For this post I’ll be focusing entirely on the Atlas. I spent a few hours messing around with it the other day and set aside a few more hours today, to retest/explore everything it has to offer. Here are my thoughts:
First up, I have a few questions about usage, durability, and the long term impact these awesome orbs of beauty might be able to provide, aka feature requests.
Will we be able to see about how much durability loss is used, or how much total an atlas has?
Once an Atlas is fully used up and eventually decays, does the character still retain all planetary regional information that can then be used to action into a new Atlas?
Is this information transferable to alts?
Does using a fully unlocked atlas acquired from another player then unlock all of the Atlas’s known regions for the new player?
Some of the smaller regions are quite easy to unlock if you can work out about where the middle of the region is located as that seems to be the “unlock point”? Larger areas can take much more time to find the sweet spot for the unlock and do get a bit discouraging, especially when there are no other unlocked regions around it to help navigate your way. Is the region unlock set to a specific point withing it’s boundaries, or dependent upon exploring a percentage of the total area?
While roaming around exploring with Atlas in hand I had a good bit of fun locating random builds even without the use of a Warp Crystal. Visually locating them after rounding a small forest, or peaking a hill or mountain was quite exciting as they would often appear before I had unlocked the region. Had I of used a Warp Crystal during my exploration, would that of displayed the location of beaconed areas even without having the region unlocked?
The heat maps provided from using a resource onto the Atlas are quite brilliant. I do so enjoy having what appears to be a different color pallet dependent of the resource selected. However, this is where my excitement for this feature starts to decline a bit. Here are a few issues the Atlas seems to struggle with:
-Once a resource is placed into the atlas, it can not be retrieved unless a new resource is added. Thankfully the resources are given back upon changing the Atlas’s functionality between resources, but there doesn’t seem to be an item stack limit put in place. I used coal into it once and it took all 91 pieces I offered it. They seem quite hungry?
-Once any resource is placed into the Atlas, it seems to become a resource only Atlas, meaning that a player would never again be able to use THAT Atlas for terrain navigation with the standard vibrant color pallet the planet would default to? Thankfully crafting them seems to be one of the new items with a fair and reasonable crafting cost, AND they stack!
-While the Atlas will give a player a rough idea of where to locate resources, generally speaking, once you discover a mountain, you’ve discovered where to gather most things related to mining. The major bit of key information new players would benefit from, would be an in-game basic understand of: “At what height/depth should I be spending my time to find a certain type of resources”? Lets face it, some of the mountains are quite large, have massive cave systems, and sometimes resources which are important are located either higher up then a player might think, or well below what would be considered a “safe” limit. So for the Atlas to lead a player to a mountain and say: “Here you will find coal”, although technically useful, is still a bit daunting.
While traveling around with my new orb companion, I thought of a few neat things that could help to eventually expand upon the functionality of this awesome new mechanic:
-Players start with an Atlas that will unlock the first region for them either during the tutorial after placing their beacon, or after a bit of exploring themselves.
-Visiting the largest settlement within a region will allow for that region to become unlocked. Exploration for those locations will still have to take place, and although yes, some regions could just be auto unlocked via portal hopping, not every one would.
-Zoom, Spin/Rotate, Unfold features for partially or even fully unlocked planets. What an awesome reward that would be for taking the time to carry and use an Atlas!
-Additional Feats for completing one or more Atlases.
-Tradeable region unlocks during player interaction? (Maybe limited to only the region for which they are both within?)
-Named Atlases. Once you action an Atlas on a planet, it does not actually name the Atlas. Having the amount of planets we do now isn’t so difficult in trying to keep them organized, but when the known universe expands, things might get a little confusing.
-Marker functionality for saved locations/way points?
-Torch upgrades!!! Using a torch onto the Atlas could allow it to be viewed better in dim lighting.
-This one is a bit ridiculous but I’ll ask for it anyways: Atlas Stands! Having them displayed within storage is neat, but being able to display them through other means would be amazing. Maybe even with the ability to provide power or spark to the stand which would then allow for the Atlas to be expanded out like a hologram and rotated, zoomed, flattened!!!
After hours of messing around and enjoying these new orbs of joy, I can honestly say I’ve only found one major issue with them: Lighting.
-Using one in too bright an area will sometimes cause the Atlas to be flooded with light and just give off a very bright glare that makes it impossible to use. I replicated this a few times while holding different light sources, but not every time, nor at all times of the day.
-Of course attempting to use one in an area that, although lit, but with “dark areas” will cause the Atlas to darken almost completely. Not always able to replicate, but something that was noticed a few times so I thought I would mention it.
That’s it. No other weird or strange actions. Well done.
All in all, I have to say that these things are amazing and I can’t wait to start mapping out the universe and eventually build a monument or structure to house them all.
Post Edit Notes:
Used Atlases with at least some discoveries appear completely blank within a Shop Stand. Sad.