I have not played a MMORPG in years. I was emotionally scarred when, as a squeaky voiced acne-ridden teenager in the early 00s, I joined a then-popular MMORPG and was bombarded with insults. I was a noob, I was worthless, what was I even doing there?
It was a miserable experience and I never played an MMORPG again. So when I approached Palia I did so very carefully, but the moment I saw the attention that the studio is putting on a real cozy and comfortable experience for anyone, I smiled. Because Palia really feels like home. Without, y’know, the bills that go along with it.
Palia is a new MMORPG in development by Singularity 6, taking place in a fantasy world where humans have disappeared long ago. Nobody knows what happened so long ago but now, suddenly, human beings are coming back. They’ll have to find their place in this strange, but welcoming, fantasy world while also discovering what happened so long ago.
As a newly arrived human, you get to design your character first. While there are many options available when designing a character, customizing their look seems to be limited. There are not that many accessories (just a pair of glasses) yet, but the team will likely add more in the future.
In my preview time with Palia, I got to meet some of the nice townsfolk, they were more or less all eager to get this strange new being settled down. I started to build some furniture for my makeshift tent, I went bug catching at night, I went fishing with a friendly - if kinda cold - robot and relaxed under the stars.
There’s definitely a fair bit of resource gathering involved at the start. Chop down trees, hack at some rocks, the whole nine yards. But Palia makes it a little more fun, not only allowing you to level up your skills (which leads to easier resource gathering and more options), but also makes you find some rare and interesting loot. Some items might also lead to some other interesting quests.
Then there’s planting crops and harvesting them. This involves getting out your hoe and going crazy on a portion of terrain, plant seeds and get those juicy veggies out when ready. Eating, while not required for health reasons, does get your character focus points. Focus helps in doing tasks better, faster and overall more efficiently, along with helping to level up quicker. And what are you using veggies for? To cook of course, which can also make for some great gifts for friends or fellow townsfolk.
But what are we using all that wood and stone for? To build some furniture of course, you don’t want your house to look all shoddy and sad, right? While I just got to put some stuff in my tent, you will get the opportunity to own a nice actual mansion, where you can let your friends over and everything. Now that’s the dream.
Navigation, which is often a big problem in MMORPGs, is quite smooth. Your next quests are indicated on the compass on your screen, but should you feel lost, just open the map to get even easier access to all the characters you might want to interact with. If they are sleeping, like they seem to do a lot at night (oh the shame!), you might want to spend that time doing some resource gathering or hunting.
I did not really interact with any of my fellow humans during my playtime - blame my past traumas for that - but Palia promises that you can play with any of your friends anytime. Doesn’t matter how far along you are progressing, if they are in the world you can go doing some fun activities together. But I did interact with some of the townsfolk, trying to romance both blonde hunk Nai’O and Tish. Honestly I did not get very far in my love affairs, since my human was poor and could not afford gifts yet. Sigh, how harsh romance is when your wallet is just filled with bugs.
I am quite happy that I gave Palia a chance, because it seems to be shaping up to be quite a unique and cozy experience. It might definitely be the cure that you need to get rid of all your past traumas and overcome that daily stress, unwind, catch some bugs, hunt, fish and spend some time with some good looking elves. Put your feet up and enjoy the cozy MMORPG experience that is Palia.