For the love of the Alpha – SkySaga weekend

This weekend, I had the pleasure of exploring the world of SkySaga on our twitch page, twitch.tv/pixelfaqcastand it was great fun! During our exploration we discovered many amazing things in the universe that Radiant Worlds is crafting. After hours of jumping through portals and freezing to death it was lovenly named, Fancy Minecraft by some of our viewers and mods. They might have been trolling and probably were at the time but the name stuck. I’m not saying SkySaga is a minecraft rip off though, because that is not at all what is happening.

When you start the game you spawn on your home world. This little chunk of floating ground is yours to live on. You can build whatever your heart desires. There are some remains of a castle which I found myself renovating instead of creating my own home. I couldn’t help but dig up all the grass patches in the area to try and restore it to its former glory. Here enters the bastion-esque growth system in the game.

By completing challenges and getting resources, you are able to rebuild machines and objects on your home world. In the alpha, we had a wrecked airship, which once repaired, allowed you to use the friends list as well as join others games to adventure with them. In the same sense, once you leveled the Knight skill to Rank 1, you recieved a PvP banner in the mail, which stood as your way to join PvP matches against other adventures. This barrier of entry was nice and unexpected and if you have no interest in PvP, you never had to muddy up your home world with the object.

Player choice shined during our experiences. You can progress through the game any way you wanted. Like building houses and filling them with furniture? Level up the Architect skill to unlock more advanced recipes for you home. Would you rather craft armor? Then the Blacksmith skill it for you. This separation of skills is a welcome addition to the formula of block builders.

Item customization also plays a big role in resource farming. Each recipe for armor requires metal and leather straps. Depending on what metal you use to build each piece changes the properties of the armor. For the beta, it pretty much just color changes but even this was a nice experience. The coolest part about the customization system is a risk / reward scenario that happens while crafting tools. If you use a rare material to craft a weapon, you have to use that same material to repair it. Items with better stats end up needed better resources to maintain them which then pushes you to explore harder zones to maintain you wares.

World exploration is done through crafting keystones. You can mine keystone fragments from the world to start your adventures, and different keystone colors have different properties. The two that were presented to testers were White and Green keystones. White keystones created portals to tundra environments while Green keystones took the player to wooded areas. After killing bosses, Dark Hearts could be obtained which could then create dark white or dark green keystones which spawned zones of greater difficulty and subsequently greater reward. This form of exploration progression was interesting and I can’t wait to see all the possibilities for this in future updates.

Radiant Worlds has crafted interesting environments, exciting combat, a unique progression system, and weapon customization that makes SkySaga proudly stand on its own as an MMOish Block Building game. Keep that first part in mind, this is pretty much an MMO. Its nice to run into players around the zones and race them to the boss rooms, which aren’t always easy to find. There were some kinks but for an Alpha, their game was extremely polished and playable!

character-on-bg

Once you reach a certain point in the alpha, you receive a camera, at which point you are urged to photograph your adventures and tweet them out. This is a great marketing idea and I found myself trying to get the right angle to show off what was happening, even to the point of running around in photo mode during a boss fight just so I could get the pic I wanted. The following images are what resulted from these adventures!

[symple_tabgroup]
[symple_tab title=”Yeti Caves”] 52188917-fd0f-4427-8e9e-acdfe45c7ee5[/symple_tab]
[symple_tab title=”Dark Green Cleared”] 7c34a16a-40f2-4c9c-ab62-be506826e031[/symple_tab]
[symple_tab title=”Ember Wolf Boss”] 71dc10c5-8e2c-4bba-a0c6-64d9fcaa3d97[/symple_tab]
[/symple_tabgroup]

 

The boss encounters were nice because they allow for the combat system to be viewed on a large scale. The hit boxes of enemies seemed to suffer a bit whenever you started fighting large scale bosses, but the variations in attacks allowed us to dash in and about of combat.

The fighting system has a few attacks:

  • a lunge attack, which happens when you sprint
  • a heavy attack, which happens if you want while in the air
  • a charge attack, which happens some of the time when you hold an attack

The coolest thing about the heavy attack is that it works on blocks too. No more jumping 5 or 6 times to break a block in the ceiling. The heavy slam breaks down ore blocks in just one hit which makes mining a little more manageable. Speaking of mining, YOU CAN DUAL WIELD MINING PICKS! This was by far the most impressive thing about the game. Nothing beats digging tunnels while dual wielding. It was so incredibly satisfying.

It was awesome of Radiant Worlds to open up their game early to let all of us look at it, as well as letting us share our experiences with the world. I hope you enjoyed our stream of the game Friday on our twitch channel and we can’t wait to stream the next phase as well.

As an added bonus, the guys making SkySaga compiled their alpha data into a fancy infographic, check it out!

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We had a great time getting to test out SkySaga this weekend. Our review for the game will drop after its full release! Good luck to everyone at Radiant Worlds who are working on this ambitious project! And yes, we were part of the 5% that found the Yeti Caves!


What is your favorite early test of a game you have taken part in? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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