First Impressions | NextColony
This is a first impression look at NextColony a space RPG game that is on the Steem blockchain. Things mentioned about this browser based game and opinions held are subject to change. Once the game becomes more developed I’ll consider putting out a full review with more in-depth look depending on how the game shapes up and interest for it.
While I have not seen them state it. This appears to be in early access since with how many things need to be added to the game and the road map. As such, I’ll consider it to be. Which means you should expect things to change considerably as they work out balancing. Along with adding in futures that are not in the game yet like combat and trading. While they also dealing with any unintended gameplay. They did so some closed testing it was a very small group form what I’ve seen.
The game itself is based around the earth being involved in a devastating war that caused the few remaining inhabitants to venture off into space. As such the game will be focused on space, colonizing planets, alliances, and war among other things. The game itself has drawn some inspiration from Ogame and it will be interesting to see what influence that has on the game moving forward.
Skills And Buildings
As far as the player is concerned the game so far is broken down into account based skills and specific planet based operations. To be able to do anything at all in the game you need to have high enough skill level to do so. You can at least train more than one different skill at a time. It does take real time and resources so at some point players will want to start planning out upgrade paths.
This means all of your production such as coal, ore, copper, and Uranium has individual skills that need to be leveled up or as they call them enhanced. To be able to keep leveling up these productions building you need to keep enchanting the skill before doing so. The skill is at least account wide so once you learn it all planets can now build up to that level once you can afford to do so.
There are also separate skills for storage for each resource. These buildings are referred to as Depot and are the limiting factor in how much you can store at any given time while still being able to produce more. They also hint at adding some kind of protection from being attacked which is not a feature in the game yet.
Each planet can have a shipyard and there is also a skill for leveling that up. As far as ships go there nine total skills at this time. They range from an Explorer to a Dreadnought.
Everything in the game from leveling up skills, buildings, and ships take real time to complete. There is no instant buy option which I think will help provide some balance from those spending vs the more budget oriented players. While something like a level 1 Depot might take 15 minutes. A level 4 production building takes over an hour. If you have your eyes on unlocking the dreadnought skill well that take 5 days!
I think it was an interesting design choice to have the player invests globally into skills that they get to use for the rest of their gameplay. It is also nice you are not limited to training up one skill at a time total so in the early days you can focus on a number of skills. Depending on what people end up going for I can see people trying to min/max by focusing on certain skills over others. There are more skills coming in the future and with how long some of them could take planning and fitting into a role is going become important once everyone gets over the beginning motions.
Exploration And Missions
A big part of this game is going to be exploring and discovering new planets. As you advance you will want to colonize more. This part of the game I’m a fair away from. Since you are required to have a level 13 shipyard for the Explorer ship itself.
I did happen to already have a neighbor showing up on my map. I don’t know much about this person but it gave an insight that you don’t have your own little title set. Just from moving up and down the gird I can see there are a number of people’s planets around me.
It will be interesting to see how relationship building or deteriorating over time with the possibility of people being so close. I did not see an in-game option to send a message to anyone yet. I can only assume that will come in later as player communication will be important.
Sales And Treading
There has been some presales auction of legendary plants before the game was released to the general public to be played. They also have a microtransaction shop where players can buy resources and runes. Finally, there are future plans to allow trade between players.
Legendary planets themselves are expected to play a huge role in the amount of power they grant those who possess one. They provide Uranium in higher amounts then players typical would find elsewhere. This resource is used for example as fuel for travel.
They have sold 9 of these plants before the game was released to the public totaling over 38k Steem in funds raised. The exact influence base these are expected to have compared to what players are expected to control is yet unknown. Many players appear to have gotten in cheap with first auctions while the last round has some higher risk takers. Either way, this should help fund the game a little bit moving forward. It looks like legendary planets themselves are going be very hard to find in the game .001% chance on their own.
Players can buy resource chests from the in-game store. There are also Runes that increase a planet's production.
The good news is these are all sold in a limited quantity per day. You also cannot buy instant upgrades further limiting just how powerful it is buying from the store. My hope is once the game increase in the user base that these cash shop options have very high competition and do not scale linearly with the player population. Further putting a lot of pressure on their limited impact on the game itself. While still creating an opportunity for the developers to turn a profit.
The chest themselves contain coal to uranium and the cheapest is 9.99 Steem with highest being 99 Steem. While these can provide great early game advantages there no way to instantly spend the resources. They do however let players go over there storage cap when using them. It is my hope mid to late that these still provide an ability for the developers to make money but have limited impact. I could also see if allowed a player market trying to compete with these prices.
The runes themselves have a limit of one per plant and they provide a production boost from 10% to 50%. They are sold in extremely limited quantities and are not cheap. There are only 4 per day of 10% boost and its 99 Steem.
Player Trading And Earning
In the future, I hope the game is more focused on earning from player to player transactions than other methods they have used so far. It has already been stated that planets will be tradable and from some of their posts being a trader in the game could be a role someone plays.
How they end up trying to monetize it more than likely from taking a cut from in-game sales will be interesting to see moving forward. Even more, those looking to avoid paying the transaction fee and rather take on the higher risk of trading out of the game. I always think a couple of % paid to the game for a safer in-game option solves a lot of issues that players run into when trying to save a couple of bucks out of the game. While you might not be able to recover funds if things go wrong it at least leaves some other options on the table when things are dealt with in-game with records of what took place.
They have also talked about 30% of the income going back to the players but that is something quite a fair ways out. I personally prefer to earn by trading with players and the game developer getting a cut of the action. With them just keeping what they earn and put that towards better servers, growing the team, advertisement, and being able to be full time on their game. If it ends up getting tossed back into random events from time to time that is cool. I just hate to see it bring down a game that could be amazing and they seem to be taking careful steps when dealing with this part.
All in all, depending on how these mechanics in game shape up there could be some interesting opportunity and luck for some players out there. Along with some trading fun for those who enjoy it.
Their public launch did have some hiccups but that is expected to be the case with a new game. They have only done smaller testing beforehand and growing issues are just part of the course when it comes to these kinds of things in games.
Some of it looks like how it stems from being a blockchain game itself. When you press a button to make an upgrade you yourself are limited to being in one block at a time. Their system itself also has to check and ensure that json is legit for that upgrade to occur in the game. So there will be that slight delay around 10 seconds when clicking on an upgrade and so forth. The early game when you are doing a lot of things you notice it.
They have also stated people needed to reset their cache since they changed the steemconnect url. If you are still having issues just logging into the game in the first place you can either reset your cache or try a different browser.
The server they are using to run the game itself has also been struggling at least on my end. With page loading and site issues. Hopefully, that will clear up in a couple of days. In most games I’ve played after the first few days players tend to fall into their longer-term gaming habit and are not trying binge the daylights out of a game. So that issue alone could just clear up it does appear to be much better than it was on day one.
My experience so far has been quite limited. This game does have some great potential as long as the game developer take their time and don’t just try rush things out. Based on the fact they have made a public road map and are being bit more cautions before introducing a reward system I am quite hopeful this will be a game people choose to play and have fun in for the coming months.
I’ll be keeping an eye on it myself and playing it from time to time. There are a few game mechanics they have to add into the game. Before we can really see what direction the game is heading.
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