A comprehensive review of V Rising, an innovative and amazing survival-style ARPG.
V Rising Review
V Rising entered early access with rave reviews and quickly climbed into the top-10 list for Steam. Even in its early access shattered all early access state, it's an amazing game, addicting players with immersive combat, castle building, boss fights, farming, and progression. Offering something for both PvP and PvE players, this is a game you definitely want to try out!
Immersion and Unique Vampiric World.
Base Building & Crafting.
Limits on end-game progression.
World Server Hosting Issues with either full or dead/abandoned games.
Crafting brick walls with bad RNG recipe drops.
Table of Contents
V Rising Review Introduction
V Rising is something new and different; a combination of survival, ARPG, MOBA and mini-online shard-based persistent world all revolving around a simple theme: you are a badass vampire and everyone is trying to kill you. Want to be a creature of the night that prowls the city, hunting down convent nuns and draining them of blood? Want to be able to take that rare 100% blood quality nun back to your castle to imprison and turn them into your blood slave? Drawn to prowl in the shadows of a quaint little cotton town only to destroy the poor farmers as they cry out “Vampire! Save me!” while stealing their cotton yield to take back and craft better items? Or build a dark and devious castle of slaves, servants, and resource churning devices that are constantly grinding up rocks, trees, and the bones of your victims? Yah, you can do all of that in this game and more. To say V Rising is immersive is an understatement; it’s a world you want to be in.
6th Place in the Steam Top Games chart after just 10 days! Not bad at all!
This isn’t Stunlock Studios’ first game. They started in 2011 with Bloodline Champions, a Free-to-play (F2P) PvP Arena game. In 2017 they released Battlerite, another F2P arena brawler, and then Battlerite Royale in 2018. Things have been quiet since that time, and voila! Now we have V Rising, which obviously uses the technology and lessons the team at Stunlock learned from their previous products. Note all of their games have a Very Positive rating on Steam, including V Rising.
What makes V Rising a game worth playing? Let’s find out!
Before I begin the core content overview, a player needs to decide what type of gaming experience they want. Solo, or online? PvP or PvE? Those who want to play PvP are required to either choose an existing online server or host their own. For those who want to play PvE, they can play solo as self-hosted, or choose online play. Note I cover this in much more detail below under Community, but I wanted to preface the Content section with this information as the player is asked to make a decision before playing. Personally, I recommend all new players host their own PvE instance so they can learn the game before deciding whether or not they want to play online with others.
Below is a great and funny video showcasing a New Player’s experience with V Rising.
The Story behind the game is fairly straightforward. You’re a vampire, risen after sleeping for eons after your kind was beaten down and driven into hiding long ago. Your goal? Awaken, rebuild the vampiric empire and retake the human world for your own while becoming the ultimate Vampire Lord. The introduction video does a very good job of explaining this, but the reality is the game isn’t as much about the story as the overall experience. As such, V Rising is a very unique game and provides for a journey like no other game I’ve played.
Character Creation is fun and allows for a wide variety of colors, hair styles, faces, features and accessories. Only one character can exist per game, and at this time, a character can’t be deleted or renamed.
Welcome to the beautiful and terrifying World of V Rising, known as Vardoran. This handcrafted realm currently features 5 complete Zones: Farbane Woods (Tier 1), Dunley Farmlands (Tier 2), Silverlight Hills & Cursed Forest (Tier 3). Each zone has a completely unique feel defined by rich terrain design, environmental colors and FX, vibrant foliage, and both docile and hostile creatures. While the world is static in nature, the dynamic generation of furniture and chests within camps along with the numerous wandering mobs make for a “living” feeling world. In the end, the world feels real. Every zone has numerous regions the player can discover and explore, and the World Map shows the loot of explored regions. This is why exploration is important. There appears to be one more zone that’s incomplete called Hallowed Mountains, and it’s anticipated that is the final zone that will be made available upon official release.
It’s important to mention the world is designed with more than 100 areas, complete with controlled entry and exit points that allow large castle bases to be built.
One of the key components to the game is that of Base Building, the center of which is the Castle Heart. In multiplayer games, most players are limited to placing one castle heart, but self hosted and standard PvE games allow two hearts to be placed, so a character can work between two bases of operation. This can be quite useful at end-game when the player doesn’t want to run limited amounts of Silver Ore back to a castle in Farbane Woods, but instead wants to refine it nearby. Castles are defined by their borders, and the player must build and expand their borders in order to grow their base in size; and guess what resources are required? Stone and the blood of your victims! The border size limitation of a Castle revolves around its tier, which can be upgraded over time as recipes are unlocked through defeating bosses (covered below). Beginning bases (Tier 1) are limited to a size of 30 whereas Tier 2 is 80, Tier 3 is 150, and Tier 4 is 250. And believe me, 250 squares is very large, allowing for gigantic castles with extensive layouts, rooms, corridors and even outdoor gardens.
New to the game and want to learn Castle Building 101? The below video has you covered!
Base Location plays a key part because it defines how far a character has to travel in order to gather and return valuable resources. Most new players make the mistake of building their first base near the area where they entered the world (unless on an already populated server where most base locations are already taken), only to realize mid-game the journey to run back and forth to other parts of the world made the location a very bad choice. This can be offset by building two bases with portals, but resources must still be manually transported (via horseback) between them since portals don’t allow resources. Having a single large base in a centralized location is always the optimal choice. Note there are Caves, which allow one-way travel across the map. This can make moving from one point to another much easier, and is covered below under Travel.
Players can move a castle’s heart, but only to an unclaimed square without a border!
Base Defenses are very important only when playing PvP, with the most important part being locked doors and walls, but also Servants which function as NPCs that will attack any player trying to raid your castle. I do hope they add some sort of event system at launch for those who play PvE, which would make having servants and base defenses necessary when not playing PvP.
For those who are interested, the below video covers how to set up castle defenses in PvP!
Adding to the already beautiful environment and ambient lighting, we also have Day and Night cycles, which play a critical role in the overall gaming experience as prolonged exposure to sunlight will kill any Vampire. The way this system is implemented is fantastic, focusing on longer nights than the day. Management of daylight also creates a completely new layer of strategy and consideration when it comes to venturing out in the world with the blazing sun beaming down like a magnifying glass. Thankfully the default short days only last between 10am and 5pm in-game.
At early-game before the player has the ability to build a Castle with a roof (to block the sun), the Mist Brazier is one of the most important items to craft, as it will block sunlight in a general area. At end-game, it can be nice to have the braziers spread throughout outdoor gardens and such.
Sadly, there are no Weather effects except for when you enter the mountain region. With the beautiful visuals, lightning and ambience, having rain and other weather would be an exceptional enhancement of an already immersive world.
Being strictly an above-ground game, there are no underground areas or Dungeons to explore, although it’s worth mentioning that all cemeteries are shrouded in a sun-blocking mist all day long, making them safer farming spots in the middle of the day.
There are a wide variety of Items available, including: Weapons, Armor, Crafting Materials, Potions, Treasure, Recipes, and more. Weapon type defines the combat abilities available, and they are: Sword, Axe, Mace, Crossbow, Reaper (Scythe) and Slashers. Each weapon type behaves and is not only strategically different from the others, they also have bonuses to resource gathering (e.g. Axe bonus for wood, Mace bonus for Ore). The abilities provided by these items are covered in more detail below under Gameplay & Mechanics. Both Weapons and armor follow a tiered upgrade process going for a base Tier (1, 2 and 3) and then the upper version of that Tier (Merciless and Bloodmoon).
A character has 36 fixed Inventory Slots, and at this time there is no way to increase the size. With the exception of items like weapons, armor, and a few other specialty items, most are stackable. Luckily, there is no Weight Limit. Additionally, players can build an unlimited number of Storage Chests within their castle borders, which is part of the base building process. A Tier 1 storage chest has 14/21 slots, Tier 2 has 28 slots, Tier 2 has 35, and Tier 3 has 42.
I want to quickly comment on how easy and great managing inventory is, especially with middle-button splitting, and compulsive count, which will take all items in your inventory that match like-items in an open target container and automatically deposit them. The splitting system works perfectly as you would expect, and you can also drag and drop from any open container to throw things on the ground.
The player is guided to complete a singular Quest Line as they progress through the game, giving direction on what the character can focus on achieving for their next step of growth. This main questline progresses all the way through the end-game when you have to kill the final and most difficult boss.
Being a survival game, Resource Harvesting is a key part of V Rising. If you want to build your castle, craft gear, make potions, and pretty much accomplish anything… you must harvest. Stone, Wood, Plants, Ore, Minerals, Animal skins, and more. This brings us to the fact that nearly everything in the world is destructible, which is awesome. Trying to escape those pesky guards on the horse you just stole from the farmers you drained of blood with a stone wall blocking your path? Simple, just bash it down with your mace and you’re home free! Cutting Trees, hammering stone and mining ore are just a few activities every vampire must participate in order to obtain the resources necessary to build and grow. While every weapon can farm any type of resource, some weapons are more proficient at farming specific resources (such as axes for cutting wood or mace for mining ore). On top of that, using Worker’s blood also enhances the resource faming process as well.
All Trees and Minerals respawn, with the exception of marking a freshly mined or cut area with your base border, ensuring the world never runs out of harvestable materials. It’s also important to note some resources require higher tier items to harvest; for example, the player cannot mine iron ore until they have a merciless weapon.
Crafting comes next, and the way it’s been implemented is easy to understand and well-designed. There are multiple stations that consume and produce resources, and then multiple stations for crafting weapons, armor, jewelry and consumables. The Sawmill, Grinder and Blood Press are the core resource processing stations while the Workbench, Tailoring Desk, Smithy, and Jewelcrafting stations are just a few of the crafting centers. Players can create an unlimited number of these stations, and the rule of thumb is generally multiple processors, but only one of each crafting station. It’s important to state that each resource processing station has multiple recipes to be executed based on the materials within the processor, so for example, a Blood Press has six recipes depending on the items loaded into it. Unlocking Recipes is key to progressing ones crafting, and this is done by discovering research or defeating V Blood Bosses. There are three tiers of research station, and each tier has recipes to unlock either by turning in found books of knowledge for a specific discovery (such as Prison Floor Pattern) that can drop off of mobs, or using tiered research items (Paper, Scroll, Schematic) to discovery a randomly undiscovered recipe. Each crafting station also has an on/off toggle, which is very nice because this allows the player to use the station as storage and only craft when they are ready. On top of this, Crafting/Processing stations receive buffs through being in a confined castle room and having a matching floor. Creating crafting rooms with a matching floor is the most important since it lowers the cost to produce anything by 25%; but the floors must be unlocked through discovery or dropped recipes. As such, the progress of building a castle and making sure it’s as efficient as possible requires the player to go hunting for and unlock certain discoveries!
Remember, always turn in research books you have before attempting discovery, because the random discovery could be for a book already in your inventory, and end up wasting your paper/scrolls/schematics.
The game doesn’t allow Upgrading of crafting or processing stations; instead the player must build and place the next tier of station, when available. This design helps a Castle feel more populated, and also rewards the player with a new and often visually appealing station. Building out the forge room with the final Anvil unlock is a very cool thing!
Salvaging is another important part of the game. After killing a certain Boss, The Devourer is unlocked; a crafting station the player can throw nearly any item into in order to retrieve some level of salvage.
Seed Farming (not to be confused with Resource Gathering) is another great feature of the game, allowing players to plant the seeds they come across as they farm vegetation. Every specific type of harvestable item (that’s not a tree) has the chance of dropping a seed, which means a player can technically make a farm of everything they need at end-game so they don’t have to go out and continually farm it.
Once a base is built, the player can also create numerous Furnishings to bring an otherwise empty Castle to life with lighting, gargoyle statues, fountains, hanging wall tapestries, pictures, floor tiles, rugs and more. Stunlock has already released one DLC support pack that provides additional furnishing items not available in the base game, setting a precedent for many more unique visual packs to be released in the future.
Each region has its own collection of Passive and Aggressive Creatures. Farbane Woods is full of bandits and a few undead areas. Dunley Farmlands is more medieval with farmsteads, peasants, and patrols. Silverlight Hills is very imperial with the toughest mobs in the game protecting the city of Brighthaven, including Musketeers and Paladins. The Cursed Forest feels more like a swamp, infested with frogs, mosquitos, werewolves and undead. There are also V Bosses, which are the most dangerous enemies in the game (and covered in more detail below). All enemies respawn, ensuring the world feels alive and constantly regenerating. I also want to note that Werewolves play a substantial part in the game as well. The final Boss farming is that of three Soul Shards which come from the most difficult V Bosses in the game. Once a shard is acquired, the player can build a monument that provides a two-hour buff that can be reactivated an unlimited amount of times. Characters with all three shard buffs activated are truly end-game powerful.
It’s important to note that Bosses get stronger based on the number of players who are actively in combat with the boss.
Players can also acquire Servants by using an unlocked ability called Dominating Presence on any non-boss mob that is below feeding health level. This also requires the Servant Coffin to be unlocked and built. Once mesmerized, the target must be transported back to the nearest castle to be converted to an official servant in the coffin. Once a servant has risen, they are available for base defense and sending on missions, which is covered in more detail below. Servants must be equipped with weapons and armor, and once they are, they will attack any hostiles around your castle. While Servants generally stay within the confines of your castle, they can run out of your boundary and go on “rampages” if there’s enough enemies around. One interesting note is it doesn’t matter the type or durability of gear you give servants. You can put a sword on a mage or a bow on a warrior; it all comes down to gear score. You can also put low or no durability items on servants and they work just fine. It’s unknown if this is by design or will be the same at launch, but it’s a great way to load off gear
You can also have Prisoners locked in steel cages that you can drain blood from. This is where fish come into play, as you must balance their misery level and ensure they don’t die by feeding them properly. The prisoner feature is critically important, especially at late-game, because the blood bonuses obtained through high purity blood make all of the difference. Plus, it’s just fun to create your own blood bank! At this time, the only blood type that can’t currently be imprisoned is Creature. Note I cover the Blood system in detail below.
Be careful! If you imprison a human that’s really a Werewolf, when night falls, they will break out of the prison and roam around your base looking for revenge!
There isn’t a specific Tutorial for the game, but the main questline really operates as one, guiding the player through the core steps they need to take in order to progress to the next page, going all the way to end-game.
Since the game is in early access, there aren’t any Achievements as of yet.
Gameplay & Mechanics
Blood is the most important mechanic in the game since it feeds your health pool and provides bonuses. When you run out of blood, your health goes to 1 (which means a paper cut can kill you). As such, managing the Blood pool is critical. There are six types of blood in the game: Creature, Brute, Warrior, Rogue, Scholar and Worker. Each blood type provides different bonuses based on the quality of the blood, ranging from Tier 1 to 5, where Tier 1 is 1%-24%, Tier 2 is 25%-49%, and Tier 5 is 100%. Tier 5 (100%) blood is the most valuable in the game, and it can change everything relative to the power of your Vampire. Want to go out and have the most efficient harvesting session possible? Fill up on 100% Worker blood before hand and receive crazy bonuses to yield and speed. Want to fight a tough boss with magic? Activate that Scholar blood! Want to sneak around and use a crossbow to kill your targets? Rogue’s blood is where it’s at. There is also an unlockable ability called Blood Hunger, which allows the player to see the blood type and quality of every living thing on the screen, making it much easier to hunt down prey for either consumption or imprisonment.
Every character has Health (or hits), the max value of which is based on the equipment/gear equipped. Health naturally regenerates as long as the vampire has blood to feed on. There is also an ability called Blood Mend, which drains your blood pool to regenerate your health much more rapidly. On top of this, consumables such as potions can also be used to regenerate health. If the Vampire runs out of blood, character health drops to 1.
Consumables are crafted at the Alchemy table and include damage buffs, healing and resistance potions, which are critical at end-game for survival. There’s potions to help you survive sunlight better, carry more silver, resist garlic, or just lower the damage holy, fire and other damage types. They can also drop from mobs, but it’s fairly rare. When fighting end-game bosses, it’s very common to load up on all available buffs and resistances, especially for end-game boss fights, like Solarus.
There are only five core Stats in the game. They are Health, Physical Power, Spell Power, Movement Speed and Resistances. While Physical and Spell power have Critical Chance and Damage support values, the Resistances are: Sun, Garlic, Fire, Holy and Silver. Resistances are provided by the Cloak armor piece, or consumables.
Want to regenerate as quickly as possible without consuming your blood? Switch to Bear Form!
There are a number of Debuffs in the game, but the most common are Garlic and Silver Exposure. Garlic will lower your damage by 1% for each stack, and Silver Exposure will prevent you from using vampiric abilities. There is also Holy damage, Fire damage, and other types as well.
The game has no Difficulty Setting, but doesn’t need one because it’s a balanced, yet brutal game.
Below is another hilarious video covering a New Player’s experience with V Rising.
V Rising doesn’t have Character Level, instead it has Gear Level. At this time the highest Gear Level is 84, but this is only achievable by crafting the Legendary Amulet unlocked by killing the current end-game boss, Solarus. Prior to defeating him, players can achieve a Gear Level of 81 with Sanguine Weapons and Bloodmoon Armor.
I must admit I wish there was some sort of Alternative Advancement system for V Rising; tying progression solely to gear and unlocking V Bosses is just fine for short-term play, it doesn’t entice players to create long-term characters they can grow and enjoy beyond the equipment they use and the monsters they slay. That’s not to say the system doesn’t work; it does. I just hope the final version of the game takes the current system one step further.
What would a Vampire game be without Fishing? Surprisingly, the skill can be quite useful as not only can the player catch fish, which are used to keep their prisoners alive, but also crafting recipes and valuable minerals. Fishing spots are easily identified by the circular disturbance on the surface of the water, and the player is able to craft a fishing pole very early on. No fishing bait is required.
Repair is a big part of the game, and the main resource sink at end-game. Your gear takes durability damage every time you’re hit, or when you die. When gear gets low on durability, an icon appears at the bottom of the screen, yellow for low durability and red for critically low.
One method of enhancing your Servants is to put your broken gear on them and make yourself a new replacement!
There are Weapon Skills and acquired Abilities, which includes an Ultimate Ability. Weapon skills are based on the currently equipped weapon while Abilities are unlocked by defeating V Bosses. Abilities are categorized as: Blood, Unholy, Illusion, Chaos, Frost and Vampire Powers. One cool aspect of this game is the abilities you choose are situational, and you can swap them at any time to change the strategy for a specific boss or PvP encounter.
The Combat in V Rising is fluid, fun, and very strategic. Characters can use Melee and Ranged weapons in conjunction with Magic and abilities. Each weapon has a unique set of attacks and style. Players can switch between weapons with the click of a button, but the cooldown of the weapon attack type is shared across all of them, so a player can open with an E attack on their crossbow and switch to their sword to execute its Q attack. The ability to perform these combinations can really make combat interesting. While there are no actions to block with shields, there are spells that can counter and block. There is also a travel ability (bound to space bar) which plays a key part in dodging attacks. In addition to queueing weapon attacks, players can also choose two basic abilities (magic) and one ultimate ability, nearly all unlocked by defeating V Blood bosses. Terrain plays a big part in combat, blocking line of sight and allowing the character to avoid linear damage attacks from enemies; as such, dancing around a big rock is often a tactic used to down specific bosses (and PvP combatants), but destructible objects like trees offer little protection as they are easily downed and destroyed. It’s actually very cool how a quiet tree-laden forest area can be quickly decimated by powerful forces fighting it out, obliterating everything around them. At this time, the only ranged (non-magic) weapon is the Crossbow; while it’s efficient, its load time can make it quite clunky to use. I think we have a good chance of seeing muskets added to the game at release since enemies use them at end-game. There are only two types of damage in the game: Physical and Spell. Each has a critical chance and critical damage modifier.
One important combat technique is to use feeding to instantly kill (cull) an enemy below 20% health. While this doesn’t work on V Bosses (or other players), it works on all other enemies, and can be very strategic when fighting multiple targets at once.
It’s also important to mention the game has excellent Mounted Combat, allowing for the left-button attack of your currently equipped weapon. As mentioned below, engaging in combat while mounted is a very popular technique, but be warned; a single arrow or musket round can quickly knock you off your horse!
Another strategic and interesting aspect of combat is the fact that enemy factions will attack each other; this includes V Blood enemies. Want to cause chaos? Lure opposing factions into each other and watch the mayhem; soften up your targets! It’s even possible to lure V Blood enemies together to fight it out!
The Monster AI in V Rising is actually quite good, especially with ranged mobs. And when I say good, I mean it can be annoying as hell due to the fact that enemies will anticipate your moves and act accordingly. Additionally, the way aggro works is very well designed. Patrols are the primary method of enemy spawning and movement, and the variation in patrol pathing and group members definitely keeps every vampire on their toes. Same-clan creatures that see their colleagues in combat will quickly run to their aid, so it’s very easy for a simple combat situation to grow out of control as others you may not have seen around the corner run to the aid of their friends. Guards and patrols will also run to screaming townsfolk who are cowering in fear at your deadly Vampiric prowess. The AI system, while tough, ultimately results in some thoroughly enjoyable combat situations and memorable fights, especially with bosses.
Note it is possible to pull single mobs from groups with a Crossbow or ranged attack; it all depends on the mob and their proximity to allies, but it’s a great technique to cull larger groups early on.
Core progression of unlocking key abilities, crafting stations and recipes revolves around finding and killing 37 different and unique V Bosses. First, I want to comment on how awesome the boss fights are; not just the mechanics, but the audio and visual FX as well. Every boss is truly unique, and believe me when I say, some are very, very difficult. Bosses can be listed and selected for tracking at the craftable Blood Altar, along with the rewards they provide. In multiplayer mode, the more characters that are engaged with a boss, the tougher it is. In V Rising, it’s actually often tougher to take down a boss with a party of characters than it is solo; but believe me, it is memorable!
One of the most popular techniques for taking down many V Bosses is to Horse Lord them, which means either run around in circles or kite them around a big rock or some other object, with a fast quick turning horse, and just run by and whack them again and again with your weapon. It’s actually quite effective!
A character can Hotbar a total of 9 items, which allows for a single keystroke to change weapons, use a potion, or plant a seed. The game also has default keys for the weapon abilities (left click, Q and E), Space for movement skill, and R and C and T for the magic abilities (and ultimate). There is also the Control Wheel (Ctrl), which allows the player to socket 8 different abilities in a quick access wheel.
While we talked about Resource Farming above, it really is a core game mechanic. This could mean mining ore, or killing monsters, collecting seeds, scrolls, or any other items.
Travel consists of running, using a movement form (such as wolf, bear, or bat), riding Horses, using Portals, and fast travel Caves. Portals don’t allow use when you have any resources, but Caves allow transportation with resources but are one way only. Players can also build portals at their bases, which allows for them to quickly move to multiple points in the world as long as they don’t have resources. Horses are the most commonly used method of transportation, and they have 3 properties: Max Speed, Acceleration and Rotation Speed. The max (or perfect) values are Speed 11, Acceleration 4 and Rotation 13. It’s very easy to get knocked off your horse by ranged attacks. Horses must be given Water-filled Canteens or they will die of thirst. Note that any horse you see can be mounted and “stolen”, including other players horses in a PvP or even PvE environment. It’s very common for brand new characters to make a run to Dunley Farmlands at the very beginning of the game to steal a horse from an unsuspecting farmer. This gives the player a distinct speed advantage as they begin their journey.
Characters can use the shift key to jump down any cliff face in the game, even while on a horse!
While Death in PvE is only temporary and doesn’t wipe potion and other effects (which is nice), it does cause your equipment to take a default 15% durability hit. Note the death durability hit value can be changed/defined per server (some servers have 0 durability loss on death). When you die, all of the resources on your character drop in a tombstone you must retrieve, and you respawn at a location on the map of your choice (crypt). In PvP, depending on the settings, a character can lose/drop all items, including equipment and armor (in hardcore). Ultimately, Death is very well designed for PvE, not causing any real issues except inconvenience.
This brings us to Spawn Points. When a character dies, they respawn at the last bed used to rest. If the character has not used a bed, they will respawn at the starting point of the game. Newly respawned characters have no items and are back in their trusty loincloth. They also have no food, so make sure to store and eat as much food as possible (and rest to regain health) prior to engaging in any corpse run.
Servant Hunt is an end-game system where players can send their minions on missions to explored areas with the goal of retrieving resources. Missions are assigned at the Throne, and the chance of success is based on a number of factors including the Servants specializations and gear score as it relates to the mission area requirements. This is actually a very cool system since it allows players to target specific resources. Short on Scourge Stones? Send your Servants out to get them! Some missions can last up to 24 hours while others are as quick as 2 hours. Another beneficial aspect of this system is it’s the perfect crafting and gear sink for the player. Your goal is to get every servant equipped with the best gear in the game, just like your character; but that takes quite a bit of time and costs a lot of resources. One of the negative things about Servant Hunts on solo PvE servers is the timer will only count down when you’re logged in, so a 24-hour mission takes 24 hours of actual gameplay time, which is way too long for solo PvE; so the shorter 2-4 hour durations are recommended. But if you’re playing on a dedicated server, a 24 hour mission that counts down while you’re offline isn’t bad at all. Servants can get injured or even killed on a hunt, which requires a cooldown period or resurrection.
Note you can only send Servants to hunt in regions discovered by your character.
The reality is a big part of V Rising is PvP. While you can play the game in PvE mode, the developers made sure the game has focused PvP, Raid, and Clan combat. Raids are timed events when players can destroy or even take over enemy castles. There’s no question we will be seeing a lot of V Rising competitive public PvP events broadcast in the near future.
Below is a video showing the pure chaos of a PvP event!
Server Settings are a big part of the game and help define the overall experience. I cover them in detail below under End Game.
Those playing solo PvE on their own computer can change the settings manually after the server has gone live, the process of which is defined here.
Since V Rising is a combat, castle building, resource gathering, crafting and survival game, there really isn’t any focus on Economy; however, there are Merchants that can be found throughout the world, and they sell a combination of resources and head cosmetics for Silver Coins. There is technically no trading between players, but clan members can share items with each other, as long as the items are not blood bound.
While it does allow solo self-hosted play, V Rising was designed for an online Multiplayer experience. The game world allows up to 40 people to play together on the same server, either in PvP or PvE mode, and it’s a ton of fun. The game also supports Clans, which are essentially the party system of the game where members share resources and castle access. The default size of a clan is 4, but can be adjusted to a max of 10. Every player has the ability to share their game world with the public server list, but can also define a password to ensure only specific people are able to join. Note non-dedicated servers hosted by players are only available when the host is playing the game. Even though playing with other people increases the difficulty of enemies, boss fights with other players is a whole different and often even more fun experience.
There are big problems with Servers being packed with players who build in all of the important places, then the players abandon the servers. The problem is their blood center has enough blood to last for well over a week. Also, the server list UI need to be enhanced to show more details such as server age, last wipe, next wipe, etc. While the server design concept was a good one that “worked”, it’s not optimal for participating player experience, and will have to be re-evaluated.
Players who run their own servers have a wide variety of Admin Commands at their disposal. While the commands do allow cheating, they can also enable proper non-cheating server management to prevent grieving and even monitoring of big fights. For example, the admin can switch to camera mode and fly to a location where a clan is working together to take down a shard boss. The admin can then record and/or broadcast this fight for others to watch. This is one technique event organizers use to monitor PvP competitions. Toxic players can also be banned and kicked from a server as well.
The game also has a text Chat and proximity Voice Chat system that allows area chat, shouting and whispers. There are also emotes players can use to express their opinion to those around them. This opens the door for some either entertaining banter or unwanted harassment.
It’s very important to mention the Vampire Chest, which is a storage container that cannot be looted in PvP, so if you want to play PvP and ensure certain items cannot be taken in case your castle falls, put them in the Vampire Chest!
Server Hosting is at the heart of online play. There are official servers, dedicated private servers, and player hosted servers (only available when the person is playing). The game supports a max concurrent player base of 60, but the average seems to be 40.
G-PORTAL is the preferred dedicated server host provider, and their prices are as follows:
3 days with 10 slots is $4.20
30 days with 10 slots is $14.00
30 days with 40 slots is $33.00
Players can pay to choose and set up their official hosted servers here.
But for those who have an extra computer at home that’s always on and connected, players can host their own personal dedicated servers, the process of which is defined here.
Both personal and G-Portal servers can be set to Public or Private with a password.
The Graphics of V Rising are beautiful, especially with the lighting and environmental designs, including textures, colorization and even particles and visuals during Combat. The NPCs and Bosses are also very well visually designed, and each zone truly feels unique. I didn’t experience any visual lag while playing the game, and the 3D engine runs smooth as silk.
The Sound FX are also top notch. Whether it’s the slight bubbling sound of fish nearby, V Blood bosses talking to you and engaging in their special attacks, or the clock chimes informing you of sunset or sunrise, everything is audibly delivered with smooth sound. I especially like the night sounds of the forest areas and villages.
The Music of V Rising is very well-done, providing a suitable feeling for the zone and situation (combat, night/day, boss fight, etc.). While the music is quite passive, it’s memorable and unique to the game. When listening, there’s no question you’re playing V Rising, and not something else.
The User Interface design is very basic, but it works very well and is very easy to navigate. Base building, equipping gear, picking items up off the ground, using the Ctrl menu to transform into a wolf; all of it is seamlessly integrated into the basic UI.
Since we game just entered Early Access, we don’t quite know what sort of schedule the developers are going to be following for Patching and content releases, or more importantly, when they plan on officially launching.
The multiplayer server architecture is solid; I haven’t experienced any Connection issues at all, and the dedicated servers run just fine.
V Rising supports Mods, but it’s still too early to determine how far the mods can take the game, how they will impact client/server interactions, and what limits exist for them. Keep an eye on NexusMods and Thunderstore!
I actually didn’t encounter a single bug in any of my playthroughs. That’s very impressive…
The amount of content in the game is amazing for an early-access product, especially when playing with other people. It took me roughly 65 hours just to max out my gear in my first PvE solo playthrough, and I still had to unlock additional recipes I hadn’t found out, find prisoners and more servants and equip them to run missions for materials. I also could have decorated my castle a LOT more than I did. However, once you max your equipment out, there’s really not much more to do when playing PvE. PvP is a bit different, depending on settings, where there is the chance of losing your castle / gear to a siege, and having to rebuild; so technically, currently PvP has better end-game persistence than PvE.
There is, however, a pretty important aspect to replaying the game with different settings, as I’ll cover below. But to be clear, the current end-game of V Rising consists of:
Collect 100% Blood Prisoners of all types
Max out Servants and their Gear
Complete a massive Vampire Fortress (base building)
Start a new game, and/or play self-imposed “survival” (e.g. if you die, you have to restart)
This is where Server Rules (Game Settings) really come into play. There are so many tweaks that one can make to the world that they can ensure their next playthrough is either easier, harder, or just more (or less) RNG for specific drops. Players can select from a collection of predefined rules (ranging from Easy to Hard) to change the overall experience of the world. Adjusting the rules includes:
Player and Castle Interactions (Loot permissions)
World Settings (Soul Shard count, Garlic/Silver/Sun Strength) – can actually turn off sun damage
Items (Loot drops, Servant hunt and Material Yield)
Boss Unlocks (can start the game with boss rewards unlocked)
Journal (Quest) Unlocks (can start the game with quests completed)
Research Unlocks (can start the game with research already unlocked, by tier)
These configuration options allow for the player to have quite a bit of fun and change the overall game difficulty. Take that original 80 hour playthrough and turn it into 200 hours with harder bosses and lower drop rates!
The reality is we don’t know what the developers have in mind for the final zone and features for the game, especially as the new upcoming content relates to end-game. All of the core pieces are already there to support a persistent world that can easily be played for hundreds of hours, given the right additions at launch.
V Rising is so much fun, and the amount of content, community gameplay and challenge it offers in Early Access is truly impressive. While there are a number of things that need to be addressed, as there always will be with new and early access products, one thing is certain: the core of V Rising is fantastic, and if the developers are able to address the multiplayer/server issues and refine the end-game to create an ongoing persistent experience, they will have a real winner on their hands.
The refinement, love, dedication and creative design that went into building this immersive world paired with the Vampiric theme is truly something unique and wonderful. As such, V Rising is already a fantastic game, and has the possibility of becoming a masterpiece. The core components are all there; the development team needs to just bring it all together at launch.
If you haven’t played this game yet, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s truly amazing. Play it solo or with friends; either way, the experience is worth far more than the $20 price tag of early access currently offered through Steam.