Whilst Steam may tell you that Book of Travels is an MMO. It tows a closer line to a single-player RPG adventure. That just so happens to have other players in your game. Book of Travels is unlike any game you’ve likely played before. This is an adventure into the unknown full of mystery, subtlety, and beauty.
Platforms: PC Steam
Genres: RPG, MMO, Atmospheric
Developer: Might & Delight
This product was received for free
An adventure like no other
My adventure started West of a place called Crossings, a town bustling with traders, adventurers, and other interesting folk. With no quest markers to follow I was free to go wherever I wanted. However, I figured heading to some form of civilisation might be worthwhile. Along my journey to Crossings, I spoke with strangers on the roads, some merely engaged in polite yet abrupt conversation, some asked for help, and others spoke vaguely of points of interest. I quickly wrote down scribbles of notes as conversations passed me by. In no time at all, I had a page full of leads to follow, things to investigate.
Book of Travels isn’t your typical MMO, in fact, developers Might & Delight call it a Tiny Multiplayer Online RPG. Owing to the fact that you won’t be seeing hundreds upon hundreds of players in bustling hubs or towns. Furthermore, you won’t be slaying wolves, goblins, or rats by the dozen. Or clearing out farmsteads of invading species or fighting off some world-ending threat. This is a far more chilled-out experience. One that won’t hold your hand and asks you to make your own adventures. To follow your own quests, define your own goals.
It won’t be for everyone
Because of that, I think many will find it off-putting. That being said, if you buy into the vagueness, the subtlety of your ‘quests’ and pay attention to the conversations going on around you, you will find your own adventures to follow. When you do, you will start to realise that there is a wonderful experience to be had.
It must be stated that the Book of Travels is currently in early access. Which means large parts of the map are incomplete and inaccessible. There are also bugs and some connection issues to contend with. If that’s something you really don’t like, they maybe hold off for a while. I’ve experienced disconnects and a teleportation bug. That’s been the worst of it for me. Whilst that can be annoying, I can cope with that.
Upon arriving in Crossings, I found it to be busy with people running businesses and selling their wares. Be that clothing, weapons, provisions, teas, or knots. Almost all items in the Book of Travels have a use. Whether it simply be a good resource for trading. Or items that can give you stat boosts or buffs. Teas and Knots are sort of like potions and scrolls in other games, they are magical items and can provide you with powerful buffs and allow you to cast spells.
Then you have clothing items that provide stat boosts to things like strength, charisma, and more. Instead of hoarding loads of gold to buy the best items, Book of Travels works mainly on a trading system. Items you find will have value and you can use them towards a trade of something you want. Some items will be more valuable to others. It can therefore be worthwhile learning what is most valuable and to who. Additionally, you can trade specific items for special gear from specialist traders in towns. The items you need might remain a mystery for a while but finding what you need will most certainly be worth the trade.
Form your own quests
While in Crossing I got my first real leads for some quests to follow. There was mention of a Temple South of a town called Bat Saha, which lies to the west across the seas on a ferry. I also noticed a few players in town going about their business.
Communication on Book of Travels is handled via emotes. Click the emote from your menu and an image will pop up over your head. It’s vague but still works. If you’re near another player, you will automatically be grouped up. Meaning you will receive collective buffs or debuffs to your stats. This can help you pass skill checks, but they will need to be done collectively. Perhaps there is a man in the tea house who can provide information to you if you have a high enough charisma stat. Using your emotes you can guide people to places or ask them to follow you. Some may find it a little lacking that you can’t fully communicate. But in keeping with the spirit of the game, this form of limited communication fits very well.
This could be fantastic
There is so much more to Book of Travels, and it is all wrapped up in a beautiful presentation. With its watercolor-like presentation, each area you visit is wonderful to take in. There appears to be an influence of architecture, wilderness, and clothing from a wide range of countries from across the continent of Asia. The game hold countless mysteries and secrets and the way in which it’s presented is fantastic and really helps bring a sense of immersion to the often-calm serenity you experience whilst just walking from place to place.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what the game has to offer and still have much to learn. That being said, I love what I’ve played so far and can’t wait to play more and see how Book of Travels progresses on its own journey through early access.