Potshot and I have been trying to carry on with Solasta. We have been reasonably pleased with its play style and a lot of the things people complained about in the Steam reviews seem largely irrelevant to our enjoyment.
The Play-Doh quality character hair and stilted dialog aren’t part of the actual moment to moment game play. You’re generally zoomed out far enough that you can barely see character details. Meanwhile, the terrain is very nicely done, and if LOTRO has taught us anything, it is that landscape can distract from bad character models.
And we were happy enough to experiment and learn the game by doing… and dying… just to get a feel for things.
Eventually though you kind of want to level your character up and get another roll of the dice for hit points, because you die very easily at level one, even in level one content. Potshot has healed my laying on the ground dying characters enough times that I should as if he has a frequent healer rewards program.
And the first thing you need to do to reap the rewards of your adventure experience is live long enough to finish the adventure. Boromir got lots of xp in that fight with the orcs at Amon Hen, but he didn’t live to level up and gain the rewards.
So Potshot found a short adventure called First Level Primer in the Steam Workshop which involves guarding a caravan and clearing out some of the local monsters near where caravan has camped for the night. There are some goblins, skeletons, and an ogre to fight with and… we managed to wipe on our first go around.
We wiped because after defeating the goblins, we spread out all over the area to collect loot and search for anything else to discover and my fighter discovered that there was an ogre near by… and the ogre discovered him as well. After that it was like one of those movie fights where the bad guys obligingly show up and get beaten down by the hero one by one… only, in this version the ogre was the hero.
So it seemed like a good idea to not scatter all over the map, especially if you have just asked aloud, “Hey, do you hear something grunting over in that thicket?”
Also, it is wise to set yourself to move with caution… trying not to be noticed… if you’re not sure the area is clear of mobs yet. I might have seen the ogre before he saw me if I hadn’t been blundering about but had tried being at least a bit stealthy.
Then there are rests. The ogre fight was going to go badly no matter what. It too my rogue three turns dashing to get into range of the ogre with his bow, by which time my fighter and Potshot’s cleric had both been clobbered. But it could have gone better had we been rested up.
There are short rests and long rests. Short rests can happen anywhere free of mobs it seems and will restore some hit points. A long rest has to happen at a campfire and it restores your spell slots, abilities, and health. You can also level up with a long rest.
It also introduced us to the day/night cycle of the game. Taking a long rest at the wrong time and you might wake up and find it dark.
Anyway, in addition to being scattered we were also down on hit points and had used up spells and special abilities. A rest after battle would have been a good idea… especially since this little adventure has a campfire back where you start.
Finally, this is a turn based game, not an MMORPG, so you can save your progress and restore if you make a huge mistake with an ogre… or you could if you remembered to save. I think this literally didn’t occur to me because I’ve spent so much time in games like EVE and WoW and Minecraft and Valheim where saving simply isn’t a thing. Even when I play RimWorld I play without the restore to save option.
With a bit of forethought we could have had a do-over.
But we learned. We muddled around a bit more with this and another campaign and eventually came out of the far end alive with a level and some experience.
When you get to the end you update the file for your character which brings forward your levels and loot. We had done it, we had made it through an adventure.
Unfortunately it seems that once you’re tainted by adventures from the Steam Workshop you can no longer take that character into the main campaigns. That was disappointing, though probably understandable. Any time you have user created content you have “easy super level up and generous overpowered loot” creations that people make.
But the Steam Workshop has a selection of other adventures to try out. We are almost done with another one Potshot found.
We have managed to fight our way through the whole thing… on the second try… but are stuck on a puzzle that is keeping us from leaving. We have the game saved so we can go back and complete it, but until it is done our characters have no loot to take home.