You know what’s one of the best remedies for the post-holiday blues? All of the excitement of MMO year previews and new rounds of testing that tend to start in January. Rend is doing its part to bolster spirits, as the PvP sandbox announced that it will be kicking off its alpha test sometime in the next three months.
“Our next big step will be launching the Rend alpha in the first quarter of 2018,” Frostkeep Studios said. “We will initially begin with a brief round of Friends & Family testing to establish client build readiness and server stability before opening up alpha testing to our earlier pre-alpha players who will have immediate access. We will increase the tester pool over time and as needed, adding in waves of players who previously signed up for pre-alpha (no need to re-register on the website).”
The studio said that while the test will be under a “strict media embargo,” players won’t have to sign an NDA but will instead be encouraged to talk about it among the gaming community.
“Your choice of weapon will have a big impact on your play-style in Rend, from using massive ballistae to assault your enemies, to launching a spirit-world stealth bombing run — there are many choices for players to make.”
With its PvP focus, Rend is stocking up on plenty of weapons for players to use with impunity upon their competitors. A new dev diary talks about the “blasters and bombs” that can be chosen for the fight. Due to its survival sandbox nature, players will begin with crude weapons (such as throwing sticks) and work their way up to portable high-tech death.
The path of progression goes from stone age to medieval (crossbows, bows) to industrial (spike-launchers, bombs). There’s even a super-powerful ballista, which comes in several varieties and has to be mounted upon your fortress or club house.
What’s your favorite video game zone? Green hill zone? Marble zone? Aqua lake zone? When Rend comes out, players will find that zone biomes are more than just environmental set dressing — they’ll feature greatly into one’s chances of survival.
The team spent some time yesterday discussing the first few environments that players will progress through in Rend. These include the lush Valley, the pockmarked Center, the cold and black Cave, and the freezing Eternal Wastes. As players progress, they’ll find that each subsequent biome is tougher to survive yet offers better rewards.
The description of the Valley is an example of how the team imagines gameplay becoming steadily more challenging: “The further you get away from your Divinity Stone, the more dangerous the environment becomes. Traveling to the local watering hole is generally a safe bet, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you should probably be well equipped and bring a few friends. Spiders scuttle among the trees, wolves prowl the hills, and beautiful but mysterious elk look down their regal noses at all the other creatures in the Valley.”
Snooty elk, people. You don’t stand a chance.
Start small, grow wide: This is the class philosophy in the upcoming survival sandbox Rend. While there are only four classes in the game, players will be able to quickly differentiate themselves from others as they level up and make important decisions about how to develop their characters.
In today’s dev blog, the team outlines how the class system will work. Players will choose a mix-and-match pairing between a primary and secondary class, with each combo offering a different experience and set of tools than the others. Then players can earn and spend talent points to flesh out those roles.
“One of our main goals when designing these classes was to give an actual choice to the player. Each class has a benefit and a drawback, sometimes in the same talent tier,” Frostkeep said.
It should be quite obvious that the developers over at Rend are huge survival sandbox fans, because why else would you make a game in a particular genre? And in being great fans, the team has had plenty of first-hand experience into these games’ strengths and weaknesses.
In a new fireside chat, the devs talk about two key issues that many other survival sandboxes have, namely a promise of a great PvP war that never comes and an imbalance between player groups. To rectify this, Rend will force players to choose a population-limited faction from the start and then unleash a regular “Reckoning” in which all faction base shields drop to expose these structures to threats both PvE and PvP.
The chat goes on to say that once these core systems were in place, the team exploded with ideas on how to make Rend better, such as including an Ultima Online-like skill system. The decision to launch in early access was also defended, as the team said that the desire to generate as much feedback as possible prompted the move.