Some Assembly Required: Xsyon picks up speed

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Last year, I had the opportunity to meander around Xsyon for Choose My Adventure. Then, the game was still at the end of its beta phase. Now, with some time under its belt since release, the game continues to grow. And January has seen quite the growth spurt.

I won't complain if the momentum that Xsyon has shown in the last month keeps up. Announcing multiple events and an architecture contest? Not to mention introducing new goodies? You go, game! Though it's small and indie, I am totally rooting for this title to succeed. Why? The main reason is that the game is reliant on player generated content: Instead of developers designing every aspect of the game, they built the world as a foundation and gave players the tools to go from there. This game is one of the few out there that offers many avenues for players to generate their own content and have a visible and lasting impact on the world around them.

And just how is post-apocalyptic Earth shaping up with the players at the helm? This week, Some Assembly Required explores the once-ravaged land to highlight some of that generated content, from events (both player-run and developer sponsored) to small- and large-scale construction.

Earth DAy, post 2012 AD
So what do you do when the world is ravaged and civilization as we know it is destroyed? Why, have a spring clean-up, of course! There is no need to forgo your civic-mindedness just because of a lack of civilization. That is exactly what the tribe The Preatorian Guards thought.

Xsyon screenshotWhen deciding to spruce up their own tribal area, The Praetorian Guards hit upon the idea to host a Spring Clean-Up event on January 14th for their fellow survivors and even offered their own items as prizes. The event itself had a variety of games to participate in, including a fish relay, an obstacle course, a treasure hunt, and the Bear Arena of Doom. Yes, folks actually had to face down a bear to demonstrate their skill. But obviously just one bear wasn't enough to test the strength of these hearty survivors! In each of the 10 rounds, another bear was added to the total until the player was facing 10 bears simultaneously in the 10th round. A tie? Pfft, easy -- just add more rounds and more bears. Let's just say I didn't enter this contest.

Each event was creative, and players who attended appeared to have a great time. Even better, the Xsyon Guide Team was on hand to help with certain aspects of the event, especially the treasure hunt. As a bonus, the tribe announced that in about two month's time, the arena will be opened weekly! Sad that you missed the event? Well, one of the treasure bins (named "fatboy event The Big One") is still hidden somewhere in the tribe's area and is filled with new items daily!

Hats off to Fatboy and The Preatorian Guards for all the work they put into designing, building, and hosting this event. And thanks to the guides for lending a hand as well!

Move over Donner Party
On January 29th, Xsyon developers hosted a handcart race to celebrate the introduction of handcarts into the game. Even though The Grand Cart Race was not created and sponsored by players, it highlights just one of the many things that are possible in game using existing -- and in this case, newly introduced -- features.

The Grand Cart Race
The event itself had different stages and was run on a specially built cart course on Founders Island. For better ease in participating (since travel takes quite a long time in the wilds), players were teleported to the course along with their carts and then teleported back after the event. Players who didn't yet have a cart were loaned one for the event, although they had to return it after.

This event brought many players together to participate and spectate. Although some hitches were noted (like the terrain where carts became stuck), players had a great time. Winners took home prizes, as did the second-place finishers in each group. Prizes consisted mainly of schematics for carts and tools.

Again, for any who missed this event, the course is remaining in game to be used for future events. If you want to give it a go, get thee hence to Founders Island!

Brick by brick
One of the most exciting aspects of Xsyon to me is the ability to build -- not just slap down some prefabricated structure mind you, but to really design both the buildings and the terrain. The world is literally your canvas. Now I know my creative aspirations completely overshoot my present crafting abilities (a one-woman outfit makes for some slow going), but some players and tribes have constructed some truly awesome creations. Some of these were recently highlighted in a special gallery on game's official site.

Xsyon screenshot
Now for the bonus: I have to give Xsyon high marks for actively promoting player-generated content in a variety of ways. One way, for those who don't know, is by showcasing it prominently on the site, like the gallery. But it doesn't stop there; last week, developers announced the 2nd Major Architecture Contest. Survivors are invited to strut their creative prowess and compete against others in this month-long event. Judging will be based on uniqueness, design, originality, layout, and beautification. There will be separate categories for small tribes (1-5 active members) and large tribes (6+ active members). To be a part of the contest, tribes need to send a private message to Guide Raguel on the official forums with the tribe's name, leader, location, and size. As of now, four tribes have thrown their hat into the ring.

I don't know about you, but I am excited to see all of the examples of player creativity! In fact, I really can't wait -- I will be traipsing about the world trying to see as many buildings and creations as I possibly can before the contest ends. I would enter, but I will be too busy gawking at all the magnificent creations of fellow players to put any time into building up my little plot.

Here's to ya, mate!
Bravo to Notorious Games for bringing a sandbox to life in our themepark dominated world. And kudos for not only providing the game but actively supporting player-generated content. If you are looking for a game that allows players to really have an impact and build their world (after all, how many out there allow you to alter the very terrain under your feet and even plant forests?) and offers superb support from Guides, you definitely want to give Xsyon a look. And if you are stepping foot into this world for the first time and would like a few good pointers for getting started, be sure to check out these tutorial videos made by survivor SaintBob.

Every two weeks, Jef Reahard and MJ Guthrie take a break from their themepark day jobs to delve into the world of player-generated content. Comments, suggestions, and coverage ideas are welcome, and Some Assembly Required is always looking for players who'd like to show off their MMO creativity. Contact us!

This article was originally published on Massively.