The buggiest yet best game you've either never played or stopped playing halfway through because of the bugs. However!
There is a patch out, made last year-ish, that helps keep the bugs at bay. There's also a high resolution patch that allows you to play the game on your monitor at higher than 800x600.
I mean, that might have cut it back on the ol' CRT monitors, but nowadays we demand widescreen, goddamnit.
To get started, here are some links to mods, and some general tips:
The official patch to 1.074
<- apply this before the unofficial patches
The big unofficial patch
High res town maps
High quality music
High res UI mod
- Use the arrow keys to move the screen around you. This will help keep your wrist from moving around so goddamn much.
- While there aren't the keyboard shortcuts you might have hoped there'd be, Drew and I have found four that matter:
W - opens the map. The map is nice because if you've rolled by a building with an address plate (i.e. a general store) it will appear on your map with a question mark.
F7 - Quick save. Arcanum is tough. It's hard to play this game and not get frustrated with dying every goddamn time you talk to someone. Save often, and maybe you'll live.
F10 - Changing the UI. Arcanum has a minimized UI and a regular UI. Some people prefer either, but for the most part I find that the regular UI has the best advantages because it simply has more buttons.
R - not as important as the other hotkeys, but R tosses you into combat mode so you can get a few hits off on enemies before they shit all over you.
While they are unofficial patches, the nerd that created them wanted to keep the game pure, so it wasn't changes to the game so much as fixes. Definitely the best unofficial patch I've ever seen.
Gameplay Tips, courtesy of one of the better walkthroughs
You can put any objects you want into your hotkey slots, so it’s useful to
keep some slots available for large inventory objects (like armor) so you can
carry more items around.
Tarant makes a good hub for your adventures. There is a gypsy there to
identify your objects, and the junk dealer will buy most anything and is a
The best two things to buy at the character creation shop: lockpicks and a
fine steel dagger.
Don’t use trash bins to store your objects. They get emptied periodically.
Do use trash bins to “throw away” objects you don’t want your party members
to pick up.
The easiest way to hear all the rumors for a town is to talk to a bartender.
You can get into a conversation loop and keep asking for rumors until there
are no more to hear.
If you need to pick up a large object, but you don’t have enough room in your
inventory and you can’t tell how big the object is (and therefore don’t know
how much room to create), try to pick up the object, and when that fails,
drop an object. You’ll create a “junk pile” with the large object, and
you’ll be able to see how big it is.
If you click on the sign or plaque identifying a building, the name of the
building will appear on the area map.
If you wear heavy gloves, they’ll adversely affect your pick pocketing skill.
Save your game before entering bars. Patrons will randomly bet you 500 gold
on trivia questions, insult you, ignore you, or even attack you.
When traveling on the world map, you can set waypoints any place on the map,
not just on known locations.
To identify an object using a scroll: select the scroll, move it to the hand
icon on the right side of the inventory screen, and then select the item you
want to identify.
At several points in the game, you’ll receive a note or a book, and a quest
will only be triggered once you read the item. So even if you’ve played
through the game once, be sure to read everything that comes your way.
Non-obvious items you should hang onto: shovel, kathorn crystal, Molochean
Hand amulet, mithril, scroll of shrink, offerings for the altars quest.
There are a bunch of background you can choose for each race and sex.
You could even play Sling Blade :3
Here's what I've ended up with:
Milly Tuppins, magickal debutante extraordinaire
There are a bunch of choices to make for your character as the story progresses. Magick, as it's called in Arcanum, has many schools of knowledge, and all of them are helpful in their own right. The best way for a mage to compete with an armor-touting technology fag is Shield of Protection, which will boost your AC as long as you have it enabled.
Going technology? Make sure you have at least one point in Melee in addition to your Firearms skill so you're not shit out of luck at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, it takes some time to get techs up and running in this game, so be prepared to save often, because you'll bite the dust very very quickly unless you're smart about things.
The guides say to be careful with your leveling points (you get 1 every level, and 2 every 5 levels), but I've kind of been frivolous with them. Unless you're mastering a skill, it's almost useless to put points into them, though.
Throughout the game, you can meet people who will help to train you as an apprentice, expert, and eventually a master in certain skills, such as melee, haggle, persuasion, firearms, bow, etc. etc. Getting these apprenticeships and expert...ships are helpful because they boost your skill even though you may only have one or two points in the skill. Definitely worth the 500 gold you'll pay for expert rank.
We start out on the IFS Zephyr. Like the Titanic, only super burnable.
Oh woe as me! Why did I book passage on a damned airship!
He has the biggest nose, but you've gotta help him out.
You meet your first party member at the crash site. He sticks with you for a decent amount of the game
Characters with an amazing vocabularity!
Second try D:
You can even ransack ancient Elven ruins for the sake of 300 gold pieces
As you can see here, this is the high res UI as compared to the old UI in the other screens. Definitely worth the download.
If you didn't buy this game while in high school like the rest of us, you can find it pretty cheap on Amazon.com (under $20!!)
Drew-B, scarlet blvd., and scarlet ave. are all currently playing through the game, and all of us are definitely willing to help answer your questions!
The game has a lot of weird tiny problems that can get in the way of an enjoyable playthrough, but it's so worth it. If you get frustrated, take a break from it if you need to, because uninstalling this game is the biggest mistake. This game is worth it!!