Monday, March 7, 2011

The Sandbox Challenge: Good News Ryzom, I've Decided Not To Kill You!

The Sandbox Challenge stumbled out of the starting gate, but I’m happy to report that Ryzom has picked up the baton, simultaneously saving my blogging feature, and proving that the French are good for something besides cheese and wine.

I am really enjoying this game so far, and am very pleased it was added (late to my list) after I was tipped off by a comment on my inaugural sandbox post. 

It is a ‘proper sandbox’ in that you are free to decide what skills you would like to work on, and then increase them through use as opposed to leveling up and then selecting skills. The world is extremely immersive with night and day cycles, seasonal changes, migrating animals, and very good sound affects. I have spent a lot of time in real-life jungles, and I find the night-time noises very familiar and (perhaps oddly) relaxing. The world is, as a point of order, a giant tree in which everyone lives.

I am a ‘back-ground-noiser’ in that I always find repetitive background noise to be soothing and very relaxing. Waves, rain, and the sound of jungle-insects being among my favorites. It is the one thing I really miss about being in the jungle- the feeling that you are a part of a living world. I don't miss the fear you could be killed  by every living thing within a 100-mile radius however.

This little fella, better known as a Fer De Lance, wasn't at all happy I had poked him with my machete. Note on that link where it says 'large', 'aggressive' and 'deadly'. One of the symptoms of suddenly seeing it in the wild, I found, is a tendency for the knees to weaken at the same time as both the bladder, and bowels give out.

Ryzom captures the feeling of being in living, breathing forest very well (sans snake-induced accidents in my pants) and given that the starting areas of most games are generally only a taste of the world to come, I am looking forward to moving on and exploring. It has been a long time since I was eager to explore a game world. In fact I don’t think I can actually name a time when I was eager to explore, so Ryzom may be my first. never forget your first.

There are only four starting cultures to choose from, and I have chosen to play a Zorai because- and this is another first- I really liked the background lore.The Zorai with their construction of jungle cities, and elaborate religious ceremonies mimics civilizations such as the Maya which were, once upon a time (in what feels like another life altogether), my area of expertise. I lived and worked among the ruins of Mayan civilization, as well as their modern descendants, so as far as I’m concerned a blue, mask wearing, religious, city-building culture is a whole lot of win.

While not part of the game, in any way, this was my first Mayan Temple-like thingy. It may look quiet, and peaceful, but we pulled out headless corpses (among other things) who had likely been sacrificed. Italics added for dramatic, attention grabbing effect by the author but unlike a lot of the bollocks I post here, this one is actually true (except, of course, the corpses were skeletons- having been dead since 800 AD and all).

There was a fairly long (for an MMO) write up on each of the cultures (and they feel like cultures rather than races), and the character creation screen isn’t unlike what you’d find in a newer MMO. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this game doesn’t look dated. Hmmm....Is that really a compliment I wonder. Could I get away with saying that the next time She Who Will Be Named Later asks.

I’m ready! How do I look?
You know, my love, you don’t look as bad as I thought you were going to, now grab your purse, we’re off!

That may not work out so well, I’m thinking, so let me re-phrase. Ryzom looks good (and its bum definitely does not look big in those jeans). The mixture of science fiction and fantasy elements works well and creates something which is both interesting and timeless. It took me forever to realize a portion of the starting area was surrounded by an laser-electric fence. I was expecting a fantasy game when I started (I avoided reading anything about the game prior to starting). Since my current video card forces me to play RIFT on low settings this game easily holds its own in comparison. I can turn the graphics up to max and it looks good and runs smoothly.

Thus far I am working my way through the introductory tutorial at a leisurely pace. It's not overly pushy in that you can choose between combat, magic, crafting, and gathering missions/quests which help you to:

  • Learn the basics
  • Skill up
  • See a bit of the world
  • Make some starting armor
  • Explore the UI 
 What can I say, really? It's only the beginning but I know already that I'll have no problem making my minimum limit of 20 hours on this one! I'll be posting more once I get a bit further along. Indeed, if I a picture says a 1,000 words then what more can I say at this early stage that the next 13,000 words won't cover! 

Hmmm...tall, blue, connected to the earth...maybe James Cameron was playing this on prior to shooting Avatar.'

And yet another Gankalicious is born. It's not keeping with the Role-Playing atmosphere of the game but oh well.

Skills View

I shall use all the power of my feeble magic on this mushroom. I was hoping the byproduct would be a magic before you judge me harshly, mushrooms were used by ancient priests to aid in vision quests so I'm only staying in character by getting off my face. Honest.

Fear my hand-crafted, grass booties.

Resource gathering explained.

Though I look deep in thought I am merely wondering why my freaking hand is glowing like that!

Night time looks nice.

Pack animals I can't wait to own.

I've also got attitude.

I love the humor- some chance of death lol.

This is when I first realized it wasn't a typical fantasy game.

Chillin like a blue-skinned villain with some you do.

Still here.....? Nice one. Here, then, is the title of the post explained. I manage to work this phrase into conversation at least twice a week.


  1. Very entertaining read Gank. Your screenies look WAY better than mine ever did:
    A quick warning of sorts...getting off the starter island can sometimes be tricky. You may have to make a few friends in order to accomplish the necessary tasks.
    Make sure to try out one of the guns before you leave Atys.
    Although I enjoyed the lands of the Fyros more, here is my Zorai on the mainland:

  2. There you are! Thanks again for recommending this one- great find for my Sandbox Challenge. Your screen shots are nice, and I did have every intention of starting with the Fyros like you said, but I'm a sucker for the jungle :)

    Guns, eh.....? This is getting better all the time. I do like ranged classes/skills quite a lot.

    I just saw the free to play announcement as well so hopefully that will bring this game some more attention- which I think it deserves.

  3. Great article and really nice screenshots. :D Ryzom does look like a lot of fun. I think I might make a Zorai as well, as I love jungle/forest environments.

    I'll be joining Ryzom on Wednesday, when it turns freemium. Look forward to more articles of Ryzom :)

  4. Aww...nice one. Frogs and streams....

    Thanks! I may have started too soon as I'm not sure the 'free trial' will be able to convert to the 'free to play'. I do like this one. Going to try a video of some of the combat/casting for next post. I'm a bit of a video noob though so we'll see how it goes.

  5. I believe you would need to make a new account, to take advantage of the new freemium. That is what I got out of their news article. Since it states it's for new accounts only. If I'm wrong, that would be great, as I made a trial account thinking it would be converted to freemium.

  6. That's how I read it too. It could be a while before I get back to this one though, given the list of games I have to get through, so I'd likely start all over again (or reactivate as a pay-to-play).

  7. Hello Gankalicious,

    I'm Vianney, CTO from Ryzom, I would like to thank you for your nice post about Ryzom. I hope you'll continue to enjoy the game!

  8. Hey, nice one, thanks for stopping by!