After watching yet another Rare Weekly Stream where Joe Neate and company wander around aimlessly and laugh about things (like getting drunk and playing a handful of prerecorded songs) that have existed in the game since the alpha, I'm seriously starting to wonder if Rare even playtests their own game.
Forsaken Shores may be my last straw with the title. Instead of introducing new ways to interact with others and fleshing out the sandbox, SoT has essentially become a tedious game of resource management and repetitive tasks that are impossible to avoid regardless of skill level.
First of all, if Rare is serious about wanting players to explore islands they need to completely overhaul skeleton AI and spawning. I'm so tired of fighting off wave after wave of skeletons that endlessly kite towards your character and auto replenish health as you're going in for the final death swing. To make matters worse, Forsaken Shores has introduced a new mechanic (earthquakes) that hinder player movement but have no affect on skeletons. Almost every skeleton wave spawns a gunpowder skeleton, and this game has essentially become a game of kiting groups together, blowing up the gunpowder skeleton, or getting blown up by the gunpowder skeleton, or getting auto killed by a random group of skeletons with guns. I continue to be adamant that the fact that Rare decided to add eye of reach skeletons into this game proves that they have no idea what they're doing. The usual suspects on this forum will undoubtedly cry ("get good"), but unlike games where that may actually be true, so many of these events are simply unavoidable regardless of skill level. Even if you play ultra conservatively there's a good chance that some random mixture of events (eye of reach wave + gunpowder + earthquake + falling volcano rocks) will ruin your day. Especially if you're playing with anything short of a galleon.
Oh and I want to emphasize how stupid the falling volcano rocks are. Unlike skull fort towers, you can literally do nothing except wait for them to stop. You can be off doing a voyage on an island only to be essentially auto killed by a falling rock which both auto targets your character and the ship. If you're slooping good luck getting back to your ship in time get those repairs in especially if one of the auto killing falling rocks sends you to the ship of the damned. If you respawn on your ship and it is sunk, hope you enjoy your new spawn on the western side of the map. I suppose you can always go do dishes or something while you slowly chart your course back to the forsaken shores.
Nothing about this update is fun. Perhaps I'd enjoy exploring the new region, but the game literally gives me no freedom or time to do that. Every second I'm on an island, some timer is always counting down to the next annoyance that I have to deal with and contribute resources to. There is no exploring in SoT or appreciating the art, because everything in this game has become about doing the repetitive quest types as quickly as possible to avoid said annoyances.
Oh and don't even get me started on the stupid new inventory management system. Perhaps it's marginally better now that you're able to "grab all", but it doesn't change the fact that it's significantly more cumbersome and honestly antithetical to design concepts around simplicity and non intrusive UI. Like the forum changes that were near universally criticized, Rare seems totally set on this "get used to it" attitude. Which is ironic because they constantly push this spin that they care and listen to the community.
To top it all off, how is it that the mainline stories to every new piece of content is just a stupid fetch quest to read books or interact with x static NPC player. Rare I can guarantee that 90% of your players are not reading this lore and are simply looking up internet wikis to grind through these commendations as quickly as possible.
This is all so disheartening because I fell in love with this game during the alpha and felt like this game offered something significantly different from other multiplayer titles. Now this game is what? Just a bunch of superusers who are largely addicted to grinding for grinding's sake, and a smattering folks with Game Pass who are just briefly testing out the title?
Rare you're really losing me. I'm going to continue following this title, because I still believe in the conceptual promise of this franchise. But the direction that this game has headed in really since the alpha is really disappointing, and there may come a point very soon where I will simply abandon the title all together and hope that you decide to develop a proper followup that delivers on the conceptual promise of this franchise.