MMOs are extremely popular among players because, at their best, they offer the opportunity to really live another world with other real people and create your own stories together. The direction of the ladder, authenticity and simply the wonder they evoke can be really magical when all the elements unite.
This kind of grand Grand Game experience has, so far, escaped the VR platform despite some notable attempts. In Township Tale, now on Oculus, has the potential to be this experience; It has a great basic concept, a community of incredible players and really cool and unique gameplay elements. But for the moment, there are major design problems that prevent Township Tale from having a happy ending.
The concept of Township Tale will be familiar to all those who have already played an MMO. You explore the world, which focuses on a medieval style town but includes hinterlands like mountains and mines, and gather the usual resources, eat food and make objects. Recipes are learned, structures are built and improved and you gradually build your little civilization in a cycle of progress.
Nowadays, we are used to seeing mmo with open gameplay. Of course, the lack of structure is a little intimidating, but it gives us the freedom to learn by ourselves, to overcome adversity and feel proud when we do it. But in the case of a Township Tale, this lack of structure is pushed to extreme, and minimalism is problematic, especially when you start. Something as simple as simply choosing an avatar is made difficult by the absence of any instruction.
Even the so-called “tutorial” does not really teach you to play; It simply assigns you a checklist of the goals you need to complete to go to the main game. Without virtually no orientation, you will need to control the basics of materials harvesting, crafts and mining. The need is indeed an effective teacher and you end up “understanding things”, but all unnecessary frustrations could be avoided with literally some useful signs.
Overall, in Township Tale has only a coarse and basic impression, a kind of hostility towards newcomers that some could find rebutting. Things are not explained, and sometimes even design choices made me scratch my head. The way you choose a server, for example, consists of turning a heavy and clumsy wooden wheel. It often turns too fast or too slowly and you really have to fight with to make a choice. Although simple actions like this are heavy, a Township Tale is a unnecessarily frustrating game to which is used.
But do not worry, it’s better. Usually, you will play on a server with up to seven other players, and that’s where the magic of Township Tale manifests. In my experience, the other players were extremely helpful and friendly, ready to stop and teach beginners like me the basics that the game does not teach. I played on servers where everyone was working together, everyone playing a role as a community, and the experience was honestly one of the most fun I have ever had as a player. Experienced players have offered leadership and advice, everyone freely shared the necessities like food, and it was as if we were all part of a straight village out of a fantastic RPG.
Once you have other people to help you and teach you what you do in Township Tale, it turns out that this game is really fun. The craft mechanic makes an excellent and intuitive use of virtual reality, because you physically put flint on a stick to make a primitive ax, discard copper ore in a foundry to make a ingot, blow the bellows of the oven or Hammer a heated knife with red blade on an anvil. Unlike most of the MMOs you played, there is no instant “pouf” to transform the raw materials into a finished product; In A Township Tale, you will play the role of a real blacksmith or carpenter or a number of other professions in one of the most immersive role-playing experiences I participated.
The same goes with mining: using your pickaxe or other mining tool, you literally swing on a rock until it collapses in copper, gold, or Even in something exotic like mythril. Like many other VR games, it’s actually a whole training, and it’s fun in a way that mining and crafts are not usually in other games – most of the time. Click and remove the ground grass (what you will need to do often) becomes very tedious and even physically tiring after a while, and in general, the game needs a way to automatically collect resources to reduce such cases of repetition. movement.
You will end up learn and progress in Township Tale, and you will spend very pleasant moments working with your human players colleagues – you might even undertake a regular profession and really master it. You can be lumberjack, warrior (there are monsters in the forest and mountains), cook, carpenter, all that you like. The regular roles and emerging social connections of A Township Tale offer a potential to make it a mmo VR in which you will get you with pleasure and in which you invest for many hours.
I say potential because it lacks some elements before reaching this level. The most important element that is missing is the absence of a “end of party” or a set of long-term goals or missions to advance you and keep you hooked. There is no story for a Township Tale – no quests, no wars to lead and no global mystery to discover. It would not be a problem if the open world was more massive; But the world of Township Tale is limited and even exploration opportunities are dry after a while. This is a game that, for the moment in any case, has the collection / manufacturing cycle as the only real gameplay element, and which will eventually become boring, no matter how good your colleagues are good.
But there are many reasons to hope that Township Tale will grow up, will improve and eventually realize its potential to become a real MMO in VR. Alta developers were great to respond to players’ comments and update the game regularly, and I’m sure quests and events and maybe even new areas will be added in the future. Until then, a Township Tale is a decent VR game, even if it is imperfect, that you will love even if you sometimes curse it under your Oculus helmet.
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