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Don’t Starve Together is a great example of multiplayer balancing core mechanics

Indie games like Witch Beam Unpacking and BlueTwelve’s Wander tend to attract mainstream attention as often as AAA titles. Popularity isn’t always hit at launch though, with InnerSloth’s Among us becoming a phenomenon amid the COVID-19 pandemic two years after its 2018 release. While not directly equivalent, Klei Entertainment’s don’t starve saw renewed interest with the release of its multiplayer counterpart Don’t starve togetherand subsequent console ports retained survival roguelike relevance.


Klei had a lot of experience in the industry until don’t starve in 2013, working on games like hock and mark of the ninja. Still, the survival game with a gruesome Tim Burton-esque art style was a smash hit, arguably standing alongside plenty of Renaissance indie titles like Super meat boy and The Binding of Isaac as examples of what a small team can accomplish. Although Klei Entertainment would switch to Oxygen not included and Griftlands, don’t starve still attracts a lot of attention.

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It is largely thanks to Don’t starve togetherthe standalone multiplayer expansion that added tons of content to the base experience after its release in 2016. New content in any game is a huge draw, but being able to survive with a group of friends makes the experience even better – and Don’t starve togetherThe player base of expanded with a Nintendo Switch port in April. These players got a good look at a game that seems designed for multiplayer, seemingly balancing itself out as new users are added.

Basic structure of Don’t Starve Together

Don’t starve together is a survival game like Minecraft Where terrariums; players are thrown into an unforgiving wilderness and must learn how to keep themselves alive (presumably by consulting a Fan Wiki). However, its roguelike elements often take center stage as The Constant, its procedurally generated world, presents dangers around every corner that literally change every season. Players must maintain their health, hunger, and sanity while facing antagonistic forces ranging from spiders to bosses like Deerclops, and even the darkness itself each night.

The game loop comes down to fulfilling Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Players must ensure they have a stable food supply so they can focus on building a base, then experiment with various science and magic activities designed to make survival more tenable. It’s a stressful experience that can become zen as players spend each day collecting meat and other resources to build up their stockpile for a harsh winter – and other harsh seasons like summer if they survive the cold.

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How Don’t Starve’s Multiplayer Seems To Balance

Don’t starve together thrives on its single-player predecessor because of the way it encourages teamwork. However Together has a lot more content overall, being able to split tasks between up to four players makes even basic survival tasks more interesting. One player could catch rabbits while another builds bee boxes for honey, and those two ingredients could be combined into larger meals with a slow cooker developed by someone else. What could have been three days of solo work becomes a community effort, making it easier to survive.

Still Don’t starve togetherThe inherent design of balances relative ease of survivability with multiple players. Unlike the monster hunter similar co-op series and titles where multiple people in a lobby artificially inflate difficulty by increasing enemy health, pretty much everything in Don’t starve together is the same whether a user is alone or not. The difficulty comes from the more realistic challenge of surviving with multiple people, such as burning food and crafting resources faster.

Not to mention the fact that every character in Don’t starve together has different stat distributions and inherent traits that affect how they survive. For example, Wigfrid is a powerful fighter who starts out with a weapon and armor to tank opponents, but can only eat meat – rendering early food sources like berry bushes worthless until built. of a slow cooker. Meanwhile, Wendy is a frail girl who has better control of her sanity due to experience with her deceased sister Abigail, an entity that can be summoned to fight on Wendy’s behalf. Players can jump in and out, letting certain characters complete tasks that may be more difficult for others without completely interrupting the flow.

By designing a game that balances itself almost entirely through challenging mechanics, Klei Entertainment has clearly struck gold. The studio continued to grow Don’t starve togetherof characters and activities with DLC expansions such as “Reign of Giants”, “Shipwrecked” and “Hamlet” through 2018. Additionally, it kept the game alive through support for modding, ports to consoles like Switch with terrariums. Other developers can certainly learn from how the don’t starve The brand has evolved for almost a decade.

Don’t starve together is available now on PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One.

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