What is Rend?
Rend is the latest in the field of multi-player "survival" games, along the lines of ARK, Rust, and others. The game is set in the shattered remnants of Midgard after Ragnarok has destroyed it. The remaining lands are held together by the still living roots of the world-tree, Yggdrasil. Players take on the role of warriors fighting for the right to "ascend" to Asgard and live among the gods.
What makes Rend unique is that it is a three-faction game, similar to Dark Age of Camelot. This means that the instant you log in, you have allies that can help you. When creating a character, you must choose one of the three factions: The militaristic Order; The enlightened Revenant; or The mysterious Conclave. Realistically all three factions are functionally identical. The only real differences is that glowing tattoos on the character's bodies, their glowing eyes and the color of their tracer fire in combat. Order is represented by orange, Revanent by purple and Conclave by yellow-green.Why should I play?
As is usual for a survival game, there is a basic need for food and water. However, that hurdle is quickly surpassed. After that, there is a deep and complex crafting system, pet taming, and an overarching PvP conflict. This PvP system is kind of unique to the survival genre and is what sets Rend apart from other games in this genre.
The basic premise of the three-faction PvP system is that only one faction can "win" the game. Points earned are displayed as a glowing meter that slowly fills from bottom to top on a giant scoreboard on the World Tree that is visible from pretty much the entire map. Factions earn points by collecting "souls" and depositing them into a "divinity stone" at their faction's home base. While one can passively collect souls that spawn randomly at night, the primary way of collecting souls is by killing other players. The catch is that not only to you need to kill the other faction, but you have to collect their souls and then return with them to your faction's homebase (without getting killed in the process). Each soul collected will earn ONE point for your faction.
Additionally, there are PvE events that happen twice weekly (by default - server admins can change this) where tons of hostile monsters will attack the homebase. If successful, these monsters will "eat" the souls/points of a faction. These events are scheduled by the server and are NOT random. If no one is there to defend, a faction can easily go from a high score to having zero points in a few minutes!!
When any faction scores 100,000 points, the game is over and the server resets. A typical game takes about four to six weeks to complete.Wait... "resets"? What about progression?
Well, there is progression in each game, in terms of opening up different tech trees and unlocking higher tiers of crafting. (If you are a crafting fan, you're going to love this part of the game!) But when the game ends, all of that is wiped out and everyone starts anew. However, there is a meta-progression system in the game. As you play, you earn "ascension points" that can give additional bonuses. These include mechanical bonuses like additional hitpoints or faster XP or skill gains, or they can be cosmetic bonuses like unlocking different hairstyles or character model options.
The faction that wins the game will keep all of the ascension rewards they earn while playing and will start the next game with those bonuses intact. Players on losing teams will also keep some
of their bonuses, but not all of them, for the next game. Clearly you want to be on the winning team!You mentioned "server admins"...
Yes, while the game has normal public servers, it also supports private, password-protected servers. Server admins can change things like the length of the day/night cycle, how fast skills and XP accumulate, maximum number of players per faction, etc.
Factions are limited to 20 online players per faction. Note this doesn't mean that only 60 people can play, but it does mean that only 60 people can play at any one time. A faction can include hundreds of players, but only 20 of them can be online at any given time. The map size and crafting/gathering is balanced around this number and the server is optimized for that population. Admins can set the concurrent player count higher (or lower) - the developers keep saying that it could be as high as 100 per faction - but the server will be unstable and/or laggy.So what about non PvP options? Crafting? Pets?
The crafting system is pretty deep and complex. There are hundreds of different crafting trees to unlock, and tiered materials to gather to advance. Crafting includes the obvious armor and weapons as well as cooking and alchemy. Every player will need to unlock these individually, but this is a faction-based game and not solo-friendly at all! For example, in order to advance from T1 leather armor to T2 leather armor, you will need to craft about 32 complete sets of armor and need input of hundreds of pieces of leather. Skinning one animal in-game will grant you only a handful of leather. Similarly, unlocking T2 weapons will require a large investment in wood or metal. And to make matters worse, the skill trees are not just "armor" or "weapons", there are at least three individual trees for specific supersets. For example, there are three different types of cloth armor (depending on which bonuses you prefer), different skill trees for bows/crossbows/repeaters, etc. There are over one hundred different skill trees to be unlocked within the game, each with redonkulous gathering requirements. This really encourages specialization in one or two specific skills trees and fosters inter-dependence within each faction.
On top of this wide skill tree requirement, there is a faction-wide "research" system. As you play, you will automatically gather "Sparks of Genius". These can be used at the faction homebase to research new things. For example, one of the first things that needs to be unlocked is Medium Armor! Research unlocks are faction-wide, so not every player needs to research every thing. This is a kind of collective skill tree unlock system. However, once the faction unlocks, for example, Siege Weapons, then each player must individually unlock their personal skill to craft individual items within that new skill tree.
One of the research unlocks available is the pet system. Remember, one the faction unlocks this, it is available to everyone in that faction! You can tame pets by marking them with a special item, and the "killing" them, sending them to the Spirit Realm. Then you go to the Spirit Realm yourself to use special taming items to capture that creature. Getting to and from the Spirit Realm can be accomplished with gatherable items, crafted items or one specific “class” that specializes in Spirit Realm interactions.
The bottom line is that pretty much the entire game is designed around inter-player cooperation to accomplish a common goal.