When journeying, one cannot bear a better burden
than one’s own wisdom and common sense.
These are of greater wealth than the finest riches
to the lost traveller in an unknown land, far from home.
-- The 10th Stanza of Hávamál: The Words of Odin, the High One
This Early Access roadmap article explores the newly optimized realm of Rend with specifics about the macro and micro adjustments to the map. Our earliest players will recall that this is not Rend’s first map change, however, it is the most significant in terms of scope. Read on for insights from the developers into how the game’s map has changed as of Patch 7 and why!
One of the final steps of Rend’s Winter roadmap was to optimize the game world’s familiar triangle-shaped layout with the goal of creating more interesting terrains from a gameplay perspective; this means introducing terrains full of bottlenecks, choke points, and narrow corridors. While the map is still roughly the same shape and size, there is now less overall landmass available to players. Each biome has been pared down and now features more defined pathways between faction territories, a change intended to increase the map’s player collision (developer terminology for members of opposing factions encountering each other), generating friction between factions and leading to PvP combat.
When players enter Rend, they are now guided towards other teammates and opponents. Player feedback also indicated that the game needed better points of reference given that Rend doesn’t offer a minimap, instead requiring factions to convey location using shared landmarks. Towards that end, we created terrain-based points of interest to help with navigation and make the placement of creatures and resource nodes feel more natural. As such, biomes are now no longer nebulous and undefined and instead are immediately identifiable: the new gaping chasms are far more visually distinctive than the previous open fields and play into the thematic flavor of Rend being a shattered fragment of Midgard, floating in the ether. Combined with reshaped and well-defined map edges, these changes further cut down on total map real estate which is a positive side effect.
Learn how Rend’s combat has changed with the map in our Combat Reloaded roadmap article!
Renovation, Not Redecoration
When you begin to explore the new Rend map, you’ll notice changes as soon as you spawn in for the first time. The starting area geography of Hearthholm now leads players in the direction of Yggdrasil and the faction stronghold instead of in the opposite direction towards the map edge. Myrkfen, Dreadveil, Scarsyre, and the Highlands have also been reduced in size with new cavities in the land creating more defined roads and narrower traversal spaces. These visually interesting pathways double as identifiable landmarks for players to use as reference points for where they are in the world.
With reduced available territory, the number of creatures that simultaneously cohabitate each biome has been decreased but each individual creature is now far more perceptive of players and presents a significant threat. Many of each biomes’ resources have also been moved and clumped together into a rich vein, drawing players deeper into each region and increasing the likelihood of mid-harvest PvP encounters rather than allowing players to skirt the perimeter for easy-to-reach nodes. Additionally, the number of Control Points in the game has been reduced from nine to six with the removal of the three “byway” points between each faction slice: the remaining points are now much more important to gameplay. The prime Control Points in the Roots of Yggdrasil biome can now be reached via a new passageway through Frystfel, helping streamline access to the center biome and introducing new methods of flanking and capturing its Control Points.
Catch up on all of the game changes introduced with Patch 7!
How to Play the New Rend Map
Eager to explore the latest changes to Rend’s map? Good news, each official Faction War server will migrate to the new map layout when its current saga ends (the most active servers are already using it). We’ll be introducing new Classic and Exploration servers that feature the new map over time but are most interested in your feedback on how it plays in conjunction with Faction War, particularly the new placement of resource nodes. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on what’s working and what could be further improved on Discord and the forums.
This feature article is the last of our Early Access roadmap series for Winter 2018. We'll be sharing details about what's coming next to Rend early this year!