My house is a mess. Dishes are scattered across the counter, laundry is undone, the carpets need vacuuming … but my genetic engineering, chemistry, culinary arts and diplomacy are all nearing or above 200. My entertainment skills are coming along decently, I am well stocked with DNA and tissue samples, and I have finally found sources for sugar, chocolate and milk. It’s a win, right? I think a /played would make me cry … even my friends on Steam are starting to inquire about the Repopulation as they have never seen me log so many hours in a game before. And the most bewildering thing of all is that I still feel as though don’t have nearly enough knowledge to write a decent preview of the game.
It is really great to have found a game that doesn’t have every iota of information written up in a wiki somewhere, and where I can log this many hours and still feel as though I have an entire world to learn and explore. One of the many things that have been lost in games over the years is the sense of exploration – most of them are so simple that they are fully mapped out by players before the alpha has even gotten midway. But there that is not the case with the Repopulation. I am exploring every step of the way, even when I spend hours at a time standing in front of the crafting station.
But even so, writing this preview is proving exceedingly difficult because I have no idea where to begin. I really haven’t touched combat much – I have no idea how fittings work, other than being able to parrot what I’ve seen people say: that fittings are where gear improvements are. I haven’t explored the world much; without combat skills I die rather quickly once I’m away from the main cities. I don’t have a house, so can’t speak about how that system works (although it looks really cool! I know you can have gardens and livestock farms – one of my ingame buddies has been telling me about his breeding ranch). I’m in a Nation but haven’t been to its city. I have no idea if there are dungeons in the game, no clue what advanced crafting is like, and I haven’t figured out how reputation works.
And I am loving every moment.
Queue Abba – I’ve been dancing! I’ve been conversing with the various NPCs! I’ve been creating an army of clones, and learning how to cook fish, steaks, and brownies. Fishing! Some day soon I will progress into ice cream, and playing with DNA combinations to create my own blend of monsters rather than simply creating throwaway clones. But they are cute, aren’t they? My most recent creation can even hold his own weapon and wears armor! How’s that for improvement?
This game has depth; I think that I could write volumes on every single aspect of it. And it’s all fun – I often find myself running around in enthusiastic circles because while doing one task another interesting option appears that distracts me, then another, and another… and pretty soon I have an inventory full of DNA, diseased brains, psychedelic mushrooms, fish, minerals, automatic weaponry and computer processors.
I’m going to start with crafting. It is easily one of the most confusing elements of the Repopulation, as there is just so much to take in. Take a look at what my screen tends to look like when I’m in a heavy crafting session. My inventory is hidden behind the game database for this shot, but that is open as well. What an information overload! I put the game database into a prominent position here – far more prominent than I have it at this point – because knowing how to use it is so vital to any one who wants to delve into crafting. So I think I will focus on how to use the database for now.
If you look at the top of it, you can see various tabs. These provide nearly every bit of information you could possibly want about the game. From all of the uses of items, detailed layouts of crafting recipes (I’ve got acid-base reactions, a chemistry recipe open in the screenshot), locations of harvesting nodes, hints about game systems, lists of skills and abilities … I don’t think I’ve had anything yet not be in there. The trick is just knowing how to look.
Since I’ve got Acid-Base Reactions open, let’s have a bit of a chemistry lesson!
The list at the top is pretty simple. The recipe is used in the chemistry skill, and can be learned from the book Chemistry 101, which is the first chemistry book that you’ll encounter as a player. Recipe steps refers to the actual crafting process – if you look to the left at the Crafting tab, there is a progress bar, recipe steps refers to how many process steps it takes to fill the bar and complete the crafting. I’ll go into more on that later – although it’s looking like that will have to be a later article! I haven’t quite figured out what ingredient and agent weight mean, but I believe they have something to do with the final item quality – the better quality materials in the high weighted areas seems to result in a better quality final product.
The difficulty tabs are the skill level that you need to reach in order to attempt that level of the recipe. Looking downward to the Results section, you can see every item that the recipe can create. I’m really not sure why Hydrochloric Acid shows up at simple, complex and arduous, presumably the arduous version results in a higher quality or has some other purpose. But at a quick glance, you can now see that Sodium Nitrate can be crafted immediately upon learning chemistry, but if you want Ammonium Perchlorate, you’ll need to get chemistry to at least 450, and that both of them will grant 3 of the finished item.
When I first started crafting, I wound up with an inventory filled with useless to me items, because I had no idea how to interpret what I was looking at when I opened this page. The ingredients are listed as acid and base, so I originally thought that meant I could use anything labeled as an acid in the acid slot, and anything listed as base in the base slot.
But this is not the case at all. Oranges and lemons are both acidic, but try giving someone a big frosty glass of lemon juice with breakfast and you’ll discover just how poorly they can replace one another – and much as in real life, it is the same in Repopulation crafting. Hydrochloric Acid requires not just any acid and base – but specifically Sulfuric Acid and Sodium Hydroxide. Armed with this knowledge, it should now be fairly simple to plan out the needs of everything and anything you might possibly want to craft.
I recommend harkening back to the days of yore, the glorious Age of MUDs, and keeping a notebook specifically for scribbling Repopulation things. Whether it’s digital or electronic, I currently have both going, and they’re helping me keep focused. Three cheers for a game that wants note keeping again!
Keep your eyes peeled for more! I have plenty more to say!