The video game market is weird, yo. Sometimes we get absolutely nothing being released, sometimes stuff is released that we don’t care about, and sometimes a bunch of stuff crams itself through the door like a vaudeville act of old, although with a lot less comedic value if we’ve only got so many hours in the day to play…or find that we’re not all that interested after all.

Baldur’s Gate 3

I was alive to experience the original Baldur’s Gates 1 and 2, although I completed exactly Baldur’s Gate 0 of them. I have purchased BG1 a few times since then, enhanced and mobile editions, none of which helped me overcome my inability to complete it. Naturally, I had to jump on board the BG3 train. That made me remember that I haven’t completed any of the Divinity games, also from Larian Studios.

I had been enticed by the limited early access gameplay I experienced in BG3, enough to stop playing early so I wouldn’t have to repeat myself when the game released. If there’s one thing I cannot stand it’s having to repeat myself…or repeat content. I abhor “the grind” because as I am sure I have written about previously, I thrive on “the new”.

So far my BG3 experience is…different. I started playing on Normal difficulty and stuck to my guns as a generally positive player. This bit me in the ass several times; all of the characters in this game are complete assholes, except Volo who I swear is just confused most of the time. I do not like any character I have encountered, and that includes my party. If I could line them up and smack them across their dumb faces as I run past, I would. Repeatedly. But I need them, especially since my decisions and the difficulty level caused me to rage quit.

I then went back, loaded a very old save point at the Explorer level, and made a change. Originally I was pressed by the urgency of the plot, since everyone seemed hells-bent on telling me how badly I was going to die. I skipped a lot of content and focused only on the mission markers. Then I was told by the system that I was under leveled for the next area, so on the revised play through I decided to spend time looking around, visiting places no one told me I had to be (yet). I learned a few things.

First, this game is too damn packed. Navigating is giving me a headache. Making matters worse, the camera kind of sucks, especially when trying to get in or around buildings. There are too many containers to open, and it’s actually a crap-shoot as to whether or not there will be anything in there, or anything worth the effort. I don’t have OCD, but there’s a low vibration of FOMO running throughout this game.

I am afraid of certain areas. There’s one area I found early on that I want nothing to do with, but as it’s “early on” I wonder if I’m level appropriate. I suspect not.

There’s a LOT to keep track of. Every encounter, I have to review everyone’s hotbar so I make sure I’m not leaving some beneficial spell or ability on the table. I have a terrible memory, and have never been able to internalize class or racial abilities, so this is making matters a lot worse.

I don’t have to rush — I don’t think. I am now taking some time to look around, to stop off and explore. It has been yielding a whole lot of “flavor”, and I am always suspicious that everything that isn’t something I can steal or someone I talk to who has more than one line of dialog isn’t super important somewhere down the line.

I have moved from a buyer’s remorse to a cautious interest in Baldur’s Gate 3. I have to play smarter than I usually do which at my age was something I had been purposefully trending away from, but I think the results are more satisfying as a result.


I loved Free Realms. It was such a feature-rich title that I think bloomed before its actual market was realized (it came and went long before the “cozy” game phenomenon took hold).

Palia looks to capitalize on the cozy game trend by providing a relatively non-violent, community-forward online multiplayer experience. It looks a lot like Free Realms, but also has hints of the fantasy frontier found in Wildstar, which I also liked.

Right now Palia is in closed beta, but the open beta is rapidly approaching…much to its detriment. In truth, there’s nothing going in Palia. The primary taks focus right now is to collect resources in order to build a home. This involves a whole lot of leashed quests to learn how to harvest, hunt, and fish, conversations with NPCs to learn who they are and what they offer, and ultimately the busy work needed to get the house built. Beyond that…there’s not a lot going on for players to do.

For a game that’s “community focused”, there are a lot of people agreeing that there’s very little community interaction going on in the game. Harvesting does allow players to get together to collect resources so that everyone gets a share, which should really be the de facto mode in any only game of this scope, so while it’s welcome, it’s not revolutionary. There’s also a way for players to request and to send one another resources, but word on the street is that no on is using this. Essentially, Palia is being sold as a “community-focused MMO”, but it has no community interaction, and has no content befitting the “MMO” moniker.

I had been in the early alphas, but bailed because the “community” that was had already circled their wagons around the idea of the game even before there was a game, and were violently defending against all comers. The whole “cozy” game genre attracts a certain sort of player, especially those where combat is minimized and sharing and interaction are the name of the game. During alpha, this was taken to the extreme, where many community members would browbeat other players who harvested but didn’t announce the location of an important spawn. Rather than sharing being a feature, these people were forming mobs that would “resource shame” each other for not militantly cleaving to the “community” approach. This wasn’t universal, of course, but it was prevalent enough to make me realize that some people needed this game more than others, and I was most certainly in “the others” camp.

I have logged into the closed beta twice now, and I don’t think I’ll be logging in again, ever, unless or until Palia creates an actual game here. Right now, though, Singularity 6 have been attending to one fire drill after another: servers crashing, progression bugs, and all kinds of login issues have been rolling out non-stop since closed beta started. Open beta, where anyone can sign up and log in, is literally a few days away, and I am not entire sure that S6 are ready for that. If the open beta continues to express the same bugs that closed has, and unless there’s some magical build that offers 10x the content than what’s there now, I think Palia is going to be a colossal air-ball.


Owner and author.


  • Tipa

    August 7, 2023 - 11:38 AM

    I’m not 100% I’m enjoying my time in Palia yet, either. Although I did go to the next zone and there seems to be more going on there. The resource grind is… a grind. NPCs are asking how I like an axe I haven’t been able to afford enough to buy the blueprint for. There is a mystery about your own origins, but that’s eventually going to have an answer and then that will be done. I dunno. We’ll see.

  • Bhagpuss

    August 7, 2023 - 1:31 PM

    I’m enjoying Palia but then I’m only playing at most a couple of hours a day and a couple of hours is a lot for me these days. I just potter around doing whatever until I need to do something in real life or I lose interest and then I log out and leave it for a few hours or until tomorrow.

    That’s how I play all games these days and really in most a sessuion for me is more likely to be twenty or thirty minutes, not even a couple of hours. On that basis, it’s pretty unlikely I’ll catch up to whatever the caps for skills are before more stuff to do gests patched in. I’m reading quite a few posts along the lines of “There’s hardly anything to do” but as far as i can see, all of those people must be playing far more than I am. I think I need to do a post about both expectations but also engagement some time.

    The community aspect is weird, though. I keep forgetting I’m playing a multiplayer title at all. It feels more like a single-player title that occasionally glitches and lets someone else into. I think I’d probably prefer it as a single-player game, actually. I do have a post sort of about that already written…

    • Scopique

      August 7, 2023 - 1:37 PM

      I suppose it’s not really different from any other online game. Some people race through all content then complain that “there’s nothing do do”, though I wonder if even had folks slowed things down, how long WOULD it take them to get through all that Palia currently has to offer?

  • GamerLadyP

    August 7, 2023 - 2:06 PM

    I think I used your invite link for Palia, so it is a tiny bit ironic that you are done with the game before I have had my fill. I made myself promise to give it more time, and slow down my pace and my expectations. Just flow a bit, try out a few things, figure out how to make money, etc. This game is not the type I have usually played, so it is an experiment to see how long it holds my interest. With all of the other games coming out in the near future, I have to figure this one out pretty soon before I move on to Stray Gods and Starfield and keep trying to play BG3 and New World.
    With BG3, I was very worried that it was made by Larian. I own their Divinity games. I’ve tried to play them because of the RPG aspects of them, but they kill my fun every time with the movement mechanics and how little I enjoy the combat part of their games. The same holds true with BG3, but I haven’t given up on it quite yet. It doesn’t help that I sit next to my hubby playing and growling in frustration over shooting the ground instead of moving or a myriad of other UI issues he’s been having. He did finally get into a groove last night and stopped being angry, but I talked him into going with the exploration mode of the game to give us both time to grow used to the quirks and difference between 5th edition rules and Larian’s implementation of them. Our dog has stopped coming over to ask me if he’s okay at least, so that is a step in the right direction. I find it funny that these hyped games with BIG concurrent player numbers don’t live up to my expectations. What am I missing that others have found?

    • Scopique

      August 7, 2023 - 2:15 PM

      Ha! Yeah I hadn’t tried Palia since early Alpha, so I had been excited that they might have built on top of what is really a “good foundation”. Unfortunately, they didn’t move the ball down the field at all in the interim; what’s there now is what was there previously, and with the open beta and eventual launch Not That Far Away, I cannot see how they can do much more than what they have.

      With BG3 and Divinity, I really enjoy the levels of immersion, especially as someone who has GM’d D&D several times over the past few years but has never been on the outside of the GM’s screen. But the benefit of CRPGs is that they can build in ALL of the mechanics if they can find a way to get the system to manage them. I am a “rules lite” GM, preferring the fun over the mechanics, so while I am enjoying the relative newness of BG3, I am waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop and my attention is drawn elsewhere.

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