doesn't completely free you from the continual worries of Frost Bite, but it makes this land much more bearable and you go from putting an Emergency Fire down every few minutes to maybe about once every ten minutes, which is way less stressful.

It's a deal!

Once you've secured this gear, Kur Mountains is a forager's dream come true. There are ground spawns of wood, ice water, and lichens all over the northern stretch of Kur Mountains. There are plenty of deer to hunt for meat and the Wolves aren't too bad for grinding exp.  The bears on the other hand . . . watch out for the bears. They have a horrible maul attack that ignores armor. A couple of bears can make quick work of your health pool, which makes travel in the dangerous land of Kur Mountains even more dangerous.

Bernie, my pet Fire Rat, is not fazed by the cold like I am.

The Lichens you pick up off the ground actually have a really good use. They're used in a skill to heal broken bones. Lately our guild has been hitting the daily quest pretty regularly and the Ogres in these dungeons have a nasty habit of breaking bones. At one time I had up to 24 broken bones from Ogres. I believe each broken bone means spells and abilities cost an extra point of power. It's a nasty permanent-until-cured debuff on your character.

Speaking of dailies, Kur Mountains features the "Wolf Caves" daily dungeon. It's pretty great and not too bad for the guild to run with 3-5 people.

Buffed up and ready to rock the Wolf Caves with the guild!

The Daily Dungeons have really been the glue for the guild getting together and playing each night. Really enjoying them. Wolf Caves is a good one and super profitable!

Ultimately there's still a lot for me to explore in Kur Mountains . . . there are 2 or 3 dungeons I haven't done much with yet and lots of unfinished quests. But I'm not sure how much more I'm going to explore there though to be honest. The call of the War Caches in the Ilamari Desert might be too much for a Raksasha to ignore.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Monsters and Mantids, More than Malliteration

I talked briefly about the Match-3 game that can be found inside Project Gorgon a couple posts ago, but I didn't mention much about the other games that can be found in the Red Wing Casino. Namely Gladiator Pit Fight Betting and Monsters and Mantids.

Pit Fight Betting is pretty standard other than you can go around to the NPCs around the Casino and have them give you "insights" into who is the better fighter before you place your bets. Every 10-15 minutes or so there's a new fight that breaks out in the gladiator pit and you win money if your gladiator wins.

Monsters and Mantids is (as you can probably tell) is a play off of Dungeons and Dragons. To start, you sally up to a table like the true nerd you are and pay the Mantid running the game a cool 500 gold (erm, rather 500 councils as it's called in Project Gorgon). At that point you enter a text-based adventure where you take on the role of Praying Mantis Warrior descending a dungeon.

Throughout your adventure you'll battle everything from Giant Maggots to Dragons and stumble into encounters like Sheep that can talk and Giant Eerie Mushrooms (where you'll make saving throws to see the outcome).  You'll find special hats you can where that will give you bonuses to your combat because as we know in Project Gorgon, Giant Praying Mantis love to wear hats.

Every time you initially enter a game of Monsters and Mantids you're given a randomized set of three skills, some better than others. You'll then use those same skills in every battle that follows, i.e., when you encounter a monster, you use those skills to lower their hitpoints to zero.

After a combat you're given the option to level up your skills or eat the enemy you just defeated. As much as I wish I could both level my skills and eat the enemy . . . that's the game, that's the gamble, and that's what makes it fun! Do I play it safe and heal up or do I power up my praying mantis warrior for the battles to come?

The skill behind the game is knowing when to call it quits. If you are defeated in Monsters and Mantids, you lose everything and will be out the 500 councils you paid for entry.  To win the game, you simply back out of the dungeon and cash out. That seems easy at first, but I've had games where I'm just slaying everything left and right only to get a series of bad rolls on the dice and blow it.

It seems to be an art that can be fairly profitable if you do it correctly -- especially since you can win free Cashfall Match-3 tickets during your game of Monsters and Mantids for "acts of bravery" when the gamble is high on a particular encounter.  Then you can earn even more money in Match 3.

I was able to earn enough money between winning in Monsters and Mantids to buy my level 45 and 50 fire magic training manuals, which aren't exactly cheap. Then again, I've also spun my wheels for an hour basically making no ground financially.

I was just happy to place 13th for the week. (Edit: wow! After looking at the screenshot again, looks like I actually had an 8th place game as well!)

This is yet another fun quirky game inside the already quirky Project Gorgon MMO. If you actually play the game and have any tips to share, please do so in the comments! I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Dueling

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Still Digging that Project Gorgon Life

I had a really cool surprise yesterday when I opened up Twitter and clicked on a Tweet from Massively OP that gave me a shout out in an article featuring my last post on Project Gorgon. Totally unexpected and really cool. Massively is simply amazing.

In the comments to that article, I saw just a little grumbling about that entry fee of $40 bucks. I just have to say that I'm personally getting a ton more value as the hours roll by.  I've "only" invested 80 hours (probably more like 100 if you count the time spent in the demo) in the game to date whereas my guild leader is pushing 3,000 hours. Think about that. For me, it's at the 50 cents an hour range. For him it's pennies per hour that he's paid for all that playtime.

I honestly don't know how this miniscule development team pulls it off and pays the bills.

But I get it, there are a lot of game options out there these days and why invest in a game like Project Gorgon when you could drop the same amount of money and play vanilla Guild Wars 2 or rent 30-40 Redbox films? The answer is that Project Gorgon is a quirky hot mess of a nostalgia trip that's just fun to play. It may not be your bag. That's cool. Try the Demo first.

Some people get grumpy when they run into bugs and non-intuitive features, but honestly, as long as you're having fun at the end of the day, your attitude towards it will decide whether you like this game or not.

What's that? Yes, I'm swimming in mid-air! I found a hilarious bug in Sun Vale the other day when I dipped into a river and then tried to jump out of the river only to find I was stuck swimming as the world appeared to suddenly be underwater. So I swam like a bird high up on the Z-axis and got a great view of the blurry world below and died on perfectly dry land. Yeah it was wasted time, but are you gonna find this kind of stupid bug in WoW?! I THINK NOT! IT WAS AWESOME!

And what's that? Yes, I look like a luchador wearing a green dress playing the lute. And I'm waiting an ungoldly five minutes for a box of arrows to "dry in the sun" during the middle of the night . . . but I'm joined by my pet "fire rat" named Bernie as we serenade the night away. The quirk is strong with this one.

Speaking of quirk. I loved stumbling into this party in the middle of Serbule one night. Jackencola, one of the more verbal devs, was dropping a color light show dance party extravaganza. The game would encourage us all to do the same numbered dance move and synchronize together. People were playing tubas, wolves were howling, and the area was full of strange dancing.

All the while, this ugly game truly has some beautifully serene moments. It's visually at its best when the sun rises across the virtual landscape and a misty morning rolls out in front of you. The Project Gorgon landscape is always more screenshot worthy in this type of light.

Wait, I have a better screenshot than that . . . it's right before this moment when my rat got in front of the camera and looked like he's a giant putting his paws on my shoulders.

Thanks for the backrub, Bernie!

Anyway, I hope to have more posts about Project Gorgon on random things like how I learned how to read Goblin from reading their business cards, how I finally sped up my run speed, how I figured out how Surveying works, and more of the juicy lore gossip on why there's a big head and two hands poking out of the ground in Serbule. It's all good stuff to me.

Happy Dueling!