Dark and Light is an upcoming MMORPG with sandbox elements. The game is set in a massive fantasy world where there are three factions controlling major cities while also defending against the untamed wilds that threaten them. While not entirely an RPG, the game features a very large selection of spells, crafting skills, and many quests that can help you out in getting some of the more difficult things to get as you build up your home. The game will launch on July 20th into early access.
How big is the world?
Well, the game’s world consists of a large variety of environments from vast forests to smoking volcanoes and ice capped mountain peaks. There’s many points of interest and well defended fortresses controlled by the factions and the wilderness. Since the game is essentially a giant sandbox, if you see it, you can go there, build there, or even attack it. The exception is pretty much only the major cities controlled by the factions since those are the HUBs for each area.
Travelling from edge to edge would take roughly 1-2 hours on foot in the game if that says anything. From rivers to walkways and hidden caverns, no stone is left unturned and detailed. Every inch of the game world is beautiful and consists of lore-driven aspects to them. The creatures of the world call these regions home, and will do whatever it takes to keep it that way. So when there’s literally a troll under the bridge, you’ll know why!
Building and Surviving
So, with a sandbox comes the creative players who want to build things. Fear not! You’ll be able to build massive structures, your own cities, campsites, crafting stations and even trading posts where you can do business with other players. With a socket-based building system, it’s quite easy to make the structure look exactly like you envision without all the fiddling of matching edges or having to fix issues afterward. The building system reminds me a ton of how Ark, Rust, and other survival sandbox games do it which is a great way of doing it in my opinion.
You’ll have to survive day to day life as well. You are after all, just one villager in the huge world, not some super hero who never eats or rests. By hunting or scavenging you’ll be able to find the food you’ll need to stay alive. At the same time, you’ll get other materials needed for various useful crafting and spell casting parts of the game. So be sure to watch out for that thing called Starvation, it can kill!
There are three factions in Dark and Light, all of which hold a massive city with powerful defenders keeping new players safe as they start their journey from within the walls of their chosen faction. The Vardo faction has a city similar to how “human” races would build it, complete with a port and pallisade walls protecting the less wealthy while large stone walls lie bordering a very large stone castle decorated with regal furniture and statues. The Estel is what I would closely relate to the “Elven” type faction. Their city is magnificently designed with beautiful arches, large domes trimmed with gold and nature interwoven into the core of the city. They are the holders of my favorite of the three cities. The last faction is the Zaharul, who live in a massive underground city (much like “Dwarves”), that is decorated with ebony styled statues and walkways connecting the various parts of this massive open chamber to a central pillar. Don’t mind the heat, it’s only the lava that lines the bottom of the city!
Regardless of which city you start out in, you’ll be able to explore the world as you please. You can choose to stay in the protected borders of your faction or face the wilds like all the cool kids and build your own homestead to ward off the creatures of the Dark and hunt the creatures of the Day! The choice is yours, and how you build your character’s life is entirely up to you.
The game’s combat is quite smooth and very enjoyable. Whether you’re going melee and swinging a pointy metal stick or throwing those fiery balls of magical energy, you’ll enjoy how realistic it looks and how fleshed out it feels. The combat of Dark and Light is an action based target oriented style, similar to Ark, Tera, and other action battle systems. You can also wield a shield in the same way, blocking whichever direction you make it face. This allows for a fun way to defend yourself or shield bash your opponent with an unexpected angle.
In addition to the basic action combat, you have spell based combat. This is the more fun stuff! You can manipulate the very terrain to do your bidding! From lifting a huge boulder and throwing it into a group of enemies to using them to build a wall blocking the enemy line of side, it’s entirely possible. Since magic forms the core of the game’s combat, there are a bunch of unique spells that will allow you to customize your battle style however you like. Spell sword GO!
From the basic fireball, to summoning and transforming into a dragon to make travel shorter or devouring your enemies, you’ll be able to master any type of magic you can think of. If you see a rock on the ground, you can use magic to manipulate it, making it bigger, throwing it, or making it explode, and so on. There are over 100 spells to master from a variety of elements, and all of them have a function making each of them a useful spell in certain situations. There’s even mind control!
Magic is also used to tame mounts, which can make travel easier, or you can use them to help you in a tight situation where you might otherwise lose. At the same time, there are a few transformations that you can undertake yourself, which is always a fun thing to do when around newbies (transforming and making them run for their lives!).
There is however, not an unlimited magic supply that will regenerate when not fighting. Oh no, that is not the case in Dark and Light. Each spell has a cost of materials that are rare and gathered when you’re collecting resources. These materials are consumed with each use of that magic, and you’ll only be able to unlock that magic spell if you have the required material that it uses. Some of them are easier to fight, while others require taking down huge monsters the size of titans, LITERALLY! After slaying such a titan, you can get some of the greater spells like the dragon transformation, which can become the factor in determining if your faction wins in that massive battle or not. Always be sure to use the magic only when it’s needed or when you have a surplus of the required resources!
My Thoughts Overall
I’m not one to jump on a hype train, but when a game is as beautiful and well thought out as this one, even I can’t refuse that ticket! Dark and Light promises many things that other games have failed at delivering, but it’s done right and everything seems very well done even in this early stage. If you can forgive the game’s past with the previous development team that had it (failing to give a good launch back in 2006), then this game is definitely worth a shot when it’s out. Whether or not you’re into the sandbox core of the game, there is a fantastic story filled with lore, and many places to explore and conquer. The best part is that it’ll take more than one group of players to take down a titan beast and it can be stolen at the last second if your group is more skilled at ambushing them. Everything you see can be reached and built upon, making it possible to do whatever you like. Or perhaps you’ll sit back and reap the rewards by supplying players with the essentials from within your own little shop in the safety of your faction’s border. It’s up to you!