Happy S.T.A.L.K.I.N.G.: Survarium Freeplay Mode Plans

Don't be fooled: the beast is merely sleeping.

Gosh-o! After several years of nodding politely and say “Yes that’s nice but…” to news about the deathmatch-y side of Survarium [official site], developers Vostok Games are starting to share firm plans for the post-apocalyptic FPS’s open-world Freeplay mode. As we’ve hoped from the studio founded by former S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers, it’s sounding pretty S.T.A.L.K.Y. as players roam across wasteland, scavenging for weapons and supplies, completing missions, sheltering from deadly storms, and being as helpful or murderous to others as they please. It has permadeath, obviously.

The latest developer diary blog post holds all the deets, but I’ll crudely recap and reprocess and regurgitate information if mucus-y information pleases you. I’ll just hrrrk hold on hgggrrrhk okay grhrhhk got it.

Freeplay goes down on maps far larger than Survarium’s plain old competitive modes. It’s a persistent world, with mutants on the hunt, and deadly storms every two hours of real time, during which players will need to find shelter and wait before heading out to find the items they leave. Along with big quests that advance the story, it’ll have secondary quests for factions, and random quests found out in the world. Some are set to bring players into conflict, having one try to destroy a camp another must defend.

Players start out pretty weak with iffy items, not strong enough to tackle the toughest missions, so you’ll need to earn and scavenge better loot, as well as level up. Or you can shoot someone in the face and nab their stuff. When someone dies, a new player will take join the game in their place.

“There will be no time limit for gameplay in an area but there will be a limit on the number of players that can be in the location,” Vostok say. “We want to maintain an atmosphere of exploration and this is only possible when meeting with another player will be a rare event, not an ordinary situation.”

It’ll also hukkk have a karma system which hooorpp will track haaarghk oh jeez, no, sorry, I can’t keep doing this. Please, please do read the blog post yourself.


  1. Terragot says:

    Any got any suggestions for anything close to a S.T.A.L.K.E.R experience outside of the original 3 games? I’m desperate to lose myself in something like the big 2 again, but don’t think vanilla will do it for me anymore.

    I’m trying Red Orchestra 2 but the skill gap is too big for me, and Day Z’s spawn system just fatigues me too much to garner interest in that. Am I missing any hidden gems, or even new mods?

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      DayZ is the closest I’ve been, especially when the thunderheads roll in and the heavens open. It just oozes that type of atmosphere. If you can get over the spawns, that is.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I’ve never played anything else like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. But you’ve done Lost Alpha, right? It’s big.

    • Jayson82 says:

      Try the lost alpha mod, its free and changes the original game so much it feels like a different game.

    • GameCat says:

      “Sir, you are biegn hunted” have some stalkerish vibe.

      BTW, for Christ’s sake, someone should make proper adaptation of Roadside Picnic already!

    • skip_intro says:

      Seeing as you have A2 you could give Namalsk a burn: link to nightstalkers.cz

      Closest thing there is to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. outside of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. There’s a bunch of sub-mods again off this if you enjoy it.

    • keimosabe says:

      Breaking Point ARMA 3 mod. More fun than anything stand alone DAYZ has going. Pick a faction then scour the island to survive. Your faction really determines how hard it is to get ahead. Wanna be a loner, survive on yer own, select “Survivalist”. Wanna be a part of something and fight other factions? “Ranger” or “Outlaw”

      Regularly updated (almost to a fault, lol) and the Karma system they have for killing your own if you belong to certain factions is VERY well done. About the closest I’ve found to handling my S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fix in a long time.

      And it’s free. :) link to thezombieinfection.com

    • fish99 says:

      Definitely play Stalker: Lost Alpha. Best way to think of it is – it’s the Stalker GSC were making before they ran out of time/money, so everything that was cut due to not quite being finished is back in and finished (by modders). It’s probably twice as big (in area and number of zones), has more mutants types, working vehicles (mostly), weapon upgrades, and it has lots more story. Also a lot of the zones that were in Stalker are quite different.

      It also looks better than the retail Stalker games (Stalker SoC in particular looks quite low res in the texture department these days) due to higher density of grass/bushes/trees and better textures, and it has the god rays and wet surfaces from CS/CoP.

      Of course it still has a few bugs, but it wouldn’t be a Stalker game without those.

      It’s free too, you don’t even need to own Stalker.

    • SlimShanks says:

      Why are you looking for Stalker outside of Stalker? I know you probably haven’t played Misery, so…
      Lost Alpha is cool too. And don’t forget Metro, certainly different but it has that Stalker atmosphere.

  2. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Ehh I dunno. A year ago I counted myself among the most ardent of stalker fans. But there’s been so much shite going on around it and false horizons that I’ve completely lost interest. Add in the “other people” element and I just can’t muster any enthusiasm. Maybe this will appeal to the Day Z crowd

    • trout says:

      if day z was single player it would be amazing – you often hear people banging on about how dynamic and exciting the experiences in that game are – but they’re not! *every* single time, shot by some obnoxious stranger – kinda ruins the fun for me, unless i feel like role playing as some fearful hermit

      • trueGamer says:

        There’s always Project Zomboid which comes close to a DayZ singleplayer experience. It’s early acces and although I find it great, it’s most potential will be unlocked once they have all the dynamic simulations & stuff in there like NPC’s.

  3. Craxel says:

    Very strange news article. Baffling. All the grunting… It just… I’m very put off.

  4. AdamDenton says:

    Anyone know the engine these guys are using? I know the engine can put a constraint on the map size and I would really like this to be a huge world. Another survival game, Miscreated, had my interest until I discovered it was built in CryEngine and thus has tiny maps when compared to something like DayZ (Arma 2.5 engine).

    • Don Reba says:

      Inhouse Vostok engine.

      • Craxel says:

        Exclusive look at Kristian, Christian and Scott working on in-house Vostok engine:

        link to twitter.com


        • AdamDenton says:

          Thank you both, and judging by the picture the engine seems be a reasonably solid build.

          • manny says:

            Them building the engine technology is the reason why they to go this free to play multiplayer future subscriber route, safer for their investors, this allowed them to build the basics of their game engine but hardly any content.

            They haven’t reached this stage yet, but eventually once the pay to play subscriber system is in place, they will be given the cash to build the world that will bring in the stalker fans. But unlike stalker which was always hindered by it’s huge size but low budget, this new engine will enable them to upgrade it incrementally and give them a constant source of funds to continually build the world. Similiar to world of warcraft. Seems they’ve thought this through a long prosperous future for stalkers awaits.

  5. Synesthesia says:

    Another asshole simulator? Nah, thank you.

    • Monggerel says:

      But this time, you get to be a sad asshole!

      “This is very fascinating, Dr Pilman, but actually I was thinking more of advances and discoveries of a technological nature. Discoveries that our Earth scientists and engineers could use. After all, many very important scientists have proposed that the discoveries made in the Visitation Zones are capable of changing the entire course of our history.”

      “Well, I don’t subscribe to that point of view. And as for specific discoveries — that’s not my field.”

  6. cakeisalie says:

    I’ve had access to the beta for more than 6 months and I must say, the only thing that keeps me interested in this game is the long-promised freeplay mode. The protective device game mode is a dull variation on capture the flag, but most people play it like TDM. And the recently introduced dedicated TDM mode is even more of a camp fest than the protective device mode.

    Spawn camping/killing is a huge issue in the game too, as is balance and matchmaking – it’s incredibly rare to play a balanced match (normally one side steam rolls the other). This partly due to leveling/RPG elements that put newer players at a distinct disadvantage, but also because the game has no mechanism for kicking afk players (these are 8vs8 games). Afk players are a big problem because of farming – i.e. people who enter matches with no intention of playing – they do it simply to collect the aftermatch rewards. These are issues that have plagued the game since day 1, but the developers are doing little to address them. Weapon balance is pretty poor too, with only certain weapons being competitive at the various equipment levels.

    It’s also hard not to be concerned by the growing list of players banned for hacking, a list that gets updated two or three times a week. Initially, the developers denied that it was possible to hack because everything is computed server side. Obviously they have relented on this position and they are now working on an anti-cheat system.

    Lastly, my biggest concern is monetisation. The game is F2P and at the moment you can spend real money on gold, which can be exchanged for camos, decals, rubles (the normal in game currency), weapon starter kits and loot maps, as well as for faster equipment repairs and greater success with upgrades and modifications. It can also be used for buying premium, which provides faster leveling and improved aftermatch rewards. I wonder if this will be enough to turn a profit or whether they will have to implement a pay-2-win model?

    That said, I should point out some of the environments do look stunning, complete with immersive weather effects, some very bizarre but cool-looking anomalies and a variety of artefacts that can be collected to give you in-match perks. It really does evoke the S.T.A.L.K.E.R games.

    • Faxanadu says:

      Thank you for your input.

      In a game like this where you can’t give players silly aesthetic items for money, you gotta balance between pay2win and not getting any money at all. Put short, give upgrades for money that BARELY give you any advantage at all, and players will buy them. What’s that, a suit that is 10% darker than the free one, with only 5 bucks? I NEED IT, IT’S AN ADVANTAGE, BUT NOT LAME ENOUGH THAT PEOPLE WILL CALL ME OUT FOR CHEATING. That sorta thing.

      As for the gamemode, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I HOPE THEY MAKE IT ABOUT FACTIONS. Just give a huge zone with 2-4 factions FORMED BY PLAYERS and let them fight over campsites and zones. The more influence a team gets, the more you pit mutants against it to even out uneven factions. And the collecting ammo food money for guns would go PERFECTLY as a preparation to conquer some more zone to yourself. GODDAMNIT why won’t someone take up this gamemodel already. It’s proven to work but needs pros to pull it off good.

    • Stevostin says:

      I have access to the Beta since longer than that and actually I am now more interested in the evolutions of the PVP bit than the upcoming freemode. All in all you seem to have played it very superficially.

      The find the battery mode is a treat. there is no equivalent to this mode that I know off. The very first minutes matter a lot, as in “focus on team play, idiot”. Bust last minute can bring unexpected shifts as well. The battery loading mode is also unusual and plays well but I think it’s not as deep and interesting as the basic mode. The TDM mode they’ve just added is a chore, hopefully they’ll remove it.

      Spawn camping is only an issue for absolute noobs. There is an invulnerability zone in the spawn. Sure you can still be stuck there if you’re outregeously dominated but you know, that actually can happen.

      I have played the thing to death and I am not 100% positive I have found even one hacker. Some people are terror in the battlefield but I’ve played them enough to know they’re just that good.

      I don’t know how monetisation is working for them but it’s sure as hell is nothing like pay 2 win which is my main concenr as a player. I did buy some premium occasionnaly. It’s comfort, like “oh I plan to play this whole weekend, let’s buy 2 days premium”.

      The game has issues, and serious ones. The worst is probably the lack of a NA server (I am not from there but it seems crazy from them). I also think the respawn time is too short for a game where you kill/die that fast. Also if you play at Euro nights you end up with tough matchups (a bit short in the player pool). Still, I have dropped TF2 as my main FPS for this. It requires a very distincty set of skill. It’s not about aiming lighting fast, but spotting lighing fast. Hidding works in that game, it can’t be cheated. Weapon balance is good. Map design is great. Artefact bring that extra layer of depth. I like it a lot.

      • cakeisalie says:

        Our experiences are very different then. I’ve tried to give Survarium a chance and I’ve put considerable hours into and played with other people in teamspeak, but I see very little evidence of team work. Too many people simply playing for the kills and too many players camping the whole round. The worst is the snipers who camp near the base but do nothing to stop batteries being stolen. They need more incentive to encourage teamwork and playing for the objective – eg points for escorting or defending battery carriers, etc.

        And btw they removed spawn invulnerability ages ago and the spawncamping is still a real issue, though admittedly it’s not as bad at higher equipment levels – but this will definitely put new players off.

        And check the law and order thread in the forums for the growing list of banned players.

  7. Baines says:

    Storms every two real world hours?

    Makes me think of other online games, where people log in when the quests/areas reset, run through the available stuff, and then log out again. Players who stay online see a burst of being able to find activities, and then spend the rest of the time doing minor stuff while waiting for the real world clock to trigger the next set.

  8. Razumen says:

    This all sounds very promising, except for one very important thing: other players. I don’t want to play a Stalker game where I have to worry about spawn campers, assholes with a sniper rifle hiding in a random house one-shotting you for your gear, being killed for lulz, and all the other bullcrap that multiplayer games like this invariably introduce. It sounds like they’re trying to minimize the possibilities of that, what with lower player counts, karma, etc. but that problem will still be there-and if permadeath is a unescapable “feature”, I’m not sure I will be able to enjoy this at all.

    • Don Reba says:

      I have the same worry. So far the developers acknowledge it by saying: “We want to maintain an atmosphere of exploration and this is only possible when meeting with another player will be a rare event, not an ordinary situation.”

  9. fish99 says:

    I’m slightly more interested than I was. In theory if you take DayZ (or H1Z1) and put them in a Stalker-like setting, you’d have a more interesting and more varied DayZ, so it could be good. It kinda depends how much the focus becomes on PvP – the less the better.

    It sounds like it doesn’t have a big open world though. Also permadeath sounds bad and not very Stalkery, so include some way to stash gear for your next character.

  10. Stevostin says:

    Note to all: if you like FPS multiplayer battle, dont wait. Survarium is a very good game at that now. And it’s free.
    Prepare to bite some dust and learn a slightly different game than the classics, closer to hide and seek.