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Don’t Starve Together: Acing Early Access

What does it look like when a company does Early Access right? Let's take a look at what Klei Entertainment did for Don't Starve Together's early access release.

The gaming community is constantly torn about early access, with more people complaining on forums and hubs rather than not. I suspect the population that doesn’t complain finds the system fine, and is willing to put up with paying for early access or understand the issues they would most likely run into. I am in between both, having games where I find early access unacceptable (*cough* Day-Z, the Stomping Land), and some that actually work well and I’m glad I’m in their early access program (7 Days to Die).

dstogether

Recently, my boyfriend got us Don’t Starve Together. Why am I saying this is a perfect example of early access? For those who have their original game Don’t Starve, the frontier (early access) pack was $5 for two copies of the game. That’s $2.50 each for the two of us! Plus, they’re sure that they’re selling to their fans since you have to had own the game to get it for this price. Gamers are more likely to be understanding of issues in gameplay during early access. The promo is now up, but was a great way to build up a community of early accessers. If you wanted Don’t Starve Together (Early Access), but don’t have the original game, it costs around $20 now on Steam.

We’ve logged about 30 hours together on the game within 2 weeks. If you’ve played Don’t Starve, it’s basically the same game with less features to make it work for multiplayer. You now work together to brave the environments of this dark and dreary world, making sure you have enough food and resources to keep your sanity, health and hunger bars up. There’s also an option to revive your friend with Telltale Hearts (you sacrifice a little bit of your health to bring your friend back to life), but you suffer permanent damage to your health. Each revive gives you less and less max health, making it easier to die.

Us in Don't Starve!
Us in Don’t Starve!

I’ve never played Don’t Starve, so when I first opened up the game I instantly fell in love with the art (it’s Tim Burton-esque). Although it is a survival game, it’s quite different from most of the other ones I’ve played. It’s slightly easier to obtain materials and stay alive at the beginning, but as your day count goes up, you are faced with more challenges. This makes it a lot better than the other permadeath games in that you actually get to play before something murders you on day 1 or something.

I was not used to the idea of not having a secure structure as a base. My boyfriend would instruct me to build a base near a herd of Beefalos (buffalo-like creatures) and by building a base, he meant making a fire pit. Soon, our “base” contained crock pots for cooking better recipes, a science machine (to discover more recipes), a bird cage, and farms. But there were no walls surrounding us and I always felt vulnerable. Nonetheless, we defended ourselves well and now that we’re on our 80th day or so, we can build walls if we choose to. But honestly, I’ve gotten used to the idea that we’ll be able to defend ourselves without them.

Don’t Starve Together will be free-to-play to all who has Don’t Starve next year (well, there was a cut off date)! At its current state, it’s more than playable! I’m excited to see what will be added in the future. For more game related posts, feel free to visit my blog here.:)

 

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