Decentraland officially opened its doors this week, even though for awhile now you could use the builder to create small “scenes” on your parcels.
You may be wondering – what’s it like? Should I spend my time on it?
In this article I will explain why you are better off just waiting awhile instead of investing any significant time in Decentraland.
First off let me start by saying that my computer setup is not exactly a gaming rig. I consider it middle to low-tier when it comes to graphical output.
This likely factored into some of the negative experiences I am about to describe.
Also, I did not play in VR which I’m sure is the real intended experience especially down the road.
That being said, the experience is open to all by simply opening a browser and visiting play.decentraland.org.
I used both Brave and Chrome browsers for my run.
Part of the initial draw was their opening weekend treasure hunt consisting of a lot of “prizes” which are basically easter eggs to find.
While this certainly entices people to explore, it doesn’t overcome the amount of glitches and incomplete content in Decentraland as a whole.
First off, there was little to no instruction when entering the game.
Much of that was provided via Twitter or from the Decentraland blog, so if you didn’t know to look there, then you wouldn’t exactly know what to do.
Decentraland is fairly enormous and if you are just wandering aimlessly, you will find a lot of nothing. Once you knew that there were 50 locations with prizes, this streamlined things a bit.
Right off the bat it’s tough to find anything. Walking around you find a ton of incomplete or unused parcels which is not surprising.
The first thought I had was whether Decentraland would be any fun if there was no real cohesion.
If eventually you are wandering through a mess of scenes and areas that don’t jive, it won’t feel like a “world” worth exploring.
I predict that huge areas will be bought up to create towns and cities to create a more seamless environment.
Finding Chests & Mini-Games
Many of the chest rewards come from playing quick mini-games built on parcels of land.
Most are super simple and easy to complete, but were also glitched as hell.
I want to make it clear that it could have been my lack of hardware power, but almost every scene had unclickable “interact” actions, major wall clipping, and the ability to see a puzzle answer through a wall or roof.
Many of the mini-games made it seem like death or failure would be the end, but all you need to do is restart to the beginning and retry over and over.
One game said “you only get 3 lives” but after about 15 failures, I was still able to find the chest at the end.
I finally found a chest and collected some accessories and MANA. This involved a quick Metamask transaction and it was pretty cool to see the currency land in my Enjin Wallet (which is the same as Metamask in this case).
But, there were also many cases in which I completed the mini-game, found the chest, but it was already “looted.”
I guess this means it was only available to the first person to find it. This felt extremely disappointing after spending the time completing the tasks.
It also made it seem like if one insider knew where everything was, they could fly through the puzzles to scoop up all of the NFTs and collectibles.
An example mini-game was this volcano platform jumping task.
All you need to do is use the keyboard to jump from rock to rock, but it was such a pain in the ass given the weak graphics, clipping, and control mechanics.
I eventually made it and opened the chest at the top, which thankfully had something to find.
Another game involved riding a train while keeping bandits off your back.
This was completely unplayable on my system and I couldn’t even get a good screen grab.
I could chalk this one up to my poor graphical hardware and will give it a pass, but it sure as hell made for a poor experience.
Dead Space and Unreachable Land
I encountered a lot of dead space and land that was not accessible. This is likely due to unpublished parcels and areas that are currently for sale.
This made the world feel majorly incomplete to the point where I feel like it’s worth waiting months to come back and see what progress has been made.
After my first run through Decentraland, I have little desire to return until graphical glitches are cleaned up, more scenes are published, and there is more cohesion to the map overall.
It would feel very strange wandering through tiny parcels of land that go from a campground to a dungeon to a casino to an airport to a beach to a cave to a space station all within just a few steps.
If you made out collecting the MANA or CryptoKitties from the giveaway, it could give you a nice return.
But for now, unless you have high-quality hardware, a VR set, and more cohesive land to explore, Decentraland does not feel like it has truly launched.