Halloween is approaching, and in both Second Life and Sansar, suitably themed regions and experiences are appearing; the chance of a US $10,000 prize in the Sansar’s Scariest.
I’ve no idea if House of Woe by Nick the Brain Guy is an entry in the Sansar contest, but as it attracted my attention in the Atlas, I decided to hop in and take a look. It’s a nicely interactive experience – one which can actually take up a fair amount of time, and can be enjoyed in a group. However, it does have one or two issues.
Welcome. I see you made it out of this dreadful storm. I am the butler, and I greet you in the name of Baron Nicolas Winterborne, lord of this house and grounds. He’s quite the master of obscure knowledge you know; his wife is too, but I would advise steering clear of her. Now, now! No need for hysterics! I bid you enter – and staayyy…
Thus resonates a sepulchral voice as you arrive in the entrance hall of a great manor house, the doors to the dimly lit hall creaking open before you as lightning flashes and thunder peels against the hiss of rain and howl of wind. Before you enter the main hall, I strongly advise you collect one of the candlesticks to one side of the entrance way (left-click to select and pick up in Desktop mode); you will need the light! More are scattered around the house should you be forced to drop one to collect something else.
I don’t want to give too much away from those who wish to solve the mystery and “escape” the house. Suffice it to say, there are three items scattered through the house (which extends over several floors) which must be found and carried to the entrance. What they are I’m not saying – you’ll have to discover this for yourself. Just explore the main hall carefully, and listen for the disembodied voices of Lady and Lord Winterborne who will respectively tell you what to do and offer clues as to where to find things.
This is an involved experience, requiring time to complete. It’s also one ideal for tackling in a small group – say 2-4 people – which makes carrying things a lot easier, as well as adding to the fun of exploration and discovery. However, it is an experience not without one or two problems.
The ambient lighting, for example, is far too dark (i.e. a blank screen) in places when in Desktop mode – thus making candle carrying essential. Ryan Schultz, whom I bumped into while exploring, reported these same locations offered sufficient illumination to be navigable sans a candle when in VR mode. However, a bigger frustration lies in carrying things (at least in Desktop mode). In fairness, this isn’t a fault in the experience per se, being an overall Sansar issue, but it does unfortunately intrude into enjoying House of Woe.
Simply put, a collision with something (again, I’m talking in Desktop mode, as I don’t use VR headsets, so cannot speak to those) – a door for example – when carrying an object, can “snatch” the object away from you, requiring you to pick it up again. Depending on where the object ends up (it could be embedded in / behind a wall, for example), this can get maddeningly frustrating when it happens a number of times, causing gritted teeth and muttering (and demonstrates why Sansar isn’t as yet ready for the more casual user).
Which is a shame, because House of Woe can be an involved visit as you wander around, up, down and through the mansion – and there are a lot of hauntingly nice touches to look out for, as well as trying to find the special objects.