“In this particular dungeon, there is a boss that can turn you into a cow.” All I need to hear, game of the year every year! My first moment of experience with booting up the Project Gorgon early alpha was reading a note warning me that bosses in the game can inflict curses upon death, curses which are incredibly difficult to remove especially for new players. The boss in the tutorial dungeon has the ability to turn players into cows, and not in the sense of casting a spell that temporarily disables your attacks and serves as a boss mechanic. Judging by the comment that, as a cow, you will have your own cow adventures with cow abilities and find cow equipment, you’re going to be in this for a long haul. Tough break, right?
The warning screen for your intuition is hilarious, by the way, and made me chuckle like an idiot in my computer seat. In my romp through the relatively safe tutorial cave, I couldn’t help but notice quite a few features that you just don’t see anymore in MMOs. As I fought off skeletons and collected random mushrooms and items off of the ground, my character would add to his list of skills, and there seems to be skills for everything. Not only does everything from picking mushrooms and eating food to even dying add experience to its appropriate skill, each skill has a tangible effect on your character. The “death” skill, as it is called, raises your maximum health every ten levels, while gourmand (an appreciation of food) increases the benefits of eating further food. Not only is there an expansive list of skills to acquire, you have to actually acquire them before they show up on your skills tab. Exploration, how quaint.
Upon entering the first town I saw outside of the tutorial dungeon, I traveled around talking to merchants to sell the trash I’d found and buy some new equipment. I couldn’t afford anything. Then I came across the tavern and found that there is a place where players can dump their armor and weapons for others to buy for a small chunk of change and use. You know, I’m starting to feel at home in this old-school world. My newly revived adventurer gets into town dirt poor and inexperienced, and now I’m getting my clothing at Ye Olde Goodewill.
Every NPC has a favor level toward the player, raised by performing quests and giving gifts. You have to give items that the person likes, which you can figure out with a little small talk. Oh they’ll still accept an item that they don’t particularly like, as I found out the hard way, you just won’t gain any favor with them. You can also really piss off NPCs by killing their livestock, which may make buying seeds from Farmer John a little tougher when he wants to murder you for killing his chickens.
Oh, and I have lice, I probably should have sanitized the hat I donated. In fact, I probably got the lice from the helmet I bought second hand. According to the game, this disease is permanent until I get it fixed, and in my years of Dungeons & Dragons I have yet to come across anyone selling that special shampoo and comb. Not as bad as being turned into a cow or spider, I suppose, but now I can’t get the guards to take selfies.
My favorite part of Project Gorgon so far is the fact that the game continues to surprise me, constantly. At first I thought all there was to combat was killing and looting creatures, but finding a skinning knife introduced me to the art of gutting corpses for meat. And that’s not all, later on I found an NPC who sold shovels which I could use to bury the corpses of the dead, not only ensuring that they would spawn faster but also granting compassion experience which raises my other stats. Just looking at the stat requirements for items I’ve come across shows a whole world of features I’ve yet to discover: Animal handling, necromancy, psychology, notoriety, cow, spider, dye making, battle alchemy, and even more that I haven’t come across.
What I’m trying to say is that I am enjoying Project Gorgon immensely, and you should too. Head on over to the Project Gorgon page and download the very early access client, and maybe donate to the game’s Kickstarter once you’re done being blown away. Seriously, this game needs all of the publicity it can get.