Nether Preview – Introduction
Nether is a post-apocalyptic open world multiplayer game with an emphasis on survival. The style can be compared to Day Z, but instead of a zombie apocalypse, the world was hit with solar flares that mutated a portion of the population into Nethers. Other players in the world can help or hurt you, however there are safezones throughout the map in which Nethers can’t enter and people can’t hurt you. Nether also includes an rpg-like level up system and factions that you can join. Overall, Nether, while similar to Day Z, does a fine job at separating itself from similar games with these added features, however I hope to see more added before final release.
Let’s start from the beginning. Once I chose a server, I was presented with a character select screen. The character you choose doesn’t matter for gameplay, it is just for looks. When I hit play, I spawned in the main safezone and was greeted with a welcome message and my first quest. Quests? Ok, cool! I delivered a package to a vendor in the area, crafted my first gun made from a spray paint can, and learned how to join a tribe. After the quick tutorial and some free goodies, I was left to fend for myself. I quickly learnt that when you die, you lose everything you were carrying and your level progression. That may seem a bit rough, but there are two systems of leveling up; character and account. When your character dies, you lose those levels, however your account level stays. You gain different permanent bonuses at each account level such as a health boost, more inventory space, or more starting cash.
You Are Not Alone
Each server allows up to 64 players, and everyone can kill you. While there is the ability to form groups and join tribes, friendly fire is never turned off, so you have to always be on your guard and trust nobody. The good news is that after you join a tribe, killing one of your own tribe members will affect your tribe reputation. Hint: if your tribe reputation gets too low, you get kicked out! Once you join a tribe, which only costs a small amount of in-game money, the main goal is to capture territories on the map by staying in certain locations. A bar will appear and start filling up as long as no opposing tribe members are in the area. Claimed territory gives your tribe money every hour. The more areas a tribe has on the map, the more money you gain. You also get bonus experience for killing members of other tribes as well as reputation for your tribe.
But enough about people. Nethers are not only dangerous, they come in many forms. There’s the Shrieker which can alert other Nethers to your location and spit acid at you, the Crawler is fast moving and the most common of the Nether, the Mantis which can fly, and several more. Oh, and did I mention that most Nether can teleport? The biggest baddie in the game is the Reaper, which only shows up during certain surge events. A Nether surge can appear on the map, which simply means there are a ton of Nether in that area. A notification will pop up when a Reaper is leading a surge.
He is the toughest enemy in the game and it is widely recommended to take him down in a group. Your best defense against Nether? Actually, I’ve been using stealth quite a lot. You can crouch and crawl to lower the amount of sound you create, which Nether and other players can hear. It is also wise to use melee weapons instead of guns on Nether if you don’t want to attract too much attention.
Loot, Cults, and More!
So besides trying not to get killed, what else is there to do? Mainly you want to scavenge the map for supplies. You will find food, medkits, weapons, and parts of weapons. You need to eat to stave off hunger, and you can use parts to make your own weapons. You will also find Nether parts after you kill them. They can be traded for supplies with a cult group in safezones, or even crafted into gross looking weapons. After you’ve collected lots of loot, you will need to make room in your bag (yes, there are weight limits). At safezones, you can access your global inventory to store excess items. This is also great way to keep items safe because when you die, anything in your global inventory will be untouched. While you’re at the safezone, you can also access the market in which you can sell and buy items to help you survive.
Safezones Aren’t Always Safe
You must be wary, even in safezones, because at any time it can be compromised by Nether. When this happens, you wont have access to any vendors or your global inventory. To repair a safezone, you will need to interact with a certain number of anti-Nether devices to fix them. But be warned, other players may take advantage of the situation and kill other players trying to repair the area. If no one repairs the safezone, it will automatically be repaired after an hour of real time. Getting caught in a safezone when it gets compromised is a crazy and terrifying experience. It’s all out chaos; everyone looks at each other then start running for cover, Nether start pouring in from nowhere, and someone is probably going on a murdering spree.
Nether Preview – Conclusion
Did I cover everything? There’s a lot in a game like this. Current problems come in the form of bugs and hackers. I haven’t come across a hacker myself, but the forums show that it is a serious problem, and the developers have stated that they are working on it. Other than that, I hope to see more done with the tribes system. It would be really neat to be able to create our own safezones, declare war on a specific tribe, or be able to share resources with a tribe inventory. I want there to be more incentive to join a tribe. Nether has come a long way since early access has started, and I look forward to seeing more, especially when they release 1.0. If I were you, I would keep an eye on this one.