Valley 1:Fast Facts

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Fast Facts: A Crash Course On A Valley Without Wind

Want to get up to speed quickly? This list is aimed to help you do just that (and will be refined over time).

1. This is a side-scrolling Action-Adventure with bits of Strategy, Shmup, Platforming, and Citybuilding (whew, say that three times fast).

You run around in a 2D side view and shoot stuff with magic spells. The combat is shmup-like, and the platforming can be hardcore or completely tame. Where other games are linear, here we have long-term goal-setting that you have to manage in an open-ended environment: you start out pitifully underpowered, and it's your job to figure out how to improve both yourself and your settlement so that you can take down the overlord. For details, see What Genre Is This, Anyway?

2. Missions are the crux of how you advance in the game.

The only way to get the best spells and ultimately be able to defeat the overlord is to do a goodly number of missions. Most are quick to complete, and you get to choose which ones you want to do (hint: that's where a lot of the long-form strategy of this game lies).

3. It's dangerous to go alone. Looting abandoned stashes for supplies is critical.

If you don't prepare well enough, the missions will kill you. You'll want to explore the countryside for buildings, locate stash rooms (marked in yellow on your dungeon map), grab what you need, and get on with your questing.

4. Being a "completionist" in an infinite world is futile and boring.

You cannot explore every room, every cave, or even every region. The game really is infinite, and you have bigger fish to fry. Remember that Overlord guy? We've compiled a handy reference on efficient exploration, although most players naturally figure that out with a little experience.

5. Using and understanding the four kinds of maps is vital for effective play.

Those maps being world, region, dungeon, and chunk/minimap. The game itself explains all of these, and frankly if you just look at them (and maybe hover your mouse over the dungeon/region map in particular), you'll get most of the information. But we did compile a guide for the detail-oriented.

6. Take any advantage you can get against your enemies.

Find some awesome enchant that makes you feel a bit overpowered for a while? Savor that feeling, because it won't last. Similarly, try to get some higher-tier spells before the enemies reach that tier, and then have fun smiting them for a while. That, too, won't last. And frankly, this is a brutal-hard game if you're playing on an appropriate difficulty level for your skill. You will need the advantages to take out the harder bosses and missions.

7. Seriously, set the difficulty level; it's not there just to look pretty.

You can change the difficulty any time you like from your settlement, as well as when you create your world. There are three kinds: platforming, combat, and citybuilding. The default for all three is pretty low-key, to make sure that your average semi-gamer isn't overwhelmed right away. The difficulty dropdowns note what experienced gamers are likely to prefer in terms of combat difficulty. This game is capable of being completely warm and fuzzy or the most vicious murderer you've ever encountered. Anyone familiar with our other games should have a... vivid understanding of what we mean.

8. We're glad you like your character, but he or she is going to die. Maybe try not to get too attached.

Permadeath -- yes, this game has it. But no, it's not what you think. AVWW uses permadeath in a thematic way that makes death an interesting consequence and not something that is game-ending or punitive to the player. (Though when you die, your next character will probably have to fight and kill a vengeful ghost of your old character.)

9. The only way to heal is to kill trash mobs or flee back to town.

You can upgrade your health pretty darn high, though, so long expeditions are definitely possible. You just have to be smart about how you play, and know your limits, or you wind up with very dead characters. A skillful player can use the trash mobs to stay out of the settlement for pretty much as long as they like.

10. Pausing the game is hugely useful.

Not suggesting you do it excessively, but it gives you time to arrange your inventory, swap out enchants if need be, and so on. More importantly, it lets you mouseover enemies and objects to get a few details about them.

11. You're invincible right after entering a new chunk, as long as you hold still!

The clever warrior enters a new area, and calmly stands and assesses her surroundings. Enemies will not bother her or be able to harm her. The foolish warrior barrels into new areas, often right into the attacks of his foes, and dies a horrible death before he even realizes what has happened. The too-clever-for-her-own-good warrior ducks out of a room and then re-enters it quickly, to cheaply make use of this phenomenon. She finds herself not invincible, and probably dies. Invincibility only applies after you've have been out of a room for about ten seconds, and thus all the monsters have returned to full health. You can't cheese this.

12. Each continent is a "complete game" in itself; or it has the arc of a complete game, anyhow.

Like a linear title, there is a logical flow to how things progress in this game, despite it being open-ended. You grow in power, so do your enemies, and you must ultimately defeat the Big Bad Guy. To complete a single continent takes anywhere from 4-20 hours, depending on how you play and how much of a hurry you're in. The earlier continents are easier and thus go faster, but even there 4 hours is practically a speed run. Presently it is impossible to see all of the game content without completing at least three continents.

13. Procedural generation techniques have been combined with hand-crafting throughout this game.

Terrain and caves are procedural, as are enemy/object placement, and enchants. Character names are procedurally combined from lists of first and last names. There are over a million possible character names, there are hundreds of thousands (and growing) of unique enchants, and there are billions of unique terrain/enemy/object combinations. Even the structures of the insides of buildings are hugely procedural.

Hand-crafted elements include the spells and enemies themselves, most of the individual interior room floorplans, and the overall balance and progression of the game. This is why you don't just get lost in a soupy mess of genericness. There are billions of possibilities to explore, but those hand-crafted bits make a lot of difference. This is how you get a world that feels meaningful to you, while at the same time having every world be unique.

14. This game evolves through continual updates, but you don't have to restart your world to see them.

After version 1.0 of this game comes out, we've committed ourselves to at least three months of free updates Verify(AVWW). That said, if the game does at all well, we plan to continue such updates indefinitely, alongside the occasional optional paid expansion pack. Look at AI War -- three years on, and it's still getting this treatment. For a game about adventure and exploration, this means that there will always be new stuff to find.

The even better news is that new content slips right into your existing world without your having to do anything special. If you're on your fifth continent and we add something that would normally start appearing at continent 1, you'll find a skill-appropriate version of that waiting for you on the fifth continent. And so, in the history of your unique world, these new components would fall much further along in the chronology than for someone who was starting a fresh world at that newer version.

And that's the beauty of it: it doesn't matter, because it makes sense and "feels right" in either case. We don't have to make new players wait until continent 12 to see advanced content (that would be punishing, to say the least), but at the same time, if someone does play through 12 continents, they're going to be seeing new stuff at each one because of our ongoing updates.

15. Our traditional-for-Arcen co-op multiplayer is client-server, and supports 2-8+ players.

At the present time we don't actually know what the upper bound is, but we're trying to figure that out. On a LAN, having 16-30 players on one server is probably not unreasonable, and even on the Internet that might work. But we don't want to claim things we've not tried, so for now we're saying 2-8+. There is no PVP at this time.

A Valley Without Wind

Further Reading