Tribes of Midgard

Tribes of Midgard is a bit of a tough sell for solo players. In case you haven’t heard the latest talk around the Tribes of Midgard water cooler, folks are saying that the game is way too punishing for solo players.

I tried it myself; those people weren’t exaggerating. The game throws a thousand things at you at once, expecting you to split those duties up between ten players. If you play solo, the enemy HP is reduced a little bit, but otherwise you’re still going to face the same ten-player workload on your own. There are too many systems to juggle at once, and even the most careful players will see the things they’ve been juggling come crashing to the ground each in-game night as hordes of monsters surround their settlement.

I like Tribes of Midgard in concept, but this brutal solo aspect was throwing me off a bit. I thought maybe it just wasn’t the game I was hoping it’d be. But before I gave up on it, there was just one thing I wanted to try first…

So I girded my loins, grit my teeth, and used the game’s matchmaking system. I disabled voice chat (which is always a good idea when you’re playing with random strangers on the internet), and waited for the game to– holy crap! I found a match almost instantly. And I wasn’t just tossed into a random match in progress, this one had just started.

Okay, so at this point I was starting to warm up to it.

As it turns out, the first group I got into was surprisingly competent. I wasn’t so lucky on subsequent attempts, but even with mediocre teammates, your chances of survival go up considerably.

Tribes of Midgard - Villager in Need

And really, everything feels so much better with a group. Sure, you’re inevitably going to have some teammates who don’t want to share ingredients, who build all the wrong things first, and who pop your camp heal (which is on a shared cooldown) at the worst possible times. But even then, people sort of naturally work together in this game, even if it takes a while for them to warm up to cooperative gameplay.

With multiple people in a game, every player’s actions fill in the map. This means you can spread out in ten different directions at once instead of just moving in a straight line and hoping you find something cool. And once you get a feel for how the teleportation system works, you can make a lot of ground incredibly quickly.

And the giant fights are way more fun with a full group. See, every few days, a giant tramples into your world, and you must bring it down before it makes its way to your camp and wreaks destruction on the World Tree. This is typically the place where the game ends for me when I’m playing solo. But in a group, we were taking down multiple giants per session.

I very recently started playing Final Fantasy XIV again, and this time around, I’m playing it completely solo (my last few FFXIV binges happened with other people). Perhaps it’s due to the game’s recent bulge in server population, but finding a pick-up group that doesn’t suck has been a cakewalk.

I bring this up because I’ve very recently been forced to reconsider random group-ups in video games. No, it’s not always a good idea, but Tribes of Midgard and Final Fantasy XIV have both made it work.

Tribes of Midgard - Asta

So if you’re looking to pick up Tribes of Midgard but are wary because of the solo naysayers out there, well, know that I too was a solo naysayer at one point. That said, this game is not only playable with a random group, it’s downright enjoyable too! This naysayer has said his final nay.

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