Everything is moving in Rend. That much should be expected, of course, because the game is still early in its testing cycle. In this particular case, though, the faction base is moving from the prior location to a spot closer to Yggdrasil. This has a number of benefits, as it gives players a taste of what to expect during the first journey to the base, provides clearer movements to the other biomes, and offers the developers a chance to change the map a bit further.
This also helps adjust the overall balance of the game by setting creature movement speeds to account for the new location, and since the game’s taming system is arriving in the same update it addresses multiple issues at once. None of the changes impact the overall timeline, so you can look forward to seeing the results of these shifts yourself sooner rather than later. Our own Andrew got a chance to see how the game is coming along on E3, so you can also take his word for it.
Frostkeep Studios showed off plenty for Rend at E3, as you can see from our hands-on with the game, but the studio still has more to share. It unveiled another boime last Friday, showing off the lush landscape that surrounds hearthhome with a flyover video. Stagswood is home to — you guessed it — stags. But this survival PvPvE game doesn’t feature just ordinary stags. No, these majestic luminescent creatures have beautiful flora growing out of their mighty antlers. They live among the skogurfrut bushes and hardwood saplings under the canopy. Also living amid the foliage (likely stalking you) are wargs, and down in caves you’ll find vicious looking Ursas. Check out some screens below, then watch the flyover and collect a few survival tips on Rend’s official site.
When I met Frostkeep Studios’ CEO Jeremy Wood and crew at GDC earlier this year, I walked away impressed. I finally felt like I understood why other MOP staff are so excited about this flying-under-the-radar title. And this year at E3, I not only saw a more finished build of Rend but got some hands-on time with the game. I can’t say the floor demo did the game any justice, but what I heard from Wood and co-founder Solomon Lee sounded like the kind of forward thinking that only comes from developers who know the history of the genre and their playerbase.
Although I think I could start a hype train, I’m going to try to try to reserve judgment for a little longer. Rend may not be an MMO (it’s a moddable survival game with factions), but it has the potential to feed that MMO hunger we know you’re craving.
The big focus in Rend is about building and augmenting your faction’s base, but there are other parts of the map worth vying for as well. The first development roadmap feature, control points, is currently available to test in the alpha, and it gives each faction a chance to earn valuable resources at the cost of a more vulnerable outer base.
Nine control points are available across the map, in strategic locations as well as on borders and near the center. Once a faction captures a control point, it can build bases around the control point, and the point itself will enjoy a few hours of safety before it can be recaptured. However, it’s still vulnerable, as all three factions will want it for their own due to a steady stream of spirits and the bonus for capturing.
Of course, attacking and recapturing the point lets you take anything still there when it swaps sides as well as offering other rewards based on how long the prior faction held that point. So it’s something to skirmish over as you fight for control of the overall map.
The day we all thought would never come finally arrived, Bless Online is here! First it was in the head start, then it was fully into its… open beta? Early access? Whatever it’s calling itself these days. And it is having some pretty serious issues. So what we’re learning here is that the beautiful dream you have might not hold up to the cold light of reality.
Other beta news, huh?
Wow, there’s more bad news in there than any of us thought. Let’s try to assuage any of that bad taste with the list of games in testing just below, although some of that might have put another bad taste in your mouth by swapping test phases without us noticing. If that’s the case, do let us know in the comments? That’s helpful.
The alpha testing for Rend has just recently begun, and as the game’s official Twitter account helpfully informed us, the game is still on track for its Early Access release later this year. Of course, distinctions between Early Access and alpha testing can be rather hazy at this point, so it’s a good thing that Rend’s developers have a roadmap both outlining the overall plans for the game and explaining that they see “Early Access” as the point when the game could be seen as complete without any further updates.
Eager to be part of the testing but not there just yet? Good news; the next wave of test invitations should be getting sent out along with the improved PvP mechanics update, which lines up with the first bullet item on the alpha development roadmap. So things are moving along quite nicely as the game’s development continues. If you’re excited for the game moving forward, there’s every reason to get further pumped up by the news.
Sometimes, the title “survival sandbox” might seem a bit inaccurate or limiting. But then you get into stuff like Conan Exiles and Wild West Online, games that… well, pretty much place you inside of a box of sand to survive. And they both launched this week! Which means that we’re waving farewell to them from this particular column, but we hope everyone has fun in that box full of sand. Oh, there’s so much sand there, you wouldn’t believe. Sandy everything.
Other beta news? Hey, why not, it’s a free country. How fun.
Want more betas? Boy, you always want more. Good thing there’s a list just below! But do let us know if something slipped into proper launch without letting us know or if the developers seem to have dropped off of the face of the planet. That… latter one might be more likely.
After all the talk and hullabaloo, we can understand being eager to take on Rend as an actual game instead of a concept. Good news, then! The first alpha test will be playable now! That’s no assurance that you’ll be one of the people playing it, however, since it is an invite-only test and there are no firm numbers on how many people will be allowed in. But you can sign up and have a realistic hope of getting in, that’s good enough.
Rend, for those who have forgotten, is a faction-based survival sandbox focused around a mix of PvE and PvP combat with a time-limited server reset mechanism. We had a chance to peek at the game’s current state at both GDC and PAX East, so check those out if you’d like a refresher about what we saw. (Which, for the record, was good stuff.)
My experience with Rend last year felt a bit like stepping into a faerie circle and slipping into another world, sneaking up to a rather secret meeting in a restaurant on the Boston pier and seeing this game that at once seemed like a very obvious take on a familiar formula while also being immediately appealing to me personally. So it was a given that I would go back, and I can confirm that the fish restaurant itself was very real; I had some fried fish. It was tasty.
Of course, by that point I had already seen Rend again because it had a booth on the show floor showing off what it had on offer.
I didn’t get to actually play the game on the show floor this year, but I did get a guided tour through all of the things that the game had gone through in the year since I had seen it. As I was told repeatedly, when I saw the game then, it was the work of five guys crammed into a basement working on something. Now, though, the game is approaching something much bigger, better, and brighter.
I’m already old and bitter when it comes to survival games. I’ve killed zombies, dinosaurs, infected bears, maybe even infected dinosaurs, and people. Lots of people. Even for food, and I don’t mean apples. I’ve been been forced to hand over my clothes in the freezing cold, drowned myself to escape imprisonment, and endured beaches full of dead, starved naked men on a PvE server that was unable to provide food for its citizens. It’s been the worst parts of The Walking Dead when I’ve been looking for the “It’s going to be OK!” moments. All this during what’s largely proven to be an unending “Early Access” period.
To say I’m critical of the survival genre at this point may be an understatement. By all accounts, someone might think I hate them, and they’d be half right. I hate most of what I’ve played. There’s cool stuff, but it’s like finding a $1 bill in what you hope was a pool of mud. It’s cool, but not really something you want to do a lot of. You mostly want the good stuff. Frostkeep’s upcoming survival MMO, Rend… well, it’s hard to not get excited, but my time talking to the developers actually gave me some faith for the future.
The last week of the year is always a time of anticipation and a fair amount of “let’s get this dumb year finished already,” so it comes as no surprise that most beta-related news this week is all about getting ready for next year rather than working too hard at the remaining one. Rend, for example, is looking forward to starting its alpha in the start of 2018. What day? Not important yet. It’ll be the start of the year, that’s all you need to know.
Other anticipatory news of the week?
And with that, we bring the end of Betawatch… for 2017. Seriously, we’ll be back here next week like always, and we’ve got our usual list below. If something has skipped off to another phase without us noticing, please, do let us know in the comments. Stay safe, and we’ll see you all again when 2018 rolls around.
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Most Anticipated MMORPG, which was awarded to Star Citizen last year for the third year in a row, though it was an incredibly close vote. (And yes, we recognize the irony of Star Citizen mopping up both negative and positive awards.) This year’s discussion on most anticipated was close too, but there’s more a sense of frustration since a lot of the games we’re picking from here year after year are the same – because they still aren’t out.
Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Anticipated MMORPG of 2018 and Beyond is…
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.