Developer: Airship Syndicate
Publisher: Digital Extreme
Available On: PlayStation 5, PC (Steam, Epic Games Store)
How would it sound to harness arcane magic and wield mystical tech and weapons while pushing back invading forces seeking to destroy humanity in a fast-action RPG? While also being able to choose between multiple heroes, weapons, and crafting? Well, Wayfinder is the game for YOU! That is if you can log in and play, of course.
I only heard of Wayfinder from Summer Games Fest this year and managed to play a weekend of the beta before its delayed release into early access on August 17th. The beta was great. Colorful, smooth, and fluid combat, immersive world, interesting combat mechanics, everything you could really want out of an action RPG, even with a janky narrative. Needless to say, Wayfinder’s early access launch was highly anticipated by those tracking the game’s progress. When Airship Syndicate, the developers behind Wayfinder, announced the day before the early access release the studio would be delaying the release 2 days, I was not concerned. The studio wanted to ensure a smooth and exciting launch for players.
This did not age well. Wayfinder had arguably one of the roughest launches in recent memory. Remember the Overwatch 2 launch fiasco? The inability to log in, disconnects, missing founders pack items, and absurd queue times were the main culprits of the disaster. Look, queue times are nothing new for me. However, waiting 2 hours to get into the game only to be kicked after 15 mins hits differently after the 10th time, even for a seasoned gamer. As a matter of fact, as of the writing of this article, I have 47 hours on Wayfinder. Thirty-five of those hours are non-playtime. This earned Wayfinder a comical community nickname of “Wait-Finder.” With their servers on fire and the Wayfinder Discord an absolute madhouse, the Airship Syndicate developers and community managers engaged in some of the most outstanding damage control I’ve witnessed.
Airship Syndicate communicated with great transparency the issues they were facing and the steps they were taking to address such hurdles. With their backs against the wall with a raging player base demanding access, spewing nonsense like “dead game,” “just get bigger servers,” or “your devs are so bad,” Airship Syndicate managed to take multi-hour long queue times with frequent disconnects and turn them around into 20-minute queues with almost zero in-game disconnects. Mind you; Airship Syndicate is a studio with around 40 developers who are not ALL coding engineers or server experts, and managed to get things under control in a couple of days. Go back in time to the Overwatch 2 launch fiasco with a studio like Blizzard with exponentially more resources, and Overwatch 2 was not reliably playable for over a week.
Despite the miracle work of Airship Syndicate, people still found it necessary to leave scathing reviews on Steam (currently 11,814 Mostly Negative). The reviews are obviously in response to a validly atrocious launch day and horrible server stability. While Wayfinder’s servers did struggle, the game itself was amazing. Compared to the beta, the combat is ever more fluid, the world ever more vibrant, the attention to detail in the world, in-depth gameplay systems, and crafting all the more immersive. Wayfinder has the makings of a truly unique action RPG and possesses a content roadmap ambitious enough to dethrone more prominent MMORPGS. Wayfinder has a very bright future. Server stability and capacity will improve for certain, as it already has. Don’t let the Steam reviews fool you. Wayfinder is a game worth playing and experiencing. I cannot wait to re-review Wayfinder in 6 months when it goes free to play on all platforms with even more content and updates under its belt.