To Boldly Go…to Your New Bungalow: A Bit About Empyrea and The Castaway Bundle

Nov 19, 2017

  • Preface | Some Quick Words

Let me start by saying howdy to all of our readers! Today we’re going to be chatting (and by chatting I mean doing an in-depth analysis) about the new Empyrean Castaway bundle, especially its house, as is my usual prerogative. I also want to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about my experience in Empyrea, as I just recently embarked on what is shaping up to be quite something…Why such a long article? Because, let’s be honest, you know you want a dissertation’s worth of review on this. I’m joking it’s not that long. It’s pretty long but it’s not that long.

  • Preface 2.0 | Empyrea Thoughts and Feelings (So Far)

Punnery

If I were to sum up this world in a word, it would be: puntasticThat’s not a real word you say? Yeah well come at me bro. KingsIsle always includes cultural references and beautifully crafted punnery hilarious word play in its content, but this world definitely takes the cake for me. One of my favorite jokes so far has been “Ruumba,” a character you meet in the sewers of Zanadu (I shant really ruin the joke, though, experience it for yourselves first!) but I honestly have been kept in a state of sustained laughter throughout.

It is important something to note that in order to get a lot of the jokes- especially early on -you’re going to have to know a thing or two about Star Trek. If you haven’t seen it, you need to get to watching right now. However, Star Trek is by no means the only references they are making. It’s a little nuts how many references they were able to pack in here. I’ve seen Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Fargo, possibly Outlander and- of course -Batman!

Here I’m standing in the beautiful Aeriel Jungle with my trusty black panther pet Luna.

Monsters & Difficulty

I’ve been surprised at the difficulty of this world and was pleasantly surprised. Whether you’re solo or with a team this world is extremely accessible and doable. The only real challenge that I faced was the final boss. I can definitely see him getting nerfed in the future. I hate it when collection quests are tedious, but that’s definitely not the case here. One of my favorite monsters so far has been “The Terror” as it’s always nice to see completely new creatures- which is something that Empyrea has done really well. I couldn’t stop staring at its vacuous glowing mouth.

Drops

I am literally drowning in seeds. I’m not sure who at KI decided that we needed this many seeds, but I’d like to assure him that it’s ok. I honestly never needed this many. (At all…like not at all.) I mean I like the fact that I can sell them all for gold, of course. What I’m not very keen on is how quickly my backpack fills up with them.

Here I’m wearing the complete raider set! Gear, blaster, and all!

  • Clothes & Wand | Straight Outta Sci-Fi

Clothes | The Raider Scrap Set

From a general aesthetic standpoint this gear is pretty neat looking! The red paint and the scrappy design gives me major Thor Ragnarok vibes. From a stats point of view this is similar to other bundle gear- kinda middle of the road. The gear does have a ton of utility cards on it so if you’re into that kind of gear then this is definitely for you!

Here are the stats for the Raider Scrap set at 120 – as bundle gear only goes in increments of 10, this is the highest level currently available.

 

As a female though, I’ve been feeling a little let down by recent bundle gear- with the possible exception of the relatively recent Avalon bundle -and this, unfortunately, is no exception. I always liked that the female set looked different from the male set and this very armored, gender neutral kind of look that’s just a carbon copy of the male version just doesn’t appeal to me. Granted, I definitely don’t expect every outfit to be very feminine, nor would I like it that way either I used to complain about this very issue in the earlier years of the game– dudes would get beautiful, detailed armor and girls would get dresses…blah but somewhere in-between space warrior and space princess would’ve worked better for this set, in my opinion. Each to his or her own though, so if this works for you, by all means rock it!

 

Wand | The Raider Scrap Blaster

This wand is- I believe -the first of its kind. After all, no sci-fi adventure would be complete without a blaster! The “wand” is relatively gun shaped while not being overtly so, landing somewhere between blaster and wand. It’s definitely one of the larger cross body wands and is very reminiscent of the crossbow from the Darkmoor Manor bundle.

The stats for the blaster at 120

  • The Junk Copter | Zipping Around the Spiral

So, I am endeavoring not to be biased here, because personally I’ve never really been into the more technical mounts. Like for example the crazy metal shark from the Explorers bundle- while it was cool for a time -was a bit much for me. However… This junk copter is really quite something. If you’ve gotten past the first section of the Empyrea quest line with Khan, you’ll recognize the design of this mount as the ship that he built with our thingamajigs and intended to fly back to Zanadu with. I loved flying around Empyrea questing on this thing- it fit in so well. The speed boost was also really helpful when farming for antiquities or just plain questing around. Want to beat that other meddlesome farmer to that silver chest? Now you can.

This thing is just the coolest thing to fly around Empyrea – you blend right in.

  • The Puffy Packfish | It’s So Cute I’m Going to Die An Adorable Companion

This pet is absolutely adorable! I honestly would love this as a mount as well, but I’m perfectly content with this adorable little pet! The amount of detail on a relatively small thing is really wonderful to behold. If you look closely this little packfish is toting some cherries in one of its baskets. While the card included on the puffer fish isn’t the most useful for someone who is max level, that could work nicely for someone mid-level. If you are max level and utility cards on your pets aren’t of import to you (black panther I could never quit you!) then I could see this pet being built into a really cute companion.

In this shot Abby is puffed up, an animation after which she sort of pitches and rolls, but most of the time she is deflated.

  • The Castaway House | A Piece of Aeriel

First impressions:

  • To live here you have to be fine with rain…like really fine with it…
  • Modeled after Aeriel (which is cool)
  • Lots of room to grow in the interior
  • Oddly very homey – a refuge from the storm
  • Lots of nice ponds for fishing

Here you can see the pvp arena, bungalow, and jungle garden entrance (and the downpour moving slowly towards me)

The Weather Report

Honestly, I find the inclement weather in this home is really fascinating. Unlike the storm house this home doesn’t have pouring rain all the time. It comes and goes, allowing for moments of sunshine. However, some players may find this feature distracting from the beauty of the exterior of the home or even a little depressing (as not everyone likes rain). While I don’t know if the mechanic yet exists, it would be nice if there was a way for players to turn the weather feature on and off, allowing for this home to be a viable option for all.

General Aesthetic Overview

Positives

The house is modeled after the Aeriel Shore, thus it features a jungle in addition to the ship-like house. Luckily, this jungle is all yours to own and there aren’t any beasts or bugs here. It’s a really pretty area in my opinion and even features your own little outdoor fire pit. Even though it’s a relatively small space, they captured some of the nicest parts of Empyrea’s jungle. I was really happy to see this inclusion in the house, as the moment that I entered the jungle on Aeriel I wanted a house based there. Since we’re yet to get that, this satisfies me…for now. On the other side of the fence is the house itself, which very much feels like the village of Nowhere. This bunkhouse has been patched together from old ships and has all the shipwrecked vibes you could ever want.

Standing in this house’s beautiful jungle area…in the pouring rain

Negatives

A negative for me is that this house is lit really darkly. I know, it’s not usually something you think about, but unfortunately I feel like the darkness of the atmosphere inhibits my ability to really appreciate all the work that was put into the house’s looks. (My screen is on full brightness as well) I know they were shooting for the Aeriel shore’s storminess, but they could’ve brightened up the thing a few percent and solved this problem- either that or added more sun breaks in the rain.

Home Sweet Shipwreck

When you initially enter you’re greeted by Lautrec, a Pinguin who seems to tend the juice bar. That’s right, you get your own juice bar! You also get a “Lost & Found” right behind the bar which you can visit each day for a reward. The design of the interior is very true to its “bungalow” name. It definitely feels homey and warm- in stark contrast to the stormy weather outside. Even though I usually try to be creative with the decorating concepts of my homes, with this one it’s just such a natural fit to create a “bunkhouse” for any who’ve wrecked in Empyrea. If you think I won’t put a fireplace in every room you sorely mistaken. A somewhat cute detail is that the roof of this house leaks! Time to invest in some buckets!

Standing next to Lautrec in front of the juice bar! You see this right as you walk into the front room.

 Spacial Awareness

I would say that in comparison to other bundle houses this one is on the upper end of medium sized. (That’s relative, of course, as bundle houses are already the largest by nature) It’s also a house that really caters to the indoor decorator. There is a fair amount of outdoor space to decorate, but not so much that you’ll ever feel lost in this home. It’s also very straightforward- expansive, flat clearings rather than multiple levels (as in the Darkmoor Manor) or partitioned areas (as in the Botanical Gardens).

The interior is three stories! Four if you count the basement! Admittedly I haven’t figured out how to get there yet…let’s see if I can figure out before I publish this. [5 minutes later] I figured it out. Just look for the down staircase. Who would’ve guessed. Each of those stories is quite large as well. It’s honestly not hard to get lost in here but after a few walkthroughs you’ll know how to get around (unlike, say, the Treetop Getaway which takes many many walkthroughs to figure out). It’s really nice to see an interior focused bundle house, as many of the previous houses have boasted massive outdoor sections, leaving the interior very simple.

Fishy Business

Lastly, for those who like to fish, there are three different ponds for you! Two can be found outside: one under the waterfall and the other in the jungle. There’s also a pond inside-ish, for your convenience. Just go down to the basement and check out the little supply port. I’ve always liked the serenity of fishing in my own home and this house really supports that kind of …lifestyle? preference.

Here I’m standing right in front of the “indoor” fishing hole. You can access this by going down into the basement of the house! (fun fact: you don’t have to load out to get to this- which is nice -technically making it part of the indoor space)

  • Conclusion | Back to Farming for Squid Ink

As far as Empyrea Part I goes: If you ever wanted to journey through the stars and have an adventure with the crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek, then you will love this new expansion to the game! It was honestly way too short for me and I’ve been left begging for more. Luckily I can occupy my time by farming for some more of these crazy reagents decorating my new bunkhouse, which has jumped at least three other houses in my decor queue. Maybe that’s a bad thing…do I have too many houses? This is my 13th you guys. This could be a problem. I was really really pleased with this bundle release and I feel like no matter what your level there’s something in here for you. All in all, am I having fun in Empyrea? You betcha!

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