Which Witch Is Which? Salem Explained(ish)

One game that I’m going to make time for over the holidays is Salem, Paradox’s sandboxy colonial MMO. I saw it in action at the start of the year and knew that it was going to be a time-hungry slow-burner, and that the sort of open-ended stuff, like universal PvP, and serious consequences for such transgressions, was going to make it an interesting sort of commitment to play. All that stuff is the precisely the reason most people will be put off playing it, I’m sure, but for those folk who understand the appeal of building into a world, this could be gold. Or perhaps it will just a tedious grind. From the highlights of a recent live-steam (which you can see below) I am expecting moments of the former.


  1. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    >Or perhaps it will just a tedious grind.

    You’re missing a word. And yes.

    • spetsky says:

      Its bad enough these bots comment here, but its hilarious that they reply to other peoples comments. Its like “Oh insightful point, but did you know you can get 76 bollocks per hour?

      • Lanfranc says:

        Would be even better if they started talking to each other.

        (Or is that when the robot uprising happens?)

        • Phantoon says:

          Wouldn’t it be something if you could talk to the bots?

        • Crankwerk says:

          what if bots dream about mechanical sheep

        • Myarin says:

          Silly silly. Taking Chinese people from the farmlands and making them slaves is a lot cheaper than writing a capable bot. There’s at least some chance those are genuine people being annoying.

  2. DeFrank says:

    *shuffles papers*
    *puts on professional game journalist’s glasses*

    This game is boring and stupid.

  3. AngoraFish says:

    I played the beta, and love the concept, but it very quickly becomes obvious that yes, it’s an inscrutable and tedious grind. That, and the graphics suck dog balls.

  4. Sc0r says:

    Played it since alpha until the grinding and the ridiculous worldgen drove me crazy. height map looks like a bad paint job.
    other downside is, that no matter how much time (and money?) you invest in it, it can happen anytime that some raiders destroy everything and kill you, and you start by almost 0.

    except for that, its pretty decent and almost as nice as haven&hearth.

    • Jumwa says:

      I guess it’s as Jim says: you just don’t understand the pleasures of having everything destroyed after a long tedious grind and then having to start again from nothing.

      Get educated.

      • Sc0r says:

        haha yea :)

        Well, if you take haven&hearth, you also lose a lot when you die there, but your way there wasn’t grind but adventure(mainly consisting of searching valuables and being afraid of pkers) so it wasn’t a total waste when you die, its more like a reset, like “lets try again and do better this run” in salem it feels more like “oh no, i need to grind all over again”

        • communisthamster says:

          I’ve put about 600 hours into haven and hearth, but you know, I think that’s it for me and sandbox MMOs, possibly forever, until something truly great comes along. Maybe I’ll try salem 1.0 when it’s out, but I did enjoy Haven and Hearth a lot.

      • PopeJamal says:

        I don’t “understand” having my testicles smashed in with an aluminum bat either so I guess that’s two strikes against me.

  5. Chromie192 says:

    Is that Pete Townshend looking at me?

  6. Funso Banjo says:

    This game is truly awful. There a very small number of fanboys that populate their forums and say everything is fine, and deny the shortcomings, but they are so vocal that the developers seem to believe their twisted views. While those that get fed up just up and leave and barely make a whimper, and developers appear to learn nothing from them.

  7. Keymonk says:

    This game seems much like EVE Online in that it seems fascinating as a social experiment, but awful as an actual game.

    • Apolloin says:

      Apart from the part where tens of thousands of players are online on Eve at any given time and all willing to pay $15 a month for the privilige.

  8. FarmerZaku says:

    Seconding the comments saying this game is awful. It’s an interesting idea, but reallllly bad. Everything is incredibly tedious, and the world interactions are pretty much exclusively watching progress bars fill up. Remember what you guys were saying about Glitch? It’s like that, but ugly and you can be murdered at any time, making you re-grind the tedious parts you were so relieved to be through with. The landscape looks like it was made in old-school MS paint, too.

  9. Kamen Rider says:

    I’m pretty sure this is the first game in my life where the graphics put me off. There’s really no reason for them to look THIS awful. Even if they say they are all placeholder graphics because graphics aren’t important to this game.

    That being said I played what was pretty much the earliest beta people could play, at that time everything was either broken or not implemented yet so all I really had to go on was the graphics. It was a pretty silly decision to make that playable.

    • aleander says:

      Actually, considering how nice the style of the videos is, it’s surprising that the artist behind those didn’t get an aneurysm when witnessing the textures and worldgen quality.

      In fact, the world behaves as if everything was a cliff. Seriously, apparently US East Coast is just the coast of Norway, bus stacked together a billion times. Free climbing is apparently THE most essential colonist skill.

      Or maybe it’s just Apple Maps: The Game.

  10. creakinator says:

    I tried it out about 6 months ago and found it a horrible grind to get anything done. You had to walk for a long while to find anything useful. I tried to give it a fair try but couldn’t get into it at all. When I played it the biggest stopping point was starting the game. I resorted to some tutorial videos to help me play it. I played about 24 hours of the game, then deleted it. Maybe it is better now, but the basics were very had to learn.

  11. Chandos says:

    Played the beta (which is really an alpha). I was really excited by its premise and permadeath and all that. The problem with the game is that there is no game in it. The grind is just walk around, pick up stuff, eat them, raise a skill a tiny bit, rinse repeat. Not much strategy or challenge to it; just time you will never get back. I guess the theory is that at some point, after spending hundreds of hours, at some magical plateau, the fun shall start. And last until you are dead, permanently. Then you start again from scratch. I think if players are expected to lose everything and start from scratch so often, it should at least be shitloads of fun up to that point. But it is not. Just pixel hunting in simulated wilderness with crappy art. Oh, and community. What charming community.

  12. RyuRanX says:

    This game reminds me of this music: link to youtube.com

  13. frightlever says:

    I understand the plentiful Haven and Hearth references but how come nobody talks about Notch’s old game, Wurm Online, which is basically the same thing but in 3D, right?


    link to rockpapershotgun.com

    I tried it and didn’t much like it, but I’m not really the sociable sort.