NetEase’s post-apoc survival MMO Once Human is live – and already tearing up Steam


NetEase has been extremely busy the last few years, cranking out games and picking up studios to make more for what it apparently thinks is an insatiable or at least underserved western market, and this week, that roster includes Once Human, which officially launched last night on PC – both Steam and EGS.

Branded under NetEase’s Starry Studios label, the F2P game is essentially a crossover survival MMO featuring both PvE and PvP in a properly open world “inspired by SCP Foundation, Lovecraftian Horror and post-apocalyptic aesthetics.” And when the devs call it an MMO, they aren’t fibbing; the servers can hold 4000 people.

“Once Human is free to play and will immerse players in a thrilling, post-apocalyptic setting in which they join forces with other players to fight for survival and unravel the truth behind the ongoing cosmic invasion. Build sanctuaries, conquer terrifying enemies and see if you still hold the answer to what it means to be human. A mysterious extraterrestrial substance known as Stardust has contaminated the Earth, the planet has been reduced to a post-apocalyptic state and life, as we know it, is transformed into a twisted nightmare. It’s up to you, the Metas, to shape the future of humankind, whether you venture alone or forge alliances with fellow survivors.”

Uptake of the game is surely making NetEase happy, as the game just keeps racking up players. As I type this Wednesday morning, there are 100,000 people playing on Steam, and that number – and therefore the peak concurrency – just keeps going up.

Reviews, however, are mixed, owing to a range of issue during the launch, including a character creation bug (now fixed), queues, missing beta rewards, confusing monetization plans, poor keybind customization, and per-character purchases like cosmetics and battle passes. A major issue that’s driving player anger right now is the game’s privacy policy, which some players have called out as vague and potentially skeevy (the game asks for kind of a lot of info about the user!). NetEase has actually addressed the concerns with a long letter vowing not to use personal data frivolously. It also defends its launcher and says that Steam and EGS users don’t need to use the launcher if they’re concerned, but reviewers note you’ll need to download it to claim beta rewards.

Do note that Discord seems to be having issues this morning, so it’s not possible to join the Once Human Discord at the moment, as some of our writers discovered. Hopefully that’ll be sorted out for new joiners soon.

MOP’s own Andrew previewed Once Human in depth during Summer Game Fest last month and came away positive on the game’s survival features – and its emphasis on co-op PvE rather than forced PvP.

Source: Press release, official site, Steam, Twitter. Cheers, r00ch!
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