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Some mechanics spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn


Hooray for baseball games making Mrs. McP late! Played a ton!

First, whatever you do, do not save at a campfire in a corrupted zone. Do not do this. If you do, you will boot up the game, it will have that nice, tranquil, helpful load screen with the quiet music and then you will say “HOLYSHITWHATTHERE’SAMILLIONMACHINES!” and you will have to fight them right the fuck away. It will ALSO become clear that, for some reason, the special thing it defaults to is NOT a healing potion, but “lure,” which is REALLY unhelpful in such situations.

But anyway, cleared the corrupted zone that was part of the quest, and was told to go to Daytower. But I didn’t. At least not then. Because Bandit Camp.

Now….we’ve talked about quest levels, yes?

This was level 9. NINE. I approach, there’s 12 billion bandits. I die. I try again. Die. I sneak, I use traps, die. Eventually, they all see me, they swarm, I die. I’m about to give up and I’m already writing the blog post in which I complain about levels and all that, but I decide to try once more. I sneak. I kill a few guys. I put some traps down. I sneak…a dude hits my trap.

The dude carrying the heavy weapon.

So I pick up the heavy weapon. I find a convenient choke point. I attract the swarm of dudes and 90 seconds later I’m trading with a merchant, because the heavy weapon makes a level 22 quest a level 3 quest.

So maybe the level thing is based on the “trick.” There was obviously a trick to this camp. If you tried to just DO it, it was a bastard, but once you were like “Ah HA! Maybe THAT’S the way!” it was a no brainer. So maybe we’re just being stubborn when we have trouble with lower level quests. Maybe we should just look at them differently.

Or not. The game could still be annoying.

So did that, and then trucked it out to Daytower. Killed the corrupted shit, got into Daytower, chatted with a million dudes about a million things, called it a day.

I like that the Carja are morally complicated. Usually, in games, a tribe/faction/race/whatever is either good or bad. These WERE very very bad, and now SEEM very very good, but who knows. Nice complexity. And I like that the games isn’t telling us “THEY ARE GOOD! THEY ARE BAD!” the way games so often do.

I also LOVE Aloy’s sarcastic response to crazy NPC cheering. “May the sun shine upon us all!” “It wasn’t the sun risking its ass down here.”

She speaks what we all feel, she does.

So a ton. Saw you played, too. You just can’t let me catch you.


I saw you playing! I thought “wow, you’re on late.” Nice.

I will heed your words of wisdom regarding campfires and corrupted areas. And lures. (That default is weird, isn’t it? “A lure and a rock! Just what I need for every situation!”)

You make a good point about the bandit camps (and other challenges) and how maybe there’s a trick. I have been totally ignoring the big guns, except to specifically target the guys who carry them, but no doubt they’re there, and we can pick them up and use them, because the game thought it would be cool if we picked them up and used them.

Perhaps it’s just my own stubborn refusal to give up my bow. And as you say, maybe in other cases there’s an equally effective trick we’re not seeing because we refuse to give up our bows.

Something to consider.

Possibly along those lines, I did keep shooting at something until it exploded last night. That was satisfying, and did a lot of damage, so yeah, it did make the thing (I don’t know if you’ve seen this one yet) a lot easier to defeat. Maybe we just need to employ these tricks.

Aloy does speak for us all! Especially when she picks a healing herb and comments “I’ll be needing this soon enough.”

Yes. Yes you will.

As for me…I FOUND A BOAR SKIN!!!!!!

I mean, I also did some other stuff, fought some machines, picked some metal flowers, completed some missions, etc. etc., but that boar skin was the most exciting part. At last I can expand my resource satchel!

Then I shot another boar and got ANOTHER boar skin. Apparently I found the place on the map where the boars have skins. Making a note.


YEAH! Rocks, too! I have so often thought I was putting a trap down only to have whistled then chucked a rock.

It’s not just corrupted areas. There have been many a time when you get to a campfire and think “safety, because games don’t let you save when it is not safe” and NOOOO. THIS game lets you save in really, really dumb places. Like corrupted zones.

I, too, have been treating big guns like that. I try to take out the dude with the skull (as one does) and then I go about my business. It was really just frustration last night that made me say “You know? I’ll pick that up and see what happens,” and then, what with not being able to sneak when you have a big gun, what happened was a swarm of dudes and me pulling triggers willy nilly because I didn’t have a bow equipped, which lead directly to a fucking slaughter of bandits. I mean, dude, an absolute, quick, thorough slaughter of bandits. And then a moment of “Well….that sure worked…” and the end. I have no real idea how I even fired it. I was just strolling around with it, saw the swarm, and just started hitting buttons and pulling triggers and the next thing I knew I had won.

They’re effective, they are.

The game sure wants us to use tricks. Which I respect. And should start doing.

Ain’t that always the way with boar skins and such? You NEED something for so long, then you get it, and then you get 19 other ones in the same playing session. Or you find the merchant that has 27 of them. Mark my words: This game will end with a feast of rich, bony, fatty meat.


This game does let you save in weird, unsafe places. A lot of campfires are kind of surrounded by machines, which is really not safe at all. I always skulk up to save and then try to instantly hide in some grass, in hopes that if I die I’ll somehow respawn already hiding in the grass and not instantly be attacked (superstitious behavior in video games…there’s an academic study there).

And yeah, it’s not really fair for us to complain about how hard things are, if we’re refusing to do them the way that would make them not so hard. We should really start paying attention to the machine vulnerabilities and employing the right traps (I NEVER use traps, but they’re probably awesome!) and stuff.

When you actually use the tools available to you, and don’t spend the entire game just trying to punch things to death, it’s amazingly both easier AND more interesting! Who knew?!

Mmm…the Feast of Many Meats. That’s an OK ending. Especially if it also has a group hug.

Group hug next to giant table covered in meat…and…scene!


Can’t even skulk. Two nights ago, I had the thought of “You know? This campfire is kind of in a corrupted zone. So I quick saved, then played for two more minutes to see what would happen after the save. No one was attacking me when I saved, and I was able to amble over to grass and hide. So I thought “Cool. When I boot it up, I shall amble over to this grass here and hide and reassess.” So I booted up and WHAMMO a fight. I was not IN that fight when I saved. Silly game.

Oh dude….I have left a trail of unexploded traps through this game like Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs. I plop them, and then I realize I’ve plopped them in the wrong place and there they sit. I have to leave them, too, as I do not yet have the skill that allows you to pick them up (why is THAT such a skill, I wonder). So even if I do save the Nora from the Killers and the Machines and whatever, they will slowly die out from stepping on discarded traps over the course of the coming months.

Is there dancing at the feast? Cuz then it’s perfect.

As long as there’s romance.


Gotta be dancing. And fancy clothes.

It’s true, whatever is in the neighborhood of the campfire seems to regenerate anytime you reload. There was a campfire near the tallneck I climbed recently, and a couple of longlegs in the area, and I TWICE battled and defeated those longlegs and then went on and died fighting other things (or falling from the tallneck), and when I reloaded at the campfire, the longlegs were right back there.

That would have good, I guess, if I had been trying to accumulate XP and longleg-related loot, but it was kind of annoying when I was just trying to climb the damn tallneck.

I think I just got the skill that lets me pick up unused traps. I don’t know why, since I never use traps, but maybe I was just waiting for this moment! Now I’m going to start throwing traps everywhere, because I know I won’t be endangering anyone if (when) I accidentally throw them in a place where no machine will ever go.


Traps. All about the traps.

Until you blow yourself up with one. Did that last night. At least the bandits didn’t get me that time.


Ha! “You’ll never take me alive!” [Leaps onto own landmine.]