Last Oasis developer Donkey Crew hosted an AMA for its peculiar survival MMO this week, giving us a better idea of what life is like on a world where the scorching sun leaves only a small strip of it habitable. Hard, apparently. That habitable zone is constantly moving, you see, so players will have to stay mobile and work together to get resources from an area before it (and they) are burned to a crisp.
"We wanted to go away from how other survival games handle respawning resources," said project lead Florian Hofreither. "Instead of respawning resources at the same spot, which encourages camping those spots, we bring up new maps constantly with fresh resources, and 'expedition' maps that are only accessible for a few hours before the sun scorches them. We really want to commit to the theme of travelling and exploring."
You'll still be able to claim and fight over territory, though, but eventually you'll need to pack up your base and move somewhere safer. When your clan is in control of an area, you get a bonus from anyone that ventures into it to harvest its resources, so it actually benefits clans to have visitors. Donkey Crew hopes the system will inspire big clans to look after little ones, letting them stay in their territory and protecting them from players who have taken up a life of piracy.
With resources so fleeting, traders are probably going to find a lot of ways to get rich. It's a core mechanic and you'll be able to dedicate your life to trading, or join a trading guild and work with pals to make you all richer.
"We're avid fans of EVE," said developer Pogosan, "and inspiration from our experience with their world and other games that heavily rely on trading." Because oases have different resources, traders will be able to create temporary trade routes between them, packing all the goods into their walker and ferrying them to an oases that's lacking a precious commodity.
Walkers, Last Oasis's leggy landships, have to be constructed first, but while they are customisable, you won't be picking each part yourself. You'll choose a preset first, but you'll be able put your own stamp on it. Donkey Crew hasn't decided how many walkers there will be, but they'll specialise in combat, transport or exploration.
The largest walker of them all is the Flotilla, a mobile city and last bastion of humanity. It won't be in the game at Early Access launch, but Donkey Crew does plan to introduce it at some point. Like EVE, though, Last Oasis seems more concerned with letting players make their own bases and trade between each other, rather than having NPCs and NPC settlements.
Last Oasis is coming to Steam Early Access soon, Donkey Crew announced at the PC Gaming Show, but the question of Epic exclusivity still came up. It won't be an exclusive, Hofreither reiterated, and the studio is looking into launching on other stores, not just Steam—but only if everyone can play together.
"From a rational point of view, a multiplayer game like ours needs to have a large playerbase to reach its full potential," said Hofreither. "Artificially limiting our playerbase would not be good for us and would hurt the game quite a lot. We want to be as easily accessible as possible. Some people argue that Steam's cut is too large, but our goal is really to have as many players as possible, and the revenue per player is really not the most important number."
Give the AMA a read here.
Last Oasis is launching in Early Access on September 3.