Have you ever dreamed of playing a survival game set in a Norse-themed world with your friends? Well, Frostkeep Studios is offering just the thing with their recently released PC title Rend. It is a team-based survival sandbox game that puts players in a harsh domain where only the strong ascend as gods.
Rend is unique in that it combines RPG elements with competitive mechanics, while still staying true to its survival aspects. Each server will hold 60 players, who are then divided into three rival factions. Each faction has a main base that holds a Divinity Stone. Once this stone is destroyed, the entire faction will lose and be removed from the server.
While it is technically a competition among three factions, it is not a typical match that plays out over several minutes to an hour. In Rend, a cycle would last over a month, and during this time, players have to gather resources, strengthen their faction stronghold, and battle enemy factions. They also have to progress though skill trees in order to “ascend”. At the end of a cycle, only one faction will be crowned victorious. After this, the server resets for a new game. Those who do well in a match receive rewards that can be carried between servers.
This is not to say, however, that the developers do not encourage factions to cross paths. Factions can attack other factions, but will be at a disadvantage because of enemy debuffs. So far, the developers plan to schedule regular hour-long battles, called Reckonings. Players will be alerted about the existence of these via a countdown, which gives them time to gather their armies and prepare for war. The champion faction of this three-way brawl will have better chances of winning the match overall.
If it’s any reassurance, Frostkeep Studios is home to former World of Wardraft developers. According to the co-founders, Blizzard’s philosophy focused more on taking aspects from different places and combining them to create an interesting game, rather than inventing something entirely new. They adopted this same mindset when they created Rend, borrowing ideas from MMOs and RPGs.
In truth, Rend is just one of the games this year that is creating a newfound interest in Norse mythologies among gamers. The game takes place on a piece of land that was once Midgard before Ragnarok obliterated the world. The remaining fragments are held together by Yggdrasil, the World Tree, and each fragment is filled with a different environment for players to explore.
When it comes to games based on Norse mythology, perhaps there is a more popular game that springs to mind. The latest God of War from Santa Monica Studios delves into the more obscure parts of Nordic lore, and developers have taken a lot of creative license to bring traditional characters, objects, creatures, and environments to life. Seeing as it is one of the best-performing games this year, it has drawn a lot of attention to the source material that is Norse folklore.
Meanwhile, other small-scale browser based games are also inspired by the same myths. Vikings Go to Hell and Vikings Go Berzerk have found their way into bwin’s selection of casino games, and both titles make references to popular figures in Norse legend. These include the barbaric Viking warriors, as well as the powerful Norse gods. Their game mechanics may not be as complex as Rend’s, but they are decent tributes to the ever-growing lore.
If you’re looking for an indie game to quench your thirst for Norse-themed narratives, then look no further than Thunder Lotus’s Jotun. Even though the average play time is much shorter than Rend’s at half a day, players will be drawn to the beautiful hand-drawn graphics that make references to the cosmology of the Scandinavians. Similar to God of War, it also digs deep into the myth in order to introduce lesser known aspects to the players.
But if you’re on the lookout for newer titles, then Rend is a good option. The game is now playable on Early Access on Steam.