With Stormland finally launching this week you may find yourself wondering how the game’s co-op features work and especially the ‘Cycling World’, which aims to keep the game feeling fresh from week to week. We went straight to developer Insomniac Games for the rundown.
Stormland is here; we gave the game a hearty 9 out of 10 in our full review, thanks in large part to satisfying combat, an innovative open world structure that feels truly at home in VR, and full-featured co-op for two players. The game also implements what Insomniac calls a ‘Cycling World’, which is a weekly remix of the world layout, missions, and collectibles. Here’s the lowdown on how these features work:
Stormland Co-op Multiplayer – Progression & How to Join
Co-op in Stormland isn’t enabled right away, you’ll need to play through about 30 to 45 minutes of the game before you unlock the ability to join or invite friends.
Finding the Multiplayer Attachment
Keep an eye out for a mission in the Cycad region called ‘Lost Operator’… follow this mission to its end and you’ll find an android body from which you’ll take an attachment that enables the ‘MP Menu’. The button to access the MP Menu is found on your map-hand when looking at your palm.
How to Join
Upon opening the MP Menu you’ll be able to quick-join random players, or join/invite players from your friends list. Voice chat is built into the game, and we’d recommend disbanding any previously formed Oculus party chat because this will boost the voice volume making it easier to hear. This will also allow the game to apply effects to the voice of your co-op partner (like echo when you’re inside a cave), which is a nice immersive touch.
Progression Between Host and Client
There are situations in Stormland where one of the co-op players may not retain progress made during a co-op session.
The first step is knowing if you’re in the Story portion of the game or if you’ve reached the Cycling World. The game starts in Story mode, and you won’t enter the Cycling World until several hours of gameplay. If you aren’t sure which mode you’re in, go back to Base Camp and look at the display next to the AI drone that rests on a pedestal in one of the buildings; if the display shows a big countdown clock, you’re in the Cycling World. If it doesn’t show anything then you’re still in the Story.
If you and your friend are already in the Cycling World, you have nothing to worry about—feel free to join one another at your leisure and you can be sure that anything that you earn or unlock will be saved.
If one or both players are still in Story mode, things get a little more complex. In Stormland co-op, it’s important to understand the difference between Host and Client, otherwise you might not get credit for what you earned during a co-op session. The Client is the player which joins the other player; the player who gets joined is the Host.
Deciding if you or your friend will be the Host or Client is key if one or both of you are still in Story mode. Insomniac Games gave us a detailed breakdown:
When you play co-op in Stormland, we try to make sure both players get to keep all progress (missions completed, items obtained, upgrades, etc.) when playing together, as long as:
- It doesn’t cause a player to permanently skip parts of the story.
- It doesn’t cause a player to go backwards in the story.
The player that sent the invite is known as the Host and the player that responded to the invite or joined their game is the Client. Since the Host determines the missions you work on together, everything the Host does in co-op carries over to the Host’s single player.
When you play co-op in Story mode as the Client, if play with someone who’s at the same point in the story, everything you do carries over to your single player game. You can still play with another player that’s further ahead of you or behind you in the story, but you might not be able to keep your progress under some conditions:
- If you join a Host that’s behind you in the story, you’ll keep your progress if you catch up to where you are in your own save, but won’t otherwise.
- If you join a Host that’s ahead of you in the story, you won’t keep your progress.
For these reasons, it’s strongly recommended that the player who is furthest behind is the Host. The game will give you a warning about this when you try to connect to a player you are out of sync with.
Once you are both in the Cycling World, you both always keep progress.
In Summary: 1) The Host’s progress is always saved, 2) the Host should always be the player who is least progressed in the Story, 3) Client will save progress only once the Host catches up to their Story progress, 4) if both players are in the Cycling World, you’ll both always save progress and don’t need to worry who is Host versus Client.
Stormland Cycling World, Terminus, & Escalation
Now that you’ve got co-op sorted out, you’ll want to understand Stormland’s Cycling World. We got the details straight from Insomniac:
After completing the main story in Stormland, players enter a new phase of the game: the Cycling World. In the Cycling World, the layout of the Stormland, collectibles, missions and more change each week to make a fresh world.
Once in the Cycling World, your ultimate objective is to conquer Tempest command towers in Terminus (the highest strata). You ascend through the three open-world strata, unlocking them in sequence by completing Storm Portal missions until traveling to Terminus for the showdown.
If you haven’t completed Terminus before the cycle ends, you retain access to the strata you’ve unlocked along with all your upgrades and gear. You can progress towards Terminus at your own pace.
If you did complete Terminus, there are a few differences in the next cycle:
- Your weapon schematics, equipped skills, and unlocked strata are exchanged for Growth.
- The ‘Escalation Level’ increases, causing the Tempest presence to get stronger.
In the new world, you are faced with a tougher challenge but can use your newfound Growth to create a more varied and deeper skill build and specialize in different weapons and arm abilities.
Insomniac has also teased that if you complete the Teminus at the maximum Escalation Level of 2, you’ll unlock a special ending.