I Said Come In! Survarium Open Beta Expands

It's some industrial-looking stuff okay? Cool okay.

GSC Game World announcing a comeback was a nice treat for the end of 2014, but even if they were working on another S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (they haven’t said they are, and I suspect they’re not) it’d be ages before we got to play it. Perhaps the closest we’ll get any time soon is Survarium, a free-to-play FPS made by a studio formed by folks who banded together following GSC’s collapse.

Vostok Games today launched Survarium’s PvP side into open beta for the rest of Europe with an English client. This brings it one step closer to release, which brings developers Vostok Games one step closer to adding the PvE mode that sounds far more S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-y and interesting.

Survarium’s set in a post-apocalyptic world brimming with mutants and weirdness and strange objects – y’know, like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – but while the grand goal is to have a multiplayer stalking side, right now it’s only got competitive man-shooting. Two modes are on offer right now, straight team deathmatch and one where teams need to find and secure precious batteries.

Vostok say, “We’d also like to note that the transition of the game to the stage of Open-Beta in Europe does not mean the end of project development; on the contrary, we plan to further develop Survarium and introduce lots of new features, including the long-awaited FreePlay (PvE) mode.” Good-o! Along with the FreePlay survival mode, Vostok have planned co-op missions too.

Sign up to play over on the official site. Vostok note that their holiday sale on microtransaction guff is still on. I have no idea how much this impacts the game, but I do hope Vostok get the F2P stuff right; it’s far too easy to make a game unpleasant with wonky monetisation.


  1. Palindrome says:

    I played one of the beta weekends in the summer and even though the game was very rough it was still a good team deathmatch. I have moderately high hopes for this.

  2. Parge says:

    No mention of the fact that from what I understand this is basically a scam?

    • suibhne says:

      Survarium has never been a scam. You’re thinking of Areal, which has been covered extensively here and elsewhere (and which is now called “STALKER Apocalypse” and appears just as scammy).

    • padger says:

      You’re thinking of the OTHER Stalker dev claimants. These guys are straight up real-deal former Stalker devs, and the game is solid.

      • Palindrome says:

        They weren’t even actual STALKER devs, the game that the people behind Areal were developing was apparently a STALKER flash game.

  3. Damien Stark says:

    I’m just saddened by the continuing trend of really great offline single-player games where the devs come back all excited to tell us “Great news guys, we’re continuing these games you loved! And even better, I know what you really secretly wanted was to change it to an always-online MMO with micropayments!”

    Diablo 3, Star Wars the Old Republic, Wing Commander / Star Citizen, STALKER, Elite, these are just the examples I can think of off the top of my head, but there are definitely others.

    Of course the devs have every right to make the games they want to make, rather than the games their fans actually want to play. It’s just a bit sad, is all.

    • TightByte says:

      Worth pointing out is the fact that this affords you the sadness upfront, before you spend. Elite: Dangerous shines oh so brightly as the scummiest bait-and-switch performed upon the most vulnerable audience available: loving fans.

    • Zenicetus says:

      You could add MechWarrior to that list, and also the last dying gasp of the Silent Hunter series.

      At least the new Elite does have a true singleplayer mode. It requires a constant Internet connection and there some slight effect on the overall environment by other players (who you never see), but it does feel and play very much like a singleplayer game in that mode.

      • captain nemo says:

        *tear* Silent Hunter, lest we forget :(

      • Razumen says:

        Any single-player that requires an online connection can’t be considered a “true” SP mode in my books.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Objection noted, but I still think it’s fair to call it a true singleplayer mode if you never ever see another human player in the game. “Singleplayer with required connection” is just a sub-category of that, IMO.

    • Turkey says:

      I think the PC still has an awful reputation of being a den full of scum and piracy. That’s probably why every major PC exclusive game is online only. You probably couldn’t pitch a PC game to a publisher anymore without it being an MMO or an arena shooter of some sort.

      With Suvarium, I think it’s more of a compromise, though. It was either this or going the crowdfunding route.

      I’m just guessing, though.

    • Razumen says:

      From what I understand, going F2P was basically a necessity for these guys to be able to fund the game they wanted to make. It’s not an ideal situation, but at least we’re still going to get a Stalker-ish game eventually.

    • fish99 says:

      Bit of a a stretch to call Diablo 3 an MMO with microtransactions. The RMAH is gone and most people never spent a penny on there. Also multiplayer was in Diablo 2 and it was always considered a game best played co-op (in fact I couldn’t get more than an hour into it without getting bored single player, but finished the game twice in co-op). Also the D3 multiplayer has no ‘massive’ part and you can play the game single player just fine, so really the only part of your criticism that stands up is the always online bit.

      It’s a fun game too, I think in terms of pure gameplay it has the best combat I’ve seen in a Diablo clone. Going back to Titan Quest, Torchlight 2 or Diablo 2, after playing D3 makes them feel very static.

  4. tanith says:

    So I’ve gotten one of those keys way back from RPS but then my game time was severly limited due to work and I completely forgot about this game. I’m downloding it right now.

    What I wanna know is: is this pay to win or really free to play?
    The only real free to play game that I’ve played so far was Path of Exile but when I look at the shop of Survarium I see that you can buy gold and get experience boost etc., which is worrisome.
    Also, to what extent does personal skill play a role in this game? For example if you compared something like Global Agenda to Planetside 2 the former is much less skill based than the letter since your level kinda relates to how much damage you do whereas in Planetside 2 you have to be at least decent at playing ego shooters to stand a fighting chance.

    • tanith says:

      After playing my first round I suspect that it’s pay to win.
      From what I can see is you can buy gold, which you can exchange for the in-game currency, to buy stuff.
      Of course you can also farm that money but that doesn’t mean it’s not pay to win.

      Like I said, the only real free to play game I’ve seen so far is Path of Exile. Though I guess Dota 2 also falls into that category.

      Yeah, not great… :(

    • Palindrome says:

      It doesn’t seem to be pay to win at all. Premium gives you the usual extras; more exp and cash gains as well as an increased drop rate and higher modification success rate. It allows you progress faster rather than making you better. As there are equipment tiers you shouldn’t be finding yourself in the position of being significantly outmatched.

      There is a ‘drop’ mechanic where you can be awarded a piece of equipment at the end of the map and the chance of the award depends on various factors like mission objectives completed ect, although it is apparently always at least 50%. Most, if not all, equipment seems to be obtainable in this manner.

    • Stevostin says:

      It isn’t pay 2 win. It’s pay to progress a bit faster (50% on XP etc.). Nothing big but it gets you from slightly short in ressources to slighly in the confort zone. Anyway with item based match making, there really is no impact on the balance. The only P2W bit is the vikhr pack that provides you with a 30 clip vikhr (they said they’ll fix it but so far they didn’t) but since last update there are better high level weap anyway. Overall I don’t encourage you to buy the expensive packs, they’re pretty bad. I’ve been happy with 10$ worth of golden roubles though.

      It’s a good multiplayer FPS with the potential to become excellent with more polish. Unfortunately that polish won’t happen anytime soon because the team is mostly working on the free play mode (stalkish) but in the meantime, there’s enough of a game to spend a few hundreds of hours there (it’s not for the faint-hearted though). Gameplay is pretty new in the sense that appart from the ovious specifics (artefacts, game modes) it rewards your ability to spot a slight move in the trees 100 meter from there. When you run, don’t watch the aim but have a large sight on your whole screen. When you shoot, remember you’ve instantly marked your area as “to be cleared” for the opposition. Learn to back pedal & flank.

    • tanith says:

      Okay, so what about the gold you can buy?
      Can you not buy gold for real money which then you can trade for the in-game currency which you can use to buy equipment?

      • Stevostin says:

        Because to buy stuff you also need the reputation to unlock items.

        Just install it and you’ll immediately get how it works. It’s not rocket science.

    • El_Emmental says:

      It’s not pay2win, as you can afford the weapons and equipment without too much troubles – the things you can pay are what I would call “comfort”: more XP, more “silver” coins, custom decals/skins.

      But then one might say “well it’s all fine and dandy mister, but if it takes forever to get to the high-level stuff to *finally* get a chance to fight back, I’m out” – very important question indeed.

      The devs more or less fixed that with the Equipment Level: when you start with standard gear, the Mosin or the PPSh, you’re at the lowest level of equipment. That means the matchmaking will put you with people with the same or nearby Equipment Level.

      The more you gain stuff (“silver” coins allowing to buy at the shop, extra equipment given by factions for completing their objectives), the higher your Equipment Level will rise.

      This is where the difference appears:

      – for a Free player, first you’ll unlock higher-level equipments, but you’ll have to either:
      (1) Try that equipment right away, but you’ll have to face people with a full set of “Equipment Level 3” gear (for example).
      (2) Keep that equipment, and continue with your “Equipment Level 2” until you can afford the most important level 3 stuff (mainly weapon/torso/helmet gear).

      – for a Paying player, when you’ll unlock a higher level of equipment, you’ll be able to play with it more rapidly since you’ll have enough funds to complete your set of equipment for that Equipment Level right away.

      ps: the only point where you *may* feel spoiled when facing paying players is the extra Item slot, containing grenades or bear traps or medkit. These items cost silver coins for each usage, so as a Free player you’ll be tempted to not use these very often to save silver coins – but to be honest, they’re pretty cheap and not very efficient.

      NB: I’m a Free player playing once every week or so, I’m not talking out of my ass on the game’s economy for casual newcomers.

      • Stevostin says:

        Just for the record: you can be totally competitive with the basic gear with just a basic PPSH and your knickers. People blame gear for their ass being kicked because it’s obviously the thing to do rather than blaming yourself (I do it too :P ) but truth is if I remove my gear and play with the basic stuff in an informed way is the level 1 matchmaking zone I’ll butcher everyone but the other vilains doing like me. And yes we do that, it’s relaxing after a tensed level 15 game :P

  5. neofit says:

    I couldn’t care less about another Gank Online, but if they really go PvE then I’ll be all over it.

  6. Turin Turambar says:

    For starters, maps should have to be 3-4 times bigger if they want at least *some* Stalker-like gameplay.

    • Stevostin says:

      It’s as much stalker like as stalker multiplayer can be to stalker single player, ie a whole different game. Actually it’s not even that close.

      The appeal of this is that it’s a truly good MP game with really nice visuals, sounds & overall atmospher. It’s *not* a stalker game *at all*. At least for now, and I suspect for ever. Fights are way more interesting (humans > AI) and immersion is non existent. I’d love a good stalker for sure and maybe freemode will provide that but I’ve learned to like that game for what it is.

      • fish99 says:

        Well you could make a Stalker multiplayer game that was more like Stalker single player, but it’d be an MMO and not a deathmatch game. Stalker single player has other Stalkers in it, now imagine those are other players and not AI, and imagine the factions and their bases are player run guilds, and you’ve got something pretty close and probably a lot more appealing. You’d want to keep players numbers per server much lower than a traditional MMO though, or make the world ten times bigger, to keep the sense of isolation.

        It’s still not what most Stalker fans want though, they want a sandbox story-driven PvE game.

  7. Monggerel says:

    Mmmmmmmnot what I really want from STALKER. Even if the games did inexplicably have a multplayer mode.

  8. El_Emmental says:

    Ten Quick Tips for Survarium:

    1) Huge slavic playerbase: expect spawn exits camp, either by SMGs or one-hit-kill snipers. Look for secondary spawn exits.

    2) Buy ammo. Buy ammo. Buy ammo. It doesn’t cost much (at least for the first 10 weapons) and you NEED that when playing. In your equipment menu, increase the amount of ammo then press the Buy button (the ammo for the starting weapons is free). If you don’t have enough ammo in storage, you won’t be able to fire your gun INGAME in the middle of a round. There’s an ammo crate (visible on the map) at your spawn to refill from your storage to your body (respawning refills your ammo loadout on your body automatically).

    3) Always repair your equipment (only cost a few silver coins). Set it to auto-repair for your current gear, and repair any broken equipment you’re awarded (afaik it’s worth the higher selling price). If an equipment goes beyond a certain damage threshold (it won’t happen in a single match), it can’t be repaired without a special (rare) item (that you can also buy in the shop… for gold coins) or a massive delay (several hours). Just repair them.

    4) If you’re european or american, it’s very likely your latency will be… hesitant (western europe servers may have been added recently). Select a semi-auto rifle/automatic SMG whenever you can. The starting PPSh is really great (at close range), same with the Uzi. Avoid bolt-action rifles, unless you get a good latency (who knows).

    5) Make a “balanced” Equipment selection. Each item has an Equipment Level, that will determine your matchmaking level. If you only have high-level boots and it raises your Equipment Level (visible in your characters’ equipment menu), change them back to weaker boots – otherwise you’ll have to fight among better equipped players (with better guns).

    Only climb to the next level if you have the corresponding higher-level weapon and are about to get the corresponding torso protection as well. Next is the helmet (headshots), then gloves/boots/mask. Also, use your XP to increase your physical prowess to carry more weight, you’ll need it anyway (for heavier vests and weapons).

    6) Avoid the shotguns at higher level of Equipment. Armor practically nullify the shotgun’s efficiency (even with the expensive ammo it’s not worth it), you’re much better off with a SMG.

    7) Complete factions’ objectives to get extra rewards and even high-quality equipment (including weapons). It’s really worth it.

    8) Use the map to find your way and see where the enemy is located, pushing or retreating (by looking at your allies’ positions).

    9) The irradiation doesn’t go down or only very slowly. If you’re unable to function (vision too blurred), make a risky/suicide attack maneuver to respawn with a fresh body. Avoid radiation area, sprint through them if you absolutely need to go through them, and only if your equipment is made for that.

    10) Look up the different artifacts effects. The most common one and easiest to use is the blue flower: it will heal your wounds (not radiation effects though). Others will either provide additional armor, better stamina, etc. Some have passive effects, but most need to be activated. When activated, the player will be glowing the color of the artifact, revealing its position and current artifact state (boost or not).
    To get an artifact, you need to 1) have an artifact container equipped 2) search the map for the artifact (many different spawn points with most being radioactive – and only 1 artifact spawn after every x minutes so rushing won’t give you one). Once you have an artifact, you keep it for the rest of the round (you respawn with it).

    Horace The Bear Tip:

    Bear traps are cheap and can be very nasty: damages your legs, makes you a standing target, and can be deployed very rapidly. If an enemy is spamming them (2 per respawn/refill afaik; they disappear automatically after ~1 min), avoid the main paths (= walk on the sides) and check the ground. If you spot a bear trap, shoot once at the center of the device to disable it.

    Bonus Tip: the main gamemode is a “Collect the Flags” mode, where the flags are batteries you need to carry back to your base.

    These batteries will spawn randomly at charging stations (indicated on the map), forcing your team to control these areas and check them frequently.

    Carrying the battery forces you to walk and you can’t use your weapons – so cover anyone carrying batteries like a VIP. Remember that you can drop the battery if you spotted/expect an incoming enemy, to raise your weapon and eliminate him. It’s better to move a battery back by only a handful of meters, hiding it from enemies while making it visible from your side, than losing it to an enemy on the way home.

    Your team wins if you have more batteries than your opponent at the end of the round (or all batteries at once). If an enemy pulls all your batteries out of your base storage cupboard during the last 10 seconds, they count as neutral batteries.

    So when the game is about to end (1 minute remaining), FINISH your current mission (preventing an enemy from bringing back a battery, or cover a battery coming back to your base) if you have one, otherwise fall back immediately to your base to protect it from last-second rush.

    Or if you’re losing by less than 3 batteries, are very close to their base, try to take out all their batteries during the last 15 seconds (very risky, but if you’re already losing that’s your last chance).

    • Stevostin says:

      1) this is borderline racist. It’s also not any more or less true than any other fps. It would be more useful to state that each spawn as an invisible “invulnerability zone”. If you’re camped, you’re either doing something wrong or so badly dominated (typically because of leavers) that there is no game for you there.

      2) omg. just stock a few hundreds, activate “auto buy ammo” and never buy ammo again. Same with repairs.

      5) not a bad advice but honestly +/- 4 level gear is very light in term of actual inequality. It’s 35% skill, 40% thinking, 20% sheer luck (too much luck in that game IMO) and 5% gear. Just learn that everything looking like a kalash is a strong option, starting with AKS (which is pretty early and can work pretty far).

      6) and unless they’ve fixed it, never use slug ammo, it’s totally weak.

      8) too long. Hold on ALT while moving to see where guys are in the HUD. And listen listen listen. Each shot matters.

      9) or use antitoxin. Not only will you get artefact more easily, you’ll have more time to learn the spawns and you’ll have access to relatively unwatched route. Warning: not efficient with every anomalies (nothing is).

      10) onyx (iron thing, yellow light) is by far the strongest, but it only block bullets (well, most of them), not grenade neither melee. What beats one onyx ? Two onyx :P

      Also, simplest and more important advice:
      Battery game is about batteries, not kills. It’s always better to die moving a battery toward your stash than to kill 3 guys and do nothing. You’ll see that stealing batteries from stash is pretty tough. The first three minutes are crucial in battery mode (without the charging stations oc).

      • El_Emmental says:

        1) Yes, it is *borderline* racist. That’s why I didn’t indicated a specific nationality, because it’s an element affected by regional culture, not a specific nation or race.

        I’ve played hundreds of FPS in the last 15 years, I’ve played with people from all over the world (including Asia/Australia, despite the higher latency), and I’m sorry if that goes against the utopia of “everyone is the same”, but there is a influence of culture in the way a group of player is likely to behave. Of course you have exceptions, of course there is variance within a group of people – we’re not clones – but globally there is traits attached to each culture.

        I’ve found it the hard way, when I accidentally started playing on servers *only* played by players from my own nation (that has its own distinct culture when compared to its regional neighbors), and not servers populated of all kind of nations and cultures: there was a constant majority of selfish and individualist behaviors being displayed (despite the games being all about teamwork), with clearly offensive, homophobic and violent insults being thrown around (nothing like the banters seen in most other cultures, where verbal jousting is a game in itself). I’ve started to avoid these servers, because as much as I tried, it never changed, never improved.

        Regarding the players with a slavic culture, contrary to some other cultures, they aren’t very toxic (in my opinion) – they may throw a few insults here and there but it’s never meant to seriously harm, it’s part of the game. They tend to put more importance in individual prowess, but won’t move away from an impromptu teamwork: to summarize, one shouldn’t rely on others, expect them to care for them (that would be being weak/stupid/gullible – nobody’s going to go and help you just because you’re a person being there), but working together toward victory is a positive aspect – especially if you contribute to it, proving your ability to be self-reliable and more.

        But that brings another kind of problem: when a guy avoid all combats and objectives, to get to your spawn and shoot you just as you reach the exit – it’s your problem and your problem only. It’s not your team’s problem, it’s not the other team’s problem, it’s not the game’s problem, and it’s not the other player’s problem. You get spawn camped? Handle it by yourself or you just proved you’re a weak person.

        Take the school map, spawn in the greenhouse: only 3 exits, all leading to an empty field exposed to snipers position – the sniper killing you in 1 torso shot (unless you’ve got very high-level equipment). Can’t magically make the spawn campers miss you leaving through that 1-meter large exit? You’re a weak person and don’t deserve any pity.

        The idea that a game should be fair, balanced and challenging for all players involved is a concept too far away from that mentality: there is strong people dominating, weak people being dominated, and the game is all about determining who’s in each group.

        In multiplayer FPS online, that gives us very voluntary players (much less camp/hesitating players) so the gameplay is very often dynamic (much less scared people camping in a corridor), but the downside is that spawn camping issue.

        That simply requires an extra effort by the developers, sadly it’s almost never done – thus why it’s my number 1 tip, because players from other cultures (where solidarity and the group come first, individuality and strength second) might not understand what’s going on and assume the game is just populated by assholes – which is not true in my opinion.

        2) That was meant for new players – they never buy ammo, they never turn on the “auto” things, and might be surprised they can no longer fire their gun in the middle of a game. Most games don’t require you to buy ammunition, it’s not a common element in online MP FPS.

        5) The AKS-74U is clearly a step up from the other weapons of that Equipment level, and takes a while to unlock: you need to complete a good bunch of the Black Market faction’s missions to get an access to it. Unless they patched that recently, it’s one of the reason most newbies get slaughtered when equipping new stuff.

        8) During action yes, but when you just respawned the map is a better way to plan what you’re going to do.

        9) True, forgot about it – the problem is how it takes an Extra Item slot just for that.

    • zentropy says:

      I was so psyched for this game before reading this article, and then your post. May still check it out, but thanks for the heads up sir.

      Edit: Also, you can both relax. Nothing racist about 1), mearly a observation of the poster.