When I got him on Zoom, Adam Boyes had just been javelin-tackled from the top floor of a skyscraper. “I’m starting my Monday right,” the Iron Galaxy co-CEO said.
“Do you know who tackled you?” I asked. Rumbleverse, which Iron Galaxy launched Aug. 11, is a melee battle royale, so there are no headshots from across the map to completely bewilder new players. But it’s still a pro wrestling-themed brawler, which makes for plenty of did-someone-get-his-license-plate powerbombs and blindside hits.
“I don’t, but sometimes I do take note of people’s names, just to make sure they’re not a co-worker,” Boyes said, “who I have to give a talking-to.”
Rumbleverse’s first season got underway on Thursday, when everyone in the free-to-play game got started on its initial battle pass of cosmetics and other content offerings. But, since everyone in the game is new to the game, I figured it’d be good to get a to-do list of what to do first in Rumbleverse from the boss himself. Here’s what Boyes told me:
Go to Playground Mode
“And turn off combat,” Boyes reminds, so folks aren’t suplexing you while you explore the map and maybe get the hang of the move set. Playground Mode also has several tutorial boxes for players to (easily) discover, which provide tips for how the game’s combat systems, builds, and power-ups work.
Playground Mode is a critical piece of onboarding, Boyes said, and indirectly, the need for it was one reason Iron Galaxy abandoned plans for an early access launch back in February. “There was a lot of feedback that we were seeing as we were thinking about [a delay],” Boyes said, even though the studio was “pretty confident that we could launch the solo mode” in early access.
“But I think a lot of players just want more than that,” he said, and the feedback Iron Galaxy was getting this winter confirmed it. After a test in December, many players were asking for a sandbox where they could get familiar with the game.
“We felt pretty strongly that the Playground Mode, the Duos mode would come at launch, and those will hopefully make people happy to try out new things there,” Boyes said.
Understand where the POIs are
Like a battle royale, Rumbleverse’s combatants fling themselves into Grapital City and descend to a landing spot from above. “The taller the area, usually the sweatier it is,” Boyes said, meaning more players and more action.
Rumbleverse prides itself on bringing a lot of verticality to a battle royale, so the skyscrapers are natural honeypots filled with lootables. “If you’re dropping in, and you want your match time to be very short, go to a tall area where all the gold crates are, and please enjoy,” Boyes chortled. “What I recommend for newer players is: Go watch where people are jumping in and dropping in.”
Always Be Looting
In Rumbleverse, the good news and the bad news are one and the same: Your build, comprising power, health, and stamina, has to be rebuilt, game-to-game, with Stat Pods. These are items that pop out of the gear crates, much like players hunt for and equip weapons in a more traditional battle royale.
It also means players can’t lean on a particular playing style too hard, because they may smash open Stat Pods that don’t necessarily match it. Get acquainted with where loot pickups are in Playground Mode and beeline for your secret fishing hole in the real game, Boyes said. Don’t forget to look for Special Moves, too. They’re lootables, like Stat Pods, and equip extra attacks on the bumper buttons, like the Javelin Tackle that bagged Boyes earlier this week.
Pick up some chicken
Familiarize yourself with Squatch Chicken: The Home of Slow-Squatted Chicken. Chicken restores health in Rumbleverse, with a large chicken good for two heals, and a standard drumstick good for one. Players can put chicken in their inventory and use it when they’re in trouble; it isn’t consumed as soon as they pick it up.
Figure out weapons and throwables later
In Rumbleverse, pretty much everything can turn into a weapon. But Boyes suggested that newer players get comfortable with the basic melee moves before improvising attacks with folding chairs, or by throwing things, as that brings an aiming system into play.
“I think I saw through [last] weekend, as it progresses, more and more people were using weapons,” Boyes said, indicating new players are working up to that tactic after getting other basics down first.
“We’ve had to do a hot fix to fix a combat exploit where people take a street sign, and it does quadruple damage, and they were destroying five people,” Boyes said. “I would see piles of KOs and I was thinking ‘I think that may be bug-related.’” So weapons might be the most volatile component of Rumbleverse’s early ecosystem.
Finally, “just have fun,” Boyes said. “I mean, enjoy the world. You’re gonna get beat a lot, you’re gonna get hit a lot. We’ve tried to build something where, sometimes, it’s as fun to get defeated as it is to knock someone off the building.”
Rumbleverse is available now, as a free-to-play game, on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.