Back in the days, in 2013, to be exact, a new game called Cube World got released. It is a voxel-based, open-world exploring game, which looks a bit similar to Minecraft, but it focuses more on the exploring and progression side. Many people decided to buy the alpha version of Cube World, to see what this game really is about, in its current state. And I was one of them.
After spending countless hours in the alpha version, and testing out all of the available classes, I wished that there would be an update, which brings some new stuff into the game. However, on the 5th of July, 2013, the game received the last update for 6 whole years.
After 6 years of passionate waiting for an update, Wolfram von Funck (the developer of Cube World) posted a tweet that Cube World will release on Steam on the 30th of September 2019. In addition to that, all the people who purchased the alpha version back in 2013, get free keys so they can play a few days earlier, to test the game to its full extent.
What went wrong with Cube World?
Hell yeah, the hype was back, and many people started talking about Cube World again. So I downloaded the game quickly, and jumped right into it, to see what 6 years of development added to it.
When we take a look at Wollay’s Twitter account, we can see that he (and his wife that also worked on the game) almost vanished, besides posting a small tweet here, or a short video there. It was not uncommon that we have to wait a few months, to get a minimal update about the development state, or what is currently being worked on.The alpha had massive potential, and as we got some updates on quests, new monsters, structures, or new game mechanics, we could only imagine what this game could become when it was finished.
When I launched the game for the first time, a beautiful (newly designed) title screen welcomed me, after a long time. The character creation process didn’t change how it works, so it only took me about one minute to create my new character.
The first few minutes of the game were almost the same as in the alpha; take a look at the map, find a village, and run to it. Luckily, my spawn point was in the middle of a village near the ocean, so that saved quite some time. In the village, I already noticed some differences between the alpha and the current version of the game:
Finally, NPCs can give us a hint on a quest that we can take on, so I run through the whole village and asked everyone for a quest. After getting some quests marked on the map, I decided to run to the next one, which is also the start of a dilemma.
When we run around in the world, there is a high chance that we encounter some unfriendly monsters or animals, which will attack us if we get too close to them. In the previous version, it was possible to defeat even stronger monsters by running them around or using skills correctly.
In the current version, all mobs that we encounter are categorized into different tiers (weapons and gear too). The higher the tier of a monster, the harder it is to eliminate. However, when I tried to slay a beetle (not a strong monster at all), I got literally destroyed. This thing killed me so fast, and my weapon couldn’t even scratch it.
The monster balancing can’t be right if a weaker monster like a beetle can kill me in just a few seconds.
To get a decent weapon, I had to kill monsters and complete quests, so I spend a long time-fighting weak monsters and hoping for a decent drop. After almost 2 hours later, I decided to get back to the village, and lucky as I am, I found a weapon in a tree. And there comes the second issue: the weapon balance is also horrible.
At the moment I equipped my new weapon (I think it was a sword, but I can’t remember), I was able to rush through quests without a hassle. Monsters that killed me in a few seconds got killed in a few seconds. It was ridiculous.
Note: You can get top-tier weapons from the weakest monsters if you are a bit lucky with drop rates…
In the alpha, we can find and buy new weapons too, but the weapon balancing was much better. When we get a more reliable weapon, it was very useable for quite some time, but it got weaker when we move forward, as monsters got stronger. The farther away we got from the spawn point, the stronger all the monsters become, so there was an unlimited progression in the game.
Speaking of the progression system, it is entirely different as we know it from the alpha. Today we have regions that contain an artifact and a lot of quests that we can accept. Every time we finished enough quests, we can find an artifact, which replaced the skill system from the alpha. These artifacts represent the leveling, as they increase some of our stats, but only on a minor scale!
Besides this, when we move into the next zone, all of our collected items will become literally trash. This system is called region-locked items, and it is complete trash. Why does the game punish us, in an exploring game?
But hold on, I’m not finished yet!
Not only our gear and weapons become trash, but we will also lose our hang glider, the boat, and the ability to ride a pet. What the fuck is this… all the progress that we made in a zone gets removed by crossing a border.
Sorry for that language, but this is what I think about that. It doesn’t make any sense to add such a “feature” to an exploring game. And I’m not the only person who thinks like this at the moment. If you take a look at the Steam reviews or on Reddit, you will see many disappointed people.
But what leads to this dilemma of Cube World?
Short disclaimer: This section is about my opinion! If you think that I missed something important or you want to add something, do it down in the comments.
If we look at Wolfram’s Twitter account, we can see a lot of significant gaps between his tweets, especially over the last few years. However, there were also times when he was much more active, especially at the beginning of his development. He communicated a lot more with his community and shared recent screenshots from the game.
But over time, he got less active, and we had to wait much longer for updates, which results in less communication with the community and their customers after the alpha launched. For a developer, no matter his size, it is essential to respond to its customers and fixing things they do not like.
However, no one can guarantee that a developer will make these changes to its game, but most of the time, they do at least something to fix the problem. Unforuntalty, this didn’t happen in Cube Worlds’ case.
In the beginning, Wollay posted videos and pictures about new features, which looked amazing, and people kept asking him when the alpha will get updated. This went on for a few years, but at some point, we noticed some changes that lead to the recent dilemma:
On the 26th of January 2019, he shared a picture on his Twitter account, where we can see a different HP and mana bar. In comparison, in the previous picture that got posted on the 2nd of July in 2017, we can see the old familiar HP and mana bar design, and skills were still in the game at this point.
In this two-year time frame, he made big changes to the skill and progression system, but the Exp system was still there. Unfortunately, we can’t say what leads him to make these decisions. A simple solution would be to ask the community if they like a specific idea, or what they would chance to get the best result.
Note: A Reddit user listed all the missing features that Wollay showed us over the years on his Twitter account. Some of the removed features can still be found in the game files, like Exp. If you’re interested, click here to see the list.
Is Cube World dead and abandoned?
After the Cube World release got announced, Wollay was active again on Twitter to post patch notes for the newest version. On the 29th of September, he released his last post, reminding us of the release time on Steam. In the meantime, many players found solace in the Subnautica, which offered a contrasting but engaging experience. Until now, Wollay didn’t respond to the community feedback at all, leaving everyone in a dark room. Will the game receive a new update soon, or do we have to wait years again?
Well, we don’t know… nobody knows…
At least they still answer emails and requests when it comes to product keys, so people who buy the game can actually play it. But they do not respond to any email that asks for information about the development state of Cube World.
At the moment, steam reviews are very mixed. We can see some positive reviews, but the majority of them are negative. In terms of updates and patches, Cube World is dead. Luckily, some talented modders decided to release mods for the game, so we can remove region-locked items, add new sprites, and more. You can find one here.
It is very sad to see Cube World’s massive potential unused, even if some changes are not that bad.