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Monday, March 30, 2015

Reign of Kings: Thoughts & First Impression

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Over the last week I have spent a good amount of time playing Reign of Kings. As much as I want to do a review of this game I find it to be bad business to do a "review" on a title in alpha or even beta stages. Therefore this article will not be a full review, but instead my first impressions and thoughts on the game in it's current state. This, along with my hopes and wishes for the future of this title. So strap in, and let me share my experiences over the last week.

When my good buddy MrHighlight offered to gift me a copy of Reign of Kings I hadn't looked too much into the game. So before agreeing to have my friend spend his hard earned money on a game I'd hate, I did as much research as possible. I'm not 100% sure why, but I have become a fan of this type of game. I love both "builder" style games as well as Open World Survival so the mixture of the two is great to me. Like Rust, H1Z1 (to a degree), 7 Days to Die, etc. This game is a survival game with aspects of building and community thrown in. Unlike the games I named before, Reign of Kings is not survival horror. Instead, this is a Medieval survival title. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the survival horror games despite my growing distaste for zombies (Let's face it.....Zombies are being shoved down our throats at this point) I love horror. I am super anxious for games such as Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp where it is survival, and we are free of hordes of slow moving, easy to defeat zombies roaming around the countryside (Why don't they have a zombie survival horror game that takes place in a major city? Why is it always the rural backwoods?). However, the change from horror survival, to Medieval survival in this case was a very good decision.



The building aspect of this game is refreshingly awesome. After playing H1Z1 (Which I do enjoy), the limitations on what you can build, and the fact every one's little "forts" look damn near identical bothered me. This is not an issue in Reign of Kings at all. You can build a small shack out of dirt and clay, to a full on castle out of wood and stone. Design is limited only by your imagination and resources. In fact on my server, there is a huge Colosseum like structure on the beach made of clay where people gather to fight in duels. Overall, the building aspect of this game shows a lot of promise, even early on in the Alpha stages of development.


Like other games in this genre, the combat system is clunky. It appears that's something we are just going to have to deal with for awhile at least. My biggest issue with that here, is when your guild goes into a big battle with another guild you will no doubt end up hitting your buddies at least a few times during a guild war. Besides the clunky combat that has become a staple of this genre (Thank you DayZ.....) I've quite enjoyed the PVP side of this game. For one, every server has a King. This is just a player who has won the crown, who can now set taxes (Taxes are taken automatically when you farm resources, a percentage of those goes to the kings stockpile). The king (and his guild if he chooses) also gets to live in a pre-built, amazing castle overlooking the kingdom. If taxes get to high, or you are just power hungry you can attempt a siege on the castle, and overthrow the king to take the crown yourself. Personally on my server, our king has been kind enough to set the taxes to 0, so I have joined up with his guild to help protect the crown. There will be alliances, peace, and war within your kingdom. Another cool PVP aspect of this game is you can rope someone, and drag them around the map, or even shackle them. Once captured, if by rope the player must have a sharp rock hidden in his orifice slot (yep.......), or a lock pick if he is shackled to escape. Once tied up, you are at the other person's mercy. They can troll you, beat you to death while you lay there begging for your life, or even drag you back to their area, where they may have hanging posts set up to hang you, a guillotine to behead you, or other forms of execution, torture, or perhaps just a nice big cage to keep you prisoner in. The only comfort you may (or may not) have is the fact that instead of respawning at a random spot on the beach (The default respawn point) is that if you happen to have a base and have placed a bed.....you can respawn there instead. All in all Reign of Kings is a fun, yet extremely dangerous place.



However, despite the fact this is not a survival horror game, it appears that even in ancient times we cannot escape the damn zombies. In Reign of Kings there is a village/town that is oozing poison. Even getting near this town you begin to take small amounts of damage. All around the borders of the town, there are weird looking.......dare I say zombie's roaming the countryside. These zombies are the absolute BEST spot in the game for farming higher gear fast. Sure, you could go around gathering materials to eventually build the necessary work bench to craft the items. But this takes a lot of time. I suggest that at the start of the game you find this town, equip yourself with 50-100 wooden javelins you can craft from chopping at tree's and kite/spear those zombies to death until you get yourself some decent armor, and a nice weapon.


Now to the bad. At this stage in development there isn't much security at all. In fact, reporting a hacker is the only thing you can really do (No detection systems at this time). With that said most servers are plagued with random players coming in and killing everyone at once, throwing you in the ocean where you have no choice but to suicide and loose everything, etc. This is problematic in a lot of early access games of this nature including H1Z1. It got so bad that I almost quit the game on my 2nd day playing. The bright side to this is there are several good community owned servers where the admins are always on top of this sort of behavior. Even better, there are "whitelist" communities, where everyone on the server has to be accepted in. If you are going to go for the early access of this game I suggest finding one of these servers. I am currently playing on Bloodlust. The server admin is always very quick to get rid of any hackers around. However, my server has plans to go strictly whitelist soon now that it's community is pretty strong in numbers. Even in these well moderated servers though you should expect frustrating restarts that roll the servers back a ways and cause you to loose gear, building and gathering progress. You should also fully expect frequent full server wipes. This is an alpha, and it will happen.



Ragetrip Conclusion
When you buy into any early access game you should be prepared for certain things. Unstable servers, rollbacks, wipes, glitches that could even cause death, and hordes of hackers out to ruin your day. This is just the price of admission for early access, especially in the alpha stages. However, there are ways to minimize exposure to such inconveniences. Playing on a non-official server with either top notch admins, or even better a whitelist only community will all but eliminate the hacks. Also, these servers tend to randomly restart and roll back less and only totaly wipe with serious client updates or serious problems. If your willing to deal with these issues and can handle all the bugs and annoyances of Alpha then I'd totally suggest this game to anyone who is a fan of the genre. The advanced building aspect alone is enough to keep you busy for hours, and even more hours later when I come along with a catapult and bash your damn walls down.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this very promising title. See ya in game!

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