Further southwest of the monastery is the wilderness, a land unclaimed by any nation. You may ask, why would any kind of land be unclaimed? Well, the wilderness holds no resources and extremely little value. The Kingdom which owns the wilderness would be responsible for road maintenance and monster attacks, these things take resources, but the wilderness simply isn’t worth the expenditure. As such, the wilderness neither has roads or regulation. It’s a hot spot for players who rob the many traveling NPC traders. if a player was hired to protect the wagon, PvP combat would arise, but many times the bandits would simply leave the NPC trader alone, as PvP doesn’t provide any benefits, and the spoils from robbing the wagon isn’t worth the trouble of going through other players.
Killing NPCs earn you a bad reputation though, your karma points decrease and other NPC merchants are less likely to trust you or provide you service, hence there’s generally no point in going down the bandit playstyle unless you are already self-sustaining. Currently the game has only been released for about close to a month, Dan, Nic and I are nearing level 50 but we’ve yet to accomplish any real objectives in the game yet. We’re traveling to explore the world in hopes of finding the end game content.
Today, we’re at the edge of the wilderness where we met up with the quest informant, Hanzou, who is giving us a run down of the situation.
“Lately, the giant scorpions have been increasing in number. Commander Regus thinks it may just be part of the natural ecosystem spike, but the numbers are starting to pose a threat to our Kingdom’s merchants. We’d like for you to thin out their numbers slightly so that our merchants may travel with less worries.”
“How many would you like us to kill?” (Me)
“Just bring back the stinger of 10 giant scorpions and I will reward you accordingly.”
Alright, the quest seems easy. The three of us set forth into the wilderness, while in the wilderness players receive a debuff “Fatigue”. It starts at one stack and slowly ramps up in intensity, it mainly affects movement and combat strength, but if you reach the maximum number of stacks, your character passes out and you wake up in the nearest Kingdom’s inn. Players with higher STA ramp the Fatigue stacks slower. It’s easy enough to combat Fatigue, you just have to rest in the shade for a while and the stacks start going back down. It’s just another thing to track aside from HP and MP. Shade is rare in the wilderness, but you can create your own shade by digging in into the sand, so it’s not too difficult to survive, just really uncomfortable. If you bring your own shade like an umbrella or a wagon, then you would have no problems in the wilderness.
We didn’t have any of those luxuries before coming here, so we’ll have to do this the hard way. First up is identifying the giant scorpion burrows, Dan has it down with his Zoology profession. Scorpions are mainly nocturnal, so during the day they’ll be hiding underground, but due to their size, the pits that they dig to hide in are large and easily give away their location, looking for them is not difficult, getting them out of the burrow is the problem.
“Y’all got any ideas to get them out?” (Dan)
“Hmm.. If we find the opening to their burrows, I can try throwing some poison potions in, see if that attracts their attention.” (Nic)
“And if it doesn’t?” (Me)
“Then I’ll just go straight in and bash it I guess. No fashion like old fashioned.”
“Sounds like a dangerous and rash thing to do. I like it.” (Dan)
“Well, if there’s no other choice I guess.” (Me)
Yea we’re all acting like it’s reckless and we shouldn’t do that, but I’m pretty sure everyone’s excited to finally part of a big fight again. I mean, the zombies were slow and easy, plus we spent most of the time exploring the monastery rather than fighting, so now everyone’s itching to test out their new equipment. Everyone’s gonna go ham.
“Hey, here’s a burrow, let’s try that poison potion thing.”
Nic throws the potion as far as he can into the burrow, a shattering splashing sound is heard, but nothing after that. Could it be that the scorpions are immune to poison? Or maybe Nic just doesn’t have enough STR and couldn’t throw far enough.
“I’m gonna go have a look.”
Nic goes into the tunnel while we wait outside. After a while he comes back out with the tail sting of a giant scorpion, it’s as big as a soccer ball and honestly, pretty scary.
“You solo’d the scorpion?!” (Me)
“Seriously? You didn’t even invite us in on the fun? How could you, I thought we were friends.” (Dan)
“Ayyyy lol nah, it was already dead when I went in, I just cut off the stinger.”
“Already dead?” (Me)
“Yea, because it was dark, I couldn’t really see properly, the torch wasn’t that bright, but from the shell of the scorpion, whoever killed it probably used a piercing-type weapon. Arrows can’t carry that kind of penetration, so probably a spear-type weapon?”
“Hmm.. let’s try to find more, we’re down one stinger now, so we should probably have more chances to fight.” (Dan)
We roam around to find more burrows, occasionally taking short rests in the shadow of boulders and large cacti, but every single one of the burrows that we entered had the same scene – dead scorpion, spear-type wounds. We gathered up our 10 stingers easily, but without getting to fight anything, we felt rather disappointed. We returned to Hanzou and gave him the report.
“All the scorpions you found were already dead you say? That does indeed sound queer, we’ve been monitoring the area for a while now, but no adventurers have entered or left since you guys arrived.”
“It’s possible that the scorpions were fighting each other for territory, but to find 10 dead in their burrows? That’s not any simple territory skirmish.” (Dan)
“True. I will report to Commander Regus for now, here is your reward, thank you for your assistance.”
We got our reward but left unsatisfied. Our next destination is across the wilderness so we’ll be going in again, we might get to fight some active scorpions at night. The thought brings back a little hope to us. Evening is fast approaching, thus we made haste to cross the barren wasteland.
Even though it was already night, the moon was bright enough to guide us on our way. However, no scorpions have been sighted, and our spirits were starting to fall. Oh wait nevermind, that’s just the Creme de cassis buff running out. A few rodent-like animals were running about, they were about half a human’s size and scurried around hurriedly, probably scavenging for food.
“Hey, wanna try and kill one of those rats?” (Nic)
“Just for fun?” (Me)
“Sure why not, lemme try out my bow skills.” (Dan)
Dan draws his bow, aims at the shrew and fires. A painful yelp was heard and Dan rushes over to finish the prey, seems like the rodents don’t put up much of a fight. We continue moving, everyone’s kinda low on energy but in order to get new quests we’ll have to go to the next town to turn in our current quests, so we have no choice. While we’re walking, Daniroh’s just randomly firing and killing the rodents who walk too close to us, practicing his bow skills on easy prey.
“Are you hungry again Nic? We just had dinner, this game doesn’t even measure hunger levels and you can still be hungry all the time?” (Dan)
“What? That wasn’t my stomach rumbling man, I thought you were using some new skill with your bow and arrow that was causing that sound effect.” (Nic)
“Guys shhh…” (Me)
I get them to quiet down so we can tell where the sound is coming from.
It slowly gets louder, it seems to be coming from the front.
“Oh nice, a fight? FINALLY!” (Nic)
“Looks like there was a similar triggered event boss like with the crabs eh?” (Dan)
“Oh so that’s why you were just randomly killing the poor shrews…” (Me)
“I figured I’d get some practice along the way” *shrug* (Dan)
When the rumbling stops, a large sand shrew stands in front of us, it has long claws and spikes on it’s back…. wait a minute, this isn’t a sand shrew, it’s a sandslash! Could this be the poke- uhhh reason why the scorpions were all dead in their nests? Hanzou did mention that the scorpions preyed on shrews, maybe they triggered the event boss themselves? Can mobs even do that?
“Yo it’s rolling over, I don’t wanna get hit by those spikes.” (Dan)
“I got it.” (Nic)
Nic holds out his shields in front, but the spiked shrew simply rolls over the shield and bounces behind us, makes a u-turn and rolls back towards us.
“I don’t even have a chance to stab at it when it’s spinning this fast, and my arrows will probably get deflected off.” (Dan)
“Yea, it’s just rolling around, we’ll have to find some way to stop it. Nic’s shields aren’t large enough hmm…” (Me)
While we were thinking, Nic’s just letting the shrew use his shields as a stunt ramp. Looking at the scenario gives me and idea.
“Alright I’m gonna try something, Nic just keep doing what you’re doing.”
“Hmm? Alright, this guy doesn’t even deal any damage to me anyway.”
I observe the shrew a few more times to get the timing right, then I dash over behind Nic. The nest time the shrew ramps up into the air, it’ll only be able to go in one direction, and that is straight down, where my sword will be waiting for it.
Here it is, it bounces off Nic’s shield and I start using Earth Splitter, right as I brought my blade up, the shrew flies into the blade.
My blade hits the shrew, but it doesn’t cleave and the shrew continues to roll on my blade. The skill continues through and the shrew is launched into the air, good thing I have high STR. The shrew can’t shift positions in the air, and is slowly losing it’s spinning speed. As it plummets towards the ground, Nic charges over and aims to Shield Bash it towards Dan who had found a nearby scorpion burrow. If it flies in there we’ll be able to fight it in an enclosed area where it has nowhere to roll around.
“He lines up the aim, he shoots, HE SCORES! GOAALLLLLLL!!!” (Dan)
“Top-tier commentary Dan, now let’s go in and finish this up.” (Nic)
“Hey guys, I think I found something!” (Me)
“Yea? What’chu got?” (Nic)
The book’s title was “Advanced Alchemy Recipes”, it seemed like it might contain the recipe to the brew and more.
“Oh that’s nice. I don’t think the zombies will mind if we just take it right?” (Nic)
“Wait wait, let’s flip through it first, make sure that it’s in there. I have a feeling that they wouldn’t just throw their prized possession’s recipe into a book.” (Dan)
“Alright, I’ll flip through it.” (Me)
I flip through the recipes one by one, there were advanced healing potions, antidotes and cures for higher level debuffs, drinks for buffs such as increased defense, attack power and various stats, including a SPR +10 buff, however, it was not named Creme de cassis which we had in the barrel.
“Hey Nic, this one’s a recipe for a +10 SPR buff, you have the materials to craft it now?” (Me)
“Lemme see… Chili, Oregano, Water, Blueberries.. yea I have them, pass me the book, lemme try to craft it straight through the window.”
I hand Nic the book and he crafts the aptly named [Basic Potion of Spirit]. Sure enough, it appears and it buffs Nic for +10 SPR.
“Hey, it overwrote the Creme de cassis buff.”
“More importantly, how does it taste?” (Dan)
“It tastes bland, it doesn’t even have the spiciness of the chili despite using it as an ingredient. Most of my potions tastes like this, even the debuff ones. But yet the Creme de cassis tasted fruity and slightly sweet with clear hints of alcohol. That was definitely a proper drink instead of a potion.” (Nic)
It appears that the barrels we drank from didn’t contain just any potion, it was actual aged game liquor. Well, we’re all of the age limit to drink in real life, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Being drunk in game only applies a debuff that lowers your AGI and STA anyway.
“Here I’ll pass the book to you since you’re the Alchemist, let’s go back to searching for that drink recipe.” (Me)
We returned to searching and after about an hour we gathered back. Nobody found the recipe to Creme de cassis, but we found many other useful books instead, there were books for intermediate crafting for almost all of the professions, excluding Scribing.
“Y’know, I could just make copies of these books and just sell them for money and we’d never have a shortage of gold.” (Nic)
“Brilliant plan Nic, but the game isn’t about making money, although many are stuck in the loop because buying higher level equipment is the easiest way to acquire them.” (Dan)
“I reckon the highest tier equips in this game are made of materials so rare you’d have to be crazy to sell them instead of use them though, so you’d get the cheapo basic types at best, albeit at a higher tier.” (Me)
We wrap up our library raid and proceed forward with the actual reason why we were there: cleaning the graveyard. It’s a pity we didn’t manage to find the recipe for the liquor, but I’m sure Nic can test around once we acquire our own permanent place. Buying land from the Kingdom requires a large amount of money, but once you have land, you can build a house, an apothecary, or anything you want on it and it will be protect by the game engine. People can enter, but they won’t be able to use anything unless the owner is at home with them. Unclaimed land like land in the wilderness are free for the taking, they are still protected but usually have very little resources nearby, making them very inconvenient. It’s a last resort if there’s absolutely no land left to purchase, but since the world is huge, there should be a decent amount.
Anyway we’ve arrived at the graveyard beside the ramshackle monastery, a thick mist blankets the area, probably because it’s dusk already. We didn’t plan to clean up the area during night time, but hey, more exp is always good right? Undead are naturally more active at night and greater undead may spawn for short durations before dying to sunlight when morning comes. We’re decently leveled so we should be fine.
“Did anyone read instructions on how to clean up the graveyard?” (Nic)
“The quest said something about dispersing the evil accumulated mana and gave us this magic-ball-thing, so I’m guessing we’ll have to place it somewhere.” (Me)
“Alright, let’s go find that place then.” (Nic)
Dan used a thick branch and some cloth soaked in fuel as a torch, Nic’s holding the torch and reflecting the light with his shiny shields. The project forward like headlights of a car, but the heavy mist doesn’t let us see very far ahead. We keep walking and fending off the occasional zombies until we reach a small shack in the middle of the graveyard, this probably was the gravekeeper’s shack until the gravekeeper himself joined his buddies. We entered the wooden shack and searched for a place to put the magic ball.
“Hey, here’s a slot I think.” (Dan)
“Where? Okay I’m coming over.” (Me)
I place the pink orb into curved depression and it starts glowing white. We shield our eyes from the glare. I opened my eyes to check if it’s finished, but we were no longer in the shack. We were back in the monastery, but this one wasn’t decrepit like the one we explored. This one was pristine and well-kept, the floor was clean, the tables were smooth and lacquered.
“Oh gawd what happened?!” (Nic)
“It appears we have been transported.” (Dan)
“This looks like the monastery, but it’s so… new” (Me)
“Wanna explore the place first?” (Dan)
We proceeded to explore the monastery a second time, going through the same route as we did. Everything was nearly identical except we were unable to collect anything, none of the objects could be turned into cards. Could this be an illusion? Eventually we ended back at the library, since we’ve already checked once, we know there wasn’t the secret recipe here.
“Hey, you know those things that triggers a secret passage when you pull on a seemingly random book? Let’s try that.” (Nic)
“Worth a shot, there’s no monsters here to fight anyway, and I don’t really know where we are.” (Me)
We split up again and started pulling the books systematically, eventually one of them will trigger something right?
Well, it appears someone has triggered the secret passage, one of the tables has shifted to the left and exposed a trapdoor. I yank the trapdoor open and it reveals some stairs proceeding downwards.
“Nic you go, you got the torch.” (Me)
Nic walks first in the narrow stairway, it was only wide enough for one person to fit comfortably, it was not possible for two persons to walk side by side, so this was most likely a one-way path. Perhaps the monks would trigger this at night and lead the chosen monks down to learn the secrets of their craft. Judging from the distance we’ve climbed down, I’d say this is… the basement? There wasn’t a basement in the monastery, so this is definitely a secret room.
At the end of the staircase there was a room with a large metal door at the end. We tried pulling and pushing the door, but it wouldn’t open. Could it be enchanted with magic? We searched around for clues.
“Hey guys, come here, look at this.” (Dan)
The room had scratches across the walls and the floor. I thought it was just design at first, since a large beast would not have been able to fit through the stairway, but it appears that they hold a message. We move over to Dan and look at the direction he’s looking toward, nothing seems out of place.
“What am I supposed to be looking at?” (Nic)
“Can’t you see it? The message?” (Dan)
“What message? Oh, you mean like the scratches line up to form a word? Hey let me try, move over a bit.” (Me)
I lightly push Dan to the side and look from his position.
“I don’t see anything.” (Me)
“What’s so funny?” (Nic)
“OH MAN I GOT YOU GUYS GOOD” (Dan)
That’s when it clicked. Not the door, I wished that clicked, but no. Daniroh was just playing a prank on us.
“Wow real mature to be fooling around when we’re trying to find clues.” (Me)
“Hey guys.” (Nic)
“It was just a prank, bro!” (Dan)
“We’re trying our best to complete the puzzle here, but you’re just wasting time and..”
“Hey guys!” (Nic)
“WHAT, I’M TRYING TO BE ANGRY AT DAN HERE”
“The password is abierto.” (Nic)
A shattering sound was heard from the door.
“What just happened?” (Me)
“I think the door’s open now.” (Nic)
Dan appears to be just as surprised as I am, but we try the door nonetheless. This time it opens without protest, it was smooth and no creaks, as if the door was just installed.
“I didn’t even see anything, how did you know?” (Me)
“I dunno, I saw the word ‘abierto’ and I figured that was the password.” (Nic)
“No no, what I mean is that the scratches didn’t even make out letters, let alone words.” (Me)
“Yea, I was just pranking you guys, how did you just manage to read a bunch of random scratches?” (Dan)
“I dunno, maybe it’s because I have the Scribing profession?”
That makes sense, neither me nor Dan has the Scribing profession, but Nic does. At the monastery they do have a good number of study rooms, there were probably a good number of scribes there.
“Wow talk about coincidental.” (Dan)
“Let’s go in.” (Nic)
We walk past the door and entered the room. Wall candles automatically lit up, probably by magic, there was a table in the middle of the room, covered with red silk and a large scroll on top of it. There’s some scribbles on it, but I can’t make out what it says.
“Can you read this too?” (Me)
“Yea.. yea I can. It’s the recipe to the liquor in the barrels! Lemme just make a quick copy of this.” (Nic)
Nic scribbles down on his paper with his pen, I peer over his shoulder to read, but it all appears as scribbles to me. Even the copied version doesn’t allow non-scribes to read it huh? This is some complex coding in the game.
“Alright I got it, now we just gotta get out of here.” (Nic)
While Nic was copying, Dan was fiddling around with the various props in the room, presumably to demonstrate how the liquor is produced to the apprentice monk who is appointed to be the next overseer. He picked up the miniature barrel from the scale model shelf and a heavy grinding sound was heard. A door had opened on the other side of the room, opposite the door we entered from. This one had stairs going upwards, I think we’ll probably exit a different place from the library.
We look at each other and nod. Nic walks up first followed by Dan, then me. At the top of the staircase was another trapdoor, bright light was seen at the edges. Nic pushes it up and we all head out. We were back in the graveyard, but this time it’s morning. The mist has lifted, but the shack in the middle was nowhere to be seen. It’s gone, along with the orb we brought. Zombies were still wandering around though, so we haven’t purified the place yet.
“Hey you know what, let’s do this the old fashioned way.” (Dan)
“Old fashioned?” (Nic)
“You want to desecrate their corpses?” (Me)
“Well, if we just leave it be they’ll eventually gather again right? Let’s just burn them all up and scatter the ashes. They’ll still be resting here, just not as bodies.” (Dan)
“Well.. it’s one way to clean this place up.” (Me)
Dan proposes that we just dig up the bodies and cremate them. It’s a way to clear out the dead and renew the land at the same time, the ashes will fertilize the soil and new life can grow. Now that we’ve lost the quest orb, I guess it’s our only remaining method.
We spend the rest of the day digging up the graves, killing random zombies and gathering the many decomposed bodies and bones into one big pile. Dan and I cast Fire onto some dried foliage and soon enough, the big pile was burning like a large campfire. It only took about 5 minutes before they all turned to ash, then we scattered the ash over the graveyard. I kept some in my inventory in case there were uses for it in the future, the item’s name was just [Ash] anyway, so it shouldn’t be harmful.
After that we just patrolled the monastery to make sure there were no more zombies and then we moved onto our next destination: the wilderness. This time we’ll be killing some giant scorpions.