So, after the Battle for Archet you find yourself able to go to the next village (slightly bigger than the hamlet of Archet but still quite small – I like the way the game ramps these things up at just the right pace). Most places seem close enough to walk/run to but there is no doubt that a horse speeds things up – it was in Combe that my free trial horse ran out and I had no hesitations in buying one from the integrated web-store which I suspect could easily be a micro-payment cash sink-hole for the weak of will (i.e. me!) so be warned 🙂
Combe is a nice little place and the game designers were smart enough to arrange for the final quests of Archet to be tied into your trip to Combe, including one that gets you into Crafting. Now I’m no expert on these things but basically crafting involves signing up to a set of skills that ultimately lead to you create items in the game which you can use, trade or sell. These can be weapons, food or clothes, etc but also more esoteric items such as knowledge of the past or the ability to compose & play music and these can also prove to be a source of income and power. The crafting system is complex but not complicated and involves finding, gathering or buying raw materials and then using a designated area (forge, library, farm, etc.) to craft these materials into a finished item – as you get better the items you produce become worth more and have a greater chance of being more powerful. I plumped for Historian which involves a bizarre mix of weapon manufacturing, farming & historical research – I’m quite the Indiana Jones, dontchyknow!
The forest is quite pretty but also a little dark and foreboding, wolves prowl all over and there is a nasty little spider den where I managed to pass a spider killing deed amid a flurry of legs and mandables that I’d rather not dwell on. Also in the forest is a Blackwold hideout (as well as many small camps with roving guards – take care!) where my mate Lirwen helped my complete a few quests and beat the tar out of several brigands, scouts, captains and ruffians. At this point I was still trying to master targeting and fighting (who am I kidding, I am skill trying to master that!) and it is with some measure of pride I managed to defeat three brigands who jumped me at the same time, especially as not long before a single spider had killed me on the edge of the Midgewater Marshes, the swine!
Away from Chetwood and back to Combe the land is hilly and full of huge trees. And huge bears! After a lot of close calls and several bouts of mano-a-oso action I managed to get to the Staddle gate and with Lirwen headed out to Bree. But more of that in another post 🙂