The One Game Week 6: The Final Reset

I’m dedicating time to one game in order to try and master it. I’ve chosen The Banner Saga to be that “One Game”. Each week I’ll be reporting on my progress within the game, as well as things I’ve learned outside of it. You can follow my progress via this tag.

Week 6*.
Total time played (according to Steam): 7 hours.
Matches Played / Won: 5 / 0
Achievements unlocked: 0.
Rank: N/A.
Rating: N/A.
Team Power: N/A.
Renown: N/A.

So, The Banner Saga: Factions is finally released. That means no more profile wipes (so I can rename them) and “proper” progression  It means I start at the bottom again (although given my track record, that’s not much of a set-back),

Starting the game this week surprises me in a couple of ways. First off, there’s a nice introductory movie which leads into a tutorial, and secondly that some issues still remain (namely the Steam overlay not working, the general sluggishness of the interface, and the crash on exit). Oh well. To battle!

Ninja Foodstuff vs. Tutorial

“You’ve arrived just in time. The Chieftain in red and his men are now looking at a tougher fight than they bargained for.”

I’m interested to see if I’ll learn anything useful from this, or if it’ll just show me the bare mechanics which I’ve previously had to learn the hard way.

It begins, as you’d expect with an overview of movement and attack, and armour vs. strength. It then goes on to cover, very briefly, abilities and using willpower for added movement. And then (finally!) I’m on the other side of the Pillage mechanic for the first time, get to finish off the last enemy and then it’s off to another cutscene (shame about the stunted voice acting though).

The next phase of the tutorial explores the rest of the interface, with the first port of call being the Mead House. Here I discover that I’ve got 130 renown (which is a paltry amount compared to the 1000 or so we had to play with in the beta), which seems to mean that there’ll be a lot of grinding in the weeks ahead.

As if to rub it in, the tutorial forces me to use 38% of my starting renown (50) to buy an experienced Raider, and then another 50 to promote him into a Thrasher. Along the way, I see that they’ve added “variations” to characters. In the Thrasher’s case, there’s a “Houseman”, “Bramble” or “Bloodbath”. The Bramble sets you back 90 renown, the Bloodbath is only unlockable via the Marketplace. I have no idea what the differences entail (perhaps just a reskin?), and the tutorial doesn’t seem to think the distinction is all that important either. It also doesn’t let me name the character myself, but I can always do that later.

After buying a Thrasher I didn’t necessarily want, Im left with 30 renown. I get the feeling that the unskippable tutorial is going to make me spend it all, but in actual fact it doesn’t.

I have a little snoop in said marketplace to see exactly what sort of things your hard-earned cash can buy you. As expected, you can buy renown boosts (at $0.99 per day) a “starter pack” of a Warhawk, Backbiter, Provoker and Bowmaster (for $12.99), the aforementioned colour variations (which are indeed purely cosmetic by the look of things, and are priced at $1.99 per character type), are renown ($1.99 per 30, with marginal bulk discounts).

Most bafflingly, you need the Steam overlay, which doesn’t work in the Mac version of the game to buy anything! Developers, fix this for your own sake!

The governor is ready for you up in the Great Hall.

There you can find fights all across the city or join tournaments to test your mettle against the best.

Fight, learn, and prove your worth!

Until next week then, when it’s back to square one.

*Attentive folks will notice that this should be week 8. There was no one game column for the last two weeks, as I was tied up with other things.

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