Survived By Preview
After learning the basics of combat and crafting in Survived By‘s brief tutorial, I was dropped into its huge fantasy world with no indication of what to do next. The nearby NPCs revealed bits of lore, but none had quests to give. My map was completely obscured by blackness, as I had not explored any areas outside the starting town. So should I first check out the rest of the town? Or should I venture into the wilds and chart out the world, risking death by the monsters beyond the gates? What was my ultimate goal? I decided to ask the global chat for advice. A fellow adventurer replied to my call for help. “Just kill shit,” he told me bluntly.
And kill shit I did. I began by battling simple spiders before moving on to stone golems and talking wolves, stumbling into dungeons and other players along the way. But as I soon found out, that adventurer was only half correct in his statement. Survived By is as much about getting killed as it is about killing.
Don’t Fear the Reaper
Human Head Studios’ Survived By is a free-to-play bullet-hell MMO with permadeath. The concept of permadeath is certainly not new to the genre. However, here it is not a punishment meant to reset your progress back to zero, but an integrated part of the gameplay loop. Once you inevitably die, all your gained equipment and levels are exchanged for Legacies — perks that carry over from character to character — and resources to upgrade them. Legacies can be as simple as damage negation to making an enemy explode into a cross of bullets on kill. Your next character, a descendant of the one who just died, can then equip these Legacies, giving you an edge on subsequent play-throughs. Thus, I was never frustrated by dying in Survived By. Instead, I welcomed the chance to see what new perks I could unlock.
Currently there are three starting classes, with an additional three classes unlockable through gameplay or by using Electrum — Survived By’s in-game currency. Combat is a simple affair, with all classes having only two attacks: a primary and a secondary. The primary attack is a projectile, and this goes for even the sword-wielding Infiltrator and Sentinel. The secondary attack is where the classes differ, with each possessing a powerful special that must first be built up through the use of the primary attack. For example, the Harbinger can lock-on to multiple enemies for a multi-shot volley of arrows, while the Infiltrator can go invisible before dishing out a circle of daggers around him.
To better your chances of survival, you’ll have to level up your character and procure equipment. There are no quest lines to follow, but there are still many ways to do this — hunting down materials to craft your own gear, defeating bosses, beating dungeons, completing challenges, and participating in limited-time events and embarking on 10-player raids.
Aside from all that, Survived By also has an expansive world waiting to be explored. I walked in one direction for nearly an hour, only to discover roughly just one-third of the entire map. This world is shared simultaneously with up to 100 online players. While you can’t form parties with others at the moment, you can fight mobs and tackle dungeons together.
Electrum? Damn Near Killed ‘Em
As mentioned before, Survived By is a free-to-play title that uses an in-game currency called Electrum. Electrum is primarily used to unlock special cosmetics, but it can also make your grind easier. By spending Electrum, you can open up additional character slots and inventory space or even speed up your crafting speed, which occurs in real-time (a low level dagger I made took three minutes). Thankfully, this doesn’t mean free-to-play players are locked out of anything in Survived By. Electrum can be earned with playtime. By completing daily challenges for Bloodstones, they can then be converted into Electrum.
Survived By is a unique MMO with a neat twist. It embraces the idea of permadeath, using it as both a punishment and a reward. With each death, you only grow stronger and more able to take on the hostile world at large. Suddenly, permadeath doesn’t like such a scary word after all. Survived By is currently in Closed Beta.
** A PC preview code was provided by the publisher **