I’ll cut to the chase, Dysterra is basically Rust. I’ve played enough Rust and seen other games in the same genre such as Hurt World, and Dysterra shares a lot of similarities with these games.
For the play test, there was only one North American server and it was only populated by a handful of people at a time so I was pretty much free to explore by myself without worrying about dying, which is a rare occasion for games like this. The game has a lot of buildings (containing crafting materials) interspersed by open ground (containing raw resources).
You take these resources to craft weapons and armor for yourself. Since dying in the game means you lose all your items, you want to quickly build a small but fortified base to protect yourself as well as your precious resources. You character is always persistent in the game even when you log off. This leaves you incredibly vulnerable to attack so it is a necessity to build a base.
To build the base, you get the similar Rust equivalents. You have a Terracore, which is essentially the Tool Cupboard. The Terracore protects your building from decaying and gives the owner the right to build in that area. You want to put the Terracore at the most fortified area of your base as leaving it vulnerable means anyone can take it over and become the new owner of your base.
Buildings decay over time and slowly loose health as a mechanic to prevent players from building massive structures and then being inactive on the servers. The Terracore must be powered by converting materials into energy. It’s a pretty fair balancing mechanic in my opinion but it can get quite tedious if you have many large bases that you have to farm upkeep for. In the play test for Dysterra, it seemed like the Terracore was much more easily filled up than the Tool Cupboard on a vanilla Rust server.
You have other similar equivalents such as the sleeping bag, which sets your respawn location, and locked doors accessible via a keycode you input one time. As for the game play it did feel a bit repetitive and shallow. The structures held generally the same kind of loot and the map felt quite small and a little bit too open. The server I played on had a player limit of one hundred and if one hundred people were actually online, it would be near impossible to get anything done without having to constantly fight people. As they say in Apex, third party best party.
You also have a hunger and thirst meter to take care of. There were plenty of water sources and you can easily make water bottles to hold the water. There were also plenty of deer like creatures you can hunt for meat. The meters did fall a bit too quickly for my taste. As for how easy it would be to gather food and water on an active server, only time can tell.
The servers were pretty empty so I couldn’t get a good feel for the what pvp would feel like.
Overall, Dysterra is an ok Rust like game. It doesn’t feel quite as balanced or as fun as Rust but there’s plenty of space in this genre for newcomers. It’s only the play test so I am pretty curious as to how this game will change once it nears its release date.