Friday, July 19, 2024

Initial Impressions: Throne and Liberty Global Beta

 I jumped into the Throne and Liberty global beta yesterday.  What I was welcomed into was part single player RPG, part MMO, and all beautiful.  Here are some more initial impressions.

 One thing that jumped out at me was the performance.  There are tons of players everywhere in the starting areas and the game looks amazing everywhere you go.  At no point have I had any hint of performance issue.  No lag, no freezing, no odd FPS dips, nothing that I could even call a hiccup in performance.  The game runs like a dream even with tons of players zipping around.

 As mentioned the game looks amazing.  The world itself is breathtaking and the game regularly treats players to fly by overviews of areas offering amazing views of the landscape.  The details are awesome as well.  Rocks look like rocks.  When you go into a house in town it is full of furniture, nick-knacks, and other details; a real sense that "someone lives here".

A screenshot from the Throne and Liberty global beta
An in-engine bird's eye view of the first major city Kastleton

 Amazingly this is all on the backdrop of a massive open world where players, at the click of a button, can zip from one spot to a next via the game's teleport function.  Zip being the key word: there is no loading screens.  I was teleporting from areas with dozens of players into areas with hundreds of players and as fast as the teleport animation could animate I was teleported.  Then at one point I hopped on a boat that started moving and again no loading screens; the boat just took me from island to island to island and then back to port.  Whatever magic sauce they have to make this world this seamless needs to be shared with other developers!

A screenshot from the Throne and Liberty global beta
A screencap I sent a friend asking if "are there lots of people playing?".  This is one of the starter area event hubs.  Note: I have turned on player names in settings (it is off by default).

 The game also gives multiple ways to traverse the world.  Along with the normal walk/run there is also the ability to shapeshift into a creature that makes you run faster which is the game's version of mounts it seems.  Also there is shapeshifting to glide, which seems to be a standard feature in most games now.  Jump off a cliff and shift into a bird and glide across the open world.  Then there is grappling where you can grapple up to places.

 The only downside of the traversal is that there is no vaulting in the game (i.e. being able to grab a ledge and pull yourself up and over).  A short stone wall may as well be a giant castle wall for your ability to get around it.  This also goes for various rocks that look like you could jump up on them but  the game just doesn't let you.  It's also not consistent: sometimes a jump gets you over and other times its like there are invisible walls blocking you.  This is odd considering if you can figure out a high point nearby you can just glide over the obstacle.

A screenshot from the Throne and Liberty global beta
Riding in a boat.

 The game is also full of things to do.  Quests of all shapes and size dot the landscape.  There is a lot of variety to the quests as well.  One quest had me transformed into a rat trying to avoid a cat only to find out the cat is a shapeshifted bad guy that I ended up fighting.  The story quests also have single-player RPG feel to them as the camera zooms in and you get an up close an personal dialogue sequence.  The game also quasi-teleports you into your own private copy of areas like houses where key story elements happen (again without a loading screen!). The story quests are also full of movie-like sequences.  I am skipping most of them now saving that content for launch.

A screenshot from the Throne and Liberty global beta
The cat and mouse quest!

 Before I end the initial impressions here I want to talk about the combat.  At its heart it is a tab target combat system.  There is an action mode that can make the combat feel more "action" but it seems the general consensus from experienced players in the Korean version of the game is that you should use the "classic" combat mode that is traditional tab target.  I am torn here as I like the action mode but I can see where in larger fights you will need to be in classic.  The muscle memory between the two is going to be entirely different as well so I don't see it being viable to switch between them in high end content.

 In terms of complexity the combat so far is standard fare.  Put abilities on your hotbar and press the buttons until the enemy dies.  There is not much need for movement aside from just wanting to move.  Most of the early game combat is just pressing your attack button once to start attacking and watching your character do the work.  The story boss fights were a little harder but not by much.  There is some timing required around the defense skill when an enemy flashes the right symbol.  


A screenshot from the Throne and Liberty global beta
Players need to activate their defensive ability when this symbol appears.

 I haven't gotten too far into trying out different weapons but the game does let you switch them at any time.  You can equip two and switching between them is easy enough. Skills for a specific weapon can also be used at any time regardless if its the current active weapon or not so that was nice not having to switch to get access to the second weapons ability.  There are tons of skills for each weapon so it will take time to figure out what makes sense.  

 One thing I want to note that was disappointing with the massive beautiful open world is that when you get to the main areas they are filled with wandering piles of monsters.  That is fine as there is more than enough to go around for all the hordes of players but it makes the game feel very lifeless.  For as amazing as the world looks that all goes away when there is a field with 100 wolves just standing around waiting to be killed.

 Over all I've enjoyed the beta but I can't say it "hooked" me.  I do want to keep playing a bit more to firm up whether I want to play at launch but compared to games like New World and Once Human where I put 50+ hours into their open betas Throne and Liberty didn't have the same feeling.

A screenshot from the Throne and Liberty global beta
Goodbye my little friend.  The game gives you a pet-like creature called an Amitoi.  The one you start with is helpfully named "Helpie" but *spoiler* you do have to say good bye to them.

 Looking into the SteamDB Charts for the beta I was surprised to see a much, much smaller volume of players.  In a year where we've seen random titles hitting millions of players it felt like an open beta for a much anticipated MMO would fly up the charts but it topped out at just over 61,000.  The game is on multiple platforms so Steam isn't the only data point but I'd of expected a lot more interest in this game.

SteamDB Chart for Throne and Liberty Beta
Not as many players as expected on Steam

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Once Human Surprises

 One of the things I liked about the Once Human demo prior to it's launch was that it kept surprising me.  Every time I felt like the demo was about to get stale something else jumped up to pique my interest.  It may be a puzzle that took me a few minutes to figure out or maybe it was unlocking a new tree in crafting and the possibilities that come with it. Once Human is full of surprises and I wanted to share some that I've learned since launch.

 After I unlocked the garage and got the three main vehicles (motorcycle, car, jeep) in the game I thought that was it for vehicles and it was just about upgrading each of those.  To my surprise I learned about the truck and tractor trailer from the medium and large garages which allow you to create mobile bases.  I had no idea this sort of thing was possible in the game!

  This means players can effectively make a "battle bus" mobile base to roll through towns terrorizing the local deviant population.  When I say mobile base I mean mobile base where the player places and builds the base on the truck or trailer just as they would at their home.  This includes auto turrets, drones, workbenches, and that cute stuffed sheep everyone gets early in the game.

 Taking the mobile base to another level and combining it with the vending machines in the game and voila you have a mobile shop that can be rolled out to your neighborhood hotspot to serve the needs of your customers anywhere anytime (just be aware your mobile home can be destroyed).  

mobile vending machine once human
Coming to a neighborhood near you soon!

 It really is mind blowing that a massively multiplayer online game where you can build a base just about anywhere also then lets players build mobile bases that can go and park just about anywhere!  Not only that but then to have things like vending machines which can be advertised/viewed on the map!  Oh and bases (mobile or not) can have hundreds of items in them letting for really impressive visual (and functional) builds!

 Speaking of bases I am amazed how deep and complex they can get.  What we saw in the demo just scratched the surface.  As I near the max level of 50 and start maxing out my memetic skills I am getting into various areas like automated logging and mining platforms, water pumps, water purification, and all of the possibilities that come with combining them together.

 For example I learned today that certain areas (which I'm not quite sure how to identify yet) have contaminated water which you can pump via a water pump and then 1 out of 10 times in purifying it you will get acid (a key end game crafting material that you need TONS of).  Now I need to figure out if I can hook this all up on a mobile base and go out and do some mobile water pumping!

 Also to stress what you can do with these systems as an example: water flows via actual pressure so it needs a pump to go up.  However with some creative planning you can use gravity to your advantage to save on having to pump it.  And a lot of this "just works" without having to think about it.  Just connect A to B and it knows what to do.  Fortunately they are not strict on pipe placement so it's fine if it clips through walls and structures.

 Before you even get to all the cool automated systems that get unlocked with water pumps and electricity there is the deviant system where you can lock your little Pokemon-like creatures up and have them do various tasks.  Some go out and harvest, others product rare materials, and others have just "I didn't expect that" functions.

 One of the surprising ones generates "dark portal" pieces that let you make a portal.  Place one end in your base and one somewhere else and they are connected.  Go in one and come out the other.  Of course one of the first things done was to put one on the ground and encourage folks to jump in only to realize it is a jump to their death.  

 Then I more recently got the deviant Artisan's Hand which generates parts that lets players get around repairing armor/weapons that can't normally be repaired.  You can only repair gear you craft yourself.  Anything traded for or looted is used until it breaks.  With Artisan's Hand you can craft potions that repair the lowest durability item you have equipped.  Equip just the one piece of gear and bingo bango bongo you can repair it without having to be the owner.

 I swear there is a deviant for everything and I just have a handful!  Heck there is a gingerbread house that generates crumbs that can be used to make potions that do nothing other than let you transform into a random object like a tombstone.  It has no purpose as far as I can tell other then letting you hide.

 Oh and I found out the little beaver dudes can not only harvest trees but randomly can show up with a piece of furniture!  Who doesn't like more crap to put in their base.

A screenshot from Once Human showing the beaver deviant finding a piece of furniture
Little beaver dude found something other than a tree to gnaw back to the base!

 With all these surprises and a never ending supply of what seem like new deviants being discovered I am amazed there is not a central "Once Human DB" that has sprung up.  Maybe I am missing it but I can't find anything like NWDB for New World.  This game really would benefit from something like it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Why I always carry a torch in Once Human

 Did you know there are chests and secret areas blocked off via vines in Once Human?  

 You may have come across a chest locked up with vines but it is easy to overlook secret areas covered in vines that may hide hidden goodies.  To get rid of the vines you need fire and may not always have or be willing to use a molotov cocktail for the task.  This is where a torch comes in hand!  You can clear the vines with a single attack from a torch.

A screenshot from Once Human showing a chest covered in vines
A vine covered chest.  Use a fire attack to remove the vines.  A torch is a perfect weapon for that task!

 Also the torch is a pretty good PvE melee weapon; especially with the Blaze Blessing mod as it returns 5% HP when killing an enemy that was affected by burn and the torch applies burn!  So for those unique events that send swarms of enemies at you there is no better weapon than the torch.  Just smack them all down and heal every time one of them dies.

A screenshot of a perk mod in Once Human for the torch weapon
Blaze Blessing mod makes the torch that much better!




Monday, July 15, 2024

Monday Screenshots: Once Human

 Last week flew by and Once Human has consumed my gaming time.  Consumed to the point I didn't even blog through my early launch adventures!  So at minimum let me drop a bunch of screenshots from my launch adventure.  Enjoy!

Note: I am on server NA PVP01-00003 (World 6 is my main layer I hang out in and have my base)

A screenshot from the game Once Human
Hello World!

Off we go to a new world of adventure

A sheep to help me sleep.

The start of my base of operations

Varooom! Off on the motorcycle!

Completing the first dungeon

Fighting the Treant's Doppleganger - a good fight marred by terrible AI.

Rain collection!

Putting the Digby's to work.  Automate! Automate! Automate!

Spider bus!

Ah yes interacting with the child sitting in the creepy looking circle of teddy bears.

What I refer to as the "Pop the balloons" boss

Big Koi caught in Eternaland

My favorite activity: popping heads with the sniper rifle

Spider bus!  I love this thing.

Ummmm.... he's a little bigger than the other light heads.

Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't doing a good job little beaver buddy!

Chef-a-saurus Rex hard at work cooking my food!

Big bad

Big bad spider lady

Game over.  I win.  Yes the cat will sleep in your bed with you.

Timber!  Not as satisfying as New World logging but I get a chainsaw in Once Human so it evens out.

"Hello, we've been trying to reach you about your car's extended warranty"  Joking aside there are all of these neat little puzzles scattered across the world.

Stuff for sale at Heartlessgamer's house!

Koi in the fish tank (you can put any fish you catch in the tank)

Taking the car out for a spin.  Beautiful scenery.

My house is a mess of wires and pipes.

Seriously... send help.  Organization help!

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

New World Roadmap 2024

 I get a lot of visitors from Google searching for "new world roadmap 2024" which I find surprising as this has been provided by the developers.  It isn't much of a road map but it is what is coming in 2024, including the rebranding to New World: Aeternum, whether we like it or not.

 Note: this states this is all coming Oct 15th but it's not clear it becomes available immediately or whether it comes out through the end of the year.  Missing is stuff like the winter event and we've not heard confirmation whether we'll get the event this year or not.

new world roadmap 2024
New World roadmap 2024


Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Once Human is LIVE!

 I'm in and playing Once Human.  I'll be on server North America PVP01-00003

June 2024 In Review

 June 2024 has come and gone.  Here is a look back (late delivery due to being in the middle of Nowhere, Minnesota for the last couple of weeks).

The Blog

Blogger provided number (last 30 days graph so a bit off)

 In other metrics:

  • Posts:
    • Target: n/a (with my big canoe trip I didn't have a target set)
    • Posted: 20
    • Difference: n/a
  •  Search Trends
    • "best battlefield game", "best battlefield", "best battlefield games" blew up last month and continues to dominate my search trends.  All thanks to this post: Best Battlefield!?
    • New World continues it's prominent spot with "new world roadmap 2024" right behind "best battlefield game" searches.
    • In the third spot is the search for "pax dei" where my post Pax Dei: Wilderness Alpha Feedback appears.

What I Played

 New World continues as my main game and I spent a lot of time in 3v3 arenas and the trading post.  The game has lost steam without much to do so we'll see how it ranks in July.

 I fished a bit in Russian Fishing 4 which was a change of pace but not sure it's a game I'll stick with.

 The surprise game of June though was the Once Human demo which ran for a week.  I was hooked on the game and looking forward to it's launch today (7/9) at 5 PM EDT!  Check out my Once Human posts.  I suspect this may break me from New World for a bit!

Years Ago

1 Year Ago

 In June 2023 I was hard at work grinding out my major combat trophies in pursuit of the ultimate combat trophies.  I finished my 3x major corrupted in the 28th.

 Oh and our vacation last year started with our rental bike getting stolen.

5 Years Ago

 June 2019 saw no blog posts on the blog and I cannot recollect what I was up to.

10 Years Ago

 In June of 2014 is when my blog drought occurred.  Crazy looking back that it lasted so long and amazing how life just gets in the way sometimes.

15 Years Ago

  June of 2009 was the month of Battlefield Heroes (which I still maintain as one of my all time favorite Battlefield experiences).  It was basically Fortnite-ish before Fortnite was a fart of an idea.

 This month also saw the merge of Bioware and Mythic after they were consumed by EA.

 Probably the most important update though was the fact I finally gave in and purchased my first microtransaction in a game.  Looking back it was a dumb purchase for a dumb game.  Now a days I don't really sweat buying something in a game if I am enjoying it, but back then it felt like I was breaking an unwritten rule.

 20 19 Years Ago

 Technically I have 20 named years on my sidebar, but mathematically 2005 is only 19 years ago.

 In June of 2005 I got screwed out of some loot in World of Warcraft and created a classic forum fire to go with it.  Ironically looking back I see that the guild the player was part of was Angels of Death which at the time I said "I will probably not group with any Angels of Death members anytime soon." which if memory serves me I never did until..... many years later in 2024 when I joined up with Angels of Death to play Battlefield 2042.  Small world out there.

 We also got the Battlefield 2 demo in June 2005 and I was enamored with it and have been a diehard Battlefield fan ever since.  2 is still my favorite of the series.

 And Dark Ages of Camelot was playing around with what we'd call a "classic server".

 Oh and we got battlegrounds in World of Warcraft.

 What a month!

Monday, July 08, 2024

Once Human Launch Times 7/9

 Once Human launches tomorrow but the specific time depends on your region. Consult the image below.  For me it will be 5 PM EDT.

Launch times for the game Once Human on 7/9