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Free Realms Class Overview: Cheffin' Ain't Easy

By Pamela Blalock on September 11, 2009

As one of the professions in Free Realms, the chef is a fun distraction from combat. As a chef, your primary concerns are with harvesting food and then cooking it. You harvest food at farms around the world and they are marked on your world map from the beginning. You cook at cooking tables you'll find throughout the world with your harvested materials.

Without an auction house, what you make will probably only benefit you and your guildmates. However, don't let that discourage you from cooking up a storm! What you do make is valuable to combat and other production jobs equally. Whether you're giving people that health boost they need or making them faster in production, you're helping other gamers. Some food makes you smaller in appearance and some makes you bigger while increasing your health as well!

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To get started, you'll need to unlock the job. There all four different NPCs you can talk to in order to get started. Auguste Frydaze in Highroad Junction, Helena in Stillwater Crossing, Simone in Crossroads, or Cloo in Sanctuary can get you started in the culinary arts. Obtaining stars, or experience, for the chef job requires you to pick up quests from these trainers and others found throughout the world. You'll be naturally guided to your next cooking trainer once you've unlocked the job from one of the four NPCs listed earlier.

Like most of the jobs in Free Realms, following the quest line provided will help you level up. You'll make many dishes along the way and knowing what to expect when cooking is vital. Cooking is a very interactive profession. First, you'll need to get ingredients. You'll need to harvest some from farms and buy others from cooking suppliers. Farms are already located on your map for you and are denoted by a little wagon with a melon in it. They show up as a purple dot in your minimap because farms are mini-games. Each farm has its own difficulty level which you'll see when clicking on the farming tools. Each farm also has its own objectives but you're usually going to attempt to get the ingredients you need and not worry about the objectives.

Harvesting is a tile matching game where you match like tiles in order to make them drop into your basket. A chain of like tiles, in this case, consists of at least three fruits or vegetables. A chain of three will fill the basket but not enough to count as one harvested ingredient. As you chain tiles together a bar below the basket will fill. Once the bar is filled completely you will acquire one of that fruit of vegetable. A chain of numerous fruits or vegetables makes the bar fill faster. You'll basically keep connecting tiles until time runs out.

After you've got your ingredients, it's time to get cooking. Select a cooking table and a list of the recipes you can create will open up. Cooking is an extremely interactive activity. Depending on what dish you're cooking, you will perform a series of steps in order to prepare and cook the food. For example, when cooking Spicy Vegetable Stirfry, a two-dot difficulty recipe, there are five objectives and five steps. You'll need three punkin, three sunleaf, three rainleaf, and seven butters (sold from a vendor).

The five objectives of Spicy Vegetable Stirfry are:

  • Primary: Cook up some Spicy Vegetable Stirfry!
  • Secondary: Finish in 35 seconds or less!
  • Bonus: Add the ingredients in two seconds or less!
  • Bonus: Chop the sunleaf in nine seconds or less!
  • Elite: Finish in 26 seconds or less!

The bonus and elite objectives are, of course, optional. However, if you're going for a high score and a place on the leaderboards, you'll need to complete those objectives. Even if you don't complete the secondary objective you'll still receive the dish you made since you've completed the primary objective.

The five steps to create Spicy Vegetable Stirfry include:

  • Smashing the punkin
  • Chopping the sunleaf
  • Chopping the rainleaf
  • Adding the ingredients to the skillet
  • Removing the food from the skillet

In the first step you're required to smash the punkin. This is done by hovering over the punkin with a "smasher" and timing clicks with the strength meter. If strategically placed, the "smasher" can hit more than one punkin at a time reducing the time spent waiting on the strength meter. In steps two and three, you'll chop the sunleaf and then the rainleaf. Although you chop these separately, they use the same mechanic. The item is on the chopping block and you rapidly left-click in order to chop it. Step four shows you the ingredients you just prepared on a list to the left of the skillet. You're to find those ingredients from a selection of multiple incorrect ingredients. You pick the ingredients up with the tongs and place each of them in the skillet. Finally, in step five you wait for each instance of the mixed ingredients to reach the perfect cooked color and then you click them out of the skillet.

All the while you're awarded points for your performance. If you burn the food you receive fewer points, if you remove it at the right time you receive the maximum amount, and so on. These points only matter if you're looking to land on the leaderboards.

Spicy Vegetable Stirfry is a recipe you'll learn while leveling up. Most recipes you'll learn through questing and leveling, but there are other recipes to purchase from vendors. You'll find these vendors throughout the world. For example, Bordon Cloo in Sanctuary has a few and Sous-Chef Elden in Merry Vale has some as well.

To conclude, the chef job is a fun and highly interactive one. There are other steps to the cooking process not listed in the Spicy Vegetable Stirfry example. Don't go into the profession thinking you're going to make a lot of coin. It's a nice job to max out and relatively easy if you're looking for the levels. Although you can reach 20 swiftly, the job is still a challenge to master. Being able to do three-dot recipes with all optional objectives complete is a feat to be conquered. A place on the leaderboards is always a goal as well.

Pamela Blalock / I write about MMOs at [link=www.examiner.com/mmo-in-national/pamela-blalock] Examiner.com[/link]. games, writing, cats equals happiness.

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