Last time I was here with Rend at PAX East, I was trying to tie together the location of a fish restaurant with what the game was ultimately about. This year, not an awful lot has changed with the survival sandbox, but there is absolutely a lot more of it: more map, more biomes, more crafting trees, and more potential for things to switch up.
The first thing that’s grown in Rend’s current build is the map, which is now five times the size it was previously. With new biomes added to the game for a total of 12, each with a whole lot of new materials and, of course, new dangers. One of those biomes is a swamp region, which was shown to me in a friends and family build of the game. The region changed from a sunshine-soaked temperate forest zone to being a black and green, fog-covered expanse with new enemies to take on.
Of course, these new biomes aren’t just set dressing. It was explained that these biomes will have their own dangers in the form of environmental dangers. For example, harvesting a certain type of plant will inflict damage on you while you’re trying to gather it. So players have a couple of options: either cover their armor to protect themselves against the toxic elements they’re facing, or build up their Survivalist tree, or even hire the services of players in their faction if they’ve built a character that’s more specialized in crafting than they are in combat.
With all of this new map space and all of these new regions to explore, doesn’t this kind of put Rend’s aim of making survival sandbox games less of a long slog in danger? Not exactly; certain materials that are required to make items, such as copper, tin, and flux to make bronze, can only be found in enemy faction territory. There’s also the potential for random map-wide events to show up, such as a bright light that can be seen by nearly everyone on the map that signals a comet’s arrival to the land; a comet that could hold totally unique and powerful items or resources. The map will also have static capture points dotted around that could confer faction-wide bonuses so long as that area remains under control. Overall the devs are working to make sure that conflict still happens as often as possible in spite of the map’s new size.
One new feature shown off in the demo includes the addition of personal base-building on the land. While faction bases are still going to offer a lot of services, these personal locations are going to offer many of those same benefits without requiring you to run all the way back to your faction center. The building system is pretty similar to other base-building systems you’ve seen in games like Conan Exiles. The bigger difference is that, once a structure’s skeleton is built, other players can feed that structure materials in order to beef it up and upgrade it. This structure-building system isn’t just limited to personal housing, either; for example, players can build a bridge over a particular river or span to help move things across the map easily.
As for the core gameplay loop of Rend itself, it’s much the same way as before; survive by handling hunger and thirst, get materials and other items to bolster your faction’s standing, and build defenses at your faction’s primary location to survive the Reckoning wave that will send enemies to your doorstep. The biggest difference here is the fact that losing your base doesn’t mean your faction is entirely removed from the game as was previously said. Turns out, players don’t like being told they can’t play a game, so instead, your faction’s primary keystone will just bleed out soul energy that you have to recollect before enemy faction members do. The stakes are still high, but they’re not so high that you’re not allowed to at least perhaps recover.
There are a couple of other noteworthy additions being added to Rend too, including the ability to tame nearly every creature on the map to have along as companions and mounts, the introduction of mod support and a related toolset to let players tweak the title as they see fit, and a crafting system that is now tree-based and expanded to include literally a couple of hundred different crafting trees.
Rend is looking at kicking off in a matter of weeks with thousands of players being added to the game. It further illustrates Rend’s desire to make their game as fast-paced and focus-designed as possible while also making it scale upwards in practically every conceivable way it can.Related: Article, MMO, PAX East 2018, Rend, Sandbox, Survival