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    dkirschner's Wildermyth (PC)

    [March 9, 2024 09:37:32 AM]
    I finished this about three weeks ago, got ridiculously busy with a grant proposal and faculty evaluations and didn't write about it, then was on Spring Break and went all in playing other games and still didn't write about it. As Spring Break comes to an end, it's time to write about all the games! And then get back to work...

    Wildermyth sunk its teeth into me for two campaigns. The campaigns are long, but of the “just one more turn” variety. Wildermyth is at its core a turn-based tactics RPG like XCOM. You build a band of adventurers in a campaign, starting with three and recruiting more. The adventurers level up, learn skills, improve their gear, and can die. Except unlike in other games of this type, death isn’t always permanent, and they don’t always “die” in battle. Rather, your characters age throughout chapters in a campaign, which ultimately leads to their “retirement” from adventuring. When this happens, they become “legacy” characters and are recruitable in future campaigns. So, you may begin a subsequent campaign with your favorite character from the previous one. Their age will be reset for the new campaign, and the perk of the legacy system is that they level up their renown and can begin campaigns with more and more abilities already learned.

    The practical character-building aspect is only part of the allure of the legacy system. The other is that, unlike XCOM but like many other tactics RPGs, your characters develop relationships as they adventure together. These can be romantic, friendly, or rivalries, in addition to developing shared histories of participating in campaigns, defeating ancient evils, discovering magical secrets, or whatever. The cool thing about the relationships, unlike other tactics RPGs, is that they’re outcomes of the procedural narration and the rather transparent ways in which characters are created with personality attributes. Characters who fight together and who are “romantic” may be more likely to fall in love with each other, whereas a sarcastic or competitive character may be more likely to develop rivalries. Either way, these relationships persist over time, and each character’s history persists over time. It’s really, really cool to see two characters have a kid, to see them interact over a campaign as parent and child (even as the parent ages into their 70s and the child into their 40s and perhaps even has their own child), and then it’s really funny to see this break across campaigns as your legacy characters may not recognize one another as family, or they might, but because you started the campaign with the child and then later recruited the parent, the “child” is like 50 years old and their “parent” is like 20 years old, and the parent will treat the child as a child.

    The character traits also impact the procedural storytelling. There are many scenarios that unfold as your characters traverse the map, and character traits have an impact. A bookish character may trigger the party stumbling upon an abandoned library and get a chance to unlock some arcane knowledge; a garrulous, wanderlusting character may trigger chance encounters with NPCs as they explore new parts of the map. By shaping your characters’ personalities (getting a variety of them!), you can see more and more of the scenarios. In my two campaigns, I started to get some repetition, seeing a handful of the same scenarios twice. This is bound to start happening the more you play, but is more likely if you are using the same characters because their same character traits are triggering the same scenarios. But I was always looking forward to seeing the next little scenario. So, a strength of the game is certainly this discovery aspect, but a drawback is certainly repetition. Again, I played two (of five or six) campaigns, and was already starting to see repetition in the second campaign.

    The campaigns themselves are longer than many whole games, so it is quite a commitment, and is why I stopped after two. I feel like I understand the game and have pretty much seen all it has to offer, with the knowledge that there are some more stories to hear and however much combat challenge I want by increasing the difficulty or letting campaign enemies level up. I do wish that I had looked at how players ranked the campaigns before I just blindly did the first two. I mean, the first one was a tutorial, so that was the right choice, but it seems that the later campaigns (which came later in development, perhaps after the devs and writers got in their groove) are far more upvoted than the second one I played. It was still good, but would have been cool to play a more highly regarded story.

    The campaigns (except the tutorial) are split into five chapters each. In each chapter, you traverse the overworld, securing tiles from the enemy to fight back their invasions and gain resources, and progress toward whatever the chapter quest is. The challenges here are in how you split your party to accomplish tasks in the overworld (generally, two parties of 3-4 are ideal so you can do two things at once and never get ambushed) and balancing between how quickly you finish the chapter. The more battles you fight, and the longer time you take, the stronger the enemies get. On the other hand, the more battles you fight, and the longer time you take, the more experience and items you receive. This was well-balanced in my campaigns. One quirk I noticed is that given the five-chapter length of campaigns, your first (and therefore strongest) characters will often reach retirement age at the end of the campaign, when the monsters are hardest, you're fighting the final boss, and you need them the most! Part of the strategy then is, just like in real life, planning for retirement, making sure the rest of your party will be strong enough without 70-year-old Grandpa Joe the Warrior there to bark orders and one-shot enemies. But the overworld isn't very interesting, and the combat isn’t very deep or exciting (it’s really just the basic “warrior, ranger, caster” triumvirate with straightforward strategy) so my real motivation was seeing more stories and seeing how characters level up. Perhaps I'll pick it back up and play another campaign in the future (the highly rated one!) and see what my legacy characters are up to.
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    dkirschner's Wildermyth (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 2 February, 2024

    GameLog closed on: Friday 23 February, 2024

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game to play with that I don't quite know what they do yet! ---------- Definitely worthwhile for RPG fans, DnD fans.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    More GameLogs
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    1 : Wildermyth (PC) by jp (rating: 5)


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