Kitchen Sink

Realm Grinder‘s development path reminds me of WildStar, in that it is gradually coming to an approach of “just throw everything in and hope it works together.”

One of my first impressions of WildStar was that it decided to use all the systems and hope for synergy. It has races, classes, specializations, paths, factions, and more, most of which have advancement systems built in. It has static quest NPCs, quests that appear in the field, challenges specific to your path, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few types and their names. There are achievements and unlocks and multiple parallel and overlapping advancement systems, the way other games staple them on between expansions but here building them in from the start. There is crafting and PvP and raids and city upgrades, and any sub-system you can think of from any other game probably exists in WildStar in some form.

For me, those never really gelled into something coherent, but maybe it did for you, and they have had a year or two of development time since I last looked in on them.

Realm Grinder did not have the pre-release development time that WildStar did, but it seems to be following the same path in terms of sub-systems. I mentioned initially that it launched with six factions, so you could range from clicker play to idling to offline. Then heritages let you keep a feature from each faction. Then the unlockable neutral factions launched. Then you could unlock a good or evil prestige faction that stacked on top of the original factions. Then Mercenaries let you combine upgrades from various factions. Then bloodlines let you take a bit of any faction and include it in your current build. The latest major release added research, which has six paths of trait trees themed around the six original factions, where most of it is accessible to all factions but there are faction-specific upgrades in each tree, and it is only available to the original six without using the prestige add-ons. A small update added challenges for the original six factions, which are mostly faction-specific but can provide bonuses across factions. And I might be missing a few in this kluge of limited, general, specific, overlapping, and mutually exclusive upgrade trees. The menus now have sub-menus to store all these buttons. And they are actively adding more, as research for neutral prestige factions is under development.

Despite all that, at any given time, your options are relatively limited and clear. If an option is not available for your faction, it is grayed out or not visible. Once you have chosen a faction and a bloodline, there are no other choices to make until you get to the late game of Mercenaries and research. Other than that, no, you just take everything available. Even the new research system offers more upgrades but not more choices until you get a few reincarnations in, because “select 4 of 4” is not really a dilemma.

If you are not sure which tier of the game you should be in, “the latest one you got access to” is usually the right answer, and failing that look at the order things were added. Each reincarnation you start with one of the base factions, move to a prestige neutral faction, go back for a prestige good faction, switch to Mercenaries, then go on to the research system. It is a lot like playing an MMO, where you go through the expansions in the order they were released. Realm Grinder lacks explicit levels, but it does have lots of numbers measuring your progress, and the major question is when to switch between progress methods (and which one fits your playstyle/time).

: Zubon