1000 Hours of Glitch: A Review

Roughly a week before I began writing this review, I achieved a major milestone. According to Wakoopa, I have played Glitch for over 1000 hours. (that’s approximately one month and eleven days of time spent in the game). So I decided to celebrate by writing a review. There are already plenty of reviews out there, so I intend for this one to be different in several ways. First off, I joined Glitch after having read a review of it, which is partially why I decided to write this one. The review was more so interesting facts about Tiny Speck than a proper review of Glitch, so I’ll take it upon myself to provide that (among other things, it included only a couple of actual gameplay screenshots, and no video). Even if more comprehensive reviews do exist (I’ve honestly only read that one), they’re still most likely out of date. Glitch unlaunched several months ago, and much has changed since then. In fact, the biggest change (the imagination conversion; more on that when it happens) is yet to come. My bet is on Tuesday…

This brings me to another way in which this review will be different than any others you may find out there. As Glitch is currently in a state of near-constant change, I’ll try to review new content as it’s released (however, this review will cover the game in general, while emphasizing on the direction the game’s going so far).  This will hopefully allow me to provide new direction for my blog itself, as I’ve been rather starved for content lately, despite promises to the contrary. A final note before I begin: If you’re looking for a purely factual review, stop reading here and go somewhere else. I tend to be highly opinionated on all things Glitch, and as such, I have no intent to spout out facts without giving my personal opinion of the gameplay elements involved. With that being said, let’s get started!

General Gameplay

Housing

Me, standing under a sampling of my trophies (click to enlarge)

There really is no “point” to Glitch. This is reflected in the game’s very own slogan (see below). That is, there is no singular goal to achieve, although this is contrary to what the Glitch Wikipedia article, by far the worst piece of literature I’ve seen on the subject, may otherwise lead you to believe. Time travel is not, in fact, a core gameplay element, and, as far as I know, is only part of an early quest. There are, however, many separate goals to achieve. Gaining experience points (which, most likely next week, will be converted to a new system, imagination, which is basically like spendable xp that still retains a lifetime count that determines one’s level), earning achievements, and collecting currants are the most significant, although others, like completing quests and fighting the Rook often come into play. A recent hobby many people have taken up is decorating one’s house (a small section of mine can be seen above), which is now possible due to the much-improved new housing system that Tiny Speck is in the process of transitioning to. Almost everything in new houses is customizable, from the wallpaper, floors, and ceilings, to the decorations. This is opposed to old housing, seen two screenshots down, that cannot be customized at all.

“Do stuff. In a game.”

Old housing had several templates to choose from, but the templates can’t be altered… at all

There are indeed several kinds of old housing to choose from, however what you see is what you get. The exterior, interior walls, ceilings, doors, furniture (however most furniture in old housing is merely part of the background), etc… cannot be customized to any degree. I won’t focus much on old housing, besides pointing out its deficiencies, as old housing is quickly on its way out.

Decorate Mode, along with a sampling of upgraded and non-upgraded furniture

Housing customization takes place within Decorate Mode. Here, one may make enlargements to their house, change the wallpaper, flooring, and ceiling, or add and remove furniture. Above, in the furniture tab, is a view of a category of furniture items, in this case seating (entirely ignoring the fact that a sitting posture does not exist in Glitch; you can always stand on the chairs though…). The items can be dragged into the game window to place them in one’s house, and from there can be “upgraded” to one’s choice of styling.

A furniture upgrade window

The exterior of my house, located on my home street

Here the exterior of my house, as well as its location, my home street, can be seen (for what it’s worth, it isn’t possible to stand on some houses, and even some of the platforms on my house, that look like actual surfaces, can’t be stood on; not really a major review point but it still really bothers me). Notice how the inside of my house is much larger than the outside (interior and exterior size are completely independent of each other, and exterior house size is, in fact, static). That being said, it is possible to expand the size of one’s home street (or back yard; home street and back yards function in the exact same way, but are customized independently).

Customization menu for my home street

House Customization (Exterior)

Both the street background (and background music – I was overjoyed when this was announced as I wanted the Uralia theme music instead of the much-overused Groddle Forest theme that formerly applied to all backgrounds) and house design are customizable. The background has one of ten or so predefined choices, and houses have seven base styles. These base styles have many further customization options (for example, the House of Whimsy design has an average of nine different choices for each customizable area listed). This alone makes new home streets much preferable to old housing quarters (which were basically just lines of the old-style houses, all on one street). But wait, there’s more!

Cultivate mode on home streets

Another feature of home streets (and back yards) is Cultivate mode. Unlike old housing quarters, which were barren lots usually containing nothing but housing (a few housing styles did have some resources, although they were template-based and not customizable by residents), home streets can be cultivated by their owners. This means that resources (which will, in the future, cost imagination, described earlier) can be placed on one’s home street. These resources are consumed with use, and must eventually be repaired. For example, herb plots, the item which breaks most often in my case as I’m using them to grind herb-related achievements at the moment, require lumps of earth and guano to repair. The ability to have customizable resources on home streets, coupled with the ability to link your home street to those of five friends, has led to interesting player-created developments, such as housing resource routes. These routes so far have been designed around harvesting trees, and due to their organization, have easily been the best way to gather large numbers of tree-based resources. These are particularly useful for finding usually hard-to-find resources, like planks, which have also met increased demand as they’re likely to be necessary for building furniture and upgrading one’s house, once those features are available in their final form.

Gardening

1200 words and we’re just getting started! Let’s move off the topic of housing now, and onto actual gameplay mechanics. First up is gardening. There are two kinds of gardens: crop gardens and herb gardens. This used to be more significant before the introduction of new housing (while no longer explicitly on the topic of housing, almost any other topic easily ties back into it). Previously, the kind of house you chose to have determined what kind of gardens you had. Bog houses had herb gardens, and all other houses had crop gardens. Tiny Speck has responded by allowing new housing to contain any kind of garden you wish (this also comes as a consequence of the fact that new housing is not tied to a specific region). I’ve created the following video to demonstrate the mechanics of gardening. While crops and herbs serve different purposes, I will only demonstrate herb gardening in this video, as crop gardening and herb gardening essentially follow the same process. The only real difference is in how seeds are obtained. Herb seeds are obtained by shucking the herbs, and crop seeds are purchased from vendors or by feeding the crops to a Piggy, who will then plop out seeds (in a pleasant contrast to the nerfings mentioned later, this has recently been enhanced to allow more than one packet of seeds to be obtained at a time through feeding).

Mining

I’m not entirely sure an MMO exists that doesn’t include mining. Glitch is no exception. However, it has mining, with some strange (and sometimes completely illogical) twists. For instance, you get rewarded with bonuses for mining cooperatively with other players. Four kinds of rocks exist (beryl, dullite, metal, and sparkly). Metal can be smelted into ingots, and the other rocks can be crushed into elements, which can then be used for assorted alchemical purposes such as creating powders and rubbing plain metal ingots into other kinds, which can then be used in crafting.

Animals

Up until last Tuesday, there were three primary kinds of animals in the game from which one could harvest, Butterflies, Chickens, and Piggies. In yet another demonstration of how Glitch brings innovation to the mostly stale MMO genre, Butterflies can be milked to receive Butterfly Milk, Chickens can be squeezed to receive Grain, and Piggies can be nibbled to receive Meat. The amount of these items that you receive is dependent upon your Animal Kinship skill, and at lower levels of this skill, additional action is required before these actions can be successfully performed. Assuming you have the Animal Husbandry skill, you can also use Chickens to incubate eggs.

Introduced on Tuesday were two additional animals, the Fox and the Sloth. Foxes are harvested for Fiber (for future use in furniture crafting), and Sloths chew Metal Rods into Snails (assumably for some construction use; a snail is a half-screw, half-nail item – see below). Foxes and Sloths were introduced along with five new gameplay regions and a few new streets in existing regions. I particularly enjoy the mechanics of harvesting the new Foxes. Difficult? Yes. But it’s far less “grindy” than the mechanisms for harvesting the old animals (watch the video above and try to imagine finding pigs and harvesting each one twice [the limit with a maxed out Animal Kinship skill] for an hour or more).

Snail

Trees and Other Resources

There are eight kinds of trees in Glitch (Fruit, Bean, Gas, Spice, Bubble, Wood, Egg, and Paper). The items harvested from these trees are used in cooking and other forms of crafting. Multiple other resources abound, including peat bogs (used for making fuel cells for machines), jellisacs (also used for making fuel cells), barnacles and fireflies (used for making crystals and crafting a few other items), and dirt piles. The following video gives a brief overview of some of these resources.

Commerce

Auctions

I’ll be totally honest, Tiny Speck has really screwed the pooch on auctions. They’ve stated a goal of encouraging more trade between players, and as such are phasing out vendors. Okay, I get the recent vendor nerf (vendors now sell higher and buy lower). But if you’re trying to encourage trade between players, why make auction items take about eight minutes longer to be received? You want to nerf the undesirable action, not the desirable one. This is without even going into the asinine fees associated with using the auctions. That said, sometimes it’s unavoidably necessary to use auctions. They’re great for finding (almost) any item you may need (with some exceptions; see below).

The latest auctions

Marketplace Forum + Marketplace on the Go

Among the many shortcomings of auctions is that many items (generally either really worthless items, or really valuable rare items; although cubimals spread this entire spectrum) can’t be auctioned. Furthermore, you again have the ridiculous taxes on auctions. There exist two major solutions to this problem; one official, and the other player-created. The official solution is the Marketplace forum. This allows players to discuss and facilitate trades. A player-created solution also exists, in the form of a group called Marketplace on the Go. It allows bargaining to take place within a chat/IM-type setting, as opposed to the threaded forum styled official solution.

Final thoughts (or are they?)

For all its shortcomings (really, the only ones that need to be addressed at this point are those involved with auctions; and making sure that annoying Groddle Forest banjo tune actually stays in Groddle Forest – although they’re making decent headway on that), I can still safely say Glitch is the best game ever. Why else would I average six hours a day playing it? Plus, Tiny Speck has pretty well proven that they’re quite capable of addressing shortcomings. I’ll once again use as an example the housing system. The old system downright sucked (well okay, it seemed fine back when we didn’t know any better; but when presented with something better, we realized how awful it was). The new system isn’t even quite finished, but already, it’s vastly superior to the old housing quarters. I haven’t made much mention of this yet, but possibly the best thing about Glitch isn’t that it’s a great game (and it is; you’ll never find better), but that it’s got an awesome community. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few bad apples. Just like any other MMO, you will run across the occasional griefer (word of advice here: don’t let random people in your house; it’s one of the most common ways they steal things). But in most cases, griefers aren’t a perpetual issue, just an occasional annoyance. More often than not, the people you run into will be either benign, or friendly and helpful. I’ve been playing Glitch every day for close to six months now, and there’s a reason: An MMO with lots of new ideas, coupled with the best community on the internet is a winning combination.

I usually don’t assign scores to products that are beta/pre-release, but Glitch couldn’t be any more deserving of this rating.

Overall Rating: 11/10. (yes, that’s eleven of ten)

While there are still many changes to come, that I will assess in future posts as new content is released, I’m certain that Glitch will only get better.

Thanks to Zen Kitty for help with the review, and to Scarlett Bearsdale, Kristen Marie, and Saucelah for corrections/suggestions!

I’d like to end with this screenshot, just because it looks cool.

11 Responses to “1000 Hours of Glitch: A Review”

  1. Saucelah

    Stoot has talked about player run stores/vendors on at least one occasion — I do not think the auction system is what they plan to use as the backbone for the future player-driven economy.

    I’ve thought a few times that the nerf on delivery times might actually be related to ways people were using the auctions, perhaps to make it less worthwhile for players to up the price and resell items available on vendors (I’m sure fewer will make those purchases, since they will no longer save them time) or perhaps to make the auction house less attractive a way to store things — I haven’t done that since getting a full set of bigger bags, but I know in my early days it was sometimes worthwhile to list something on auction at a high price when running out of storage, then cancel it and get the item back immediately. Cost me a listing fee, but that was manageable.

    I think you’re right to note that it doesn’t make sense to nerf the area you want to encourage players to use, but that’s part of why I don’t think the auctions are their intended solution.

    Excellent read, thanks JD

  2. Justin

    I believe at one point there were no listing fees. They added the listing fee to discourage that kind of behavior (using auctions as storage). But when you say resell items available on vendors, does that make this nerf temporary, as TS has stated their intent to phase out vendors? Or possibly you’re talking about the player-run vendors thing… I guess only time will tell as to what they’re really up to.

  3. Zooo

    I think the auction as storage practice has stopped since we got the test housing. It is easy to type in /home and drop whatever it is in the house and then go back to where you were before. Before it was difficult to teleport back and forth with your “hoard” to a new home and I admit to using the auctions as a means to accomplish this. Heck, some of my ridiculously priced stuff actually sold before I could retrieve it.

    I enjoyed the read Justin, how you did that and your classwork is beyond me. But hey, I’m old and need my sleep.

  4. Saucelah

    Well, I don’t think the nerf is temporary, but I do think the auctions are temporary if that makes sense. Aside from player-run vendors, I believe, in the Q&A, stoot mentioned the economy being a future development priority after housing and imagination — I think then we might see a more useful auction system.

    I’m speculating though, of course.

  5. Justin

    @Zooo
    True. Using auctions would be next to pointless at this point. But I’ve long speculated that new housing may not always be this easy to access. /home is a lot like a god function (no energy, no cooldowns, etc…), so I have a feeling there’s a good chance that it might get nerfed by release time. Then again, considering it doesn’t have a physical location to walk to, teleporting at an energy cost (plus requiring one to have teleport skills) isn’t really a feasible only option either, so I guess ultimately, idle speculation won’t help much here.
    (also, as a side note, I did it by neglecting said classwork; I’ll be lucky to pass calculus this semester…)

    @Sauce
    Interesting. I’d like to see what all that will entail. As far as I knew, the only major things left were imagination and group halls (although I haven’t heard about these in ages). It almost seems like Glitch will emerge from this beta a completely different game. Which, so far, sounds like a good thing. When I first heard about it right before I joined, I thought pretty much everything was player-influenced. So it’s great to see it shifting more and more in that direction.

  6. Megs2Dope

    Great review. I was in Umbra hopping around at the time that screen shot was taken…or sometime before or after 😉

  7. Clickadee

    Hey,
    This is a great review!
    Thanks a bunch for writing all of this you’re pretty patient =)
    I’d like to point out that you missed butterflies as an animal lol. Just thought I’d leg you know.

  8. Justin

    I don’t think so?
    “…three primary kinds of animals in the game from which one could harvest, Butterflies, Chickens, and Piggies. In yet another demonstration of how Glitch brings innovation to the mostly stale MMO genre, Butterflies can be milked to receive Butterfly Milk…”

    Also, from 1:10 on in the video below that, I demonstrate both milking and massaging butterflies.

  9. Saucelah

    I think the last word we had on group halls was in that impromptu forum Q&A, where I actually asked about them and stoot responded “group halls will come after housing (and a few other things) and make more sense then”

    I’m actually hoping one of those “few other things” turns out to be economic reform (so to speak), and that group halls might have some role in the future economy. I can imagine locations that have a public area anyone can access working as player-built shopping malls. I could, for just a random example, sell raw materials, while another co-owner sells animals, etc. Such could be interesting, and certainly adds a potential social element.

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