Game Diary: Arx Fatalis 04 — Let There be Draw Distance!

Originally posted at Digital Hippos.

If you followed my last entry, then you won’t be surprised to hear how easy my retread through the goblin fortress is. With my gem dealer’s license and officially-signed goblin documents, I’m untouchable to my former captors (of course, that would change quickly if they found out who I was).

But why just move on to my next destination — the human city of Arx — right away? I don’t know about you, but I never move on to the next area of a game until I’ve explored all I can of the area I’m in.

I pass through a pair of giant, steel doors opening into a huge, dark cavern. A really, really, really, dark cavern.

I know that I’m supposed to be exploring dark caves and the developers want to create an atmosphere, but this is ridiculous. I can’t see a thing! No, no, no … something is wrong, here. That ruin should fade into darkness; not be covered by fog.

Fog.

Oh. A quick hop into the options menu and there it is: fog distance. Looks like I missed that setting during set-up. Well let’s just move that slider to the right a little and–

–OH MY STUPENDOUS SUBTERRANEAN SCION!

Okay. Well. Good to have that out of the way, then.

Oh, look! A friendly, fishing troll! Let’s see what he has to say: the goblins are mean to him, he doesn’t like violence or manual labor, he loves art. In other words, he’s a bum; a hippy, commie, lazy, hobo troll. He wants me to find something to inspire his artwork.

Fine. I accept the sidequest from the derelict and get on my way. Onward, to the human city of Arx!

On my way to the city, I have to first cross the goblin-troll border. It’s easy. I just walk by. I like this fantasy world where goblins and trolls just let me go about my business! Why can’t more RPG monsters be as content their stations in life?

Making my way through a mine on my way to the city (this is the back way, remember — the landslide?), I acquire a handy new magicks: it’s kind of like my “IGNITE!” but it actually lights the ground ablaze with cleansing flame. An offense magicks! Nothing can stop me now….

Except for this giant monster spider. I know, I know — you’re saying, “But Am Shaegar! Aren’t you a master slayer of giant spiders?” Perhaps, I reply, but this is no ordinary giant spider — this one kills me in two hits!

After expertly employing a brave new strategy of running in circles and casting my new magicks while the monster spider slowly chases me, I am victorious!

A hop and skip later and I’m smack dab in the center of the titular human city, Arx!  After reporting to the guard captain (I’m still shirtless, by the way), I’m off to see the king!

He’s very worried about the Ylside badguys and the roadblock. Unfortunately, there’s just nothing he can do about it now! Apparently we need the trolls to clear the roadblock. I tell him that we shouldn’t depend on cheap troll labor, that there’s a whole kingdom full of lazy humans who can do the job, but he says I need to go talk the trolls — who are ON STRIKE! What is this nonsense?

On my way to see the troll king, I come across a peculiar sight:

Yes, that old man is fishing. Yes, that water is run-off from the castle. The man is fishing in three-foot-deep sewer water. This whole city is full of bums and crazies. Maybe it’s because they eat diseased poop fish.

I’m out of here; maybe the trolls have their heads screwed on right.

Before they’ll get back to work, the trolls need me to retrieve an artifact stolen from them by their goblin overseers. This is what I’ve come to? The great shirtless sword guy who fires powerful “IGNITE!” from his fingertips is settling labor disputes?

Well, I guess we’re off to see the goblin king (a big day for me — I’ve always wanted to meet David Bowie!)

Next time: attempted regicide, failed regicide, meeting David Bowie (finally!), and a promotion (with perks!)

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