Bringing together a gameplay style of the classic RPG titles such as Diablo and giving players the need to gather materials to build defenses and craft tools, weapons, and armor, Norsfell has created something interestingly fun with Tribes of Midgard. This multiplayer focused, viking era game gives so much opportunity to the player and has just as much opportunity in it still to grow. Of course, there are some improvements needed, but with a game still in development and putting out open betas on Steam, it is worth taking part when the chance arises.
Starting off with nothing, you will find yourself in a spawn point slightly north of home. Your first steps to begin is to gather branches, sticks, flint, and anything you can gather by hand throughout the first day. Once you have enough to craft your first hatchet and pick axe, the real gathering work can begin. From here you can start cutting down trees, mining iron ore and collecting stone. These will be the essential items needed in order to craft your weapons, which quickly become necessary.
I liked how the act of gathering materials is made as a quick task rather than a time consuming one. While most games that have you gather resources like to focus on making the chopping down a tree or mining a rock take a few strikes to give it more of a reality aspect, this game simply has you hit the object with your tool a single time to indicate the task being completed and letting you move on. This removes all the tedious parts of gathering and makes it something that can be done swiftly while on the move.
The combat starts off with your bare hands and is able to be executed well, but you will want a weapon sooner rather than later. There are a variety of enemies that you can come across, some harder than others to defeat, and this is where you can collect other items needed for things like armor. The different loot each of them drop change according to the type of enemy you are facing. These enemies also have random camp sites around that you can find and if you manage to reach the center of them, there is a chest you can loot from as well. Be wary though, as entering these camps ensures a fight against many.
No matter what it is you do in the game, you collect soul seeds. These are used for the core aspect of your game, the Seed of Yggdrasil; the last bastion that protects the Gods from the other Realms. Each night the Yggdrasil will be attacked by a specific enemy that only appears at night and gradually gets harder the longer the game continues. The soul seeds you collect can be given to the Seed of Yggdrasil in order to replenish its life bar. Beware the nights that the Jötunn giants arrive, as these will be the hardest nights to survive through! If the health bar for the Seed of Yggdrasil is depleted, the game is over.
Since the Seed of Yggdrasil is attacked on a nightly basis, you will have to stay close to camp which limits your ability to venture further out without a team. On single player, you can probably ignore the first three nights of attacks as the enemies that arrive that night will be few and weak, in which you should be able to replenish the health for with all the soul seeds you collect from your multi-day adventure. Just be sure not to die because then you lose all your current soul seeds and they can’t be retrieved! The more people you have in the game, the better it will be though as team work will allow quicker gathering, which means the gates around your camp will be built faster and more people to help fight off the nightly attackers.
I mainly played through the recent beta alone and it felt like I was at a disadvantage because I didn’t play with anybody else. There should be a single-player focused difficulty that allows for longer day cycles, adjusted night attackers, and other aspects that makes not having a team not so damaging to the experience.
It would be nice if they add some way to drop a teleport portal back to your home area from wherever you are. Even if this means enemies could go through the portal as well, it would be nice to have a way back home faster so that exploring the dark world isn’t so impossible. Not to mention the constant long runs just to try and continue my journey. I know they have the shrines option, but I could not find any way to activate this anywhere else. Perhaps they weren’t activated yet? Or I was just unlucky enough to never come across another shrine to activate.
Auto-equip needs to be a thing in this game. If I have three hatchets and three pick axes in my inventory, my current tool in use breaking shouldn’t require me to open the inventory and equip another hatchet that is literally the same tool. If it is in the inventory and it is the exact same tool, weapon, armor, or shield, then it needs to be auto-equipped to replace the broken one. A secondary option to this would be to add quick keys that let us drink a potion, equip a tool, or other inventory based function by simply hitting a hotkey such as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.
I enjoyed my short time on Tribes of Midgard and wish the beta was longer. I look forward to the full game being released and being able to play with more people. Not only does it simplify the tedious, it is a fun yet challenging experience that only needs a small amount of work to be a great game. It was like experiencing my new main game before it was ready to become a new favorite title.