Rend E3 Impression
Rend is a team-based sandbox survival game. Say that ten times fast. Similar to titles like ARK: Survival Evolved, it puts a spin on the classic MMORPG formula, and pits players both against themselves and the environment in unique ways.
When players join a server to enter the world of Rend, they are given the choice of one of three factions to join. This is done so that they will immediately and forever have a large team of players on their side, keeping them (at least relatively) safe from harm while they learn the ropes. Like in other games of this subgenre, part of the gameplay involves players building their own bases of operations, and these would get quickly destroyed by other players were it not for factions.
Factions are at the heart of everything in Rend. While players are free to form their own small clans with friends within their faction, it is the faction base that contains an artifact known as the Divinity Stone. Each player’s role is to fill their faction’s Divinity Stone with Lost Spirits, an element found in the outside world. The first one to fill their Divinity Stone all the way to the top wins.
Of course, it isn’t quite that easy. PvP rules apply every time a player leaves their faction base, and they (and any Lost Spirits they carry) are fair game to be picked off and looted by the opposing side. More than that, a special event known as the Reckoning happens in Rend on a regular basis. This means that twice a week, at a predetermined time chosen by the developers, powerful monsters spawn around the world of Rend, attacking all faction bases and causing their shields to crash. This means faction members are needed to log in and defend their base, while also giving a great opportunity to assail an opponent’s now-defenseless base to hamstring their collection efforts. Clearly, this is a game that requires players dedicated to doing what it takes to bring their team to victory, and the developers estimate an average round of gameplay to take one to two months, with twenty players per faction allowed on-line at any given time, before a winner is crowned and the entire game begins anew.
On an individual level, there is lots of variety to give players reasons to stay logged in. Crafting recipes must be unlocked by working through progressively more challenging ones, various skill trees can be progressed through by using and unlocking new skills, and talent points are used for more traditional leveling. There are also a total of nine capture points scattered around the map, providing helpful buffs and abilities to the faction controlling them, which also regularly become open to attack by rival factions and must be defended. Of course, all this requires careful planning, and both text and voice chat are available for player to communicate with friend and foe alike.
This brings me to a tricky point. I can see the appeal in this type of game, especially with all the incentives Frostkeep have implemented to ensure there is plenty for the player to work towards. Between leveling one’s own character, driving the team cause forward, and dealing with hostile attackers hell-bent on sabotaging your hard work, there’s lots of reasons to stay logged in. The game certainly looks attractive enough; more importantly, the menus and visual indicators of progress and success are so well-implemented that I understood them instinctively, even without any prior experience in the genre as a whole. Is it the kind of game I am drawn toward playing? No, but I can easily see the appeal, and Rend is probably worthy of a shot for those that enjoy this type of game.