I’m digging deeper into Zombasite, and the time spent is being rewarded. The biggest shocker? I don’t really look at the game as a traditional ARPG (Diablo-clone) anymore, because the focus of the game just isn’t the same. That’s hugely important for my enjoyment of the game, and figuring that out has also tied together a lot of the other systems in the game for me.
I mentioned before that in Zombasite you start in your clan’s town and venture out from there. What I now understand is that clan management is critical, and the game is more about growing the clan and your town than just finding better gear and leveling up your own character. This also applies to the ‘story’, of which Zombasite really doesn’t have. There is no main quest, there is no linear progression through zones. Instead, the ‘story’ is how you take your clan from a small start and grow it towards one of the different win conditions, all while dealing and reacting to the events of the world.
Each clan member that you have has individual ratings for things like happiness and insanity. They also level up, can be given gear, can go out on missions, and even marry each other. You can find more potential clan members out in the world, and you can (and should) kick out clan members that aren’t working out (fighting with others, perhaps cursed or infected, etc).
There are also other NPC clans out in the world, each with their own town, traits, members, and goals. You can trade with them, become friends or allies, complete quests, and even go to war, ultimately eliminating them and looting their town. Because each world can have multiple clans, if you are allied with one and go to war with another, now those two NPC clans are also at war, and will raid each other as well. It’s all very dynamic, and once you have discovered a good chunk of the randomly generated world, it can become very hectic (in an enjoyable way).
Right now when I play my time is split between pushing into new areas for additional quests or loot, and reacting to what the world is doing, either by raiding other towns or defending my own. It feels and plays very different from a Diablo-clone, while still having the familiar combat system and skill-tree character building.
Overall I must say the game is certainly worth trying, though do understand you will need to put in some time for it to really click. It’s also nice that the game is being patched very frequently, as one of the latest patches fixed one of the big issues I was having (trees and other large objects now fade when you move behind them, making moving around and seeing the land much, much easier).