If you get past its (hopefully improving) looks and to the substance of the long-in-development Project Gorgon, you’ll find that this game is a gem in the MMO field. It’s a title that prizes exploration above nearly all else, including mindless combat and linear progression. Going back to an older RPG sensibility where the world was full of more things than just XP pinatas to break, Project Gorgon encourages players to see what’s out there, to find neat things, to uncover new systems, and to challenge what they think an MMO can and should be.
Personally, I’ve loved every minute of it so far, even though the game is still just in alpha. It’s been a public alpha, however, and should remain so until the title’s Steam early access release some time this year. A little while back, the incredibly small development team decided to completely redo the starter experience, trading an ugly-as-sin cave for a freeform island. While the island portion isn’t terribly difficult, it can be a little confusing to those coming from other MMOs and feeling a little lost in Gorgon’s unique take on things.
So I spent several hours this past week combing over every square inch of the island to put together a guide that should not only help you get through the tutorial but should also illuminate you as to the potential that Project Gorgon contains.
Welcome to Anagoge Island, your home for eternity
After a truly bizarre character creation experience, in which your avatar is killed-slash-mind-wiped, you’re dumped on a relatively square island and left to your own means. This is Anagoge Island, an old testing ground for magical adepts and currently the home to a handful of fellow amnesiacs and a whole lot of hostile wildlife. The water around the island is filled with devil sharks and there’s no clear way off. So the primary goal of your initial journey is clear: find a way to escape the island.
If that’s the main goal, then I would posit that the secondary goals are just as important. Anagoge is full of new skills to learn — something around 15 that I counted — and since your character is developed through these skills, it’s pretty vital that you snap up as many as possible. There are also systems to learn, gear to collect, and a handful of recipes and abilities to be gained that can all give you a head start when you leave the island for the game proper.
One of the very first things that you should do once you get used to the interface is to make a keybind for “select next non-combatant.” This will target hard-to-see items and interactable objects in the world, and it is absolutely indispensable in your adventures. As much as your inventory space allows, pick up everything, as you never know what items may have a use down the road.
If you need a step-by-step list of objectives for the main part of the starter island, here is what I would suggest in a general order:
- Go up into the stone house on the beach and get the quest to cheer up Riger.
- Head further up into the tower and discuss teleportation with Elmetaph. You’ll also want to pick up the alchemy skill and recipe for the pick-me-up juice while you’re here. Finding the ingredients for both teleportation and the recipe will keep you occupied for a while.
- Also on the north beach is Lawara, with whom you can practice building up favor. Favor is an important system to unlocking NPC features by giving these people specific gifts. Lawara wants spoons and bones, both of which can be found all over the island. She mentions a way to unlocking a nearby chest (by defeating a training dummy on the south side using non-physical means) and offers the ability to “hang out” while you’re offline. This latter activity is great for leveling up favor and even attaining special items — in this case, a lice comb. Which cures you of lice. Why are you looking at me like this?
- Circle the island and click on each of the obelisks to get a four-digit coordinate. This will come in handy later on.
- There’s a mini-dungeon on the west side that should be explored for some abilities (more on that later) as well as an encounter with one of the game’s big bosses. Go ahead and get killed by Gajus to get cursed with big-headedness, because it’s part of the newbie tradition. Then come back with a friend and kick that little skeleton’s bony behind.
- Once you have all of the ingredients for the pick-me-up juice, craft it (which can be done anywhere) and bring it back to Riger. He’ll allow you to read his psychology textbook in exchange, which teaches you a new combat skill.
- Once you have an amethyst and salt, talk to Elmetaph and then head to the south side of the island to craft “bind circle” on the teleportation pad. You’ll go talk to Elmetaph again, who now wants that four-digit coordinate. Punch it in, go back to the circle, and this time craft “recall circle.” Viola, you’re off the island and on your way to greatness!
Disregard the previous advice!
While the above steps are what I’d consider the most essential path to navigating the tutorial, to really get the most out of Anagoge Island, you’re going to want to pick up and level all of the skills you can find. Skills offer combat and non-combat abilities, special menu features, and all sorts of permanent buffs when you level them up. As much as possible, you should be trying to level skills constantly as you adventure — so don’t worry about taking your time on the island doing so.
Here are the 15 skills that I found during my travels and where to get them:
- Sword: You start with this combat skill, and you should probably use it as one of your two skills (Project Gorgon lets players mix-and-match two combat skill hotbars at any given time) due to sword having high damage and the ability to bleed off rage.
- Unarmed: The other starter combat skill, unarmed is more focused on stuns and other forms of crowd control. Lawara will help you level this up if you hang out with her while you’re offline.
- Archery: In the mini-dungeon is a chest with a bow and arrows that unlocks this skill. To get to it, you’ll need to figure out a code to drop a force field. I won’t tell you what the code is, but you can find a hint to it in the room with the broken golem.
- Psychology: Weird as it may sound, this is your starter “magic” combat skill. It has humorous attacks and crowd control themed around talking rings around your opponent. You get this by cheering up Riger and then reading his textbook.
- Alchemy: A book in the tower teaches you this skill and gives you a small number of recipes with which to practice. This is essential to making the pick-me-up juice, among other things.
- Gourmand: The skill of eating stuff for delicious buffs. You’ll start working on this skill the first time you chow down. Pro-tip: Lawara has a pot of porridge in her camp that provides a nice hour-long buff.
- Dying: Yup, there’s a dying skill — and one guess how you level it up! It’s actually a great skill to master, not only to have the game keep track of all of the ways you die, but you’ll eventually get more health and a teleport to an early town through it.
- Endurance: You don’t have to do anything other than fight to skill this one up, as it levels as you take armor damage.
- Fishing: Get an early start on fishing by picking up all of the very stationary crabs right off the beach and in the water.
- Mycology: Mushrooms are more important than you think! Pick fungus to level this up, and keep your mats to craft spore bombs. The spore bomb recipe is in the mini-dungeon near the golem.
- Teleportation: Elmetaph in the tower will teach this to you once you have salt and an amethyst. It allows you to quickly return to a previous bind point.
- Lore: Lore eventually helps with your power pool and some magic skills, so it’s not a terrible thing to start leveling it. Both a statue on the north side of the island and a book in the tower add XP to this.
- Pathology: Oh, I love this skill! Once you raise favor with Lawara enough, she’ll teach you this skill and give you an autopsy kit. From then on, you can autopsy any kill you make to find out its cause of death and get XP.
- Anatomy: Autopsies will start granting anatomy XP, including points for sub-skills specific to different classes of creatures. This skill helps teach you more about the creatures you kill and their weaknesses (if any).
- Noteriety: This is a hard skill to level, and the only way you can do so on the starter island is to kill Gajus. It’s worth doing, in my opinion.
Extra hints and tips
Don’t read these unless you want to be totally spoiled, but there are a few other pieces of advice that I don’t mind passing on to you.
- If you open up your quest window and click on the “stuff to do” tab, you’ll see some optional goals and quests for Project Gorgon, including hints as how to accomplish them.
- You can get nice little buffs from taking naps on beds and adding friends to your social list.
- Stuck on how to open up the chest on the east side of the island? A note in a jar talks about how the divination skill spat out the word “SEWN.” But it’s not really a word!
- Always use a skill from both of your equipped combat sets so that XP is applied to each afterward.
- You can recover your arrows from creatures after you kill them.
- Beating the training dummy requires either a spore bomb or psychology. It will then cough up a key that can unlock the chest in Lawara’s camp. This is a bank vault of sorts, but since it’s not shared you will have to return to the island in the future to get anything you stash here.
- When players die, they leave a tombstone behind for a while. If you see a lot of tombstones in an area, perhaps it should make you a little more cautious.
- There are a few extra abilities that you can get on the island. My favorite is “charm rat,” which comes from the chest in the middle of the pedestals. There’s a rat in a shack on the south beach that, when charmed, becomes a handy combat pet.
- Take the time to read descriptions and talk to the three NPCs for some backstory on you and the game.
Hope this helps, and happy adventuring in Project Gorgon!