The Mommy Gamers

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MMORPG

    Book of Travels: First Look

    illustration of farmers relaxing in the field

    Well, well, well, what have we here? Another absolutely gorgeous game? Correct! Book of Travels is a brand new game from Might and Delight, a small studio out of Sweden with a knack for creating art. I’ve been eyeing this game for a few months now and am happy to be able to try it out and give you my two cents at launch! So, let’s dive right in.

    Venture out into a living, breathing fairytale world. Craft a character with its own unique personality and explore the open land however you choose. Set your own goals and shape your adventure alone or with the others you find in this serene online TMORPG (tiny multiplayer online).

    Might and Delight

    What is this game?

    Book of Travels is a multiplayer game but you won’t see as many people as you’re used to like an MMO. Instead, the game focuses on roleplaying and individual playstyles giving you the freedom to craft your own journey in the world. You will run into many randomly occurring events that make your play-through of the game unique and different every session.

    The game takes inspiration from “old-world fairytales, Eastern mythology, and early industrial eras.” There are tons of special secrets, items, and features to unlock as you play. 300+ abilities, magical skills, and passive feats to unlock and master will give you numerous ways to experience the game.

    And of course, this game is a playable piece of art. It has click-to-walk movement like old-school RPGs but with 3D depth.

    A solid first impression

    One early annoyance is that while the game launches from Steam it then launches a launcher for you to press play and then you have to also log in when the game itself launches. While none of this is difficult it’s just more steps in a process that should be more seamless. Hopefully, it’s something that changes in the future.

    Character creation for Book of Travels is an interesting process that felt more akin to creating a character for a tabletop RPG than your usual MMO or modern RPG. You immediately have portions of your character to flesh out on your own, completely freeform, to get you in the right mindset of creating an actual character outside what they look like or what their skills are. It’s a great first step to setting the mood.

    Character Creation screen for Book of Travels - first portion with the explanation of "Form"

    After getting into the game proper, it was interesting to see how the mechanics would work. Visually the game looks 2D until you start moving around into the back and foreground. The transition is so smooth and it absolutely amazes me. Sometimes pathing gets a little odd because of terrain that isn’t actually traversable but you’re never waiting on it long.

    As you might expect, if you’ve ever seen me play a game, I immediately went off into my own direction exploring instead of going where I was told to go. So I haven’t gotten past the first few areas. However, I’ve gotten pretty good and picking out what in the scenery is an interactable item! I did eventually make it onto the path the game wanted me to go down. I talked to every person and pet every animal along the way too. Which made me realize I wanted a space in a journal or something to write notes since there’s already functionality in the game to put your own text in things like background/appearance/etc. it’d be nice to implement something for us to keep notes on our character for what/who we encounter.

    Should You Add Book of Travels to Your Library?

    I had a great introduction to the game and there’s a lot for me to continue uncovering in the hours of gameplay to come. You should definitely head over to Steam and add it to your wishlist/follow it. Give Book of Travels a shot if you enjoy roleplaying games or if you think the art is striking. If you do give it a go, be sure to leave me a comment about your experience! Book of Travels releases October 11, 2021. I will report back once I’ve gotten further into the game, so look for a part two!

    Finally, Gaming for Austenites: Ever, Jane

    everjane

    To date, the traditional gaming industry hasn’t done a fantastic job of gearing games to women, and there’s still plenty of unwelcome harassment for those of us who enter virtual online worlds and reveal that we don’t have penises. There are days when I’m not sure I can call myself a “gamer,” because I’m not a member of the boys’ club that dominates gaming, and because I am not interested in venturing into the world of multiplayer as it stands today.

    But how do you create a game that’s fun for women without being patronizing? Well, there’s a Kickstarter project out there that has my inner girly girl squeeing in delight. The possibility of entering an immersive online universe designed with people like me in mind is an awesome one. Enter Ever, Jane: The Virtual World of Jane Austen.

    There have been other times when my fondness for Jane Austen has found vent in geeky media, such as the time our heroes in British scifi TV’s “Red Dwarf” took their destructive tendencies to Jane Austen World, or that series of Austen/supernatural creature mashups by Quirk Books (my favorite was Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, for its steampunk vibe). But this! A role-playing MMO with elements of strategy, featuring balls and Regency clothing and manners and gossip and dancing mini-games? I think I’m in love.

    So, I’m going to expound on Jane Austen for a moment, because I think she’s a bit misunderstood by the masses. We tend to view her as a period romance writer, who is famous because she happened to create interesting people in her comedies of manners. But that isn’t at all what she’s about. I don’t like romance as a genre, but I do read and re-read Austen and all her imitators hoping for someone who can replicate not the sentimentality (which is easy and can be done by any monkey pounding away on a typewriter), but Austen’s wit and characterization. Actually, Jane Austen’s books are all about strategy. The maneuvering involved in surviving Regency society with your reputation, your status, your sanity, your family, and your temper intact, all while trying to get the guy, is what Austen’s books truly excel at portraying. And this type of strategy is extremely conducive to intricate and unflinching gameplay. I’m not the only one who thinks so.

    This is why Ever, Jane, the brainchild of Judy Tyrer and 3 Turn Productions, is a brilliant idea. She’s taking the aspects that really define the best parts of Austen, and turning them into a community-building MMORPG that’s not a stretch at all.

    Ever, Jane is designed to help players create stories that aren’t all about killing bad guys. It takes place in a 3D village complete with balls, dinner parties, and travel. Instead of stats like Dexterity and Strength, the game relies on personality traits seen in Jane Austen heroines such as Happiness and Duty. You must understand the complexities of status and how that effects the way you treat people both above and below your station in life, and you’ve got to know how to use this knowledge gain points in society. Gossip is used as a weapon, issuing invitations is the action of choice, and balls are the place where things happen. How others react to you figures prominently in Tyrer’s vision of the finished title.

    This is an ambitious project, asking for at least $100,000 in funding. At press time, there were almost 400 backers. On the Kickstarter page, you can check out a video preview, play with a prototype and view details of Ever, Jane’s gameplay and goals. I’ve funded it, and I’m waiting with bated breath for the final product, due early 2016.

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