I spent a solid amount of time playing Perpetuum over the weekend, wrapping up the introductory assignment (quests) line and a few Corp assignments after. I feel that I’m at the point now where I ‘get’ a good portion of the game, and where I’ve seen a decent chunk of what the game offers. Areas I’m clueless about are PvP, Crafting, and how clans function. Those are big areas of course (especially PvP), so by no means consider this a full viewpoint.
I think anytime I talk about Perpetuum I’ll have to get this out of the way: Perpetuum is EVE, but on the ground in robots vs in space with spaceships. Anytime you are wondering how something is done in Perpetuum (is there a short for that name? Perp? I’m going with Perp.), consider how EVE does it and more often than not, that’s how Perp does it.
On to some positive changes or just stuff that Perp does well.
For starters, I think Perp has my new all-genre favorite character advancement system, which that alone might sell the game here. Like EVE, it’s a real-time system of skill (not class) advancement, with every skill having multiple levels (10 in Perp, I believe), each level costing more ‘time’ to advance but giving the same improvement (IE: a skill that ups your crit chance gives you +1% crit for each level, but level 1 will cost minutes while level 10 will cost months). The critical difference here is that instead of training a specific skill, you accrue general points, and when in a station you can assign these points to any of the skills you have access to. New skills can be purchased if you meet the requirements, costing both points and money.
This is a huge change from EVE on a number of levels. For starters, and perhaps most importantly, you no longer have to worry about managing a skills queue and logging in at 4am just to set something. This also means you can stay subscribed but not log in for months at a time, return, and improve your character dramatically right away. Many consider EVE Offline as a flaw, but when you really break it down, it’s nothing but a massive boost for the company, and I think Perp will have this in even larger levels.
This system also allows for increased flexibility and player choice. Say you are currently working on level 2 assignments and not having much trouble with them. Save up your points rather than getting stronger, and when you move up to level 3 assignments or earn a bigger robot, spent those built-up points to get right into your new toy and actually have the skills to use it. Struggling at level 2? Spent those points right away to get stronger now. Not sure which direction to take your character next? Just save up points. Know exactly what you need, spend em.
Overall it’s an excellent system (copy it Aventurine!), and assuming Perp has an EVE-like economy where money is king, things will still come down to having the cash to really advance to the fancy stuff anyway.
Another big plus for Perp right now is that the community is very helpful, answering any questions I had right away. I also saw multiple developers online (the regional (global?) chat rooms show who is a dev, and push them to the top of the list), answering questions and talking about future plans. The game is still in beta of course, so generally the community IS better before the masses hit it, and dev involvement is generally higher, but it’s still a plus for Perp that they have these things going right now.
Final bonus point: that first drone issue I mentioned in my first Perp post? That’s been fixed, as the target is now called a training dummy and is much easier to identify. Not going to take credit for that one, but good to see things fixed and improved.
Now for some negatives.
While the graphics are decent and nothing is directly ‘wrong’ with the areas I’ve seen, they also don’t jump out and impress either. It’s fairly standard ‘different planet’ stuff, with futuristic machines scattered among the rocks and shrubbery. I’ve not explored a ton, but I have been around a bit, and so far everything I’ve seen has looked similar as well.
The biggest negative for me is that my robot ‘feels’ more like an RC car than a machine of destruction. The scale just feels very off, with my robot walking through shrubs that are as tall as I am, and only the stations really feeling massive. EVE really nails the scale aspect, with Frigates appearing tiny compared to a Battleship, let alone a Capital ship. Granted, I’ve yet to see the bigger robots, but as first impressions go playing with what looks/feels like an RC spider bot leaves a whole lot of ‘meh’ to go around. I will say firing missiles is satisfying, as you get to see them arc through the air before exploding on an enemy.
Lastly, while the introduction missions are clear and show you all the basics, I feel like they are a missed opportunity to introduce players to the lore behind the game and get them sucked in. I read all of the text, but its all generic instructions rather than having any kind of story here. Ultimately the game will likely revolve around player conflict anyway, but as something aimed at new players just getting started, it should do more to be memorable and get you interested.
Overall though Perp did enough over the weekend to warrant some more time with it. I want to see just how the assignments play out and if they do anything interesting, I want to at least look into crafting, and lastly I want to head out and explore more of the world and see what it offers.