Choose My Adventure: Discovering familiarity, failure, and random adventure in Avorion

    
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I was one jump away from what could have been a big payday. The opportunity was literally handed to me and I had managed to make it all the way to my goal, save for one step. And it fell apart. And though I admit that I’m a bit frustrated, this little bit of mission running randomness is part of the reason that I think I’m starting to appreciate and understand Avorion.

As a bit of a disclaimer for this week’s column, I didn’t exactly follow the first poll’s request to stay in Normal game mode that I started off with, but I have a very good reason: I found a PvE server in the list, so I immediately went there. This server was running on the Classic ruleset, meaning that I was starting off with all of the building material knowledge. Furthermore, upon arriving to the game for the first time, I was handed an automated email that dumped a whole pile of credits, iron, titanium, and naonite, along with a list of rules to follow.

So forgive me: I pretty much ignored the first poll’s voting. In my defense, I wanted to play in a server that was populated with other people, and immediately arriving to a hub where there were dozens of player ships puttering about was nice to experience. I’ve always been a big fan of ambient multiplayer in MMOs, so being a part of that instead of living in the void alone was nice to experience. I hope you’ll forgive my instinct to follow this site’s whole large-scale multiplayer/MMO deal instead of a poll’s results.

The second poll’s suggestion – exploration – was absolutely followed, but only after I got my ship affairs in order. Over the course of my initial fiddling in Avorion’s ship builder, the game autosaved my horrid designs, which made recalling where I left off in terms of building easier to deal with, but it also left me realizing that I still didn’t feel like I was good at ship design. So in the interest of expediency, I went ahead and used one of the pre-made designs that were already available to me.

This got me off of the ground floor so to speak, but I also had to learn that simply taking up an existing template and making it a thing you can fly isn’t a be-all end-all solution. In fact, as much as I might have liked the ship from a design standpoint, it was actually pretty terrible, as I was constantly getting blown up when trying to do a mission or two or running into pirates. Then I started to dig into my new building toys and realized that there were shield generator blocks.

I found what seemed like a safe place to put these blocks, which wasn’t immediately exposed to weapons fire, and brick by brick I started to put together a sturdy shield. I also started to recognize my need for energy bricks, which were placed in about the same area. Pretty soon, I had plenty of power and a fairly stern shield that had nearly as much HP as my ship’s hull. On top of that, I had plenty of energy to spare, meaning that I could power up for hyperspace jumps.

Even with all of this discovery, it wasn’t all flawless progress. For one thing, before I placed those power blocks, I experienced the absolute comedic gold of a failed warp jump. I aimed my ship’s nose at the targeted jump area and powered up to make the leap, only to have my then meager power supply drain and the jump cancelled as my ship floated dead in the water without power for a few moments. Even after I found out how best to meddle with energy block placement, I still managed to fail a jump by banging the nose of my ship off of an asteroid, sending me into a mad spin until my dampeners engaged.

False starts notwithstanding, I had an incredibly good time exploring. I started off by simply heading to unknown source signals to see what was happening, which lead me to finding space stations with missions or discovering missions that came to me. These missions were the slight guiding push that I was otherwise missing, letting me take up tasks like locating a lost ship and bringing back news of its fate, to running deliveries. On top of that, event would sometimes pop up in the sector of space I was already in, such as a pirate attack or some much larger battle. I also found a couple of warp gates that sent me forward to some entirely different portion of space.

Which brings me back around to my ultimate failure. One of the missions that popped up when I was exploring involved some random stranger dropping suspicious goods into my cargo hold, giving me a 50 minute timer, and promising a huge credit reward. This was a lot more harrowing than it sounds, as the final destination was a long way out from where I was, and jumping into these areas of space got more and more treacherous. I had to give some other ship that was hailing me the slip. I managed to get in the vicinity of some big boss firefights. I was accosted by someone who demanded I pay a toll and opened fire on me when I refused. I even ran into a literal brick wall of a space-time rift, which I had to navigate around. All of this increased the danger and the tension.

And all of that got lost when I accidentally refused to pay another boss’ toll and got blown up before I could jump out. With just one jump left before my reward.

These experiences in Avorion got me much more familiar with the game’s systems. It got me more familiar with how to effectively build a ship. It made me curious about what else is out there in this game’s vast galaxy. And overall, I think I’m starting to like how this is working out. Which means I think I have one more week of this game to tease out of it before I decide to press on.

Obviously, though, we’ve got a poll to answer, and this one is a bit of a retread of one of last week’s questions. As I mentioned, I’m getting more comfortable with shipbuilding, and I think I can have another go at it. At the same time, I don’t exactly hate the ship I’m flying right now, it just needs some work. And better weapons. So to solve this dilemma, I ask you fine folks for some ideas.

Should I use this pre-made ship or try to build my own again?

  • Use the pre-made. You might be comfortable, but you're still no shipwright. (33%, 15 Votes)
  • Custom. Let's see if you really have learned something. (67%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 45

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As usual, polling will wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EST on this Friday, November 19th. For now, I’ll try to suppress the urge to keep plumbing the depths of Avorion’s space. Even though I think I’m getting more acclimated to this game. I want to experience more missions, but I will hold my horses, I promise.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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