Update: I'm off to Hartford CT for this year's ConnectiCon! I'll have a table Friday and Saturday in the OMG hall. Feel free to swing by and say hello! I'll have some books and shirts for sale, and even some free posters to give away!
I'm also doing a panel Friday afternoon at 4:30pm. Come by and chat, we can talk about games, the upcoming Ethan and Lucas reboot, and whatever else! See you there!
I've spent the last two evenings playing the Cube World alpha co-op with a friend of mine. After the first couple of hours, we both agreed that we'd had more fun than we have had in any of the MMOs we've experimented with for the past year.
I know this is somewhat agonizing, given that it is so difficult to get a hold of this alpha right now, but I need to talk about it. I need to express just how fantastic Cube World is shaping up to be.
Like Minecraft, Cube World gives you an enormous procedurally generated map spanning... hell, I don't even know how big they can get. I don't think there are any borders. We've explored nearly 600 square kilometers of our world so far, and even though we've traversed three countries in that time, it still feels like we've only scratched the surface.
Your character, inventory and progression are independant of the worlds, which means you can create multiple worlds, or participate in multiple friend's games, and use the same character.
For such massive lands, the random terrain generation is generally incredibly smart. Very occasionally you'll see a respawn statue spawned in the branches of a tree, or the one time we dropped down into a cavern that had no other exits. But for the most part everything makes sense.
For an early alpha, there is already an impressive amount of depth in the game systems. Cube World doesn't currently feature the building of structures, but one of the most interesting systems is weapon customization.
You use a combination of collected resources to build newer and better weapons, that's pretty standard fare. But if you make a sword out of iron, and have iron cubes left over, you can actually attach them to the weapon you made as additional voxels. Not only does this increase the power of the weapon, but it changes the appearance in real-time. It's loads of fun, and similar customization for armor/pets/houses/boats etc down the line would open up a whole new level of freedom.
Cube World doesn't currently have any of the planned procedural quest content, but there's still a lot to keep you occupied. Leveling your character can be a little tough for the first couple of levels, because there is so little you can reliably beat alone. Since everything is randomly generated, you aren't guaranteed to find a ton of "newbie" monsters right outside of town and so forth. You'll come across a lot of very deadly stuff mixed in with the simple things you can actually beat. And when night falls, forget about it. You may as well find a corner to cry in until the sun comes up.
However once your character starts rolling, the progression becomes a little easier. That said, having played this game both single player and co-op, without a doubt co-op is the way to play Cube World. That's a statement that holds true for a lot of games, I find most things better with a friend, but I think deep down Cube World was designed explicitely for this.
Not only is there safety in numbers, but you will end up doing a lot of traveling in this game, and there's lots of cool stuff to see. The journey is more entertaining with a friend or three. You'll also get a lot of drops and crafting resources that are utterly useless to your chosen class, so it's always handy to be able to trade around.
Right now Cube World is obviously still in alpha, though it can be easy to forget with the amount of polish the game already sports. It has the foundation for what I think will be an amazing game when it finally "goes gold", so to speak. Keep an eye on this website to try and catch the registration/store online so you can purchase it (hint, check in at way off hours). This is one you'll want to be in on the ground floor of, I promise.