So... did I just spend $40 on what appeared to be a really cool survival sandbox game focusing on environmental impact only to discover there's no actual survival element and a really weird passive skill system based on what you eat? Like, the concept of your diet influencing your ability to perform is a very cool idea but I can't starve to death, take fall damage and nothing seems to be openly hostile towards me. Also I just seem to magically obtain items out of thin air by leaning a skill.
Is there some sort of reason that you don't learn skills by performing the relevant actions? Or making tools by going out and gathering the materials required, first by hand and then by primitive tools? Because that's literally what makes survival games fun. I'm not trying to be negative I'm just totally perplexed by what I've logged into and slightly worried I've just sunk $40 into something completely different to what I expected.
(NOTE: this is my personal view of the game, not an official SLG response)
First, the game is in alpha - not even beta so there are still many features unfinished or maybe not even present. Second, survival in this game currently means surviving as a group against certain natural disasters (currently a meteor impact, but planned are other kinds of disasters.) Unlike most other "survival" sandbox games, individual survival is not a major feature of the base game. You won't find monsters, you won't die of starvation, you won't drown... yet. Again, the survival aspect here is one of working together to ensure survival against a more complex threat than a skeleton invading your home.
Rethought in those terms, the skill system is designed to encourage specialization and not to reward people grinding out skills to "advance" in a personal sense. Skill points are earned over time (like Eve Online) but the amount earned is based on food. Assuming one works collectively with their friends, a division of labor will let someone produce nutritious food while others gather supplies (for food or other things), and everyone will benefit. Again, think collectively.
So, to the extent that the initial game is focused heavily on collective effort and survival on a larger scale, this game differs substantially from Minecraft and similar survival sandbox games. A more single-player focused mode has been talked about and been requested many times - such a mode may come about later, but the current focus is on the core scenarios.
One other major feature which will affect the play experience is the creation of a comprehensive mod system. Such a system would allow someone to add a more extensive combat system, more animals/monsters and other kinds of systems to the game. Server operators should be able to spin up worlds with very different rules and goals, and I would be astonished if there was not a drive to create a more traditional survival-type game in the vein you are imagining. I'd advise staying tuned in to what is going on and providing input on the survival and other game play aspects which interest you. The development team has been very responsive and receptive to constructive suggestions, and development is very active. Your $40 is not wasted if you are willing to stay engaged. Or, wait for the mod system to become fully fleshed out and engage mod makers to get your ideas implemented.
I hope that helps.
Thanks for the response. I really don't want to come across as just being negative - everything about this game has so much potential. I've had my eye on this since I first heard of it and have been really excited to see it come to fruition. I think it's so important for us to build a bridge between interactive platforms (such as gaming) and educational experiences. I myself am a student studying a Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning with a real motivation into looking at using interactive media as a means of bridging a gap between recreation and education (because honestly most educational games out there are seriously boring). I was actually pretty tempted to buy the developer access package, but alas I am a poor student and can't really afford it.
I'll definitely keep giving it a go. I really want to like this game. It's just too bad the server I picked has no one on it so I've spent the last 4 days (in-game) running around doing nothing but watching a skill bar slowly increase lol
Another point you might notice with the game in its current Alpha state is that it provides a lot of mechanisms to support effective teamwork.
If someone has researched a technology it shows as a greyed out item in your skill tree so you know that you can trade for it instead of having to research it yourself.
The store item provides the ability to set up pretty complex economic transactions without requiring both people to be online at the same time.
The default settings in the game explicitly balance so that no one person can learn everything in time to stop the asteroid: teamwork is required.
The Election, Laws, etc systems provide a further framework for cooperation.
I would strongly suggest checking out some of the servers you see listed and look for one either early in play that is willing to help a new player (common but not everywhere) or is well established so you can build yourself up through trade instead of having to fumble through early stages of learning.
if you want, Nesphit has put together a very good "Getting Started" guide. I forget the link but you can search for his name or just go to the SGL server where he has placed a sign in the middle of the central village workshop listing the address.
@Dimestore Yea Nesphite overhauled my earlier getting starting guide adding allot more information than what i hade beside the initial UI stuff and what skills a person should learn. You can find that guide here http://eco.gamepedia.com/Getting_Started
I am sorry to her you thought Eco was something different. There are many reasons why you might have thought it was different then what you thought it was. There have been some good comments on your thoughts and we value every feedback even the one that you give us. That helps us learn in the future and shows us that we might need more sources that can make clear what eco is and what eco is not.
So skills, you are asking why you are not getting skills by grinding like many other games? Eco tries to do it differently but nothing new, Actually eco system is a bit similar to what eve online does, passive skill learning even when you are offline. John(the creator of eco) dint want people to grind for skills like chopping down 2000 trees to be able to learn logging, if everyone wants to do that then this is an issue. On top of that is that this skill system gives food a more meaningful implementation, it also reflects a bit more the real world. You are not learning new skills without the right food. If you would just eat bread and drink normal water your body would lack important vitamins etc and you will in real life learn much slower. You also dont need always to perform an action X amount of times to become good. A person can get in real life better at electrical things by just reading allot of books etc than a person just slapping randomly a cable onto the wall.
Its a different approach than most other games to, Its kind of realistic without compromising to much of the simulation but still keeping thinks fun to play with. So i hope even though its not exactly what you thought it would be that i still will give you joy and fun in the future.
@NoBlackThunder Thanks for the response. I've listened to the advice of the above replies and kept playing. Honestly I think it was just culture shock coming into a system that I've never really encountered before and compounded by the fact I was honestly expecting something else. But I'm glad I stuck with it because I'm finding that I actually really like the system you have in place as it really plays into the fundamental promotion of teamwork that this game is about.The only problems I have now are obviously results of the game being in Alpha which I'm sure will be addressed in the future (birds flying in the ocean, unable to drop items from inventory etc). Minor bugs aside it is true that this game wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It's actually something totally different and unique and upon giving it a chance something I am happy to have invested my money in. My only regret is not being able to purchase the developer access tier but if I get the opportunity I might look at upgrading my account. I've had my eye on this game for a long while now as I am studying Urban and Environmental Planning and really want to try and do something that brings interactive media and education together in an engaging and sophisticated way. As someone who spent most of their younger years buried in gaming and not really engaged with the reality beyond, I think that there's a chance to make a real difference in people's lives and subsequently the world in general by working on concepts like this. I'd actually offer the suggestion on placing even more emphasis on the educational aspects of the game, like having visually representable food webs and species information, information on how C02 emissions have an impact on the Greenhouse Effect etc. I might flesh these suggestions out a bit more and drop them in the relevant thread.
PVP and Survival (starving, death) will be added via mods some day :)
As someone who spent most of their younger years buried in gaming and not really engaged with the reality beyond, I think that there's a chance to make a real difference in people's lives and subsequently the world in general by working on concepts like this.
That's definitely a core goal of the game, giving you an experience that makes your understanding and relation to the real world more valuable.
Great responses Chronos/nbt/dimestore, covers my thoughts exactly. We're going for something really unique here, there's a lot of design in this game that's never been tried in a game, so we're breaking new ground. With that goal, the voxels and survival elements are useful in giving the player a foundation, something they're familiar with and understand that the crazy things we're doing can attach to. So, we diverge from those standard survival practices where it suits our core goals: simulating a 'tragedy of the commons', making social challenges the focus of solving environmental destruction, and giving players a window into their own biases and those of others. And as Chronos pointed out, there's a lot of the game still to be built.
Thanks for the feedback!