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The evening’s modest goal: A cauldron.

After all the wild and wooly misadventures of late, I thought I’d have a quiet evening working on the farm Unna and I have been building. Our carrot production was ramping up so we’d soon have enough to feed captive boars, replant and use to make Carrot Soup to add some all important diversity to our Valheim diet.

Carrot Soup requires a cauldron and a cauldron requires Tin. Tin can only be found in the Black Forest, often near the shore, so that shouldn’t be too hard. I was also looking for more Fine Wood which comes from Oak and Birch trees. Some of those should be in the Black Forest as well. As far as I can tell, there are no Oak or Birch “seeds” in game yet, so they cannot be farmed yet.

Fair enough, I’ll go get some Tin and along the way collect whatever Fine Wood I could find along with any Raspberries, Blueberries or Mushrooms I mind find too. Because Tin is usually near the coast, I’ll take the Karve which has 4 modest storage slots.

Of course, if I’m going to be mining in the Black Forest, I might as well plan for collecting Copper too, if I find it. Bronze is always needed and I’ve been consuming more than I’ve been collecting and feeling a little guilty. And if I’m sailing to the Black Forest, I might as well skirt some new territory to see if we can find that elusive trader, Haldor, who has yet to show himself. This is my typical session in Valheim– an ever expanding list of things to do, all sparked by desire to accomplish One Simple Thing.

Ok, Tin, Copper, Wood, Berries, a longer sail… This could get time consuming if I have to go back and forth. Enter the Container Freight Solution. In looking on the web for something about Birch and Oak seeds, or lack thereof, I ran across a quick reference to putting a cart on a boat to be able to increase the Karve’s carrying capacity.

Well, if I’m headed out to collect things by boat, this sounds like a great idea to tryout. The first challenge was to get a cart on to the boat.

First attempt, I wheeled the cart down to the dock and scratched my head. A vain attempt to drag it on to the boat from the side failed, so I went with Plan B. Build a platform over the deck, build the cart on the platform, destroy the platform.

Of course, I attempted this at night, but you can see the floor panel with the cart on it as I’m about to destroy the floor.

Success! Platform removed, cart on deck. Time for a shakedown cruise. I wasn’t keen on filling it up until I was reasonably certain it wouldn’t end in complete disaster, so off I went.

The cart seems to get knocked about a bit on deck which is a little disconcerting. The pull shafts seem to get caught up in the sail lines as it pivots with the wind. Still it seems to handle the rough seas fine enough.

Surviving the shakedown cruise, I finally got to the task at hand. I left the boat just a bit off shore because of a nearby troll. There’s always a troll… As soon as I started mining some copper, the troll decided to visit. Troll dispatched, I resumed mining only to hear the sound of crunching coming from the boat. I immediately suspected grey dwarves.

No dwarves. The boat and cart seemed to be having some kind of a tussle and damage figures were floating in the air. At first, I thought perhaps I’d moored too near a submerged rock and the swell was beating the boat on it. When I got on the boat though, it was clear that the cart seemed to be fixed to the landscape while the boat was floating on the water. As a result, the boat was dashing itself against the cart and taking damage.

I couldn’t move the cart, and I couldn’t destroy it, so I finally managed to yank the boat free before it destroyed itself (note the damage in the screenshot below). With the boat out of the way, the cart remained fixed but floating just above the water.

Various attempts ensued to build a platform out to, under and around the cart to either retrieve it or break it down, all to no avail. Finally, I gave up and had to log out for some chores around the house.

To my amazement, when I logged back on, the cart was still there, but this time it was floating in the water so I was able to bump it back to shore and roll it up on to land again.

My plan was to just break it down and continue experiments at a later time. After all, the whole point of this excursion was to get materials for a damned cauldron and 2 hours into it, I was no closer to my goal.

In for a penny, in for a pound, so before I completely gave up on the cart-on-a-boat idea, and thinking of how many land or sea trips it would take to retrieve the ore I just mined, I decided to give one more go.

I built a proper dock with the level of the dock well above the height of the gunwales of the boat. Then I grabbed the cart and just rolled it on to the boat. While far from a precision operation, the extra height was just enough to allow the cart to fall into the boat in suitable fashion. I loaded it up with 800+ pounds of stuff and off I went back to base. While the boat didn’t ride any lower, handling certainly felt more sluggish. I’m assuming the physics engine is still accounting for weight somewhere.

On arrival at my home port, I was confronted with the opposite problem. Do I shuttle all those goods out of the cart on deck or is there another way. Well, at this point, safe at home, I said what the heck, lets try the brute force method first.

I got in the boat, stepped into the control position of the cart, took control and with a mighty tug or three, managed to yank the fully loaded cart off the boat onto the dock. Op success.

From that it was a piece of cake to pull the load up to the crafting area of the base.

Now all I had to do was turn piles of wood into coal, smelt the tin and copper ore, carrying some tin and copper overland to the farm base, build a forge, and then the cauldron so finally, I could make my carrot soup.

Just another typical day in Valheim.

Graduation Day

For then-Lieutentant, now Lieutenant Commander Skronk that is.  Actually it was last week, but I’ve been sufficiently busy in RL that I haven’t had the time to commemorate the event.

I had advanced along nicely with a combination of the story line missions, the patrol missions and a few of the exploration missions where I was finally in striking distance of the elusive “level 11” aka Lieutenant Commander that I had resolved to push through late one Sunday night.

In addition to the rank change and opening the second tier of skills, it also meant that I could qualify to fly the second tier ships.  In my case, I was eyeing a Science Vessel.

After completing a few longer missions– some of them seem quite long, a post for later– I hailed Star Fleet to complete the mission and my expected promotion.  Surprisingly, I was awarded the rewards from my mission which advanced me to Lieutenant rank 11.

Huh?  For those of you scoring at home, STO leveling is divided into 5 “ranks” with 10 “grades” within each rank, i.e. there are 50 levels.  Having completed Lieutentant, grade 10, I fully expected to end up as Lieutenant Commander, grade 1, hence my confusion.

Well, as it turns out, one must actually spend their skill points to a sufficient level to gain passage into the next rank.  In my case, believe I had to have spent 6700 or 6800 skill points in order to qualify for Lt. Comm.  After I dinged Lt. 11, I hadn’t spent my new skill points, hence no advancement.  A bit confusing, but eventually I deployed my points and was awarded my new rank.

Of course, I couldn’t get back to earth spacedock quickly enough to get my new ship.  A brief chat with Admiral Quinn who directed me to Lt. Laurel at the shipyard and I was quickly customizing my new science vessel, the USS Frinault.

Not content with my own accolades, I shared the wealth and promoted my loyal bridge officers to Lt. as well.  Everybody moves up.  Of course, with the new ship, I needed a second science officer to man the second science station.  A quick trip to Personnel and I had a shiny new Bolian ensign on board.

While I had received my new rank and vessel, I was surprised to notice that I had also obtained an optional “Attend Lieutenant Commander Ceremony (Optional)” mission.  I sauntered over to the state room on the earth space dock which was alread abuzz with anticipation as I entered the room.

Ten Hut! Officer on deck!

All the usual attendant sycophants and hangers on there snapped to attention and saluted my new royal badness.  A few choice words at the podium and voila, the ceremony complete.  All in all, a very nice touch.

Anyone ever say you look nothing like Lou Gossett, Jr.?

With new vessel in hand and kitted out, all that was left was to take her out on a shakedown cruise, but first a quick visit to my new useless spacious bridge.

Imagine how hard it is to sit in TWO chairs...

Helm, set a course for adventure, set your mind on a new romance. Make it so.

We play hacky sack in here during Warp.

Certainly more roomy and a distinctly “Next Generation” feel about it.  A few routine checks and it was off to the Argelius system to conduct a routine “safety” inspection of a Ferengi bar…

Captain's log supplemental: Sensors indicate we have beamed on to a stereotype.

Packing serious heat, my away team was more than able to identify workplace hazards and, um, issue a few “citations” to six or ten bar patrons who don’t understand that “Safety is NO Accident.”

Of course, all things in the seedy world of Argelius II seem to revolve around Klingons and green chicks in bikinis, so it was inevitable that we would need to liberate Marta and the information she had obtained about the secret Klingon war plans.

This force field is here for my protection.

Talk about beauty and the beast, she was both.  No wonder the Klingons kept her behind a force field.  Klingon forces subdued, we were able to liberate Marta and deliver the critical information to the Federation.

Although friends and I have yet to connect for an extended period, I must say I’ve finding the main storyline missions to be quite satisfying in a purely Star Trek on TV sort of way.  They have an episodey essence about them and unlike the exploration or patrol missions, I come away with the sense that a plot is unfolding in a coherent way infront of me as I progress.  I think the storyline missions would provide a nice backbone for a dedicated small group experience.

Yes, maybe that feels a little more single playerish rather than true MMO-ish, but its a welcome departure and whats not to love about the ship combat?  Progression does seem to take some time assuming you are not grinding missions 24/7 so I think I will need to pace myself to avoid either burning out or getting bored.  As it stands right now, though I’ve not been able to really give it the time I want, STO in the right measure remains quite enjoyable.