I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

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nosimpleway
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I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:22 pm


It's a Pokemon-like! Ha ha, it's a bunch of little guys! You can ride around on these critters through all sorts of environ-- wait a second, does that green squirrel have a gun?

And thus was Palworld announced, to a surprising amount of hype for what at the time looked to be just "Pokemon Gun". Now it's in early access, and did around the numbers you'd expect an actual Pokemon game to have. At the end of Q4 2023, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet had sold around 25 million copies. In the first month of release this year, Palworld sold... oh, also about 25 million copies.

That's pretty good for what is possibly the most uninspired game in existence.

If you've heard of Palworld it's probably because it was almost instantly the center of controversy, and the more people learn about the game, the more it feels like PocketPair, the developer, just copied other games and didn't bother trying to disguise it.
The trailer is also not subtle about how miserable the Pals can be when in the care of humans, even apart from those yellow guys strapped down to tables for presumably nefarious purposes by the masked villains.

Are the designs of the Pals just ripoffs? Are they AI-generated? Is animal cruelty really a central gameplay element? Does the game actually include any of the stuff shown in the trailer? Let's find out.

Let's Play Palworld.

Part 1: Getting Started, featuring Chikipi, Cattiva, and Mammorest
Part 2: The Pal Tamer, Pals & The Paldeck, and Individual Pals
Part 3: All My Base, featuring Dazzi and Lifmunk
Part 4: Handiwork Helpemer, featuring Lamball
Part 5: Let's Catch Some Pals, featuring Tanzee, Fuddler, Teaphant, Pengullet, Vixy, Hoocrates, Tombat, Nitewing, Killmari, Daedream, Mau, and Gumoss
Part 6: Double Base, featuring Chillet, Penking, Direhowl, Tocotoco, Eikthyrdeer, Cinnamoth, Arsox, Lunaris, Flambelle, Beakon, and Elizabee
Part 7: You Think You've Seen Lazy Design?, featuring Dinossom, Celaray, Galeclaw, Rooby, Incineram, Leezpunk, Depresso, Rushoar, Ribbuny, Reindrix, Vanwyrm, Cryolinx, and elemental variants of those previously described
Part 8: Leave Luck to Heaven, featuring Bristla, Nox, Hangyu, Melpaca, Dumud, Loupmoon, Gorirat, Beegarde, and Surfent
Part 9: Distractions, featuring Caprity, Sparkit, Jolthog, Mozzarina, Digtoise, Robinquill, Swee, Maraith, and... *weary sigh* Lovander
Part 10: A Wealth Of Foxes, featuring Univolt, Sweepa, Wumpo, Anubis, Grintale, Katress, Foxcicle, Verdash, Kitsun, Cawgnito, Gobfin, Pyrin, Wixen, Blazehowl, and Broncherry
Part 11: The Secret Ingredient Is Crime, featuring Kingpaca, Vaelet, Elphidran, Azurobe, Petalia, Kelpsea, Woolipop, Relaxaurus, Bushi, Ragnahawk, Fenglope, Reptyro, and Faleris

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:23 pm

Part 1: Getting Started

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This is a Let's Play of a PC game, so any full screenshots I take are going to be way too big for display on the forums. I'll try to keep things mostly full-sized by generous cropping, but stuff like "the entire title screen" will have to scale down.

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Ain't that the truth. This LP is written in game version 0.1.5.1, and it's everything you'd expect an early access game to be. It feels like there's maybe a one-in-ten chance the game crashes anytime it needs to load a map, and don't get me started on interfacing with a multiplayer server.

Talkin' Mechanics: World Generation
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First thing is to create a world, which is a little strange because the map itself is always the same. No roguelike elements here, no sir!

The game functions the same whether it's in single-player or multiplayer, in that the "world" is the discrete chunk of save game data that the game will pull from. Characters and their Pal collections are intrinsically connected to their worlds, and can't travel between them. Sorry, no leveling up to the maximum and taking all your endgame gear into a new game. This ain't Terraria.

In-game time proceeds as long as any player character is in the world. In single-player, time freezes whenever the player quits the game. In multiplayer, time continues to flow as long as anyone is connected, with respawn timers counting down, hunger meters running out, and work being done.

The setting for the game is the "Palpagos Islands". Which... okay, I get that you're going for "group of islands where you can interact with seldom-seen species and figure out how they work", but shouldn't it at least be "Palapagos"?

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Well, whatever.

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The default world settings are just about dumb as shit. Corpse retrieval is nothing new, of course. Dropping all your stuff when you die and respawn isn't all that unusual for an open exploration game, but in this case, that includes all your weapons and armor. So you're back at a spawn point, only now you're unarmed so you can't fight your way back to where you died to reclaim your stuff. You're also naked and exposed to the elements. If you die at night, that means it's too cold to go back out on a corpse run and retrieve your gear, because being chilled will steadily sap your HP.

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So obviously I'm changing that to "don't drop anything when you die". It could be worse, there's a setting where you drop not only your gear but all the mons you had with you when you died, too.

On a multiplayer server, it is absolutely possible for another player to swoop in and claim your corpse loot, and if you dropped them, the mons in your party. There might be players out there who find that kind of thing desirable, but I'm not one of them.

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On to chargen. According to my six-year-old daughter, this is the ideal body. This is what peak performance looks like.

That's that for setup. On to the game proper.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:23 pm

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I swear, "You wake up on a beach, surrounded by the detritus of the shipwreck that got you there" will soon replace "You all meet at an inn" as the stereotypical start of an adventure. The three mascot mooks panic and flee as Generic Player Character sits up and shakes themselves back to consciousness.

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Grab the thing that gives you those two cryptic clues, that's your Paldeck. It lets you interact with basic game functions!

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Off we go.

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That's it, that's the intro. "Towers. Tree. Go."

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:24 pm

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Tutorial in the top-left gives a broad outline of how to get started. As you might come to expect from an exploration/survival game, the first step is to put together a ramshackle shelter and craft the basic tools you need.

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As with other games in the genre, your character is entirely unable to tie a rock to a stick without a proper workstation. We need two pieces of wood to put together a workbench, which is somehow easier than the aforementioned tying of rock to stick. I don't get it either. So first task is "collect some wood". If you're a stickler for the classics, you can even start your quest by punching trees to get it.

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Anyway, we're in the Windswept Hills. As zones go it's pretty big, and is the sort of gently forested prairies and hills you might expect from the intro area in a video game.

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Just through an archway at the crest of the hill is a giant HEY NOTICE ME I AM GLOWING BRIGHT ORANGE statue.

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Activate it to turn it blue. Now it's a fast-travel point. You can't fast-travel from anywhere, you've got to reach one of these statues as a departure point and teleport to another one you've activated already as a destination.
You also get one Technology Point for each statue when it's activated. More on that in a bit.

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Hot damn, two branches on the ground. Now I can build that primitive workbench.

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The game, overall, is pretty generous with experience points. Building stuff, even if it's immediately torn down again, is worth a handful of experience. Gathering materials and crafting items counts, too. Foraging these two sticks and a nearby stone is enough to proceed from level one to level two. This grants one improvement point and seven more technology points, which I'll also get around to explaining.

You can talk to the person sitting next to their campfire, there.
Expedition Survivor: "A castaway? Been a while since someone who didn't stink of Pals washed up here.
This island is a living hell. The people I came with aren't with us any longer... Those damned Pals ate every one of 'em. You be careful out there.
Here, take some basic supplies. You need to toughen up if you want to survive out there.
"
She forks over ten pieces of wood.

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It's a survival game, there's hunger to track, too. And to the surprise of no one who's played a video game before, that means picking berries.

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It's not uncommon to find Pokeballs Pal Spheres lying around in the grass, either.

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Now, spawns are mostly random. But in this particular game the first thing I saw when I picked up my very first Pal Sphere was this lovely bipedal Bulbasaur. But check that level marking -- it's level seventeen. I am level two. Do not engage.

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Nearby is an elephant creature with moss and rocks growing from its back. It is level thirty-three.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:25 pm

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That's more like it.

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Time to throw hands with a giant chicken.

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Not wrong, but in the case of a level 1 Chickipi, it's fine.

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Back up a little distance...

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...and throw the sphere. This ain't Pokemon, there's no menu-based combat here. You have to actually aim the thing and hit the mon with it, otherwise you waste the Sphere.
The Chikipi is vaporized into motes of energy, which fly into the Sphere. The Sphere snaps shut.
(The "back up" part is important, because if the Pal Tamer is toe-to-toe with a Pal when the Sphere is thrown, it'll probably clip straight through the little bastard, and that wastes the Sphere.)

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And in another very direct reference, the Sphere wobbles as the Pal struggles against its captivity. You have a base percentage catch chance when you throw the Sphere. Pals at low HP, or suffering from some sort of malady, offer a higher percentage. If that check clears, the meter around the Sphere will fill up somewhat, and check again. Pass that check and the Sphere will pretty much always fill to 100%, and you've caught a new Pal. You can hold up and A on the controller to increase catch percentages!
In this screenshot the meter is already at 99% but that kind of catch chance will not last longer than walking down the hillside I'm on.

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Since I don't have any Pals with me, newly-caught mons are added directly to my party. I've got a monster! In my pocket! Some kind of... Pocket Monster!
If I had a full party of five already, they'd be sent to Bill's PC the Palbox.
Catching a Pal gives a largeish EXP bonus, and in this case, the noble egg-chicken has given me enough to reach level 3. Another improvement point, and more technology points.

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Talkin' Pals: 003: Chikipi, "Plump & Juicy"
"Extremely weak and far too delicious. It is one of the weakest Pals alongside Lamball. No matter how many are hunted, they just keep appearing."
The lore: Chikipi is food. It makes food, then you eat the animal itself. Kind of like actual chickens throughout history. Chikipi is the first of like four or five mascot mooks for the game: a chicken shaped like an egg (because it is a chicken that lays eggs).
The inspiration: A perfectly round bird brings to mind Rowlet, but in this case there's some plausible deniability in that "egg-shaped chicken" is going to look a bit like "sphere owl" no matter how you look at it.
The name: In early development it was called "Chickegg". If I were to guess, the name was changed purely to facilitate "What's the difference between a Chikipi and a Lamball?" jokes.
In gameplay: Chikipi is nearly useless in a fight but, as you may have gathered from all the subtle hints, can be tapped as a source of eggs. Those are always useful.

Talkin' Mechanics: Item Drops
Whether a Pal is depleted to 0 HP and knocked out hang on this isn't Pokemon.
Whether a Pal is depleted to 0 HP and killed, or caught in a Sphere, its item drops are added to the player's inventory. This is kind of weird given what some of those drops are, in this case, I not only get a fresh egg for catching Chikipi, but a chunk of edible Chickpi poultry as well. Where did that come from?

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:29 pm

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A nearby alcove has a chest inside.

Talkin' Mechanics: Chests
Chests spawn in the same spots every time. Once opened, they respawn after a few real-world hours. The color of a chest is randomly determined when it spawns.
Yellow chests are unlocked and have basic loot, purple chests are unlocked and have a chance to give better loot, and red chests are locked and give the best loot. Where do you get keys? Mostly from lower-tier unlocked chests.

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Stone is a craft material, money can be exchanged for goods and services, a new Pal Sphere means I have a shot at catching another mon, and Pal Souls won't come into play for quite a while.

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The other side of this alcove has a Castaway's Journal, Day 2. Castaway Journal are diagetic gameplay hints, and the earliest ones just talk about the same stuff I'm going over as basic gameplay explanation so I'm skipping them. Since it's recorded on another Paldeck I guess that means I have two of them now? Doesn't make any difference.

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There are gentle slopes and a little stream with more wood and stone scattered about, but I'd rather jump down a cliffside.

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I am rewarded with the location of a second chest. This one has 59 more coins, a Pal Sphere, and a Mega Sphere. Mega Spheres are colored green and have a higher base catch chance.

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I also find an egg.

Talkin' Mechanics: Eggs
Eggs also appear at predetermined points, usually on mountaintops or along rocky edifices. They take about as long to respawn as chests do. As you might expect, eggs have Pals inside.
An egg has a randomized appearance, indicating what elemental type the Pal inside will have. Eggs come in common, large, and huge varieties. The bigger the egg, the rarer the Pal inside. Rare Pals are in huge eggs, even if the Pal itself isn't very big.
It will be a little while before I will be able to hatch any of the eggs I find, but I grab 'em when I see 'em anyway.

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Then it's just a matter of climbing back up to where I was. The Pal Tamer can stick to walls and gecko-crawl up them in a manner reminiscent of those newfangled Legend of Zelda games.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:31 pm

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It's newbie hill, the player isn't expected to be able to craft their own Pal Spheres yet. So the game is pretty generous with them as plain item spawns.

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There's more than just Chikipi about, of course. I snag a Cattiva with the extra Sphere.

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Talkin' Pals: 002: Cattiva, "The Cat's Pajamas"
"At a glance it appears full of confidence, but it is in fact weak and cowardly. Being toyed with by a Cattiva is in many ways the greatest of disgraces."
The lore: It likes playing pranks, but it's such a pathetic creature that untold shame comes upon any of its victims. I guess. That doesn't really come up at all.
The inspiration: It's a bipedal cat, but it doesn't really look like anything else beyond that. Chikipi might look a bit like Rowlet if you squint, but Cattiva looks as much like Meowth as it does Garfield.
The name: "Cattiva" is Italian for "bad", this is a mischievous cat, so yeah sure
In gameplay: Its Partner Skill "Cat Helper" is a massive boon in the early game. Each Cattiva in the party gives an extra 50 carry weight. Much of the early game in this LP I've spent with five Cattiva in my party, just to carry more loot. It's not great in combat -- all of the wild-caught Cattiva come with the "Coward" trait for -10% attack power -- but against big Pals that resist knockback its Flurry Punch can be devastating anyway.

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At the bottom of the hill is another fast-travel point.

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The world explored so far: the beach where I washed up, the mountainside where I spawned after that cutscene, and the slope back down to this strait. Wait, I passed by that portrait...

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Alpha Pals are bigger and higher-leveled than others nearby, but few so drastically out-of-place as the Alpha Mammorest. Levels only go up to 50 and this guy's already 38, so obviously if I provoke it in any way I'll get pasted almost immediately. Thankfully, it's docile, and will leave me alone as long as I leave it alone.

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Talkin' Pals: 090: Mammorest, the "King of the Forest"
"The vegetation on its back varies between individuals. There is a long history of appreciating this veritable garden of a Pal, and there are even Mammorest pruning specialists."
The lore: You never meet a single Mammorest bonsai-trimmer in the game.
The inspiration: I'm willing to give credit for Chikipi and Cattiva. "DeepAI, generate an image of a Donphan that is grass-type instead of ground" is a completely plausible origin story for Mammorest. God's sake, it even has the little bands around its ankles.
The name: The first syllable of "mammoth" is stressed, so you might think it's "MAMM-o-rest". Like, there's Mammor, and there's Mammorer, but this guy's the Mammorest. But it's probably "mamm-OR-est", because it's a mammoth forest. Just like some of the designs look, uh, heavily inspired by other fictional creatures, it's really easy to believe that somebody just dumped a bunch of theme words into a computer and had it spit out a bunch of portmanteau to use for names without much regard for how sensible or appropriate they are.
In gameplay: Mammorest is an abject lesson in "don't attack everything you see, pick your battles." It's as tanky a grass-type as can be found, but they're more useful wild than tamed. They drop gigantic chunks of meat that can keep even the hungriest Pal fed, and High Quality Pal Oil is necessary for a ton of midgame crafting recipes. Mammorest drops it in abundance.

Talkin' Mechanics: Alpha Pals
Alpha Pals are big, like physically bigger than other Pals of the same species, but don't have any statistical advantage over regular Pals.
When defeated or caught, an Alpha Pal drops whatever that species usually drops, plus a couple of items that are shop fodder, and some uncommon crafting materials. Some Alpha Pals have unique rare drops, too.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:37 pm

So let's talk about the game so far.

It's Fortnite.

There's the stamina mechanic from Breath of the Wild, and the map looks like it was lifted straight out of Genshin Impact, but movement, controls, like half the Pal Tamer's animations? It's Fortnite.

The game is being hailed as a Pokemon ripoff, and it's not not a Pokemon ripoff, but the majority of the time it's better to think of gameplay elements as "Fortnite plus mons" rather than "Pokemon plus survival elements". Hell, in Pokemon you're one trainer out of hundreds. The number of Pal Tamer NPCs in this game can be counted on one hand. No particular reason for this is given.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Apr 03, 2024 1:16 am

Part 2: The Pal Tamer, Pal Species, and Individual Pals

I guess there's no better place than the second update to infodump a bunch of game stats. Not all of this is important now but I'm gonna have to cover it all sooner or later.

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Talkin' Mechanics: The Pal Tamer
That's me, lavender skin and heart-shaped pupils and raggedy clothes and all.
Nothing on this screen should demand all that much explanation. Inventory's on the left, and can't be expanded. Encumbrance is below that. Equipment slots in the middle -- weapons, accessories, head and body armor, a force shield, and a glider slot. Current status is on the right.
Those Improvement Points I get whenever I level up? I'm currently level 4, and at one point per level, that means I have three points to spend. You can spend a point to:
  • increase HP by 100. Useful for exactly why you'd think.
  • increase Stamina by 10. I said climbing walls worked like Breath of the Wild, but truth told the whole stamina wheel was lifted wholesale. Running, swimming, and gliding also consume stamina, and more stamina lets me do those things longer. Useful but not worth spending a ton on.
  • increase attack by 2. I don't know what the damage calculation formulae are but two points of attack ain't much. Your Pals do the lion's share of damage in dangerous fights, anyway. I tend to leave this one pretty low.
  • increase Work Speed by 50. I've never invested a single point into this and I don't intend to start now.
  • increase carry Weight by 50 units. That means carrying more loot, is probably the most important thing to improve as quickly as possible, and never stops being useful.

"Hey R2 you forgot Defense" nah you can't increase Defense with improvement points, just get better armor.

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Talkin' Mechanics: Pals and the Paldeck
The titular 'ems themselves. Gotta catch all the 'ems, or whatever! (This screenshot is from a bit later on, so there's info here that doesn't match exactly where I am this early in the game.)
On the left is the Paldeck, listing all 140-odd-and-counting Pals in the game. If I've seen them they appear without any further information, and get color portraits and the rest of the info as I catch them. Compare the other guys on the list in full-color glory with Fuack, which I haven't caught yet, in only fuack-and-white.
Elemental types are listed next to the index number. None of those are going to surprise anyone.
3D model and Pokedex entry in the middle. I'll post the ingame lore for each Pal as I break each one down.
Top-right is the Partner skill, the special thing that a particular kind of Pal can do. Some Partner Skills are special attacks, passive skills that help as long as I have them in the party, or skills that help them do work. I'll talk about noteworthy ones in each Pal breakdown.
Work Suitability I'll talk more about when I get a little bit further.
Possible Drops are the items a Pal drops when it's killed or captured, as previously described. Alpha Pals have extra drops for a cash bonus.
Capture Bonus is simply how many of that Pal the player has managed to catch. In this case, I've caught four Foxparks. That big EXP bonus I mentioned for catching a Pal only counts for the first ten of a given species, though there are reasons to get more than ten of some species.

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Talkin' Mechanics: Individual Pals
Pals have their own experience levels and designation as male/female, because of course there's breeding mechanics later on.
The green bar is HP. The orange bar is hunger. The numeric SAN 100/100 underneath that is sanity. Hunger decreases over time, and if it runs out, HP and sanity start to drain instead. If HP is zero, the Pal is KOed. If Sanity hits 0, the Pal develops a semipermanent status ailment.
Pals have species-based modifiers for HP, Attack, and Defense that increase as the Pal levels up. I've also installed a mod to address the worst mechanic they decided to bring over from Pokemon: Individual Values. That's right, each Pal also has a secret, not-even-hinted-at modifier to its HP, attack, and defense! Sometimes a Pal you worked hard to get just kind of sucks! You won't know unless you plug the stats of every Pal you catch into a calculator! And if it does suck, there's nothing you can do about it! So I have a mod installed that displays IVs beside each of those stats. (Technically they're called "talents" rather than "individual values" but since the game doesn't actually refer to them at any point you can call them whatever you want.)
Work Speed is 70 for just about everybody unless they have a trait that changes it.
The four stars designate how many times the Pal has been Condensed. The blue flame +0 shown here is how many Pal Souls have been used to power up the Pal. Not gonna worry about those for quite a while, but that's what they are. I'll explain it when I get there.
The middle is a reminder of a Pal's work suitabilities. Those are species-based, but it's possible to raise them for individuals. Food is simply how much it takes to keep the Pal fed on a scale of one to ten.
Then comes the Partner Skill, again determined by species but individuals can get better at what they do.
The three active skills are combat moves. This Chikipi is only level two, so the only move it knows is Chicken Rush, an attack where it runs up and ineffectively pecks a target. Pals learn new moves as they level up, or after being fed a skill fruit. If a Pal tries to learn a move but all three slots are full, it's just put aside into a list and can be equipped anytime. There's no move relearner.
And... well, I guess I could have chosen a better screenshot for this example, huh? This Chikipi doesn't have any passive traits. There can be up to four. Traits usually modify attack/defense/move speed, how the Pal deals or receives damage from an elemental type, or how the Pal handles being put to work.

Talkin' Mechanics: Elemental Types
The game calls them "elements" but I've been playing Pokemon long enough that my brain always substitutes "types".
Pals can have up to two elements, and the combat moves they learn also have an element. A Pal using a move with the same elemental type as it is gets an attack bonus. Moves with an advantage over the elements possessed by the Pal they're hitting deal extra damage. Pals take less damage from moves of their own elemental type, and from whatever type they have an advantage over. Now where have I heard that before?
There's a Mega-Man style rock-paper-scissors circle, where Fire beats Grass beats Ground beats Electric beats Water beats Fire.
But there's also a linear set of type advantages: Fire beats Ice beats Dragon beats Dark beats Neutral.
Yeah, Fire has two advantages and Neutral has zero. If a Pal has two types, then moves that hit it have damage boosted or penalized for both of its types. For example, grass-elemental moves deal extra damage to ground-elemental Pals and less damage to other grass-elemental Pals, so a grass/ground Pal would take neutral damage from a grass move as the advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out. Theoretically, a grass/ice Pal would get utterly wrecked by any fire-elemental move in its general vicinity, but there aren't any grass/ice Pals in the game.

All right. More gameplay, more Pals... next time.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby François » Wed Apr 03, 2024 4:21 am

That Chikipi looks like he just noticed that his stat screen has a sanity meter. Little walnut brain running a mile a minute trying to figure out what's gonna make it go down.

I had that exact expression on my face when I first saw mine.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:04 am

"That's the sanity meter."
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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:44 am

Part 3: All My Base

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Hey? There's a shiny green thing over there, across the water!

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Athletics are straight out of Breath of the Wild, except the stamina cost for doing them is mixed up. Climbing is pretty taxing but swimming is easy. Gliding, once I have a glider, is really hard.
Uh, ignore the weird shape of the fingers, there, it's just the refraction from the water.

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This is a Lifmunk Effigy, which--

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yeah, that. This is basically the Korok search from those two Zeld-em-ups, if Koroks glowed neon-green and were visible from miles away.

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At the bottom of the hill, just past the second statue I found, is a little ruined stone building with another Lifmunk Effigy inside.

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And another rando to talk to.
Skilled Islander: "You're a new face. Don't tell me... an outsider?"

The number of children on these islands is zero. Nobody raises a family here. Of course I'm from outside.

Skilled Islander: "Not that it matters to me. Now that you're on this island, why not try and catch some Pals? You can get extra EXP for capturing up to 10 of the same kind, you know.
You know what they say: 'Pal Tamers get stronger the more Pals they capture.' Here, take this. I've got high hopes for you.
"
Don't forget you can only level up by eating food! He gives me five Paldium Fragments.

Pokemon handwaves being able to catch living things and convert them into computer data by way of a little ball as just "It's super-science, don't worry about it." Palworld justifies it as the effects of BluGlo Paldium, a shiny blue crystal I've seen deposits of here and there. Most of the really weird shit I get to build later on, including every Pal Sphere, demands Paldium as an ingredient.

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Through the ruined building, grabbing the Effigy and Castaway Journal - Day Ecksty-Ecks on the way through, up the hill, and...

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Hmm, I think the game wants me to notice that tower, there.

Wasn't "Hey go investigate towers" half the instructions I got at the beginning?

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It looks more like a cave, to me.

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Oh, right. That.

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There's another fast-travel statue here, this is the map so far.

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nosimpleway
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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:46 am

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Skipping Rayne Syndicate Tower for now -- I'm not anywhere near ready for it yet -- I head up the hill to the northeast. There's a ramshackle fortress built out of sheet metal and wooden stakes here, manned by thugs from the aforementioned Rayne Syndicate.

Game Lore: The Rayne Syndicate
Those sinister masked men with the glowing red eyes in the teaser trailer? These are they. The Rayne Syndicate are Pal poachers and professional criminals. Presumably there's a team of them, one effeminate with lavender hair, one foul-tempered and bitchy, with a Cattiva partner, somewhere out there. Anyway, they always spawn hostile to both the player character and any other Pals in the area.
Low-level goons have cudgels, but higher-leveled ones carry firearms and grenades.
The leader, Giovanni, lives in the Rayne Syndicate Tower.

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Here they've managed to pull hate from a Melpaca that outlevels all four people in this base. I guess they haven't lost anybody to the Alpha Mammorest and been forced into the lesson that they should level-check before they start clubbing Pals, huh?

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The Melpaca knocks out three of the Syndicate thugs before the last one manages to kill it. I kite that last thug around the base until his pathfinding messes up and he gets stuck on one of the spiky wooden barriers, allowing me to walk in and free the Dazzi inside the cage.

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The Dazzi immediately joins my party. I don't even need an extra Pal Sphere to keep it in.

Talkin' Mechanics: Fort Knights
Every human-faction fortress is like this. A group of enemies to fight, and if the player can either conquer them all, facetank their attacks, or sneak in and unlock the cage before they notice, they get a Pal for free. It does take several seconds to jimmy the lock.

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Talkin' Pals: #062 Dazzi, "Born of the Storm"
"Often kind to lonely pals. However, the moment a Pal mistakes this for actual companionship, it seizes the opportunity to blast them with a thunderbolt."
The lore: Our first exposure to "appears innocent but is actually dangerous", buckle up, there's a lot of those.
The inspiration: You can tell this is a mischievous little imp, with its eyes hidden and that shit-eating grin. It's supposed to evoke Raijin, the thunder god of Japanese myth, but from what I'm seeing from old Japanese art, "rides around on clouds and has one horn" better describes Fujin, the wind god. Raijin has a thunder drum and two horns. Here's the issue: The Pokemon Thunderus also has a cloud for a lower body and one horn.
The name: Formerly "Raijinsdaughter", which survives in its description as being Born of the Storm. Presumably "Dazzi" derives from "dazzle", what happens if you witness a bright flash like a lightning bolt.
The gameplay: With a particular piece of equipment, any Dazzi in the party will follow the player around even if they're not the active Pal. They can shoot hostile mobs with lightning attacks, but the attack takes so long that the mob has usually moved somewhere else before it strikes. Other than that, this is a kinda-mediocre Electric-type that I got weirdly early from pure luck of the draw. Could've been anything in that cage.

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Oh yeah. I haven't eaten all day. Time to break out some of those berries I picked.

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As you can tell from how dark it is in that screenshot, night is falling around the time I get to where I've been going. Northeast of Rayne Syndicate Tower, just across a ravine from another Alpha Pal, is a pretty good spot to set up shop.

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Time to get the tutorial window off my nuts about building this damn workbench.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:47 am

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The sun went down an hour or two ago in-game, so right about this time the temperature starts dropping. I start to freeze. Well hell, I just built a workbench, let's make some clothes.

Talking Mechanics: Ambient Temperature
Wherever you are in the world, it's colder at night than it is during the day. In temperate zones, it gets cold enough at night that it starts sapping HP. There are snowy zones where it's always cold, a volcano zone where it's always hot, and a desert where it's scorching during the day and freezing at night. Accurate to how deserts are IRL but annoying as shit when you have to change your equipment loadout every twelve in-game hours.
Some equipment, some accessories, and some Pals can help mitigate the effects of the weather. If I had a fire-type Pal with me, I could call it out and have it stay close by and it would keep me warm enough to not die.

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Oh, right. You need cloth for that. Can't make clothes out of rocks and wood. It'd chafe. Well, let's make some cloth.

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Oh, right. You need something to spin cloth out of. Wool, in this case. I didn't catch any of the three wool-bearing Pal species I saw on my way up here, so I don't have any.

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Well, there are other solutions.The campfire is a workstation, too, allowing me to roast berries or meats I've found to improve their nutritional output, hence the "No item in queue" message above it.
This will keep me warm as long as I'm close to it. I can't go explore, but the screenshots I'd take at night would be hard to see anyway. Let's poke around in the menus some more while the night passes.

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Talkin' Mechanics: Technology Unlocks
Because video games, you don't know how to make all the stuff you can make as soon as you start. You can make the aforementioned workbench, strip the bark off a branch to hit things with, or tie some rocks to a branch to make primitive tools.
You've got to unlock anything beyond that, including "pile up some wood and set it on fire". Each experience level opens a new tier of technology, each individual tech is unlocked with Technology Points. Those also come from leveling up, but it is not long before the cost for each tier outpaces how many you're allocated by levels. Unlock fast-travel statues or look for technical manuals for more.

I've gained three levels since I started, just by catching three Pals and foraging for materials. I spend my technology points to unlock most of the techs available.
Level two grants me a Palbox, the ability to throw together my own Pal Spheres, campfires, boxes to keep loot in, a repair bench because ugh, and the ability to start building buildings out of wood.
Level three nets me the chance to build a bow and fletch arrows, beds for humans and Pals alike, repair kits for fixing structures, and cloth.
Level four unlocks shields, the first actual weapon, the first set of clothes, a basket of food, and some other stuff I don't care about.

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I get to work on a spear so at least I don't have to pummel Pals with my bare hands anymore.

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A nearby Lifmunk helps me test it out. Works like a charm.

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Talkin' Pals: #004: Lifmunk, the "Coward of the Steppe"
"Intelligent as a five to seven-year-old human child. It makes a wonderful partner, but there have been more than a few cases where they've killed their master after learning to use weapons."
The lore: While it has no influence on gameplay and Lifmunks won't shoot the Pal Tamer, the Paldeck entry points out that maybe giving a squirrel a gun is not an awesome idea. If it's as intelligent as a small child it can be trained in gun safety, I guess, but little kids don't really think through the consequences of their actions. (Feel free to discuss the morality of capturing a creature that is, explicitly, as intelligent as a human child.)
The inspiration: A squirrel with leaves brings to mind, I dunno, Pachirisu mixed with Chespin or something. But looking at this thing, the red highlights make me think of Final Fantasy's Carbuncle.
The name: Leaf chipmunk. Even though it's a squirrel.
In gameplay: Lifmunk isn't all that great in combat but has a smattering of skills that can make it a good base assistant in the early game. Its partner skill gives you a little extra damage boost on attacks for a little while, but I'd rather have the +50 carry weight for having a Cattiva in the party slot. The worst thing about Lifmunk is that they're some of the most timid Pals in the game, and always run away when they see the player character. Until I make a bow, I'll have to chase the little bastards down.

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I'll have to chase the... uh, adorable, charming little woodland creatures down.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:49 am

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A new day dawns, with me slightly better equipped than before. Lifmunk Effigies and fast-travel statues are very easy to see at a great distance in the dark.

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Some of those little green dots on the cliffs are way off.

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In order to stake a claim to a chunk of land and make it my own, I'll need a Palbox. Despite looking like a computer with a glass display, it's made of wood, stone, and a shard of Paldium.

Talkin' Jank: Placing the Palbox
For new players, placing the Palbox is a right pain in the ass. It is not immediately clear that there's a few square feet of clearance off to one side of the Palbox that must be free of obstacles, including the player character, when you build it. It is possible to select to build the Palbox with that side of the box facing the player, so that they're always inside the no-no zone, and the Palbox can't be built. That zone is marked with a red box, but if the Palbox is turned toward the camera, the red box fills the screen and it's impossible to tell what the problem is.

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"Just turn it around" is easy enough to solve once you know how, but the game makes it damned hard to tell that's what the problem is.

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Talking Mechanics: Pal Storage
Building a Palbox does a few things for the player. First, it's basic party management. Right now I only have that first Chikipi, a Cattiva, the Dazzi I rescued, and the Lifmunk I speared. But I'm going to need more Pals than that, so the Palbox offers space to keep them. In fact, I don't need Chikipi, Dazzi, or Lifmunk with me right now, so I drop them off.
There are sixteen pages of storage with room for 30 Pals each. A player can keep around 450 Pals -- the ones in the party and doing work don't count if they're not in storage -- before they need to start culling their collection.

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Talking Mechanics: The Base
The Palbox puts up a gently glowing blue circle with itself in the center. The space inside that circle is my base. Workstations, foundations and walls, and other immobile things to build are "structures" (as opposed to "items" or "loot", which are kept in player inventory or storage structures). Some can be built anywhere, but structures built outside a base will slowly deteriorate and crumble. Other structures can only be built inside a base. Pals won't work outside a base, since they have to be summoned from a Palbox.
In multiplayer games, the base is safe from meddling from other players.

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The Palbox functions as a fast-travel point, so it's always possible to teleport into and out of a base.

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Anyway, now that I've got a place to call home, I'm gonna build some place to stash the stuff I've been hauli-- oh dammit. I can only carry so much wood, and I spent it all on the Palbox and the handles for my spear, axe, and pick.

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welp, nothing for it. Time to bust out that "No this animation was not lifted directly from Fortnite why would you say that" cross-shaped tool swing and chop down some trees.

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There we go. No need to carry a bunch of eggs around, those things are surprisingly heavy.

Talkin' Mechanics: Storage Structures
As with most video game inventories, stacks of items in a chest can go up to 9999 before a second slot is needed... but one hunk of wood and one rock takes two slots. Some items, like eggs, don't stack at all and always need their own slot. Storage structures can hold any amount of weight, limited only by the number of inventory slots available. Obviously, the wooden chest has the fewest, being the first storage structure in the game.

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The contents of any chest in a base are available for building things on that base. I build this little wooden basket overflowing with food even though I dumped all the wood out of my inventory into the chest.
(Some lategame structures take a lot of heavy materials to build, enough to overtax a lategame character with pumped-up carry weight, so it's a mercy that this is the case.)

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With that done, time to head back to newbie hill for a bit.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Apr 04, 2024 1:21 pm

Part 4: Handiwork Helpemer

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Um, excuse me.
(It is just walking past.)

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I catch several Lamballs. Since I get the loot it drops, I get both the Lamball itself and the wool off its hide. (And, worryingly, a chunk of mutton I can snack on.)

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Talkin' Pals: 001: Lamball, the "Big Floof"
"A walk up a hill tends to end with this Pal tumbling back down. This causes it to become dizzy and unable to move, making it easy to capture and kill. As a result, this Pal has tumbled down to the very bottom of the food chain itself."
The lore: First in the Pokedex and first in our hearts, Lamball is first among the game's several mascot mooks. It's adorable and fluffy and more or less helpless, preyed upon by bigger Pals and humans alike. But like many of the starter Pals, its mistreatment is treated as a joke. There's even a YouTube video from Pocketpair themselves on how to butcher and cook a Lamball.
The inspiration: On the one hand that is pretty damn similar to Wooloo. On the other hand, that's just what a cartoon Suffolk sheep looks like, and if you're going to make a visually-striking design for a cartoon sheep, you go for the breed of sheep with the white wool and black skin.
But it didn't really need to have "round" as its defining charactaristic to demand comparison to the soccer-ball sheep in Pokemon, did it?
In gameplay: Hey, does Palworld promote animal cruelty? I can't hear you over using this Lamball as a shield in combat to soak attacks on my behalf. That's their Partner Skill, "pick it up and make it take hits for you". But to be honest, half the job of any active Pal in a fight is to pull hate from enemies and soak attacks so the Pal Tamer doesn't have to, so is it really that big a difference?
At base, a Lamball can work on a Pal ranch as an unlimited source of wool. I'll need a lot of cloth for stuff later on, so that's not to be scoffed at.

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Back to base with my Wool. The inventory of Pals in my possession are on top, and there's a window for "Pals at the Base" in the bottom. I move a Lamball into that space.

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The Lamball appears near the Palbox, which explains why the Palbox needs several square feet of space in front of it. It's a spawn point for the Pals that are called out to do work.
Oh snap this Lamball is from a SaGa game and he's already learning a new combat move.

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Nah the idea bulb is the game's indication that the Pal has found a job to do. In this case, the Lamball helpfully picks up a piece of wood lying nearby and deposits it in the chest I built.

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Pals will eat out of the food basket when they get hungry, but they also need places to sleep. Lamball can also help me build structures, including his own bed. Pals doing work tend to have whatever tool they need for the task appear in their hands, so its hammer came right out of, uh, hammerspace.

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Note: when walking away from a newly-completed structure do not step in the campfire.

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Lamball also helps me spin some wool -- some of which I probably shaved off his backside -- into some cloth, then sew the cloth into a proper goddamned outfit. Despite the lack of pants, this is warm enough to keep me from shedding HP at night.

Talking Mechanics: Work Suitability
So now that I've described how Pals can help around base, I guess I can describe the last part of the Pal status screen from before.
Work Suitability is a list of all the different jobs Pals can do at a base. Which suitabilities a Pal has is determined by its species.
Each suitability comes with a level from one to five, though no Pals come with a five in anything naturally. Each level means a job can be completed about three times faster than the level before.

The suitabilities are:
Kindling: It takes a fire-element Pal to generate fire. This can be used to cook food or smelt ore into usable ingots of metal.
Planting: Not all the food in the game is wild berries and the flesh of defeated Pals. You can grow your own on farm plots! But none of them will produce until a Pal spends some time sowing seeds onto it. Nearly every grass-type Pal has planting suitability.
Handiwork: Pals with Handiwork can help build base structures and construct items at workstations. Lamball did those things earlier because Lamball has a level of Handiwork. In order to have Handiwork, a Pal has to have opposable thumbs. Those with hooves or paws never have it.
Lumbering: The Pal will cut down trees if there are any on base, and work a Logging Site if there aren't.
Medicine Production: There's a medicine workbench where various ingredients can be ground and combined into medicine. Handiwork doesn't work for this, it takes Medicine Production. I usually just buy medicine I need, but Pals with this suitability can make the stuff if I want them to.
Transporting: Items scattered on the ground on the base -- a pile of wood from a tree cut down, for instance -- will be picked up and carried to a chest by a Pal with Transporting. They can also move items from workstations into chests, such as picking up a stack of wood from the Logging Site.
Watering: Once a Pal with Planting has put seeds in a farm plot, a Pal with Watering needs to come by for the plants to grow. Water pressure can also power some simple machines, like a mill to grind wheat into flour. Not surprisingly, water-type Pals come with this suitability.
Generating Electricity: Later on I'll unlock electric-powered workstations. For those to work, I'll need to also build a battery pylon and have an electric-type Pal charge it up.
Gathering: Not to be confused with Transporting! Once a farm has been planted and watered, and had a chance to grow, the crops need to be harvested. Gathering turns a field of ripe produce into an empty field ready to be seeded again, with a pile of crop items on top of it. (The job of picking up those crops and putting them in the feed basket is Transporting.)
Mining: Mining is the ability to bust up nodes of stone, copper ore, coal, sulphur, or quartz into useable items. Mining is often the domain of ground-type Pals, but not as exclusively as Kindling and Watering are to Pals of those types.
Cooling: If I built my base in the middle of a sunbaked desert, I could build a cooler and have an ice-type Pal work it to reduce the ambient temperature and keep me from shedding HP from the heat. Cooling is also necessary to make iceboxes and refrigerators work.
Farming: The Pal can work on a Pal Ranch structure, generating items. Every Pal with Farming suitability makes a particular item.

Talkin' Jank: Lazy Transportation
If items are in a stack, such as when a berry farm produces twenty berries at a time or I drop items on the ground, then a Pal can carry as many of those items as it has levels in Transportation. But ore nodes that get broken into ore or trees that are chopped into lumber drop a pile of single items. A Transporter will pick up exactly one of those items to take back to a storage structure, defeating the purpose of having a high level of Transportation.
Pals with Transportation will drop off whatever they're transporting into whatever storage structure is closest. A harvesting base with several chests for storage will probably end up with stacks of wood, stone, berries, and/or ore in every chest sooner or later.

Talkin' Jank: Transporting and Gathering and Farming
When I started I couldn't figure out what the difference between Transporting suitability and Gathering suitability was. This is probably because, as pictured above, Pals that are doing Transporting work are labeled as Gathering in-game. Pals doing Gathering work are labled as Harvesting. Pals doing Farming work on a ranch are described as Grazing. Keep your terminology straight, game!

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Apr 04, 2024 1:23 pm

Part 5: Let's Catch Some Pals

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I also build my first glider, but the name is accurate. There's almost no horizontal gliding to be done, this device is just about enought to prevent fall damage and not much more.

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When the base is first built, only one Pal can assist in it. In order to increase that number, you have to level up the base by building arbitrary things inside it. Most of them are useful anyway, in this case, build a Pal bed and deploy one Pal to do some work.

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Leveling the base to 2 allows for another Pal to work here. Next I need to build a Shoddy Bed, since I already have my workbench right over there.

Trailers: That's a Lot of Pals!
The teaser trailer had dozens of Pals working on assembly lines, or farms, or just stacked into cages. Whether that was an intentional exaggeration, clever editing, or just the discovery that the game couldn't do all that: there's a maximum of 15 Pals per base. It can be increased to 20 in world settings, but asking the game to AI pathfind for even 15 Pals can be overwhelming for it.

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Anyway. Before I can build a Shoddy Bed I have to unlock "don't sleep on the ground" from the Technology menu, of course. That's a joke, the Pal Tamer doesn't ever need to sleep at all.

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My daughter was delighted to see the cute little fuzzball helping me out around the base, and declared he had a new name befitting his status as assistant.

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Her input did not end there.

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I've got the materials, but while Pals are content to sleep under the stars, a human bed needs a roof over it.

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I slap together a little shed, build my bed inside so I can level the base, and then fill the rest of the space with more Pal beds. With worker capacity going up I'll have more little guys running around, and they'll all need a place to sleep.

Talkin' Mechanics: Base Levels
Leveling up the base to allow for more Pals to work on it demands several structures that aren't very useful. Like a bed! The Pal Tamer never needs to sleep, and on a multiplayer server where you can't skip forward in time because that would mess with other players, it doesn't even do anything.
It's possible to build the thing, level the base, then immediately destroy the useless structure (returning all the materials used to build it to inventory). The base will never level down for having fewer things on it.

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*long, weary sigh*

Talking Mechanics: Durability
Ah, yes. Equipment damage. Wouldn't be a survival game without durability. Thankfully this part is not lifted from Breath of the Wild, my axe hasn't exploded into a thousand tiny glimmering fragments. It just really sucks at its job until I go to a repair bench and fix it.

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Also I need to build a repair bench.

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...and I should probably remove that campfire.

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Repairing an item takes a little more of whatever it needed to craft it in the first place. That's not a problem when it's regular stone and wood but high-end gear can be a resource drain. Thankfully, high-end gear tends to have higher durability than my collection of rocks tied to sticks, so it breaks less often in the first place.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Apr 04, 2024 1:25 pm

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Just to the south of my base is a ravine with a bridge across it. There are several deposits of stone there for when I run out on account of building base structures. Also it is the domain of the Alpha Chillet, which is thankfully as docile as the Alpha Mammorest was. I'm still in the beginning area, Pals aren't always hostile yet.

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omg it's Lucario
Yes this is one of the countless examples of people crying foul about copying a Pokemon's design, but in this particular case they probably shouldn't have designed the Pokemon to be as generic an anthro furry as imaginable in the first place.

Anyway, remember the Lifmunk Effigy told me I could cash it in at a Statue of Power for a bonus? This is that statue. There are a few scattered around the world but moving from base level 5 to 6 requires I build one here.

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Moving from 6 to 7 demands I build a Logging Site and a Stone Pit. I don't have the stone on hand to build both, and it'll be a little while before the nodes across the bridge respawn. But here's the logging site.

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And here's some Tanzees working it. As they chop, the logging site will fill up with wood I can use to build other things. It never runs out, either. As long as I've got one and some Pals to work it, I'll never have to cut another tree down by myself.
Pals will continue to work whatever jobs they can do, autonomously, while you run off to do other things.

Talkin' Jank: Logging Site and Stone Pit
You can generate infinite wood and stone materials from these structures. And you can build structures on a base with materials that are in storage containers. But these aren't storage structures, so their contents are not available for building until the player manually picks up the entire stock (or Transport Pals make dozens or hundreds of trips) and walks it to a chest.

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Talkin' Pals: 008: Tanzee, the "Dexterous Primate"
"Long ago, this Pal used long objects like tree branches as weapons. After coming into contact with humans, however, it found something much more effective: guns."
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The inspiration: It's a monkey with leaf embellishments, comparisons to Pansage and Grookey can't be avoided.
The name: Derived from "Chimpanzee" is obvious, also derived from "tansy", a kind of flower, less so. Nothing about them really looks like a tansy, though.
In gameplay: Tanzee has almost the same work suitability list as Lifmunk, swapping out Medicine for Transporting. This means Tanzee can pick up more useful odd jobs around the base, but also means that Lifmunk is more likely to concentrate on chopping lumber or planting seeds without getting distracted anytime an item hits the ground fifty feet away. Tanzee's partner skill is
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with all the accuracy that you might expect from a chimp with a gun. It'd be useful if enemies ran for cover when they might get hit by a stray bullet, but as it is it's just an extremely inaccurate attack.
Tanzee is also one of the first Pals to learn moves of a type not its own (or Neutral) -- it gets two ground-type moves that involve hurling a big gooey messy brown ball at the opponent. That's not mud, is it.

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Back to the newbie hill, I manage to catch my tenth each of Lamball, Cattiva, and Chikipi. I can catch more if I want, but there's no EXP for me for doing it.

Talkin' Mechanics: Aye, Yer Spot-On I Am On The EXP Share
The Pal Tamer doesn't get experience for catching more than ten Pals of a given species, but from what I can tell, any Pals in the party get the regular amount of experience for any further Pals caught. So it's possible to get a low level Pal up to mid levels by going out and catching a couple of mid-level wild Pals, regardless of how many have been caught before.

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It comes up from time to time, but noise isn't a thing in the game. Here I am busting up a Paldium deposit right next to a sleeping Chikipi, and it doesn't stir. If you want to sneak past something, you can make all the noise you want, just stay out of line-of-sight.

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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Apr 04, 2024 1:30 pm

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I passed by a cave earlier without going in. Let's go into this one. (Yes I promise this is a cave entrance, I know the screenshot is dark, I do not control ambient light levels in the game outside my own base.)

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Caves are randomly-generated, stringing predesigned rooms together at junctions. After two or three spelunking expeditions, a player has probably seen all the rooms the regular cave set has to offer. Caves are full of hostile humans, pals that often can't be found outside, and at the end, there's a boss Pal to overcome.

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There are also much larger Paldium deposits in caves. You can get a handful of Paldium shards from nodes outside, but each of these gives 40. Off to the right is a sulfur node. Sulfur isn't important yet, but it will be.

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Hey, Pals can fight, right? Eventually I get sick of jabbing thugs in the face with my dinky little spear and let a Cattiva loose to speed things along. This is why I tend to think of the game as "Fortnite with mons" rather than "Pokemon but survival", since it took this long for me to let my level 3 Pidgey out to fight on my behalf.

Talking Mechanics: The Active Pal
Of the five Pals in the party, one at a time can be released from its Sphere. This is the "active Pal" I've mentioned a couple of times before.
Active Pals can be commanded to attack anything they see, attack anything that gets aggro, or not attack anything. They can be thrown at a workstation to do work, too.
The price for this is that the active Pal will get hungry outside of its Sphere, and is vulnerable to attack itself.

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Cattiva always have an attack debuff trait, but they can still do four or five times the damage I can with attacks. Pals are dangerous to humans! They're strong!

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There are chests in caves, too. This one had some money and a bundle of arrows, but I haven't made a bow yet.

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Fuddler is why I came in here in the first place. The first one that spawned immediately pulled hate from a group of Syndicate thugs, and I let out my Cattiva to help me fight them. But Cattiva turned on the Fuddler and KOed it. Oh well.
So another sharp departure from Pokemon: you can give Pals general directions in combat, but they do as they please under that guideline. Which moves they use, and when, and on what targets, is determined by the AI. I told Cattiva to focus on the same target I did while I stabbed thugs, but it decided on its own that a Fuddler that was also attacking was fair game.

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I hang back and let these two KO the thug themselves, then jab them down to low HP and catch them both.

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Talkin' Pals: #022 Fuddler, the "Underground Explorer"
"Its large claws boast of diamond-like hardness. However, sharpening these claws consumes most of its energy, leading it to sometimes spending entire days doing nothing else."
The lore: Good to have a hobby, I suppose.
The inspiration: When mole Pokemon show up looking like Diglett, a mole creature that actually looks like a mole is no comparison. If anything I'd say it looks more like a Final Fantasy moogle, a mole-bat without the bat. Maybe a Moogle/Buizel crossover. A Muigzel.
The name: I can only speculate what the name comes from, a first for the Paldeck. To "fuddle" is to confuse or intoxicate, but Fuddlers don't actually do anything like that. If you're in Yorkshire, a fuddle is a potluck picnic, and Fuddlers don't have anything to do with that, either. To spuddle means to dig in the dirt, which would make the name a portmanteau if I could figure out what the F was meant to represent.
In gameplay: There's not much a Fuddler can do that Cattiva can't do just as well, earlier in the game. They're okay combat assistants without being particularly strong, their suitabilities back at base are nothing to write home about. Their Partner Skill lets you find Ore nodes (that Fuddler can't actually do anything about), and since it's an active skill, you have to have Fuddler as the active Pal, out and about on the field, and give it a command to look for anything nearby. The skill then has a lengthy cooldown. I do not understand why "extra stuff shows up on the compass" isn't a passive skill that's always on.

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My spearhead chipped on one of the Fuddlers, leaving my own attack power severely nerfed right as I walk into the boss chamber. I'll have to upgrade to metal equipment before my tools will last long enough for a real expedition out of base. I might as well make two just to have a spare.

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Can Cattiva output enough damage to take down a giant Teaphant and its two subordinates, without my help?

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(No.)

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Talkin' Pals: #016: Teaphant, the "Adorable Watering Can"
"Large amounts of water pour from what is thought to be its nose, though some say that it is, in fact, just snot. This has sparked a fierce debate among Pal scholars."
The lore: Eyeroll. Plain water and mucus are not all that difficult to tell apart.
The inspiration: There's elephant Pokemon and there's teapot Pokemon but Teaphant doesn't look like any of them.
The name: "Teaphant" is another awkward portmanteau, this time chosen in a contest by fans. Turned over to the masses and nobody could come up with anything that rolls off the tongue better than Teaphant. But teapots got spouts and elephants got snouts, so you stick with the design even if the name isn't great.
In gameplay: All Teaphant can do at base is water stuff. That's actually a good thing once you have enough slots for Pals to work at a base to allow for specialization. It means Teaphant doesn't get distracted with Transporting or Handiwork jobs like other earlygame water Pals might.

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Well, at least I don't have to go back to get my stuff. I can respawn at a number of points along the coast, or just go back to base.

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But apparently Cattiva kept on fighting while I waited to respawn and loaded the map, and managed to KO two of the three Teaphants. Not that it matters, the loot drops are gone and if I went back there'd just be a new boss.

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Tore up from da floor up.

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nosimpleway
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Re: I haven't seen a pocket monster in a fortnight! Let's Play Palworld!

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Apr 05, 2024 3:48 pm

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While I was gone, the Tanzees managed to chop up nearly 200 wood for me. This is around the point that I realize that Fuddlers don't actually have enough power to break apart the ore deposits scattered around my base, they have Mining suitability 1 but it takes Mining 2 to harvest ore. So I went all out of my way for nothing, and need to find something better at digging.
Fuddler's Partner Skill lets the player locate ore nodes more easily. Ore nodes that Fuddler can't break apart. That's a fascinatin' design decision, huh?

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While trying to place my stone pit, I get a new alert.

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Yep.

Talking Mechanics: Raids
Sometimes the game generates a bunch of hostiles with the specific purpose of them breaking into your base, knocking out your Pals, and breaking your stuff. They only happen when the player character is at base, so at least there's no "Hey you gotta hurry home" while you're out exploring. I guess that's about it.

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But all the Pals you currently have out doing work will drop what they're doing and help fend off the raid. Pals working at base are probably lower-level than those in the party, so later on this is more a liability than a benefit. For now, a couple of petty thugs are no match for a couple of Tanzees.

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The next base upgrade demands I build a Crusher, which can convert stone into Paldium at a rate of something like five to one. It'll be a while before I can get that excess of stone on hand, so I build the thing, get the base upgrade, and then destroy it.

Talkin' Mechanics: Refunds
Destroying a structure will refund everything used to build it. Items cannot be destroyed or dissassembled, only thrown away or sold for cash.

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Next up on the base level list: a hot spring for my Pals to relax. I need some more suspiciously-named "Pal Fluids" to build it...

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I set the Tanzees to work chopping lumber, set the Fuddlers to work busting rocks, and head out.

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