The first decision you will have to make in Tradewinds Odyssey is which character you want to play as. They are quite different, if not terms of game play then certainly in the flavour of the dialogue you will get out of them.
There are four choices, at least to begin with. There are some silhouettes that imply some unlockable characters, but we will start with the initial four.
Asterion the Minotaur
An Athenian escaped your Labyrinth, absconding with your sister. With meal delivery curtailed, you will have to start sailing the Aegean and find out what happened to sis. Asterion starts out in Herkalion with the least money of all the heroes, only 5000 Drachmas.
His starting fleet is a Small Vessel and a Unireme, but you pick up a Pentecost from an early quest, so you actually are in a good position for trade early on. His special ability is Hull Gore, which, when active, will increase the ramming damage your vessels inflict.
Jokes usually revolve around him threatening to eat people, and them standing up to him, or not. When forced to pay for a Library card to get a book needed for a quest, he informs the Librarian to “pray your lecture series does not disappoint me!”
Theophilos the Cynic
A philosopher that used to run with Socrates and Plato, but found the life too austere. When the old philosopher gets into trouble with the law, though, it’s up to Theophilos to bail him out. His starting fleet is the weakest of the heroes, just a Penteconter and a Small Vessel.
He starts out in Thebes with 10,000 coins, though. Between the proximity of trading locations and amount of money, it makes up for the shoddy boats. His special ability, Confuse, prevents enemies from attacking during combat, while you plug away.
His humour is based around trying to stay out of trouble, and using his wit to his advantage, or at least to our amusement. He refers to Plato and followers as “Socrates Fanboys.”
Petrakles the Athlete
He’s been to the games before, but there was an embarrassing situation involving performance enhancing substances. He wants to go back to the Olympics, but will have to trade his way into the money it will take.
Petrakles starts the game with a scandalous thong and 7000 drachmas. His first quest involves securing a second ship, so he has a Unireme and Small Vessel at his disposal before he leaves town. The town in question is Eresos.
His special ability is a Discus Blast that does heavy damage to the enemy. Jokes at his expense are plentiful and usually involve trying to get him to put some pants on. The accusations about performance enhancement will often tie in with his scant attire.
Phoebe the Priestess
Helen of Troy’s sister is obviously not the more famous of the siblings, but she has made a name for herself in the prophecy field, working out of Delphi. Unfortunately, people always want to blame the messenger, which keeps her busier than she would like.
Phoebe starts the game with a fat 10,000 cash and a good fleet consisting of a Unireme and Pent. Her special ability is Quick Fire, which increases damage dealt by archers while active. Her humour is usually sharp put downs and threats of creeps who use lines about her being almost as pretty as her sister.
Which Is Best?
Well, if you are Min/Maxing and looking for the one with the best numbers, Phoebe starts the game with 10 grand and a good fleet, and Asterion only gets 5 grand, but is the only hero to get three boats early. Those are your best choices. Petrakles only gets 7 grand, though he gets a Unireme, which is more than you can say for Theophilos. He’s got cash and a good starting location, but the worst fleet.
That is somewhat balanced by the usefulness of the special abilities. Stopping enemy attacks and dealing damage to the enemy, which Theophilos and Petrakles, respectively, can do, are always useful. Asterion and Phoebe’s skills only help if you have a fleet set up for ramming or for ranged combat, respectively.
The main thing is, the difference in game play isn’t that dramatic. A half hour into the game, you will have enough money and ships that the starting cash and fleet is pretty irrelevant. The most noticeable, both immediate and long term, impact of your decision will be in the quest lines specific to the character and their dialogue.
They are all very funny, but you will laugh hardest if you choose the character you’re fondest of or find most amusing. I picked Theophilos for this reason, and now that I have given all four a whirl, and found his starting fleet to be the worst, he is still my favourite.
Once you’ve decided on your alter-ego, you’re thrown into the game. It’s a big game with a lot to do though, so the first steps can be a little daunting. That’s why we put together a getting started guide for Tradewinds Odyssey.