Open World Survival Game Once Human

Once Human Overview

Once Human is a multiplayer open-world survival game set in a post-apocalyptic future and when Starry Studios claims the game is open world they are talking about a massive open world. There is a healthy and generous amount of travel time required to move around the world, and while there is fast travel, it is limited in frequency by a hard counter as well as discouraged by an energy cost investment per teleport.

During the most recent testing, servers were split between PVE and PVP servers, although PVP flagging and some PVP events were allowed on the PVE servers. The game features a robust PVE suite of content in addition to base building. The standard flair of PVE content was available quests and dungeons both single player and team based. Additionally, there are open world events that occur similar to FATEs from FFXIV or Rifts from Rift which can be anything from massive boss battles requireding multiple players, to dance offs to solo instances where you pick up a large gatling gun and go to town.


Once Human is going to be free to play but don’t worry the plan is to have no pay-to-win. As Daniel Robbson of IGN said “Want to level up? You’ll have to play for it, because you can’t pay for it.” Derek Qiua, head of overseas operations said “There are no play to win elements at all, so the monetization system is all based on cosmetics. You can purchase decorations for your home, vehicle skins, gun skins, and cosmetics that are purely based on appearance.”

No Classes?

As Once Human is a survival game, there are no classes per se, instead players will have the freedom to make their character their own by choosing talents in both their Memetics Screen and their Cradle. There is a level of choice, however, that changes how a character plays based on their weapon selection. Players are allowed to equip two ranged weapons and one melee weapon and they can freely switch between them while in combat. Inside of ranged weapons is everything from crossbows to grenade launchers, and melee weapons go from short fast acting knives, to baseball bats, and fish. While I think wielding a fish is a little bit silly, sometimes a little bit of silly is ok for a game. Players will also choose between an enormous collection of different armor sets, stacking same set bonuses for even more power or versatility.

Gear (both weapons and armor) comes in four qualities and each quality determines the number of calibrations that can be applied to the gear. If that wasn’t enough, you can modify gear with mods (which can also be upgraded) to give yourself an even more fine tuned edge. So while there may not be classes in the game, there is certainly enough character customization through gear and mods that you should feel satisfied with making something that best represents you and your play style.

Cradle and Memetics

The Cradle and Memetics for Once Human is a little confusing when you first jump into it. The video to the right will provide visuals for those individuals who are more visual learners, however the long and short of it is that your memetics are your lifeskills (gathering, crafting, building) and your cradle is your combat customization.

While I could spend this time to detail out the memetics and the cradle, I will do that at a later date when I am sure that Starry Studios is not going to make any sweeping changes to the design.

Can a Survival Game survive as a MMO persistent world?

Survival MMOs, or survival games in a persistent world, seem to be an amazing trend at the moment. A few years ago we heard about New World which was supposed to be an open world pvp, full loot drop, player driven fort builder game. Amazon Games Studios pivoted on that idea and attempted to turn New World into a more traditional MMORPG with a PVE center and PVP for zone control. In the years that followed there have been a handful of games that have been called open world survival games, but open world survival and sandbox are often confused. Once Human is absolutely a survival game at its core, as it has survival mechanics in the form of food and water, but really that’s about all the survival mechanics require. The game is still in development so it is possible as time goes on things like weather, temperature, fatigue will all come into play, but for the moment it's a survival game light.

The big question is Can a Survival Game succeed as a MMO persistent world? If it can’t, what does this mean for Once Human?