Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Elteria Adventures: First Impressions (or You Can't Get The Staff)

This morning I got a pleasant surprise. An email from Steam. You're now in the Steam Playtest for Elteria Adventures Alpha! it said. And an explanation. You are receiving this e-mail because you requested access to the Steam Playtest for Elteria Adventures.

Did I? Did I really? I don't remember. It does sound like something I would do, though.

And there it was, waiting for me on Steam. Press the button, wait a minute or two for the download, not very big, not even a couple of gigabytes, and off we go.

A short introductory presentation to explain how a perfectly ordinary world happened to get eaten by a giant slime and regurgitated as an archipelago of voxel-based space islands. Happens every day. On to character creation.

Character creation is odd. You have to be a human but you can have cat ears. There's a surprising range of horns and antlers. You can choose between something like a dozen different heart-shaped tattoos. All of that and yet the only hair color is green.

I'm guessing the tonsorial monoculture is unintentional or at least not permanent. Lots of characters in the intro have different color hair. It is an alpha.  At least it matches my work shirt. (Edit: Called it! They patched in hair color even as I was writing the post! I'm plum, now.)


Pick a name and let's get started. We'll learn how to press WASD and Space and then we can punch some rocks and trees.

Let me add an aside here. What is it with the survival/building genre? How hard would it be to start with a hammer? If it's too much to expect us to know how to open our inventory and equip one then just have us log in holding the damn thing. Punching rocks? Who thought of that?

The rock punching phase passes fast. The tutorial ticks along nicely. Soon you're zapping everything with your psychokinetic splitter. That feels so much better. Point it at anything and blast it like a firehose. See all the little bits whizz into your capacious pack.

The next bit reminded me of Valheim. Not the part when it got dark and I got killed by a skeleton although that did happen in both games. No, the bit where I had to make a workbench first and place it in the world before I could make anything else.

At least, that's what the tutorial said I had to do. I didn't notice it said that until I'd used the icon of the workbench in the crafting UI and made whatever it was I was supposed to be making. I only realized when I'd done it and the tutorial prompt didn't move on to the next instruction. It is an alpha.


A lesson in bricklaying later and the basics are all but over. Now all I have to do is make a portal and get off this starter island. The things I need to make it are scattered around the island. Resources here are limited it seems. I'd be a fool to stay. A final word from whatever ethereal being is guiding my hand: Night time is dangerous. Watch yourself.

They're not kidding. First I got killed by a boar. Couldn't figure out how to fight back. Tried punching him. That didn't work. Tried zapping him. Neither did that. 

Then I got killed by another boar. Then I got killed by a skeleton. Still couldn't figure out how to fight back. 

The next time I ran away and fell off the island. I forgot we were floating in space.

About then I remembered when I was learning to craft I'd made a staff. Nothing told me to. I just saw I had the recipe and the mats so I made it. Then I forgot about it. I opened my inventory and there it was. I tried to equip it but my paperdoll only had six slots: two for the head, two for the body, two for the feet. No hands.


I've been around this block before. A few times. I figured it out. Eventually. When the tutorial told me about the zapper it also told me to put it in the hotbar. That was a clue. I put the staff in hotbar slot three and clicked the same number on the keyboard and voila! Staff in hand!

After that I didn't die all that much. To one really big boar. To a boar and a skelton at the same time. Only then.

I killed several boars and a skeleton and then it got light. I went exploring and found a cave. I went down and carried on exploring underground. I zapped everything that looked different. If zapping didn't work I hit it with my staff. 

I worked out how to make lights. That was really useful. I searched for parts for my portal but since I didn't know what I was looking for I didn't find any. I worked out how to open my journal but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

Finally, as I was coming round the island for the second time, I came across my workbench. I'd forgotten about it. I pressed "F" to use it and found a list of recipes quite different to the list I'd been looking at in the UI. Portal was on there. With a list of mats.

Off on my travels again, looking for gold. I already had the underground stone and some of the skeleton bones and boar tusks. I knew how to get more of those but I'd have to wait for night to fall. Nothing dangerous comes out in daylight.

I hadn't seen any gold but the recipe called it "Deep Gold" so I guessed it must be down in the caves. A long way down. And it was. Lots of it in a room with some pillars that couldn't be zapped or struck or punched.

Deep gold takes longer to mine than any other resource. A lot longer. I stood there with my zapper on full blast for what seemed like ten minutes, watching the black cracks spread across the surface, chipping away at the lode. 

I may have overdone it. I only needed five blocks for a portal. I came away with nearly fifty. It's gold, though, You're not going to leave any behind, are you?

When I got back to the surface it was daylight. I had everything I needed except bones and tusks and I'd have to wait for night to get those. I was right in the middle of doing that waiting when the server came down. It is an alpha.

That's all I've seen so far. It's not much but all of it I like. The controls are simple and intuitive, the concepts make sense, the tone is light and the colors are vivid. If the server hadn't booted me I wouldn't be writing this. I'd be playing.

My elevator pitch? "Landmark and Free Realms had a baby". Fill in your own voxel-based and kid-friendly games of choice. For an alpha this looks solid. I'll be more confident about that when I've seen more but it's a convincing start. 

What puzzles me most is how I came to get the invite in the first place. I guess I must have clicked a box to express an interest but I have no memory of doing it and no memory of the game at all beyond the dimmest recollection I might have seen a news item on MassivelyOP about it some time.

I went to look it up before I posted this. I was trying to find out if there was an NDA. There isn't because it's an open alpha.

 "The long-awaited and (literally) game-changing Open Playtest is finally here, for both new and returning players to enjoy!Join the Open Playtest by clicking the [Request Access] button on the game’s Steam Shop page — and you’ll be automatically granted access to the game!"

I'd do that, if I was you. I did, apparently, even if I don't remember doing it. I'm glad I did. It looks like an interesting game.  

You can read a lot more about it on, which is where I found the most helpful overview of what the game hopes to be when it grows up. The part that probably led me to register my interest in the first place, before I immediately forgot all about it, was this: "Elteria Adventures is a free to play massive online sandbox RPG". That's a hedging-your-bets way of saying mmorpg by using most of the same words but in a different order.

So, a new mmorpg and one with some potential. They seem to be coming from all directions this year. I think it's safe to say the slump is over.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and see if the server's back up. That portal's not going to build itself.


  1. Hi! I'm Alice, from the Elteria Adventures dev team :)

    First of all, thank you very much for so detailed and pleasant feedback! We are so happy to hear that overall you've enjoyed the game :)
    What about some troubles, that you've faced during your first game session: we've saved everything and already working on the interface improvements!

    And we would be happy to see you on our Discord server: where you can ask about anything and just chat with other players and us :)

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Alice! And thanks to the team for making such a promising game. I'm enjoying the Steam play test very much and looking forward to seeing how the game develops from this strong foundation. I'm sure I'll be posting more about my experiences as I discover more about Elteria.


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