So... I went the unvirtuous route. I went on a rampage in Yew, rotating my party around to help balance out levels (I noticed my front-line fighters were getting a lot of action and Aric was lagging behind a lot) as I cut down cleric after cleric after cleric, all in the name of money and experience, cringing a little every time I left the town and re-entered to start the process all over again. I bought Ivan and Olivia +2 Bows with the first wave of funds (they were still using slings and desparately needed an upgrade), loaded up on food, and then amassed cash for a trip to Ambrosia.
I think I had about 8500 or so gold and my party averaging level eight when I finally couldn't take the suspense anymore, hopping onto my pirate ship and seeking out the whirlpool. The wind was fairly uncooperative, but it wasn't long before the whirlpool drifting into sight and I boldly steered my ship into it, soon washing up on the shores of Ambrosia. Wandering around for a while led me to the Shrine of Dexterity, and I spent my cash boosting everybody's dexterity by about 20 points each - I figured I needed that most about now, making sure I could hit more and get hit less. I of course searched the shrine for a card as well, having been told that I should do so, then continued to explore.
|I fought the law, and the law... lost?|
I went on my murderous rampage of Yew a couple times to garner the cash to restock supplies, and since I didn't have any keys left and very few torches, I wandered over to Dawn to stock up in the guild. A series of bungled commands left me in a fight with a thief, and soon after a whole slew of guards. This was particularly tense for me, I wasn't sure my party was in any shape to handle fights like these just yet! But when I managed to come out on top in one fight, then a second, I thought maybe I could pull it off. And sure enough, some clever maneuvering and taking advantage of how my enemies seemed to choose their targets meant I could spread the damage around decently enough, and my party limped their way out of Dawn battered and beaten but alive after striking down six groups of guards - forty-eight guards in total. Man did that boost levels quick!
Tired of grinding in Yew, I made my way to Perinian, now that I had a good-sized bundle of torches to poke around a dungeon with. I think Ultima III is kind of in the same position as Ultima I as far as grindyness goes - sure it's necessary at times, but you've got so many ways of going about it that it never really feels dull. You can look for monsters on the landscape, you can explore dungeons, you can run about the towns and whack everything you see... it's all grinding at its heart, but you can approach it from several different angles, unlike Ultima II, which just felt like the same things over and over.
|I question the wisdom of slaughtering masses for stats.|
So that's where I called it a day, after some more fighting and messing around with my new high-level spells. I still need more cash for more stats, but I think my next method of doing so will be in looking for the last two Marks, Force and Snake, and then perhaps trying my luck at raiding Devil Guard for every cent it's worth. Seeing as how Ivan and Olivia are at level nineteen now, with Trevor at sixteen and Aric at fifteen, I think I can afford a few guard fights if it comes to that! And I still need to pay the Time Lord a visit too... still a lot to be done in Sosaria while I gather the moolah to develop my party further, and apparently a lot to say about it, too. And I'm raring to get to it!
|Two marks, four cards... getting there!|