Glitch – The ultimate casual game

9 May

Glitch is a web-based MMO created by Tiny Speck. Similar to Maple Story, it’s much more entertaining and has very few griefers and all around jerks hopping around. I have been playing it for five months now, even though it’s technically still in Beta, and have enjoyed my time in Ur immensely.

But really, what is Glitch? According to Tiny Speck:

My character in Glitch

Glitch is a web-based massively-multiplayer game which takes place inside the minds of eleven peculiarly imaginative Giants. You choose how to grow and shape the world: building and developing, learning new skills, collaborating or competing with everyone else in one enormous, ever-changing, persistent world.

For the most part, Glitch reminds me of the casual games from Facebook on a huge scale and without all the annoying crap. With more depth than any Facebook game, it is easy to get lost for an hour mining, farming, scraping, cooking, or selling goods on the auction house. The developers have programed their Flash based game so it’s easy to navigate, contains bright and cheerful graphics, and has complicated gameplay that is still easy to understand.

There’s a little something for everyone in this MMO: Skills allow leveling and progress; anyone who enjoys decorating or transmogging can make their mark with building an outfit for their avatar or (with the new patch out) decorating their home; hundreds of badges are out there to be collected; crafting skills range from cooking to building furniture, caring for animals or plants to alchemy; and quests break up the monotony by sending you on missions to far away lands to do whatever it is your pet rock told you to do. If you can think of it and it isn’t in the game, putting a suggestion on the forums has a good chance of your idea being implemented later on. Personally, I’m hoping for an “Activate All” button as the only tedious part of the game is activating each individual piece of broccoli to get the iMG bonus. Since if you’re reading this, you won’t know that iMG is the Glitch equivalent to XP so yes, you can grow XP by buying or making broccoli seeds, then growing the vegetable.

Confused yet? Understandable. There’s just so much to do in Glitch that it’s hard to understand in a few paragraphs. Let’s see if I can break it down for you.

When you first sign into Glitch, you’re tossed into the starting area with your pet rock (featured left). He tells you the basics, how to move, where to interact with the world, who the giants are and why they matter, not to mention just what Ur is.

Shrine to Cosma

What is Ur? Well Ur is the world that was imagined into being by the eleven Giants. These giants are important because they preside over different skills. By gaining favor with these Giants, skill learning can be accelerated. Favor is gained by completing quests, donating at shrines dedicated to particular giants, or acquiring badges (getting achievements).

The skills are my favorite part of Glitch. Using a system like that of EVE Online, you don’t have to be in game to learn skills, you just set them and wait for the timer to tick down (An app exists to do this via iPhone and one is being developed for Android). There are a plethora to choose from and picking which one to start with first can be challenging. I recommend picking the crafting and gathering skills you want to explore first and go from there!

Glitch Skill-tree pre-current patch

It’s possible you’re asking what the point of iMG is if the skills are learned on a timer. Currently, Imagination (iMG) is used to buy Upgrade cards. These cards give bonuses, like earning iMG from cooking; getting double harvests from trees, animals, or crops; “gifts” from mining or planting; or speeding up skill learning times. Each costs more or less depending on how useful the particular Upgrade is.

Glitchians start out with three cards and each time they purchase an upgrade, a new card is shown that can be purchased. You never get more than three, though, so if you run out of Upgrades you want to buy, you have to reshuffle your cards. This is done once per day for free, or if you’re lucky one of your Upgrades will be a 200 iMG Reshuffle Upgrade that you can use whenever you please.

The Giant Friendly

Now, days don’t work the same in Glitch like they do in real life, speeding by much faster on their own calender. They even have their own holidays with special events and items to be grown. This is fortunate, because of two stats, Mood and Energy. Interacting with anything in Ur requires energy. Mood determines how much iMG you get by interacting with stuff, but just hanging out will degrade your mood. If either falls to zero, you “die.”

“Dying” consists of being taken to “hell” where you squish grapes a whole bunch until you’re brought back to life with very, very low energy and mood. Mood can be regenerated by imbibing drinks (blending, cocktail crafting skills) and energy can be replenished by eating (there are at least five different cooking skills). Both stats can be replenished by collecting Quoins or through Giant Icons and Emblems. Quoins are funny shapes that hang in the air and when a player hits them with their avatar, they give whatever that shape represented (money, energy, mood, iMG, etc).

Emblem of Alph

As mentioned before, donating to a shrine gives a player favor with the Giant that shrine is dedicated to. When you reach a certain amount of favor with a Giant (starting at 1000), you receive an emblem. These can be spent on reducing Skill learning time, Considered to gain energy, Caressed to gain mood, Contemplated to gain iMG, or saved. Spending can only be done once, but all other options can be completed once per day.

Icon to Spriggan

If you choose to save your emblems, once you have 11 you can turn them into an Icon. When placed on the ground, each time you walk past an Icon it has a chance to bless you with mood, energy, or more favor with that Giant. They’re also able to replenish mood and energy, as well as increase iMG and in significantly higher amounts than Emblems can. Unfortunately, Icons require upkeep in the form of tithes which boils down to you spending a small amount of coin (called currants) every day to regain access to the icons functions.

But if I put it on the ground, won’t someone steal it? Yeah, they probably will, so don’t drop your icon out on the main map. Put it in your house! Every player is given their own house to store their crap, grow their own crops, decorate, and generally fuck around in. At the moment, they can be upgraded with materials to be three stories tall and have room for nearly anything out in the yard: trees, crops, firefly hubs, barnacle mounds, etc. There’s also shelves and cabinets so you don’t have to drop everything onto the floor if you don’t want to (which is good, because if you leave something edible outside and own a pig, it’s likely to get eaten).

Silvertongue herb

Now, not everything has to be inside your house. The maps contain community gardens, animal pens, and machine rooms for when you don’t have quite enough money to purchase/build your own. Glitch also has a great player base, with people communicating and working together without even knowing each other. Food piles for groups mining specific spots are created by generous players and free for everyone to use so long as they don’t take more than they need.

It’s easy to find other players in Glitch, even though the game is still technically in Beta. Chat channels are easy to access and teaming with chatter at all hours of the day, A group function lets you create easy access to people of like minds, or from similar areas IRL or in Ur. Before the current patch, I belonged to one for people who lived on the same block as I did.

Egg Tree

Besides not playing alone, what’s an MMO without an auction house? Want a particular piece of furniture? In need of supplies right now and don’t want to wait to harvest them? Or maybe you need some money to buy more cubimals (collectible racing toy)? Well, take your business to the Auction House. Standard fair for any MMO, the Auction house is easy to use and easy to find, plus makes it easy to get what you need. 

I give this game a full five out of five screaming Jan cats for two simple reasons: There’s always something to do and I’m in no rush to do it. It doesn’t matter if I log in daily, monthly or even once a year. Some things will die if you’re gone for a very long period of time (herbs, crops, animals), but they’re easy to replace. If you’re gone for three or four days at a time, skills and items can be used to keep these things alive (a feeder for animals). I am never obligated to log in or stay for very long, but each time I do go in I have a million things to occupy my time.

The fact that this game is playable in a browser certainly doesn’t hurt things and the bright, vibrant colors keep the different landscapes from becoming droll. An active community and developer interested in it’s player base also keep the game interesting. What I’m really looking forward to, though, is getting in after the down time today and decorating my house for the first time. Woo decorating! (I’m such a girl)

If you’re still not convinced, check out the trailer below then join in, send me a message and I might just give you a key to my house (If you steal my stuff, I’ll kill you ~_^).

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