[dropcap size=big]R[/dropcap]eign of Kings is quite the Early Access release. Since its Steam launch back in March, tons upon tons of players have jumped right in. If you’re interested in the game then you likely already know the premise. If not, here’s the scoop: You start off as someone with nothing but can work your way up to becoming king of a domain, with tons of live human players as your subjects. However, a reign is often the subject of uprisings, meaning that a king is never secured their crown.
So, you’ve bought the game, jumped into a random server, and don’t have the slightest clue as to what to do. All players begin on a server as a nearly naked dude with just a few items to call their own. As you might expect, this leaves you incredibly vulnerable meaning you’re going to want to get started with doing something right away. But what is that something? Have you ever played Minecraft? It’s a lot like that. You’re going to want to gather loads of wood. So just equip your only tool available and get smacking at the closest tree in your vicinity.
Wood is an incredibly easy element to gather, and that’s great because you’ll need loads of it to facilitate your first crafting sessions. Trees are all around the island, but unfortunately other resources tend to be rarer in appearance. For example, wood is great and all, but there’s only so much you can do with it. In order to make a stone hatchet for example to collect wood more efficiently you actually need some stone. You’ll tend to find these up on hillsides where the grass has been worn away. Sometimes they’ll also hang out on large, flat fields as well. Stones look like small dark grey boulders and, unlike trees, you need to press and hold ‘E’ near one to collect them. In fact, most objects are collected in this fashion.
Other gatherable items within Reign of Kings include goodies such as hay, iron, flax, dirt, oil, and water. Unfortunately for us, flax is both a very necessary item and quite rare out in the open. It appears as a small clustered white bush (as opposed to white little flower/weeds which grow everywhere just for aesthetics). The problem with this element is that most other players tend to snap it up first, leaving less for yet another player. In any case, your best bet for nabbing some flax is by exploring large flat fields or attacking animals – but we’ll get to that later. On occasion you’ll also find some scattered near the beachfront as well.
Whatever the case may be, once you’ve got 120 wood it’s time to build a work bench. This unlocks the ability to craft more advanced items once created. There are actually four versions of the work bench, but in order to upgrade to tannery (or beyond) you need to accumulate quite a bit of flax and iron ingots. That’s definitely beyond a player on their first day. Curious how to get those ingots? You’re going to need to build a campfire (also with wood!) and then upgrade that to a furnace. With a furnace you’re granted a whole slew of metalworking options so definitely ensure you’ve got enough wood on you to create both the work bench and campfire shortly after one another.
At this point you’ve probably noticed the three bars at the bottom right of the screen are declining. The top bar is stamina which replenishes once you stop engaging in actions. Underneath that is the thirst meter, and finally the last one shows player hunger. Yes, this is one of those survival games where keeping an eye on food and water is imperative. Water is easy enough to procure. Heck, you’re on an island meaning the place is absolutely surrounded by water. The food can prove a bit more challenging, but not as hard as might be assumed.
Just look around until you find some non-dangerous animal (chicken, sheep, duck) and wail at it with a weapon. It’s much better to use a projectile for some creatures, such as deer, as they’ll run quickly away from you once hit or otherwise startled. The good thing about all weaponry is that after one hit the harmed creature will slow down until you can finally get in with a finishing blow. Once dead, smack the creature a ton of times. This might seem barbaric but it’s the only way to grab a whole host of items: meat, flax, fat, bone, blood. All of this can then be used for crafting. Oh, and if you did opt for projectiles but missed, retrace your steps and gather them back up for later use. If you’re really hungry/thirsty but see no animals (or don’t have access to a campfire) collect berries from bushes. These will help in both regards.
Here’s a point that needs to be made while new players (or anyone) is busy exploring to collect resources. Watch out! Danger is everywhere in Reign of Kings, and sometimes the most obvious danger (humans) is the thing you need to worry about least. Depending on the server, player-based violence may even be discouraged between “civilians” but on other occassions it is the de facto way of life. In any case, the woods are filled with animals that will hunt you down on sight. Bears and wolves, for example, do not play nice. Try to keep a stockpile of projectile weapons on hand at all times to hit dangerous creatures before they can close in for the kill. Of course, player characters might also come after you. So basically, be vigilant at all times.
There is one NPC creature known as a plague villager which comes out at night and may seriously creep folks out who have no idea about them. Basically, these humanoid creatures hang around near a dilapidated village and can cause loads of damage. If you can kill one, though, you’ll often be rewarded with amazing gear that would take a long time to create. Truly brave players can enter into the town itself to loot more gear, but be warned that as long as you’re within the village the player’s health will slowly be whittled away. If you’ve got a good stockpile of meat or bandages though then it might be worth the risk to reap the rewards.
After playing Reign of Kings for a while crafting, exploring, and surviving start to become second nature. It’s just getting over that initial hump that proves challenging for some. Once you’ve got the basics down you can consider really enjoying all that the game has to offer, such as the feudalistic simulation. Joining up with others in a guild and trying to overthrow a king, or simply live peacefully, are both enjoyable means of playing. Keep pushing forward and maybe you’ll get to claim your seat upon the king’s throne.
Reign of Kings is the selection for the May 2015 “Not Crowdfunded, But…” series. You can read more Reign of Kings articles here.