The wait is over

Despite last-minute delays the game did launch on the date advertised, ie two days ago. I almost didn’t take advantage of the early access for Pioneers, as the recent stress test didn’t convince me that the game was ready and I was reluctant to start the clock ticking on my two free months without being reasonably confident that I would want to stick around once I had to pay a subscription. It would be a shame to pre-purchase (not just pre-order, mind) a game seven months in advance and then end up not playing it because of an unimpressive launch.

Luckily Pioneers do in fact get to use their early access and play for a few days before committing to a recurring billing. It is at that point that they would start using their two free months. With that in mind I decided there would be no harm in checking out the game after all.

Initial impressions were pleasantly surprising. The stress test client was a big step up from Settlers of Ganareth in the graphics department, while still chugging along a bit at times. The release client shows a big improvement. Framerate is good and the world is very pretty indeed. The UI has also had a lick of paint and looks much better than SoG did.

Sadly some old bugs remain. Configuring graphics and sound settings is still a non-starter and remapping keys is hardly worth attempting. Keys can still be mapped to several actions simultaneously, which is not in itself a bad thing but soon creates problems when trying to unmap them doesn’t work. Furthermore I found I couldn’t zoom the map at all, as this functionality is bound to the mouse wheel (my mouse has none) and cannot be remapped.

Despite this the world retains that “wow it’s huge” feel that SoG always promised and exploring it should be fun. I wonder if I can find my stele before the official release on June 5th.

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