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Nightingale is off to a strong start but it's also got a 'mixed' user rating on Steam, and once again server problems are largely to blame

 Nightingale screenshot - man with a rifle standing in front of a magical portal.
Nightingale screenshot - man with a rifle standing in front of a magical portal.

The alt-Victorian survival game Nightingale launched yesterday, and after a full day of release on Steam it's now laboring under a less-than-stellar "mixed" user rating. Reasons for the complaints are varied, but the main culprit seems to be one we're all familiar with by now: the servers.

The frustrations with Nightingale are exacerbated by the need to be connected to play, even if you're going solo. Quite a few user reviews on Steam are actually positive about the game overall, but throw it a thumbs-down anyway because of server wonkiness.

"I REALLY like a lot of this game so far, but this is getting a negative for one giant issue," one Steam user wrote. "Being always online, even when playing solo, is absolute nonsense. There is no reason a game like this has to be online at all times. Which is only compounded by the servers being a trash fire currently."

"Absolutely no need for a survival crafting game to be online only," another wrote. "Once again we're all at the mercy of server stability and an inability to pause... Fantastic. Why even have 'played solo or cooperatively' or 'alone or with friends' written anywhere, it's misleading to the point where I can only think it's intentional."

Nightingale is off to a fairly strong start: Just over 37,000 people are playing right now, according to Steam Charts, and its current peak player count is more than 47,500. That's nowhere near the infuriatingly-impossible-to-get-into Helldivers 2, but it's not too far off the other big survival game of the moment, Enshrouded, which launched into early access in January and currently has about 46,000 people playing.

That's good news for developer Inflexion Games, but how those numbers hold up over the coming days and weeks will depend an awful lot on how quickly the studio can rectify Nightingale's server headaches and offer players a smooth, stable experience. It brings to mind the obvious example of Payday 3, which suffered a disastrous launch driven in part by its requirement for an online connection even for solo play: It still doesn't have an offline mode (although developer Starbreeze finally announced that one is coming, eventually) and the concurrent player count is now mired in low triple-digits.

Server issues are hardly an uncommon problem for games these days, especially when they first roll out, and neither is blowback from unhappy players. Payday 3 may be the most notable example of everything going wrong in the worst way possible, but full-on hits can suffer from it. Helldivers 2 is a prime example of that. Like Nightingale, it's got a "mixed" user rating on Steam, largely because servers can't handle the load, but it's also tremendously popular: At any given moment there are hundreds of thousands of people playing it.

As to whether an offline mode will come to Nightingale at any point, it seems like a bit of a long shot right now. Nightingale's shared world is essentially a series of "Realms" and portals that players access using Realm Cards, all of it hosted on Inflexion's own servers. Inflexion CEO Aaryn Flynn allowed for the possibility of an offline mode in a recent interview with Screen Rant, if developers can figure out how to make it work.

"When we engineered the always-online backend, it was in service of this vision of being able to always explore new realms, and we didn't know how to do that without a server being able to help manage all the data and stuff," Flynn said. "But if we can do it for someone who just wants to play strictly solo, I'm very open to it."

Earlier today, Inflexion completed a round of server maintenance for Nightingale and rolled out a hotfix tackling a trio of issues:

  • Should address most instances of "Running out of GPU memory" error on graphic cards that exceed min spec

  • Players should be able to rebind inputs to the arrow keys, you may receive a warning to rebind camera controls which are bound to the arrow keys by default

  • Pressing Tab + I together should no longer crash the game

For now, if you're struggling with a high ping in Nightingale, or connection to inappropriate regional servers, you can get some advice on what to do on Inflexion's support page.