Well, I was a bit hasty yesterday. Turns out TQ isn’t as clean as I thought. Went back into it after posting about MK yesterday, and saw that smears still occur, though not so badly as before. At least there aren’t any on the character. So the new drivers helped there somewhat, but they haven’t done a lot for MK.

I did look around the ‘net earlier, but couldn’t find anything specific to my problem. I’ll keep at it.

So I want to talk about the save feature, such as it is. First, you can save any time, but that’s no big deal. It just saves your character’s status (attributes, inventory, etc.), plus your quest log. Where you come back on a reload will be at whatever was your most recent save point.

These save points are something like the rebirth fountains in Titan Quest. They look like purple rocks with an aura around them. As you get near one, it activates, and the game does a quicksave. There is only one quicksave, of course.

The one advantage to using the regular save is that any gains or items your character has won’t be lost between save points.

Towns (I’ve only been in one so far) also have save portals. These can be used to move around between locations, once you’ve found another portal. You can also teleport from a save point to any active town portal, and from there back to the save point. However, unlike TQ or Diablo, there’s no way to teleport from any location by opening a portal of your own. That’s bad.

I’ve “kinda sorta” worked out my problem with the minimap by having it rotate with me. Usually that sort of thing confuses me, but it seems to be working here. One thing I learned fast is that you have to change camera angles; using just a top-down view can get you killed very quickly.

So I switch between top-down and level (or over-the-shoulder) views a lot. Good thing the minimap usually shows the locations of nearby enemies. But it’s still tough when you want to retreat.

Inventory quickly becomes a pain. You have 25 slots, and they can hold an item of any size, so there’s no problem with having to rearrange items. However, those slots can fill up fast, since there are plants to gather for making potions, or for selling if you prefer cash.

And, of course, loot that you get from enemy bodies. Since you can’t just ‘port back to town and sell stuff off, you have a problem. After awhile, choices have to be made on what to keep and what to dump. And anything you dump is gone forever, it doesn’t just drop to the ground.

Further, while many like items can be stacked, the game doesn’t auto-stack for you (very stupid). So, if you find, say, a healing potion, you must have an open slot to pick it up, even if you already have a stack of the same potions in your pack.

Weapons and armor can be enhanced through the use of magestones. These come in varying qualities and abilities. By using the “forge” screen, you can put up to three stones in an item (there’s a table in the back of the manual that details the effects, which is handy).

Here the designers were smart for a change. Unlike other games, you an “unforge” an item and take the stones back to use in something else. I’ve already done that, and it works fine.

Anyway, when last we left our hero(ine), she was off to rescue some Dwarfs. It was tough, too, since I died once during this little escapade. And yes, there were spellcasters, three of them, in fact.

I did a lot of running, too (advance to the rear!). What ticked me off is that, as I got near the main baddies, the game went to a cut scene where my character just sort of walks up to them. There’s some spouting by the top guy, and then it was back to the game, and the fight. This is where I did a lot of backtracking.

After that, I made it back to Silverholt and got a pass into the city itself. Finally got to see some merchants, though most of what was for sale had rather healthy price tags.

Then I got the second mission, which was to find out what was up with the Dark Dwarfs, who seem to have switched sides. Here I picked up a companion, a Dwarf. Interestingly, I got to choose which of the three Dwarf skill trees he should have. I hesitated awhile between tank and rifleman, but since I use a bow, finally decided on tank.

So off we go through the abandoned mines. There were some small encounters along the way. Then we came to a big one, a bunch of Dark Dwarfs, several with mortars.

And just like before, the game switched to a cut scene, where they all have their weapons aimed right at us. No chance to do any sort of pre-emptive strike.

We just barely made it through that one (came close to dying, but didn’t). After looting what I could from the bodies, we made tracks for the save point and went back to Silverholt. Sold stuff to make room in my pack. And then the mouse stopped working. Completely.

Nothing could get it going again. I had to hit reset and reboot the computer. That cleared up the problem, and the mouse is working again.

But that means next time I reload, I’ll be back at the quicksave point. And all our little friends will be there, too, as monsters regen when you reload. I am NOT looking forward to that. No, I’m not looking forward to that at all.