In addition to our 2021 Major Game Awards, every member of the PC Gamer team has focused on the games they love this year. For the rest of this month, we will release the new employee draft and our main awards.
My relationship with the MMO has been deteriorating over the years, until I finally gave up my beautiful teenage memories and broke up with them forever. This year I avoided the new world and avoided being attracted by Final Fantasy XIV. Instead, I turned my attention to the book of travel. Its developer Might and Delight called it “TMORPG”, meaning “small” instead of “Big”.
Its small server online world draws on pen and paper RPG transactions and battles and talkative NPCs. As I expected after Might and Delight’s Shelter series, it is both visually and aurally quiet. I spent 50 hours slowly exploring this small world without worrying about whether I would miss it. This is the kind of low-voltage online RPG relationship I have always needed.
Book Of Travels is a descendant of the classic RPG. First choose a character class that is proficient in mechanical and physical talents, characteristics, origins and styles. You will find that more cRPG is rooted in its pointing and clicking movement or obsessiveness with crowding your inventory, but also because it likes to introduce the knowledge of weaving coasts through dialogue and item descriptions. This is the thing in the fable, where magic knots can turn you into a cat or make you teleport, and special tea can increase strength or endurance.
There is no official currency in the world, so you often need to manage your inventory-trade the fish you catch or the gadgets you plunder in exchange for other goods, until you can afford a jacket that can increase your ward (defense) attributes or One with extra pockets or knot skills makes you a deer so you can gallop around the world faster.
In addition to trading, there are battles. If you are not vigilant, you will sometimes encounter robbers on the road, or if you look for them, you will fight with supernatural creatures deep in remote forests. Your guard and troop level play a role in the Active Time Battle style attack system, where the first guard to 0 fails. In the calmer moments of the game, you can play card games with the NPC, if it is a deck builder, just like blackjack.
What the travel book does not have is a carefully planned mission log. “Tasks” are usually just fragments of conversations with NPCs. In the early days, specific roles will guide you on how to find a tutor who can teach you to read and introduce yourself to you. Until then, the conclusion of Weaving Coast is meaningless. After that, the rope hanging at the entrance of the store or in the city center becomes the message—the potential loose end of other tasks. The descriptions of items may imply their purpose or who will take them seriously in trade. Later in its early access journey, Might and Delight stated that it hopes to include an in-game notebook for freely jot down clues, but for now I will leave a hint in the pin name on the Minecraft map.
Importantly, Travels is not one of those early access games that can be released in its entirety. The Might and Delight plan allows Book of Travels to remain in Early Access for two years, while adding new areas of the world-events, skills, functions, etc.-everything it actually needs, while fixing various bugs. So far, I have enjoyed traveling in Braided Shore, so I don’t mind the lengthy early access period.
Due to its server capacity of 7, other players will not appear frequently, but they will usually wander and trade in the city. Even cooperatives are low pressure. Players who are close to each other will pool their talents in power or mechanical skills, but can leave alone at any time. I occasionally use our comprehensive mechanical skills with others to open lock boxes on the side of the road, share a quick wave of expressions when walking through a tea house, or go fishing side by side while waiting for the boat to arrive at the pier. There is no text chat or PvP, so you will communicate with other players entirely through emoticons.
Another detail that needs attention about Book of Travels is its real-time system. The day-night cycle is associated with the server where your character is located: Eastern and Western United States, Europe or Asia. There is a night market that you can only visit on one night of the week. The role assigned by the task only appears in a specific tea house on Friday night, and an event that occurs at a specific time of the day. Even trains and ships between certain locations run every few minutes.
I understand that this will be a deal breaker for some players. I no longer play MMOs because they tend to dominate my life and demand my existence. Unlike other MMOs, it has a variety of convenient facilities, such as fast travel, mounts, and group finder. The travel book is obviously inconvenient. For me, this is a blessing. Other MMOs keep putting their content at my fingertips, making me feel that leaving anything incomplete is my failure. “Travel Notes” did not cause the same anxiety. It is deliberately slowed down and is usually opaque. This world may not operate according to my schedule, but it will give me all the time I need to explore.