Rend is awesome and will likely die

I’ve read about the upcoming game Rend. This video explains very well while it’s awesome. There are some good answers on the reddit of the game.

The moment-to-moment gameplay is the standard survival sandbox. Cut trees, rocks and animals, fight monsters to get food, medicine, items and to build a base while defending yourself from other players or preying on them for loot. We’ve seen this from H1Z1 to ARK.

But this game has an overarching goal: to gather 100K “spirits” before the other factions do. That gives an in-game reason to fight the others. This gives competition: your group might win or lose, because when one group reaches this value, the server ends and it’s game over one way or another. Winners get some permanent rewards, may that be only cosmetic or some few percent boosts.

Done well, this can be the next big thing. The survival MMOs have a great moment-to-moment gameplay, but after a few hours you start asking “what’s the point”? Here you have a good point, something that keeps you log in to defend your base when the shields are down or to farm off hours or to attack enemies.

But I’m afraid it won’t be done well, so I stay away until it leaves early access and have all the features done right. The problem is metagaming that every group PvP MMOs suffer from. They can generally grouped into two questions:

At first, what stops a player to hop between factions? If there are many servers and there is vacancy on some (and there must be in order to welcome new players), a player can just delete his character and roll a new one in the winning faction on some server. Only newbies who don’t know better join losing factions, making them lose more.

The second is spies: alts placed into the enemy team with the purpose to sabotage it. In Rend the way to sabotage looks obvious: as only 20 players can be online per faction, if you are online and not helping, the rest of the team will be at disadvantage. Since there are 3 teams, the alt can damage even the one he’s not at: letting the main faction farm resources on the alt, they get stronger against the third.

The first is easier to fix, by a proper league system. There are aplenty “bronze” servers where everyone can join the winning faction. If you win in a season, you get a silver pass, which allows you to start on the silver servers next season which are limited in numbers, just enough to house everyone with silver passes. You can only join at the start of the season, sure you can quit, but can’t join a new team that season, you can only go back to bronze. Winners of silver get gold pass for next season, second bests get a silver pass, the loser team gets back to bronze.

The second cannot be fixed without formal faction leadership. I mean if a player can join a faction without applying to the existing members and cannot be kicked, there is nothing they can do with a spy. Sure, GMs can get rid of an open saboteur, but a smarter one, who participates and helps the faction except “screwing up” in the worst moment cannot be distinguished from a bad player. Ergo, bronze and custom servers can operate on “wherever you apply” basis, probably even the silver servers can work that way (or simply by random faction assignment), the higher leagues surely cannot. In gold and above, the teams must have a leader who can hire and fire players at will.

I’m afraid such measures won’t be implemented and the game will just be launched with a bunch of identical servers which will be dominated by one faction from day 1-3.

.

PS: in World of Warships as the enemy DD was capping the point, I sneaked by the sideline to the back of the enemy. A plane spotted me for a second, so they realized what I’m up to. So a Montana, a Greater Kurfurst and an Ibuki thought it’s a great idea to turn away from the battle and chase me to the corner.

[narrator voice] it was not a great idea:
kurmoron

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Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

27 thoughts on “Rend is awesome and will likely die”

  1. I got into the pre-alpha, tried it for a moment… It’s terrible and it will die just because they rushed the EA and priced it $30. It’s extremely buggy, unpolished and the devs are for some reason obsessed with arrows (majority of weapons shoot arrows in some form).
    It’s sad, because 3 factions PvP is good recipe.

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  2. @Destabiliztor: buggy and unpolished is OK for an early access game, you should just not buy it until it’s finished. My problem is that it’ll suck even after it’s complete if they don’t deal with metagaming and hopping.

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  3. Sure, but if you’d have to buy another copy of the game, how many people would actually do that? I don’t imagine a lot.

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  4. @Artahm: sure not a lot, but the competitive scene isn’t big in any game. A single spy can dominate the outcome of a server. Sure, no spy will be deployed on a backend lowbie server but if there is serious competition, they will be there.

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  5. You are right about top end scene. On the other hand its extreamly easy to manually controll such spies by GMs in competative scene.

    @Destabilizator whats the problem with 1 toon? Why would you play more then one in a game like this?

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  6. @Artahm:
    You make a character on a server, you play with it, great. Next day you try to log in, but you cannot, because the server already has 20 online character in your faction. What do you do then? I think most people would just uninstall the game at this point if they cannot play another server.

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  7. This might be the stupidest PvP concept ever.

    Let me get this straight… 20 players online per faction, 3 factions. So… 60 players online per server. It takes a month (by design) for a match to end.

    This forces players to be online 24/7 or “Their faction will fall behind.” Combine that with “Whelp… already 20 people in. I can’t even log in.”

    You simply CANNOT design a game tailored to obsessed players that will be on 24/7 unless they can actually be on 24/7. The minute this goes live and it becomes a non-single player game… it’s over.

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  8. Early access, so no thanks. I still have games in my steam account that I purchased in 2013/2014 which are technically still in early access, although no dev has developped this game any further for years…
    Earyl access should be really restricted by steam, with a price limit of 5€ and the need to commit to a specific release date… For reference see also vapourware like Star Shitizen

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  9. @Smokeman: it’s not the same 20 to be online. The idea is that there are about 100 people per faction, 20 online.

    Right. so 80 people uninstall when they can’t play. People DON’T join teams. They expect teams to join THEM. They assume they’re the special player that can log in at any time and have a perfectly tailored team ready for them, then get pissed when the team sucks.

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  10. @Smokeman: I’m sorry, but you are completely wrong.

    If you don’t lock anything, you get EVE Online: Goons win because they have more players and there is nothing you can do about it.

    If you lock guild sizes, the more hardcore wins: both guilds have 100 players, one has 50 online other has 10 any given time, because one plays 12 hours, the other plays 2.5. See Black Desert Online zone capture.

    The Rend system is the best I’ve ever seen to unstructured PvP (what makes MMO MMO). Yes, there are players who expect a perfect team for themselves, but go figure, those players uninstall ANY PvP game, because (assuming they are not horrible themselves) their team will always let them down.

    So those who would uninstall the game when they can’t log in are the ones who wouldn’t fit to ANY team-based PvP game anyway.

    Sure, not being able to play whenever you want is a problem, but it could be mitigated by some spectator system, where you log in, can’t play, but can chat with and spectate your online faction members.

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  11. As you work for your faction you gain standing and reputation for your faction. Those who put in a lot of work are granted the title of “Elder”. There can only be three elders for a faction, and they persist as long as others don’t catch up to their reputation. Elders can destroy their faction’s stuff, can move and build freely, and a new system was introduced recently where an Elder can initiate a vote to outcast an individual.
    An outcast individual is still part of their faction, but gains few of the benefits. They cannot take things from main base storage, they cannot break or move anything, they have a hefty reputation cost to gain back good standing, they get kicked out when the server is full and a faction member is in queue, they cannot enter queue for a server they are outcast on. This goes a long way to help against the “trolly” individuals.
    The server I’m on has a very active and pro-active team who make sure resources are being spent wisely (ie. no building your own dumb base in the middle of nowhere). Yes, it pisses some people off, but those are the people who are not team players, so we don’t want them anyways. As for switching sides, you cannot delete your character from a server after a certain amount of time, so you’re stuck there, or you have to start on another server. You don’t really know who is winning on a particular server until you join it.
    So, there are measures to address your concerns, though perfect they are not.

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  12. “The server I’m on has a very active and pro-active team who make sure resources are being spent wisely (ie. no building your own dumb base in the middle of nowhere).”

    Still in early access and you already have meta-rule zealot’s in the game trying to shape their own vision of how the game is supposed to be played?

    No thanks!

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  13. @Noguff: you are unfair. They are not telling you how to play the game, they are telling you how to play if you CHOOSE to join their faction. There are other servers. Also, you can join their server, other faction and kick their ass.

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  14. Ok, show of hands guys, who has played on multiple servers in MMOs (other then the Trion fiasco for obvious reasons)? Its compleatly pointless, if the longer you play on a specific server = the stronger you get, why on earth would you split your playtime between multiple servers?

    On a side note, Ill take “meta-rule zelots” over “lets have fun ppl” anytime of any day.

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  15. @Gevlon

    “They are not telling you how to play the game, they are telling you how to play if you CHOOSE to join their faction.”

    Seriously, Gevlon? You know as well as I do that faction doesn’t matter when “people” are involved. If specific win conditions exists in the game, then what happens with faction control where PvE content is concerned? Unless Rend uses some form of procedural map generation system, it will not take long before a map will be min/maxed to the n’th degree, and in such a situation players will eventually determine that there will be only “one correct” way to play that map, rendering any creative base placement/usage pointless.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand that using a personal base as a “faction outpost” is more beneficial that just playing it as “personal base”, but if the developers are going to be supporting PvE content alongside PvP content, the rule-sets will -have- to be different, or win conditions will become static, rendering any creative play to be considered “incorrect” by the min-max(meta-rule zealots) crowd.

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  16. @Noguff: you can’t min/max a PvP game, because the main opponent, the other player is not scripted. Ergo, farming in a bad location can be better than going to the best spot and get ganked.

    My point with the post is exactly that “faction” cannot exist in a competitive environment and Rend must at some point accept the “one faction = one guild” philosophy, where you have to apply to players to be accepted to that server/faction or start your own guild on an empty faction.

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  17. Also from what I understand this is a STRICTLY PvP game. Imagine it’s a MOBA that lasts a month instead of half an hour. What would you tell a dude running around and ‘exploring’ (i.e. feeding) the map in a MOBA match? Good job having fun playing PvE? Somehow I don’t think so. Even though there are PvE elements (in MOBA you hit mobs too you know), that’s not the point of the game.

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  18. @Gevlon

    “you can’t min/max a PvP game, because the main opponent, the other player is not scripted. ”

    Depending on the tools given to the faction leaders by the game, I would argue that their actions in-game will be very scripted based on human behavior alone. I’ve already asked for opinions about this game from some of my Steam friends who are playing, and the consensus about “outcasting”, is that it is a tool that will be abused to enforce preferred playstyles…or, you know, min/maxing based on someones belief on how the game should be played. You yourself experienced this recently in your Overwatch banning for not playing the game a certain way. Would you have played the game(OW) any different if it had been the players who had directly removed you from the game instead of the developers? The answer to that question has to be no in your case, because you were already telling the playerbase that you thought your method of play was better -for whatever reason, and was unwilling to change.

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  19. @Noguff: the Overwatch thing is not similar, because I was banned from THE GAME. I fully support any other player’s right to not play with me, and I would be OK to have 1 hour queue simply because half of the server selected to not play with me. I’m not OK with being banned from the game.

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  20. Imagine you are 15 days into a game and get outcast because of a disagreement with an Elder, or worse yet, they need your spot for a clan member or personal friend. Boom…you are effectively removed from that game along with all of your progress. Spy’s aren’t the issue with this game, it’s the social engineering aspect of what can be exploited with the current setup. There is nothing to prevent people from a well organized group(clan), to join the opposing faction, making Elder, and purposefully throwing the game in favor of the faction with all of their clan mates.

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  21. @Noguff: you are preaching to the choir here, I fully agree that the Elder mechanic is not good enough for competitive servers. It’s OK for random servers where metagaming is non-existent and the only threat is trolls.

    For competitive servers, one faction must be one pre-existing guild that moves there as one.

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  22. The vote requires 60% of the people to agree to outcast. That is fairly large. It could be that a single friend and group of friends “runs” a particular faction in a particular server, but I think you’d find that out pretty quick and not waste a lot of time there. The point of this game is to work with your team to achieve the win condition, so if you’re hindering the team, you’re out. Frankly, I think it works well. Is it perfect? No. But it’s better than letting people do whatever they want however they want. I’m sorry, @NoGuff, but “playing however you want” is not a valid playstyle in all games.

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