A bare bones guide to understanding life alone in the dangerous and shifting sands of Last Oasis.
Guide to Basics
What This Guide Is
I started putting these ideas together at the end of beta and we’re just barely out of the gate with Early Access. I’m assuming the meta will change as the game and players shift and react to each other.
First Things First: Accepting the Limitations
This game has mechanics to support solo, small group and casual play but it is also designed to be engaging for large groups (even very large groups) that have an easy time breezing through what is very challenging for a solo player.
Simply put there is a lot of content – stuff on the Tech Tree – that you just aren’t likely to ever get to on your own. You aren’t going to have the larger walkers. Fortunately the smaller walkers are better for solos, anyway, for the most part.
No matter how good you are, how careful you are you will still get killed and have to deal with recovery. Its a PVP game so that’s just part of it. That means part of playing solo is preparing for losing everything so you’re as ready for it as possible. The key to playing solo more or less on your own terms is understanding and using the mechanics available to mitigate loss.
Second Things Second: Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
Since a solo nomad can be at a disadvantage against groups of nomads (with equal skill) the simplest way to avoid getting killed is to avoid the fight altogether. A solo nomad is well served by ~constantly~ paying attention to the world around them, keeping track of terrain variations that could hide another walker – or be used to hide your escape if you see another walker- and always looking for the wings of potentially hostile walkers.
After you’ve been wandering for a little while you’ll start to see that most nomads fall into certain patterns of movement. You know where all the bone shards are, for example, so you’ll approach it carefully assuming other nomads are there, too. You can pretty much expect a walker at one loot drop to go to another visible loot drop next – and if you avoid that line of travel you’ll likely avoid them.
You’ll also start to see the pattern in the places most nomads don’t go. And its in those places where you can find a few precious moments of peace.
While this is entirely un-immersive.... I suggest you also keep an eye on the global chat log. When you see lots of people dying its time to decide if you're in a safe enough place, where the hot spots are likely to be, if you have an escape route and if it's time to just log out - especially if you have a lot of valuable stuff that you aren't quite ready to use.
Speaking of logging out...
Mitigating Loss: Transferring Walkers to the Lobby
There is nothing at all immersive about this but its a mechanic that serves large clans and solo nomads equally well: you can safely log out many walkers and their contents using Transfer to Lobby.
You’ll probably transfer your first walker to the lobby as part of the tutorial quest for building your second walker so I won’t go over the mechanic here. I will mention a couple things about it, though:
- Your character has to be on the same map as the one where your walker was transferred to the lobby. If you left a walker safe logged at an oasis that has burned then it’s gone unless….
- You can have up to 5 “favorite” walkers that are automatically transferred to a living Oasis eastward when the Oasis it was parked at burns.
Those 5 favorite walkers are your safety net, your bank and your way to mitigate the (extreme) risks of being a solo nomad.
While the first day, for example, I had a camp set up in a little hidey hole and realized it would take a little time for the water to purify, the earth wax to be pounded and the various parts of the nomad cloth to be made. I had almost enough to make another walker so I split my time between managing the crafting devices and finishing up the farming. Then I made another Spider Walker and upgraded its water, cargo and hatch and loaded them up with some essentials and some walker modules I might want later. I also packed the crafting devices I had made into it since the Ballista Spider Walker isn’t able to pack a camp at all. Then I transferred it to the lobby.
The idea is pretty simple: a solo nomad can easily farm far more than the small walkers we ride can store… so we “store” those materials in the form of a backup walker that we can use as banked storage and a backup walker ready to go when (not if) we get ganked, camped and wiped.
Believe me, having a few walkers in the lobby greatly eases the stress of playing solo. Just knowing that you have a backup (or 4) lets you relax a little more about loosing the rig that you’re currently using.
Less Is More: No really, I'm serious
Those big walkers are really cool. And I mean really cool. And… the coolest of them are both mostly out of reach for solo nomads and completely impractical. If you want to work up to them you can certainly figure that out but your bread and butter is likely to be the smaller walkers. And I’d suggest the tiny ones.
My favorites for solo farming and exploration are the Spider Walker, the Spider Walker with Ballista and the Firefly.
The Firefly is dirt cheap, you don’t need Vision Powder to build it, has enough storage for solo nomad level farming and is a lot faster than you think once its got wings.
But… about those wings…
Those wings are what makes a walker very easy to see over vast distances. And the larger the walker and wings the more visible it is and the harder it is to find places to conceal it from view. The firefly is small enough that it can get into some pretty tight little hiding places but it isn’t really all that agile. And if you have to run in one be very careful with your driving: they tend to bottom out on small landscape variations and that will slow you down.
Which brings us to the Spider Walkers. In my mind these are the perfect solo nomad machines as long as you have (at least) the Dinghy you built for the tutorial tucked away just in case.
- Having no wings they are nearly invisible on the landscape and can be hidden in many, many places in the Oasis maps I’ve seen so far.
- The regular walker cargo upgrades make it hold quite a bit.
- The ballista spider is an easy way for the solo nomad to break open those harder crates. This really speeds up advancement.
- Both spiders have great maneuverability and traction: they are like the ATV’s of Last Oasis.
They are small, not as fast as winged walkers and will certainly feel cramped, so….
OK, Bigger Is Better, Too
The nice thing about the Dinghy and larger walkers is that you can pack entire camps in them and not just individual crafting devices. So you can make a small camp that has a variety of crafting devices and storage placed in it and pack them all up – along with their contents – into the walker. And just as quickly unpack the entire base and have it ready to go in short order.
So a solo nomad might log in with a ballista spider, explore a bit while farming fragments from crates then settle in for some cattail farming to make nomad cloth at a temporary camp. After breaking down the camp we ride the ballista walker to the edge of the map, grab all the material farmed that session and send it to the lobby and log in the Dhingy.
The Dinghy has a camp with some more storage and a woodworking station so we unpack that and get some Wood Shafts going while adding the day’s stash of Nomad Cloth to the walker storage and the wood, fiber and extra cattail to in the fiber crafting station of the camp for later. After that’s all done camp is packed back into the Dinghy and we safe log to the lobby.
That ends up making the larger walker very valuable (to the solo nomad, at least) so I tend to bring it into the game only when needed and try to keep enough packed in it to make another Spider so I don’t have to drive it around if I lose everything else.
Tools and Weapons
I'm going into too much depth here (see the getting started doc linked at the top for that) but there are a few things to know about which weapons serve more than one purpose. Combat is really important so your weapons have to work for that - either against rupu or other players - so that takes priorty but I've found a few sweet spots that aren't too difficult to get to as a solo nomad.
First, I tend to keep a Beat Stick for a while even after I've unlocked the Woodcutter's Hatchet. I keep the Beat Stick on hotkey 1 and use it for fighting the easy rupu and breaking open the loot urns in their camps. That saves wear and tear on the axe.
My first weapon unlock is usually the Rawbone Hand Axe. While its more expensive to craft it also gives you a lot more resource yield than the basic axe. Its also a very good weapon for the early game: fast and decent damage. Once I have one I no longer carry a basic axe unless my bone axe is worn and I need to do a lot of farming at that moment. In that situation I'd prefer to make a new bone axe if i can, though, because the farming will be much more efficient.
Bone shards can be found in easy and higher Oasises, by the way. They look like lightly curled horns or tusks sticking out of the ground and are harvested with an axe.
Another urgent unlock is the Simple Sickle. This will greatly increase yield from bushes, aloe, rupu vines and cattails. It isn't very durable so keep an eye on its health and make sure you have what you need to make a new one when the old one breaks.
In the very early game its enough to just pick up stone off the ground but once you're out of the Cradle and have a walker with some storage its not a bad idea to have at least a stack of stone ready to go. That's tedious and difficult outside of the Cradle where loose stone is far less common so the next hand tool to unlock is the Simple Pickaxe. Earth Wax is also a random and rare drop from mining rocks. (More on Earth Wax later.)
My next weapon unlock is usually the Bonespike Sword. Your preferences may be (quite) different but I find the Bonespike Sword to have good damage, is fairly fast and (ahem) its better at harvesting fiber class things than doing it by hand. That means if I have a lot of stuff stored up already I don't need to carry a sickle and just use the sword to keep my supplies stocked up. (I usually have one on my walker, though, in case I run into a high value resource and want to make the most of it.)
It feels really nomadic and efficient to just have my sword and axe in hotbar slots 1 and 2 with a pickaxe and maybe a repair hammer. The tradeoff for using the sword to harvest things, though, is that it will get worn done more quickly. That's a factor you'll have to gauge but just keep it in mind if your inventory is full and you find something you really want to keep: you can toss the sickle and still use your sword to free up an inventory slot.
I usually don't unlock better water bottles at first because you get them in loot all the time. Instead I unlock the gathering pouch and light backpack. These are equipped items that give you more inventory space. While they don't allow you to carry more weight it makes difficult choices like the one I suggested above less frequent.
I also find they make building a new walker very easy. I can just stuff the backpack full of the materials needed and spam F to build it. Sure, I'm overburdened.... for about 10 seconds. And then I don't have to rearrange or do inventory shuffle with the supplies I normally carry. Keep in mind that the more you're carrying the more you stand to lose if something bad happens.
Youll discover the Fiber and Wood stations as you go along because they are fairly intutive and your need for weave, rope and wood shafts will lead you to them.
What isn't as obvious is that the next thing you'll want is the Stomper. The stomper is basically an automated mortar and pestle and its the easiest way for a solo nomad to get enough earth wax. Just put palm leaves or mushrooms in it and wait.
The waiting is the hard part if you're using a Spider - which is too small to have anything on it. You can fit a stomper on a Firefly, though, and certainly a Dingy. In that case just have it going while you roam.
If you're out on a spider, though, you'll need to set the Stomper up on the ground somewhere. Fortunately the game has plenty of little places you can tuck yoursefl away. You certainly can (and will) be found but many players don't check every crack and crevice. And for good reason: it doesn't usually pay off since even if there are some resources to gather there its easier and more productive to find them elsewhere.
Just don't stay in one place for too long. Let the devices make the resources you need then pack or disassemble them and move on.
If you're using a campfire at the same time - which is wise since any time spent in camp crafting other things is also a good time to make drinking water - be careful about having so much wood in it that it stays on all the time. That light is also very visible and can sometimes light up the things you're hiding in. I never have the campfire burning during an eclipse. Its just way too visible.
Its the fastest way to level up, you get fragments from completing sections of it and it does a great job of guiding you through the game's most important mechanics. If you make a mistake very early on and unlock the wrong thing then it can be hard to progress through the tutorial. I saw a few streamers do exactly that and they found themselves haing to explore and fight before they knew how to fight or make bandages....
- Even in the wingless walkers avoid being on top of ridges for long. You’re very visible and any movement will draw eyes to you.
- When going over a ridge stop before you get to the top and see what’s on the other side. If someone could see you if you went over the edge you then have the option of watching to see what they are doing or turning around.
- Fight the rupu, especially the larger, smarter ones. You’ll want all the practice fighting you can get and the rupu are the best practice you’ll get for melee practice. If you have trouble with a White Death you will certainly have trouble with a player that knows what they are doing.
- If you are being attacked use it as an opportunity to practice fighting and learn.
- Get really good with your grapple. It can save you from fall damage, allow you to move in ways that are much harder for ranged weapons to hit and is just generally a cool way to move around.
- You can kick. By default its mapped to "2nd middle mouse button." If you don't have that button remap it to something else. I'm using R and so far its working well. Be careful using it, though, as it uses stamina.
- As far as I know there isn't any way put markers on the map, yet. All I've been able to figure out so far is taking a screenshot to mark a place. You can also put down a quick sandbed which will be easily visible on your map but I'd do that very sparingly. Other nomads will find and destroy them and they are a sign of your presence since they have your name on them.
- Have a lot of looted repair hammers and wondering what to do with them all? They're better at opening the hard loot crates than any weapon you're likely to have. Its a great use for them and you spend less time being vulnerable at a highly visible landmark. Win win.
- Get really, really good at blocking. When it comes to melee it doesn't matter who good their weapon is: a block is a block. Again, practice with the rupus. Players are WAY better than rupus but its a good place to start.
- Keep those fragments in your walker storage. Right away. No exceptions. Yet at the same time...
- Avoid hoarding too many frragments in your walker. Its better to know what you want to unlock and do that as soon as you have the frags for it. While your walker storage is safer than any other storage ingame your walker can still be broken into with the right equipment. It might not happen that often because that ammo is expensive but its good to be in the habit of using those fragments as soon as you can becuase it WILL happen at some point.
- Also, if you're about to get ganked and you can't avoid it.... take those fragments and unlock whatever you have time for. Even if those aren't the things you were working towards its better to unlock them than to just lose the fragments.
What are those tier 2 fragment things? Tablets? Where do I find them?
Yes, Tablets. And you might as well forget they exist for a while. You make them. From 100 fragments and 1K torque. Torque is made with wind powered walkers or placed windmills and stored in Torque Batteries. You take these supplies to static crafting stations that only exist on hard maps to make the Tablet(s).
You can see the dangers, yes? First, that's a lot of effort to farm up. Second, you have all that stuff on you or your walker as you approach the crafting station. Third, if you manage to make one you then have one of the game's most valuable items in your inventory....
Making Tablets one or a few at a time is likely to be endgame play for solos. It takes 100 of the SAME Tablet (of which there are 3 kinds, determined by RNG at creation) to unlock the largest walker.
See what I mean about the limitations of playing solo? That's not a bad thing: its simply a consequence of a game that allows for both challenging solo AND large group play.
Ah! I had just finished downloading the game, fired it up, poked through the character creation choices and was finally getting started! Its so exciting!
Upon standing up and looking around I saw another beginning player running at me with a stick. I defended myself as best I could but... yeah.
Why? Why?!?!? I don't even have any loot!!!!
The answer is simple: that player would rather not have the competition of another fresh spawn right in his or her spawn cradle. There are plenty of other cradles so you're just being told - in the quickest, if not very polite, way - to respawn elsewhere and leave them alone. There is nothing personal or toxic about it.
Since you are solo nomad that as simple as it can be. In the respawn menu there is an option to respawn to a different Cradle server. I suggest looking for one that is "spacious" though at present there is little chance it will stay spacious for long. You'll be spawned in the same getting started canyon with no loss.
You may have to do this a few times. Just stick with it and eventually you'll find a place to at least get your feet under yourself.
Up to (but not including) level 20 your top 4 inventory slots do not drop on death. Neither do the weapons or tools you have in hotbar slots 1 and 2 and anything you have equipped in the 3 equipment slots and what you are wearing. You'll see the little lock icon on those inventory slots so put the important stuff there.
What's important? At that stage its going to be fiber, wood, stone and.... your choice of the resource that is most important at the moment. Might be rupu pelts, rupu vine or catus fruit depending on what you are currently working on.
"But what about the Fragments?!" I hear you ask. Fortunately those are also protected no matter what slot they are in.
And Once We Hit Level 20?
So, walkers are very expensive to break into because it takes ammo that isn't exactly cheap. Zergs might have enough of this ammo to raze and entire server to the ground if they want to but everyone else is likely to be more selective about their targets.
So upgrade the cargo capacity of your firefly and put the important stuff there. Certainly that includes Fragments and whatever materials you are stocking up on to build the next walker or crafting device.
While its tempting to leave stuff stored in your campfire and other storage devices (and I sometimes do) its important to understand that those devices aren't as safe as your walker's cargo. It can be broken into by anyone with a weapon. Its up to you if you want to run that risk or not.
And Finally (for Now)…
Don’t be too afraid of making friends and teaming up with other players. Once you’re set up with your backup walkers its less of a risk to talk with other nomads, share news and team up to do things that are harder or more time consuming for 1 person to do. Its a dangerous desert and, sure, plenty of people will attack you just because you are there. But not everyone will and finding other like-minded nomads can also be a fun part of the MMO experience of Last Oasis.