Amaranthine is an online incremental game that you can play in the background of doing, well, anything. The game is based on a system of doing certain tasks to gain XP and resources. Gaining XP lets you level up a skill, which in turn lets you obtain higher graded resources. Using resources obtained, you are able to build houses, make weapons, cook food or even tailor clothing. The items that you make then help you gain even more XP and the cycle continues.
I only started playing this game last week, and I have so far loved every moment of it. A big part of the appeal for me is the guild system. Any player is able to create a guild, and you can then invite other members to join your guild. Being in a guild allows you to chat message to only members your guild, rather than everyone playing online at the time. It also lets you share houses and extensions, have a guild house with storage, all of which lets all guild members share their resources.
My guild is made up of a few friends I’ve made from myfreecams, and since we all started the game together, we have all been working hard and building up the guild from scratch. We have all gained a sort of role, one person is a hunter, another specialises in woodcutting and one spends a lot of time mining. Together we are all working as a team to create and level up and explore the world together.
When you play, you also have the option of joining guilds that have been around for years. This would offer you as an individual player access to resources you wouldn’t be able to get yourself until you spent a very long time gaining the XP needed to unlock them. This method lets you advance faster, and you would still contribute to helping a guild grow.
The game interface isn’t fancy. It’s just text and numbers. When you go do an action, such as chop wood, a small timer counts down. This means that perhaps every 40 seconds, your character is able to collect 1 log, and gain 8XP points. This means that for 40 seconds, there’s nothing you can do except watch a timer count down. Not the most fun. However, this is why it’s seen as a background game.
Here is an example of playing the game in one day:
You decide to chop some wood. You click on your character to start chopping wood, and then you open a new web browser and you check and answer some emails. 20 minutes later you come back and you character has chopped 40 logs in that time. You then click for your character to go to the carpentry and turn the logs you’ve just chopped into parchment. You leave the game running, and make some phone calls, or go back to writing an essay or whatever it is you’re doing. You check back on the game in another 20 minutes and you now have 40 pieces of parchment. You click on your character to go collect mushrooms. Again, you can just leave the game running in the background, whilst you do your normal work, or browse the internet, or watch a camgirl, when you check back, voila, you have some mushrooms are your disposal. Mushrooms and parchment can now be ground together to make a powder, which in turn can be used to make a healing potion (but you need to collect all the other ingredients!).
The game isn’t designed for you to simply stare at it, but instead you can leave it running and go about your daily business. I love the game because I have a character, who whilst i’m working, is going about leveling up and doing their own thing. When I come back I think “Wow, I’ve gotten this essay completed and I can now plant a new vegetable patch!” It’s a game which I can play, without feeling that I’m wasting my time playing games, since the amount of attention I need to pay it is minimal.
The guild has also let me become closer to friends from other time zones. Since everything takes hours to do, projects span time zones, and to get them done faster we work as a team. When one of us is asleep, then there is probably someone else awake and also advancing the project. We can chat to each other on the messaging system when we are online at the same time, or message each other if we are not. I woke up one day to find my house had gained a vegetable garden that someone had so nicely built when I was asleep.
There is also of course the part of me that enjoys collecting the XP points, and seeing my own character level up. There was a strong sense of achievement when I was at a high enough level of gathering so that now I could collect honey rather than just mushrooms. Although the actual act of collecting these items don’t look any different in the game, everything is just text and a timer, I felt like I was really progressing and that sense of achievement is really fantastic.
I have to give props to the game maker for being so thorough in what each item does, and the complexity of getting them. For instance, although I gained enough XP in gathering to collect honey, I needed bottles to hold the honey. To make bottles requires different resources from different skill types, and so I had to carefully plan out what to spend my time doing (since you can only do one skill at a time) or in this instance, my guild each got the components for making the bottle separately and made bottles for me, which I then used to collect honey and we ended up with having some bottles of honey which we could then sell for money or use as a cooking ingredient.
But this game isn’t for everyone. It’s not fast paced, there’s no amazing graphics, and I think a lot of people will simply find the game boring. It’s a very specific type of gaming, one based on numbers and stats. If like me, you enjoy that, then create an account on Amaranthine and come join my guild, the Cookie Cutters!