Monday, February 19, 2007

In the Beginning

With the release of Uru Live, I started keeping a journal of sorts of my progress each day as I explored yet another Myst game. Thumbnail background: I've never played video or computer games of any kind, excepting PC solitaire time-sinks like FreeCell and Tetris, until a friend game me Myst back in the '90s, about a year after it first came out. Since then I've played each successive Myst game obsessively as each has been released...

I'm writing on 7 March 07 but will try backdating entries as I originally wrote them, until I catch up. Let's see now...

Mon 19Feb07--

On Thursday, 15feb07, happened to browse one of my 'favorite' links and saw that Uru Live was available from Gamespot, for a monthly or annual subscription fee. As it turned out, the game was only just released that day or so. Signed up for annual subscription, then began download--huge 770mb file that took all evening to d/l, then a while longer to 'unpack' -- though that part hung, had to restart on Friday.

Friday evening, my partner home late, started game a bit...

The game now opens with you on Relto, just one pillar in the open area, and two books on the left shelf inside the hut. The pillar has a book to the New Mexico cleft area (where the original Uru began); the books inside link to your personal Bevin neighborhood, and to the Nexus (the personal cave-like room with the spinning book dispenser and control panel that responds to your 'Ki').

Going to the neighborhood, all looks the same, except that in the classroom, there's a note about getting help via restoration engineer helpers in the such-and-such neighborhood, and attending an introductory session held from 5-10pm CST. In the central room (the linking room, apparently it's called) there are four pedestals with books--the center, Nexus, and on the other three, to Gahreesen, to the chamber in the 'Great Zero' power control area, and to a new world that looks like Eder Kemo, the gardenlike area hemmed in by rocky ridges.

Going to Gahreesen is as before: you find the KI machine and stick your wrist in, and the device appears on your left wrist. The rest of the structure seems to be blocked off at this point. (check later--true?)

Going now to one of the other Bevins, via the Nexus, you are now present with all the other 'explorers' logged on at the same time. Here, lag time was noticeable -- controls didn't respond. Hovering over another avatar reveals their identity. Displaying the KI offers a list of who's present (but what's difference between an 'age player' and a 'neighbor'?), and a running chat is displayed at the time. Using the KI controls you can type into the chat.

Returned later in the day to attend the intro session -- which turned out to be in *another* Bevin, which wasn't clear at first -- and which was pointless. For rank beginners, with no specific information.

The game is apparently designed to be accessible to complete newcomers -- you don't have to have played the original Uru.

Aside from lag time -- which occurs only when in a common area with other players -- the most obnoxious thing about Uru Live is that every time you log on, you sit through several screens of 'updates', which can take 5-20 minutes before you're actually inside the game and ready to go.

Went into the new age briefly; again, lots of other players. There are a set of journey cloths, with a spiral design rather than a hand design, and a stone portal set into the rocky wall; apparently activating the cloths in some sequence opens the portal.

Interesting point -- when someone opened the portal, lots of other players ran across the area to jump through the doorway too. Does this mean that you can tag along with other players and not have to solve the puzzles yourself? (open question)

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