Lately I’ve been reviewing a lot of theme-park MMORPGs, so for my next review I wanted to select a sandbox game and decided on Perpetuum. Also because it’s coming up on its one year anniversary in almost exactly a month, so I figured it was a good time for a review.
Perpetuum, which recently seems to have become the MMORPG of choice for disgruntled Eve Online players, like Eve has a player driven economy, open PvP zones, corporations and a steep learning curve. Although overwhelming at first, Perpetuum has some very useful tutorials and the first dozen or so assignments, which can be likened to quests, continue the tutorials if you need them.
The game begins with the character creation screen, which has a ton of customizable options, then moves onto faction selection, class selection and skill specializations, all before beginning the game. It’s a lot to take in all upfront, especially when you’re really not sure what type of player you want to become.
While it may be confusing at first, in actuality it all boils down to three main categories. Tactics and mechatronics, which means what weapons you can use and how strong your mech can become. Industry and research, which correlates to mining materials and crafting items/parts. Then we have politics and economics for those who want to start up their own corporations and specialize in things like relations, management and finance.
Since I’m not much for crafting or wanting to run my own corporation, I selected mostly combat attributes and a bit of industry cause I know I’ll have to do some crafting eventually. Even if you decide to make a pure combat or mining character, you’ll still have some points in the other two categories as well, so you can dabble in everything.
One of Perpetuum best features is the way it handles experience points. You don’t get XP by completing assignments or killing things, XP is passive and everyone gains 1 XP/min regardless of whether your logged in or not. Here’s the kicker, XP is shared by all alt characters, so for those of you who like gaming the system by creating multiple pure characters, one for combat, crafting and politics, you’re out of luck here. The game really forces you to create once character and stick with, but allows you to have two other alts, after that you’ll need to delete one to start another.
Getting to the actual game, Perpetuum starts off like no other MMO I’ve ever played. You begin in a facility staring at a terminal or desktop if you will. It’s not a graphical room or hangar, but instead it’s just a computer screen that acts as a desktop where you can pull up information, storage, chat room, your mech and everything else you’ll ever need in the game. Like a desktop all windows can be moved around, resized, min or maximized, the whole UI is very cool.
Once you’ve selected an assignment, you need to re-adjust your Mech’s equipment, because once out in the field you can’t equip different item/weapons. So if you’re planning on doing some mining, you’ll have to equip your drills first. Since each Mech has multiple arms, you’ll have to decide how many drills to use, the more you equip the faster and efficient the drilling will be, but if you equip only drills you’ll be left defenseless in an attack.
Combat works on a targeting system that is similar to tab targeting, however you actually have to lock onto your target to initiate an attack. First you’ll need to be in range of the Mech you want to attack, then you’ll have to select it using your mouse and once you do, you’re targeting system will begin to lock on.
Currently my Mech takes about 12 seconds to lock on, however I can increase my target locking ability to speed this up. Once locked, the unit shows up in a Targets window where I’ll need to designate it as a primary target if I want to attack. While this attack is going on, I’m able to select other hostile units and begin locking on to them as well. This way I’ll be able to start attacking the next target as soon as the Primary one is destroyed. Although similar tab targeting, it’s definitely more involved here, but fits in perfectly with the whole Mech theme.
Mining on the other hand is very different from what you would find in most MMO games today, infact I’ve never played a game with this type of mining system. Instead of finding a rock or tree and just clicking it, you actually have to find the resources yourself. While some are above ground and can be seen, others are below and you’ll need to find them yourself by scanning the ground.
Each Mech can be equipped with a GeoScanner which scans in two way. First, it’ll scan a large area and tell you the percentage of resources underground, for instance 5% would mean there’s not much while 25% would mean there’s a decent amount. If you get a good number you’ll basically have to guess where the resources are and scan again, but this time only scanning a small portion of the larger area you just scanned.
This second scan will give you a much more accurate reading and tell you exactly where the resources are by showing bars graphs underground, red for a lot and green for barely any. Once you start drilling it’s automatic and will continue for as long as you have resources to do so. However there is a weigh limit, so you can’t drill forever and eventually you’ll have to return to a facility to unload your materials.
The scans you take are saved and can be loaded onto the world map at any time so you can keep a record of where you drilled and which areas have the most resources.
Facilities, as far as I can tell, can hold an unlimited amount of items, however are not connected to each other. So if you leave some items in facility A and are at facility B, you’re going to have to travel back to A to get them. While this can be annoying, it adds more realism to the game, but don’t worry, there are teleports through out the game, so you can travel around pretty quickly.
Like many sandbox MMORPG, Perpetuum is PvP centric, however does have three safe zones, which are the three inner islands in the above image. Once you get a grip on the game you can travel outside to the PvP areas where it’s open PvP and the real fun begins. Perpetuum is also a single universe MMO, like Eve Online, where everyone plays in the same persistent world, which is always a huge plus in my book.
Since I began, I’ve only completed the four tutorials and the dozen or so tutorial assignments, so I’ve only really scratched the surface with what Perpetuum has to offer, but I have to say I’m very impressed so far. The graphics are outstanding, the gameplay, while a bit complicated just feels so refreshing after playing so many rail MMORPGs lately. I’m actually excited for the first time in a long time to get back into the game to see what else I can do.