Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Some comments on Nightingale

How's your internet? It turns out that this might substantially influence your enjoyment of Nightingale. I am lucky, and I have 1 Gbps fiber internet. That turns out to not only be good for big downloads, but also for ping and latency. In Nightingale I get below 40 ms of ping consistently, which means that I don't run into some of the problems that other people are complaining about. So, since the servers came back up yesterday afternoon, I was able to play for a while and didn't encounter any technical problems other than long loading times at the start of the game and when using a portal, presumably server-side slowness.

Having said that, Nightingale is visibly still an early access game, with some of the quality of life features still missing, and some of the user interface still a bit rough. But it definitely has potential. Judging from what I could see up to now from the number of different crafting stations and recipes, the tech tree is pretty deep and involved. I like that, although I have seen reviews from people who particularly disliked that aspect. I also like that at the lowest difficulty setting, combat isn't hard at all, I even killed the first boss mob at the end of the first non-tutorial realm without difficulty.

Although that might have been a bit easier for me due to Twitch drops. Twitch drops are in-game items you can get for some games after watching streams about that game for a number of hours. And curiously the gear you get from Twitch drops has gear level 58. Which is substantial in a game where you start the tutorial with gear level 6, and the first boss mob requires gear level 20. Okay, the Twitch drops are only for some of the armor slots and don't include weapons, but I was at gear level 20 due to following the quest, and the Twitch drops increased that to an overall average gear score of 30. I don't mind, and the Twitch gear is sure a lot prettier than the crude gear you can craft at the start. But from a progression point of view I find this a bit weird.

Compared to Palworld, I am building better houses in Nightingale. Well, in Palworld the houses only got you into trouble with pal pathfinding, and you really only needed one foundation, one wall, one roof, and a bed under it. In Nightingale I have a wooden house with four walls, roof, windows and a door. And there is a system in place where I get bonuses for my crafting stations for them being on a solid foundation, sheltered from the elements, warm, and well-lit. Still, I mainly build for gameplay reasons, so the possibility to build in different styles doesn't really excite me. I could have built a stone house instead of a wooden house, but as far as I know there wouldn't have been a gameplay difference, only visuals. Wood was easier to construct, so I stuck with that.

Once you learn how to build a base, you can always quickly fast travel to there from anywhere. But that is a one-way thing. Fortunately I just got to the point where I can build by own portal in my base, which means at least I don't have to run from my base to the local portal all the time anymore. I should have built my first base closer to the portal, but I was trying to find a larger flat area, which turned out to be not wholly necessary.

I am playing Nightingale in third-person view. That, plus turning camera shaking and motion blur off, and increasing the field of view (FOV), results in me not having any problems with video game motion sickness. Although the third-person view is labeled as "experimental" in the settings, it works well enough, except for some minor targeting problems when skinning animals.

Overall I don't regret having paid $30 for Nightingale. The game is fun enough, I do like the graphical style, and the card-based realm / portal system is original and fun enough. Each created realm is relatively small, about the size of one landing zone in Starfield, but considerably prettier and with more stuff to find and explore. I don't think I will stick around for much longer than I did in Palworld, but I can see the potential of the game in adding more different biomes and cards in the future. Having said that, Palworld a month after release still has 10 times more players than Nightingale. There is a bit of a glut of survival crafting games right now.

I'm enjoying it more than Palworld, which I like a lot. Neither is as good as Once Human, though, which no-one seems to mention.

I've had no connection problems and everything feels very smooth. As somoen who is interested in housing for aesthetic as well as pracival reasons, I'd say not only is Nightingale's housing a lot better than Palworld's, it's potentially one of the best I've seen. I'll reserve judgment until I'm further up the tech tree but even the basic building options are better than the final versions in some games I've played.
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