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Spoilers for Minotaur-related quests in AC:Odyssey

Butch:

Well, I didn’t play any past what I did, but I figure that’s cool as I can sit back and let you catch up and we can have bloggage. Kinda hoping you do, as it is fun to do the blue quests with you, and that’s what I’m doing next. Two of them! I’ll just sit here on this temple that looks like all the other temples (temples are SO hard to animate) until you join me.

Just make sure….when you meet two dudes, and you have to choose which dude’s quest to do first, pick the one that’s vaguely related to sports.

That’s what I did. And here I am.

So what you got?

Feminina:

Well, I remembered you mentioned something about retrieving a literal ax from a fort, so I thought “I talked to a guy who wants an ax from a fort! Better go do that.”

Turns out it was a different ax in a different fort, because oh yeah, I was still in Pephka where, once I’d done everything on the map I could find to do without hearing a damn thing related to a real Minotaur, I later remembered you also said you never went.

So I sprinted over to the Messara side of the island, but by then it was time to go to bed. But I’m there now. I’ll look for the real Minotaur next.

Apparently after getting a completely different ax from a completely different fort. I think the game is intentionally messing with us now.

Although, again, it was at least kind of funny. The guy wanted this ax because according to legend it was touched by Theseus. Kassandra observed that “Theseus seems like someone who handled a lot of axes,” and the guy said “well, he touched this one twice!”

Totally worth invading a fort for.

I also like when I sneak in, loot everything, kill the captains and polemarchs, and run off, and then they light the brazier for reinforcements when I’m half a mile down the road.

That’s right, guys. Call for help! You can all have a party searching in vain for any sign of me. Or your treasure.

Anyway, good times.

Butch:

Are you fucking serious? I’m getting glad I didn’t go to Pephka.

Though…out of curiosity…was there some big bad boss there? Like one of those Monger types who’s terrorizing everyone?

Because that axe thing seems like a silly version of my axe. Did he need it for a ritual or some shit?

Feminina:

It really seems like Pephka is the comedy section of the game.

He wanted the ax (and some shiny armor) so that he could look the part of a conquering hero and the people in his village would believe him when he said he’d killed the Minotaur. This was somehow meant to “put his village on the map” and bring them great success from tourism.

And who knows, maybe since I got rid of the fake Minotaur, this will work out for him? Although in all likelihood another fake Minotaur will just take the place of the guy whose daughter I rescued.

I am curious to see to what extent the real-Minotaur quests mirror and perhaps comment on the fake ones…

Butch:

I hope it does mirror, because if they put a whole part of the map that’s basically there to waste your time, that’s annoying. A game this big doesn’t need extra shit, even if funny.

I suppose it’s something that it was way in the corner of the map and missable, but still…game, you’ve wasted enough time here.

Feminina:

It was funny enough that I’m kind of glad I did it regardless. Moments of simple joy are worth something! Mooooooo!!!!!!

But yeah, very missable, way over near the edge of the map on one half of an island. No pressure.

Butch:

Another interesting bit of game design: if you miss it, you miss it. Once I found the real minotaur the entire option to do the questline vanished. So, the only way you could even begin to compare and contrast was to find the funny bit first, so it wasn’t set up as a “We’re gonna encourage you to do everything so you can compare” deal like the women village vs. the bad day.

Though the game did, kinda, sorta, lure you to the funny bit. When I got to this island, the white diamond “main quest” was the one you found. The only reason I found what I found first was that I started in on exclamation points, which led to other parts of the map with exclamation points. The minotaur is an exclamation point quest line, NOT a diamond quest. So funny Pephka was missable, BUT it was marked in such a way that the game seemed to urge you in that direction, BUT the questline vanished if you did the other thing first.

Weird.

This is a very imperfect game, but I will give it props for being willing to take chances with game design. It’s not always successful, and sometimes I don’t get why they did what they did, but even good games can play it too safe. No way for the medium to evolve if big games never have the guts to try out new conventions.

That said….not sure what the game wanted us to do on this island. Did it WANT us to waste time with the funny bits? I did kinda feel relieved that I got it “right the first time,” not just because I didn’t want another three hours of this game, but because it’s nice to say “HA! They couldn’t trick me!” Was the game “punishing” you? Or did you do what it wanted oh I don’t fucking know. I could go around in circles all day.

Feminina:

Interesting…so they kind of encouraged you to do the fake stuff first, but if you find out the fake stuff is fake, they just take it off the table entirely.

So…yeah, in a sense the game is tricking you. Also, perhaps, the characters in the game are tricking your character. I mean, as I said, I as a player began to be suspicious fairly early on. The kid who gives you the tour offers to sell you a special ‘minotaur hoof ointment” to cure what ails you. That sounds like an obvious scam. And yet, once having begun the quest, I was going to follow up on it and see what it turned into, even after becoming quite skeptical that it would actually lead to the real Minotaur.

And instead of leading to the real Minotaur, it led to an important cultist I don’t have to go to the Arena to look for (I was running around Pephka and found the Arena, and promptly turned around and went the other way) and a heartwarming family reunion. So if they’re ‘tricking’ you, they’re also making it worth your while.

On the other hand, three hours of quests you don’t have to do if you find the real Minotaur first! Maybe a toss-up.

Butch:

True. You did get something out of it.

And it, strangely, stayed a bit in character. I’m curious to see what dialog you get when you meet the dude that’ll start you on your Three Things You Must Do (yup, needs to be capitalized). It’ll be different from mine. In my game, the dude is all “I can get you in there! Where the minotaur is!” and Kassandra replies “C’mon, everyone knows the minotaur is in Pephka.”

What was unclear is if she meant the legends and the minotaur theme parks and shit or if she really thought the honest to God minotaur was in Pephka.

Because, even after all the weirdass shit she’s seen, I’m still unclear if she really believes in monsters. We’ve talked about her (at least the way we’re playing her) not being whole-heartedly into gods. When she met the Sphinx, she wasn’t all “Wow! It’s really the sphinx!” she was “The HELL is that?” or “It’s really real?”

So I’m not sure when she’s all “Of COURSE the minotaur is in Pephka” if she really means that so matter of fact literally. If she does, I’m not sure that’s in character, and then I’m mad.

I’ll take my way. I really will.

I’m mad enough that the game did the level fake out bullshit. I’m STILL only level 39 and I’m a good three story missions up on you.

Feminina:

I will watch with interest to see what the dialogue is once I meet the real Minotaur dude with the Three Things I Must Do, and report back. Maybe she’ll say “are you SURE? Because I already did all this stuff in Pephka. Do you have some hard evidence that you know the location of the actual Minotaur? How about you perform three quests to prove it.”

It is a sad truth that the way to levels is not in story missions, but in the murdering of captains in forts. Murdering captains: it got me where I am today!

Butch:

And timed quests. Met someone who was all “bandits took my money!” Gave her fifty drachmas. (Autocorrect). Got 8750 Xp.

I need more of that.

Feminina:

Yes! I love those. I would do all the timed quests if they were just money for XP. “Drachmae! Drachmae for everyone! Hand over the levels!”

Sadly, some of them involve running around that I’m no longer willing to do, even for ridiculously inflated XP bonuses, so I haven’t touched one in a long time. Or the message boards in towns? I don’t go near that nonsense.

But yeah, you should probably just walk around and do timed quests for a couple of sessions, and you’ll catch up to me no problem.

Butch:

Dude when she was all bandits I was think “oh hell, no. Live and let Kevin live.” Then Kassandra is all “can I give you money?” And I was overjoyed.

I haven’t read a message board since Kellphalonia. If I could turn the icons off I would.

Feminina:

Sometimes the weirdest things turn into requests for money. Which I am happy to grant in exchange for XP!

“So a raging lion ate your cow and swallowed the priceless heirloom cowbell around its neck…and you don’t want me to retrieve it, you just want money for a new bell? DONE!”

Butch:

Amen. Money ain’t gonna kill a Minotaur.

Though it really could help. Seriously, bull man, can’t I just buy that ancient gewgaw off you? Easier all around.

Feminina:

A lot of people should just be willing to sell stuff. Like the guy in the fake-Minotaur quest, who handed over the token of Strength for 1500 drachmae!

Although…then the whole game would become about slogging around collecting cash to pay to avoid fights…and then we’d absolutely complain about all the cash-collecting. “If I wanted to work for money to buy things, I’d get a job!” we’d say. “I play video games so I can just murder people and take their stuff!”

Which then becomes a job.

Butch:

Is it any different to murder people to get useless loot which we will then sell for money?

See, you will say no, then gleefully not catch up to me because some poor alpha marmoset must die. I will say yes, and leave wildlife be.

Feminina:

No, I won’t say it’s different to sell loot for money, than to do any other chore for money. But I think fighting to get money to buy the Token of Power from the Boss Monster, for example, is different from just fighting the Boss Monster to get the Token.

That’s more what I was going after…if the whole game was just fighting minor things to pay off big things, rather than fighting minor things to get better equipment so we could fight big things…functionally it would be the same, but wouldn’t it have an impact on the mood?

Butch:

It would improve my mood, as I wouldn’t be sitting here all “Stupid fucking Minotaur for stupid weird quest with stupid AC lore I’m never gonna finish this stupid game don’t even need the stupid drachmae,”

So, yes.

Feminina:

OK, fair. Maybe buying your way past Big Bosses should be an option more often than it is.

Which would actually also be interesting in other ways, because it would make us stop and think about how much we valued in-game money compared to some hapless treasure-guardian’s life, and/or how much we valued the option to murder the hell out of some treasure-guardian who’s been taunting us for weeks, and how much more likely we are to fight certain types of guardians compared to others…there could be interesting stuff in this type of mechanic.

I’m all for it! Make more bosses susceptible to bribery, games!

Butch:

And it’s far less sleazy than Ubisoft giving us the option of spending real world money for “hurry ups” or some shit, which they do.

Feminina:

Yeah, I’ve got no use for that. I mean…companies want to make money, I get that, and $60 is only $60 which they only get one time so why wouldn’t they try to get a little more? And I suppose as long as they’re not actively dragging down the game experience if you DON’T buy extras, I don’t really care, but it does rub one the wrong way a bit.

Whereas the option to bribe bosses in the game itself, using money that you acquire in the game itself, that’s good honest strategy.

Butch:

Sigh, sorry, got distracted. More deck poop, as in Mrs. McP’s note yesteday. Likely a “raccoon latrine.”

There’s now plastic bags and cans of ammonia all over the damn deck.

Sigh.

Why’d we buy houses?

I warned you, man. I warned you.

Feminina:

You did. And you were right.

We don’t have a raccoon latrine right now, but it’s only a matter of time.

Butch:

At least the fucker is outside.

I hope.