Stunlock Studios has made a great game when it comes to V Rising, with over one and a half million players jumping in since launch. My wife and I spun up a private server within a few days of release, and I have been having fun with the game since then. We agree that the mechanics, atmosphere, and general gameplay are excellent. But our experience was very different.
Combat in V Rising is similar to Stunlock Studios' previous game Battlerite, a team-based battle area game. It is a refined experience where using abilities feels responsive, and players are constantly moving. During combat, players control their position using WASD and the direction a character faces with the mouse pointer. When abilities are activated, they also aim at where the mouse pointer is on the screen. There is no left click to move or attack a target.
For those not used to this control scheme, it can be jarring at first. I kept clicking to move my character and would spin to the wrong facing when I was not paying attention to where my mouse pointer was on the screen. Once V Rising had retrained my gamer brain, it led to many fun encounters. The more precise I became with the mouse, the more I could accomplish.
Building and Crafting in V Rising fits the aesthetic exceptionally well. Unlocking new recipes is integrated with player progress through following the tooltips on what to build next, combined with hunting and draining V blood bosses. The downside is that, eventually, progress hits a bottleneck, and players need to down certain bosses, which might require other players to help tackle them.
If you enjoy a challenging game where the combat pushes a player to improve their reflexes and/or bring friends to help with boss fights, then V Rising is a must-play title to at least try. However, if you’re someone who focuses on the building/crafting system typically found in other survival games, you may find the offerings limited at this time.
V Rising is a game focused on fast-paced combat, which may not be for everyone as is, unfortunately, the case for my wife. Hopefully, at some point, new abilities and/or weapons will implement other types of playstyles that players can enjoy.
When beginning the journey in V Rising, the first choice is what kind of server to play on, ranging from PvE-focused servers to those with full-loot, hardcore PvP. Players can join up in clans to dominate the PvP servers, or if you want a more intimate experience, you can simply run a Duo PvP server or play Solo.
As with other survival games, there are official servers available to play on that support up to 40 players. Players can form a clan of up to 4 and strike out to become the strongest vampires. Players can also run a dedicated or a private server using hosting. The server owner can adjust the settings to fit their needs with either option. These settings can include making bosses easier to the day/night cycle length.
Now that the server has selected, it is time to rise from the coffin. The tutorial is decent in V Rising and gets a player started quickly with combat by prompting you to collect bones. Make sure to loot the random sarcophagus for extra materials and pick up a few of the rats for munchies. Players may want to explore the crypt a bit more, but it is all about getting out the gate and starting to explore Farbane Wood.
The first thing to contend with is the sun. That ball of fire in the sky can be a severe issue without some extra sun resistance. If it is daytime, players should practice moving between shadows cast by trees and rocks. Even small shadows will keep a vampire from getting burned to a crisp. The skill of sticking to the shadows will come in handy throughout the game. So best to practice now rather than in the middle of combat.
At the top left of the screen, players will see what they need to build next to unlock more crafting recipes. This acts as a good progression guide throughout the game. Once some resources have been gathered, it is time to place the first castle heart. Each player can place up to two castle hearts at a time. If a player grows out of an area, they can tear down the castle and deconstruct the heart. Then build a new one at another location.
The map has open fields that typically have multiple entry points when building a castle. Within these areas, players can find stone ruins of what once may have been other castles. Conveniently, they provide extra stone for building, so knock some down. There is usually also what looks like a ruined castle heart. Typically this is an excellent spot to drop one at the start of the game, but it is not required to place one in the exact location.
Once a castle heart is in place and the walls have started to go up, the mist brazier will be a vampire’s new best friend. When filled with bones, it will create a small area protected from the sun. Keep in mind that it will consume the bones placed in it for fuel, so make sure to turn it off at night by using F to interact and flipping the on/off toggle.
I love V Rising’s building system is the ability to pick up and move almost any item. Even if a chest has its inventory filled, I can move it around. About the only things you cannot move are walls and floor tiles.
The eventual goal is to build a stone castle with a roof to protect our flammable bodies. To do this, players will need to progress until the ability to make planks and stone bricks is unlocked. Then they can build out the stone walls, door, and floor. Unlike other survival games where you build the roof, it's automatically added in V Rising once your castle walls are fully connected with a completed floor. Be aware that if one piece is missing or remodeling is underway, it is easy to lose the protection of a roof with a single misclick.
Due to the challenging bosses, death will eventually occur. When that happens, you have the option to respawn at one of the vampire waygates or a bound coffin. On a PvE server, the player keeps their weapons and armor. Their blood type is reset, and all the items they have gathered drop at the point of death. Something I didn’t know. When placing a new coffin, players need to interact with it to bind themselves. They can then respawn in that coffin after a death. Also, if a player has a wood coffin and a stone coffin available, they can bind to one of each type. The player can then respawn at either location instead of being locked into only one option.
During exploration, players may have come across silver from a container in a bandit camp or by killing a traveling merchant. While carrying silver, a vampire takes constant damage. If a fight happens or a player is still clearing an area, drop any silver on the ground or leave it in a container. It can always pick it up on the way back to the castle. Just make sure not to forget it, as it is useful later in the game once the human form is unlocked.
As a vampire, keeping well-fed is essential. But before going into a major fight or on a harvesting run, the type of blood players have been gulping down is also extremely useful. The six different blood types include Brute, Creature, Rogue, Scholar, Warrior, and Worker. Each has five tiers of quality, and the percentage quality of a target's blood determines the tier. There have been some bosses where the only reason I won was because of the blood I drank in advance.
Eventually, players can collect higher quality blood by capturing people and placing them in cells. Early in the game, make sure to feed on a target if the percentage is higher than 20 percent. In an emergency, rats may be tempting. It is also a quick way to lose bonuses.
The final thing I want to touch on in this fledgling vampire guild to V Rising is the hunting of v blood bosses. Players can find these named enemies as they explore or use the blood alter at a castle to track them. While the first few are not too difficult, the challenge and mechanics ramp up quickly. Each v blood boss will unlock new abilities and recipes that, in some cases, are essential for progression.
When part of a clan, other clan members can access newly unlocked recipes at a workbench. But to acquire the abilities, a player must be present and able to feed off a downed boss. Early on, make sure to take out the Alpha Wolf first. It is an easy v blood fight and unlocks your wolf form, which speeds up travel. Also, while in wolf form, other wolves will not attack.
When preparing to clear a large area or going after a v blood target, I highly suggest traveling to the location during the day and scouting the area. The boss fights can take quite a long time after the first few, and on multiple occasions, I have been just about to win a long battle only to have the sunrise force me to run away or roast me to a crisp as the boss stuns me with abilities.
Hopefully, this guide provided some tips on getting started in V Rising and can help players enjoy their initial experience. I am enjoying my time so far with the game and can’t wait for Stunlock Studios to release more content.