Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town plays out very much like your typical Harvest Moon-like (this is to be expected, since the Story of Seasons franchise is the true successor to the old Harvest Moon games). You’ll grow crops, raise animals, woo the townsfolk, and live a happy little life in a rural community. However, in Pioneers of Olive Town there’s something pernicious bubbling under the surface of it all: the Maker Mishap of 2021.

In order to refine basic ingredients into more useful, processed ones, you’ll need a piece of equipment called a maker. There are different makers for different tasks: the Lumber Maker processes logs into lumber, and the Ingot Maker processes ore into ingots, and so on.

If it ended there, I would be fine with it. But there are tons of different makers. There’s the Thread Maker, the Powder Maker, the Dye Maker, the Essence Maker, the Brick Maker, the Mayonnaise Maker, the Seasoning Maker, the Seed Maker, the Condiment Maker, the Textile Maker, the Yogurt Maker… do I need to keep going or do you get the point? This isn’t the end of the list.

Some of these makers seem completely unnecessary. The Mayonnaise Maker only makes mayo. The Butter Maker only makes butter, and the Cheese Maker only makes cheese. The Condiment Maker processes beans into soy sauce or rice into vinegar, while the Seasoning Maker can make salt, pepper, and sugar. Surely some of these could have been combined into one, right? Why isn’t there a maker that can make condiments and seasonings? And mayo is a condiment, I might add, so why can’t I make that in a Condiment Maker?

Another frustrating thing about makers is that they can only make one product at a time. You feed five ore into an Ingot Maker, then wait for several in-game hours, and out pops a single ingot. You can’t preload them with more ore and then just let them run in the background.

In your first couple seasons, this probably won’t seem all that bad. Sure, it’s a little bit obnoxious, but you can deal. However, as you get deeper in, you find your dependency on these makers to grow deeper by the day. When you’re working with four different types of ore, five types of wood, and a whole bunch of different fabric types (I’ve lost count at this point), and you need all of those things in vast quantities, you’re going to eventually find yourself cornered into building a maker farm.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town

And your maker farm is going to take up a vast amount of precious land. While the base of a maker is about the size of a floor tile, each maker takes up not one but four tiles of space. I think this is maybe set up this way so you can navigate all the way around a maker no matter where you place it, but it seems a bit much to me.

Eventually, you can make a larger version of each type of maker; these are the Giant Makers. Initially, I thought the Giant Makers were about to relieve some of the mounting maker burden.

I should point out that one of these Giant Makers is insanely expensive to make. The Giant Seed Maker, for example, costs 10 Mirage Lumber, 10 Orichalcum Ore, 5 Scarecrows, 10 Wood Charcoal, and 200 Mirage Grass. Keep in mind, the ores and lumber here are top-tier, and it’s super rare. Sacrificing 10 of each is kind of a big deal. And that’s on top of having to craft not one, but five scarecrows.

But it would all be worth it if you could process more than one seed at a time, right?

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town

As it turns out, a Giant Seed Maker takes up nine tiles instead of four, and it can process two crops at a time instead of one. For context, a Seed Maker processes a single vegetable or flower into two seeds. A Giant Seed Maker processes two vegetables or flowers (of the same type) into six seeds. Sure, the output is better, but the amount of work it takes to make a single Giant Seed Maker is just not worth the effort. In fact, it feels a bit insulting that, after countless trips to Stonebreaker Valley to harvest ore, that the result would be a gargantuan machine that hogs space and still doesn’t allow you to process more than two crops at a time.

Now, I’m told this issue is being addressed in update 1.0.5, which is expected to hit the game at some point in the future. I’m honestly not sure when… I’ve heard May, but who knows?

Anyway, developer Marvelous is allegedly tossing around the concept of allowing a Maker to process several materials at once. While this is good news, I doubt the core issue can be fixed without a massive overhaul. Sure, I’ll take the ability to drop a stack of ore into a maker, but this doesn’t really change the fact that I will still need an army of makers to be able to do everything I need to do in late game. And by “late game,” I really just mean the end of the first year, which is more like early mid-game than actual late game. How much will this problem have snowballed by actual late game? I can only imagine.

I’m having a good enough time with Pioneers of Olive Town that I’ll keep playing it for a while yet. However, the Maker Mishap is starting to crush my spirit a bit. When you combine this with the painfully limiting amount of inventory space you have at any given time (forcing you to build chests, which also take up a pretty good chunk of land), I’m starting to doubt that my Olive Town residence will be a long one.

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