To be able to play the crafting MMO Salem, one of the things you need is a game client. There are a few clients available that are based on the default client, but with added features to improve gameplay. Some may say it is cheating to use modifications (mods) like this, but when comparing the default client, or Vanilla – as it is called, to the most popular modified client, Ender’s client, many will say it is a necessity more than cheating.
Comparing Salem clients: Default vs Ender
Choosing the right client to play Salem can mean the difference between life and death of a character.
Default client - Vanilla
Before we get started I would like to recommend reading up on what kind of game Salem is - unless you know already.
As much as I prefer to play a game without mods, it is simply not possible when it comes to the default client. There are 3 things that speak for the default client and one that really breaks it.
Visible options menu
This menu is visible at all times making it much easier to access the somewhat hidden logout button. Ender’s client can hide and show this menu, but the button for it is very small and often causes clicking outside the window (PC).
Only one bar available made for numeric keys. It is slim and doesn’t take up much space.
The overall placement of menus and bars are tidy and neat.
There is only one camera option available and it currently distorts the proportions completely, giving players headaches and seasickness when moving around. The developers have announced that the camera is “subject to change”.
Ender is a player and user of the Salem forum who has taken on the project of supplying the Salem players with a reliable client that, unlike Vanilla, doesn’t work against you. There are those who have suggested that the developers at Seatribe should hire Ender as a UI (User Interface) developer.
The most notable improvements are:
Improved mini map
The mini map shows not only items that can be foraged, such as berries and mushrooms, it also shows enemies – both humans and animals. Snakes are quite difficult to see on the ground and since they are venomous they can be quite the nuisances.
There are several camera options to choose from. Some are fixed in one place and others follow the character in a smooth motion.
Improved access to wielded items
There is a 4-slot bar next to the player portrait that gives faster access to wielded items in hands, as well as the purse and backpack. Without this, players would have to make a pit stop in the equipped items screen.
Storing mini map
The client has the option to store 100x100 pixel images that, coupled with a separate program, can be put together to create maps - a small feature that makes such a difference in the long run.
The mini map can also be moved and resized, which is needed to properly access the shown options menu. It appears underneath the mini map when shown.
Ender’s client has 2 action bars - one for numeric keys and one for F-keys. The bars can be moved, rotated (vertical and horizontal) and locked into place. Each bar also has “sub-bars” that can be accessed with key combinations.
The only downside is that these bars are slightly wider due to the lock and rotate options. Mac users also can’t use the F-key bar effectively as it requires the use of the FN key to activate the keys.
In my opinion, this is the most important feature of the Ender’s client. Activating it and selecting an area on the ground shows the elevation of each tile. Many buildings and structures require flat land to be built and it can be quite difficult to tell if a tile is really flat or not by just looking at the ground.
There are lots of other, minor, features that reduce irritation when playing. For example, the position of all windows is remembered between closing and opening them. The default client returns all windows to their original starting position.
Compost bins and other structures show the remaining resources within them in the shape of a bar. Fireplaces also show the remaining coal used to cook straw wrapped food.
Detailed video on the user interface of Ender's client - by Eegorevids
Using the default Salem client may be the way the game was supposed to be played, but in my opinion, it wastes valuable time on focusing on “the little things” – time that could be better spent scouting the surrounding area for enemies.
The only downside with Ender’s client is that Mac users with older OSX versions may experience performance issues when using the dig tool while running iTunes 10, coupled with one or more applications.
The Ender’s client can be downloaded here.