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An Open Beta Incursion Into The Blissful World Of Palia

An Open Beta Incursion Into The Blissful World Of Palia

A few years ago, Singularity 6, an LA-based studio consisting of ex-Riot, Blizzard, and Epic Games veterans, announced their debut game, Palia. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except for the nature of the game: a wholesome peaceful community-focused MMO.

Palia lacks the traditional PvE and PvP gameplay. Needless to say, it piqued the curiosity of those yearning for a different MMO experience. Now that Palia is in open beta, we had the chance to see what the developers have been working on for the past five years. Is this the ultimate casual MMO? Let’s find out!

Character Creation

Like most of the games, Palia kicks off with character creation. A word of advice: Be careful when creating your first – and only – avatar. It seems that only one character slot is available per account. If you don’t like the looks of your character, you will have to wait until later in-game to access some customization options.

If you decide that you don’t like your name, tough luck. Some players reported that contacting the support team did the trick and they were able to change their name, but don’t count on it. Also, there is no option to delete your character. So, double-check your choices before entering the world of Palia.

The character creation options are purely cosmetic. You customize the looks and outfit. There are no classes or other gameplay-relevant choices. Nothing fancy here, just a handful of decent customization options that are enough to design a unique human avatar. Yes, humans are the only choice and that ties in with the story.

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Welcome to Kilima!

You spawn into the world of Palia with no recollection of your past life. Your coming isn’t exactly breaking news. Why? Because you are one of the many humans that have recently started to appear in Kilima. Coming from other games, you might expect a grand welcome as the hero of prophecy who arrived at a fortuitous moment to save the world from impending doom. That’s not the case here. You are immediately directed to a nearby settlement.

The inhabitants are more than happy to welcome another resident. Someone hands you a tent and assigns you a piece of land. Although we knew this was a danger-free realm, it felt sort of uneasy not hearing about death and destruction in the first minutes. Old habits die hard.

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Gameplay – Crafting, Building, and Making Friends

Crafting and building drive the gameplay. Palia doesn’t have monsters to take down, loot to acquire, or PvP. Player housing is the main game activity.

As one community member pointed out, Palia’s gameplay is like the downtime in other MMOs. You start with a small patch of land and, eventually, unlock more slots. Palia has instanced housing. Working in the yard is as serene as it can be, however, it does feel a bit lonely for an MMO.

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The crafting mechanic is uncomplicated. You turn resources into materials that you craft into items. The annoying part is that crafting is time-gated. For example, it takes time to turn wood into planks. You can use this – not necessarily welcome at all times – respite to work on skills and strengthen relations with the NPCs.

The inhabitants of this world are more than just trainers, quest givers, or service providers. Palia has an NPC reputation system allowing you to make friends and more. Chat them up, give them gifts, and romance them. They will tell you more about themselves and slip in bits of lore once they feel comfortable around you.

Character Development Through Crafting and Gathering Skills

Eight skills are the bread and butter of the Palia character development system. We have foraging, fishing, bug catching, cooking, hunting, mining, furniture making, and gardening. You gain access to each skill as you meet its associated NPC.

Some skills require tools that you also receive from the trainer. Skills are leveled up by using them. If you want to level up faster, don’t let the Focus bar run empty. Various consumables give Focus boosting the XP gaining rate.

Palia has a simple and straightforward skill system. There are no skill trees, no abilities, no specializations. Of course, you can completely ignore certain skills and focus on others. However, sooner or later, you will max them all out. In the beginning, you will most likely concentrate on mining and foraging as these skills provide the raw materials needed for crafting and building.

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Social Interaction and Community

Palia is advertised as a casual MMO. It is casual all right, but it’s far from being an MMO. Or you could say that it is a casual MMO with the nuance that it has lightweight MMO features.

Long story short, it is a single-player game with optional multiplayer. It has a friends list, a general chat, and the possibility to form groups, but little incentive to interact with others. The only real benefit from interaction is that players get more resources when they hit the same node. At least, friends can visit each others’ homes.

There’s a trading system where you can request items from others. The player that fulfills your request gets renown. Gold would have been better. In its current state, Palia is a 90% single-player game. Players sometimes speak in the chat and the community seems nice.

Is Palia Pay to Win?

The answer to this question is a wholehearted No. The cash shop has no gameplay-relevant items. You don’t pay to speed things up or to gain access to features. All the content is free to play. Cosmetics, such as outfits, are the only items you can buy with real money. Considering they are optional, we see no reason to complain about the game’s microtransaction system. At least, for now.

Conclusions – The Bad

Palia open beta feels more like an alpha. Plain and simple, there isn’t enough gameplay to keep you glued to the screen. The character development, crafting, and building systems have no depth. The world is small. It takes mere minutes to traverse it from one end to the other. As a result, exploration is nonexistent. There are no areas to uncover by yourself, as the game practically points you to all locations of interest.

Palia is a sandbox game with little direction. The main story provides a bit of context, but it’s not exactly what we would call enthralling. The side missions are nothing more than accordingly prized humdrum tasks.

The MMO features are wanting to say the least. There is no player trading. This means that selling to the game is the only way to make money. Speaking of selling, it takes a few hours to receive your gold.

Conclusions – The Good

Let’s keep in mind that Palia is not yet in its final form. The game captivates thanks to its cozy graphics and wholesome activities creating a feel-good atmosphere. The lack of competitive gameplay results in a non-toxic player base.

The developers are keeping an eye on the community’s requests and they are quick to implement – some of, at least – them into the game. Palia is a free to play game with a cash shop that sells only cosmetics.

It’s a suitable game for kids and adults looking for an accessible violence-free gaming experience. Even though it would seem the bad outweighs the good, Palia is not a bad game. It is an unfinished game with huge potential. Despite the lack of content, players are sticking to it and we can only hope that the developers will take action and deliver a fully-fledged product come the release day.