Early access survival game Enshrouded lets up to 16 players take part in a dedicated server at the same time, but those players are now discovering that if even a single one of them completes a quest objective, it completes for everyone – even if they’re not actually online.
Enshrouded launched into early access yesterday, and after a slightly rocky start to its multiplayer servers, appeared to be settling into its groove. Until, that is, players started to realize that after logging off, they might come back to their dedicated servers to find a swathe of quest completions that left them with no idea what was going on.
That’s because of Enshrouded’s server-wide progression, which means that if one person on a server completes a quest task, it’s checked off for everyone. That arguably flies in the face of the very point of a dedicated server – that not everyone who wants to play as part of a friend group can play at the same time. It’s an issue I’ve faced with games like Valheim, Scrap Mechanic, and now Palworld – I tend to be the person who first introduces my friends to new survival games, so I’m the one who’s forced to leave my PC running so they can play while I go eat dinner.
But those aren’t dedicated servers, and games that do offer those servers limit themselves to player progression – isometric vampire effort V Rising built itself on players that multiple people could run around in at the same time, but each player still checked off items on their own unique to-do lists.
Enshrouded’s official FAQ on Steam maintains that multiplayer “is just more fun” than playing alone, but that’s not really the sentiment that players are giving off. Multiple subreddit posts are decrying the decision, and it’s a similar story on Discord, where it’s claimed that even the tutorial is included. That means that if you didn’t log into the server at the beginning, you’d be locked out of the lessons you’d need to learn to play the game at all. As well as quest progression and fast-travel Flame Altars being server-wide, players are reporting that loot isn’t instanced, meaning that players have to fight over drops. That’s a reasonable design decision, particularly for loot games like Diablo or Borderlands, but it’s more peculiar for a survival game.
It’s not been a particularly easy time for Enshrouded, despite its popularity ahead of launch. Release itself was marred by those multiplayer issues, and since then players have been complaining that it doesn’t always live up to the difficulty implied by the Valheim-meets-Dark Souls vibes that they’d hoped for.
It’s too early to say whether Enshrouded can join the ranks of the best survival games out there.