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The First Descendant is filling out those “empty fields” from the beta

Following the success of The First Descendant beta, Nexon Games plans co-op improvements and more ways to spend time in the open-world RPG.

The First Descendant developer update introduces battlefields - A woman wearing black glasses with long, brown hair.

Following the success of The First Descendant beta in 2023, there’s plenty of upgrades being made to the upcoming co-op sci-fi looter shooter from developer Nexon Games, part of the publishing giant behind Dave the Diver, The Finals, and classic MMO MapleStory. One of the biggest complaints during the beta, something I certainly felt myself, was a rather empty sensation of wandering around its open world between missions, and in its latest developer update the team describes some of the activities you’ll now be able to do in the full game.

While The First Descendant release date window is still a slightly nebulous ‘summer 2024,’ I’m still quite looking forward to its arrival. Its sci-fi hero shooter stylings give it a vibe a bit like Destiny 2 and Palworld fell into a blender together, and personally that worked surprisingly well for me. Yet the Korean MMO-adjacent RPG game certainly had its issues to be resolved, and chief among those were its slightly awkward co-op and its “empty fields,” which Nexon addresses in its latest The First Descendant developer blog.

“It was critical to determine what the main issues were and what solutions would make sense for the game,” the team writes. Part of the problem, it deduces, was that players were often too widely spread over a large area. “We contemplated increasing the number of participants per session, but we decided to put that on hold for the time being, given the path The First Descendant is taking and the comfortable play experience we want to provide.”

The First Descendant map - An overview of the full field map for the full game.

Instead, the focus has been placed on “stimulating four-player co-op” sessions taking place within individual, smaller zones within its larger open-world fields, called battlefields. Session matching is being improved to help you get into co-op games quicker, and the team is adding the ability to request support from other players during missions once they’re underway.

As for what you’ll actually be doing out there, four new field activities are being added that should give you more things to keep you busy as you move around the map between missions. These include encrypted vaults that must be located and then decrypted by taking on a ‘simple minigame,’ and records that will give you additional stories and lore to further flesh out the world.

The most substantial-sounding, however, are Void Fragments and Vulgus Recon Outposts. Find and destroy a Void Fragment by hitting it with the matching attribute, and you’ll net yourself a Void Shard. You can then take these to a Void Fusion Reactor and use it to summon a Vulgus Commander, a tough boss that you’ll need to bring down to earn a shower of gear.

The First Descendat Vulgus Recon Outpost - A seies of large orange structures in a rocky valley.

The Vulgus Recon Outposts, meanwhile, are stronghold points with a dedicated power supply that send out regular patrols that will interfere with your exploration as you pass nearby. As key strategic locations, they’re defended by heavy enemy garrisons, but if you’re able to eliminate those forces and destroy the outpost you’ll be well rewarded.

Another welcome quality of life addition coming with the full game is the hard difficulty mode. Upon completing the game’s normal difficulty missions, you’ll gain access to hard difficulty. This more challenging mode offers a drop rotation that will change on a regular basis, which should effectively let you ‘target farm’ specific gear types if you’re looking for a particular item for your favorite The First Descendant characters.

More updates will be coming in the future; in the meantime, the team says it “eagerly welcomes your ongoing interest and feedback” as it works towards launch.

Until then, we’ve got more of the best co-op games if you and your friends are looking for something new, along with the best open-world games as well.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.

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