The first and most significant challenge when playing Dark and Light is finding a server with a population over 0, it would be safe to say 90% of servers have less than three people who even log in at all, but if you look deep, you will find gems like Ark. Life 25x server, while not massive the pve server community seems to be around 100-150, and often you see 15-20+ online even off-peak, with their PvP server lagging a little behind at 75-100 estimated population, regardless both offer healthy chances for gameplay and a friendly welcoming community, the day I joined there were 6 others who had apparently also joined the same day, and 2 more joined shortly after I did.
Ark Meets Atlas.
Several of the gameplay systems which later went into Atlas are evident here, and while its mostly Ark in fantasy cosplay, the character models are far more attractive so right away it had that going for it, making my hunky dwarf I set about into the world, now I need to be honest 25x is too boosted for my liking and while vanilla rates are grind, this level of boosting had me at level 50+ in under 2 hours, so my experience with the game was somewhat different to a vanilla server.
Combat was smooth and apart from being murdered over and over by a bear and stripped naked by a goblin who ran off with my pants, life was going pretty good, combat felt exciting, and while the longbow is powerful, the lack of first-person makes it feel awkward and somewhat clumsy.
Taming felt like it was just trying to be different than Ark and not in a good way, while I liked the method of using magic ropes to restrain a creature, the need to carry a food trough everywhere ruined immersion.
The map and creatures look gorgeous, and the weapons look prettier than their ARK counterparts, while ARK was a buggy mess that improved in leaps and bounds, DNL was a buggy mess that for all its efforts has not substantially improved,
The magic system and craftable spells are near perfect, and I wish other games like Conan Exiles used it instead of the somewhat awkward orb system currently employed there.
And yet for all its good points…
The building system feels primitive and frankly unless you find a perfectly flat field you will have oddly shaped buildings with grass in your living room, the building parts themselves are not only gorgeous, but numerous offering multiple styles, from basic log huts to elvish manors and everything in between, the selection is truly impressive.
However, without S+ type building enhancement, I don’t see myself ever returning to it, nor do I see it attracting the Master builders whose presence would spark significant interest in the creative side of the game.
I have for now uninstalled and placed it in my “maybe one-day” category of games, a real shame as it did so much right, but failed majorly at the one aspect that it had potential to excel at.
Worth a buy?
Honestly I feel Ark: Survival Evolved with a fantasy mod would be a better investment as future development on this game will be small/sporadic at best, its a great concept that released too soon, driving away almost its entire userbase in the process, and pending a miracle it will not rise beyond its stable 400-700ccu.
That being said, those remaining players are unlikely to leave if they have stuck it out this long, and if building isn’t your primary concern and you can tolerate the bugs, you will find your money worth of enjoyment from this title, as for all its flaws, its really not that bad of a game and a little more polish before releasing into early access would have given the game a radically different reception.
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