This review is just my own personal opinion. I wrote this around the time that the game first released on its own launcher before the Steam release. The game is/was currently in beta when writing this. Also, as of the time of revising, I have not really touched the game at all and this review is pretty old so some things probably have changed. I still decided to go ahead and repost this on my blog anyway just because.

August 14, 2023

Palia: First Impression

I've recently been playing Palia since its open beta release on the 10th. It's been three days, so this isn't a post about the endgame or if there is one or anything, it's just my thoughts on the beginning of the game and its mechanics. If you don't already know, Palia is an upcoming free-to-play MMO that is unique in the fact that it has no combat mechanics within it. Instead of being your typical MMO, Palia is more like Stardew Valley. People are calling it a cozy sim MMO. The main idea of the game is to craft, gather, build your house, and interact with the NPCs and the city of Palia. There are multiple different professions, from botany to mining, cooking, fishing, hunting, and more. There is also a romance mechanic where you can swoon the NPCs of Palia (currently there are 9 romance options, some of which have sparked some controversy online).

My Initial Thoughts

On the first day, I got into the game with a small log-in queue. The queue times aren't bad, even if 1,000 players are ahead of you it takes just a few minutes. A quick bathroom break and you're in. The loading times are pretty good, and mine are slower because I'm running the game on an external hard drive. The character creation was alright (although I swear my first thought was that it looks like a Fortnite character). I feel like more options could be added, like paler skin colors (I like making my characters paper white like ghosts), longer hairstyles, and better dyeing options for clothes. I dislike the color palette system. Maybe it changes later on, but for the first few days of gameplay (or hours, depending on how much time you have) you have only around six color palettes to choose from and you cannot mix and match colors. I like black but the black color came with blue and I dislike blue. And once you create your character, you are unable to change their eye and skin colors, but everything else is changeable. I imagine they'll add some sort of way to completely re-customize your character via something in the cash shop.

The current items in the cash shop are limited purely to cosmetics, which is great. Nothing that affects gameplay will be in the cash shop. The outfits themselves are nice, but I do feel like they're a bit pricey, but it's a F2P game so I can excuse it. The movement feels nice and fluid and the UI is easily readable and easy to navigate. The map is also nice, although I would prefer it if, when you opened it, it was a small window on your screen (that you can adjust the size and opacity of yourself ) so you can run around while keeping the map open. It's a bit annoying to constantly press M to see where the NPCs are going since the NPCs have walk paths (by the way, that's cool, and I give them kudos for making the NPCs go on walks and visit other NPCs. and return to their own homes and sleep at night. It adds a lot more life to the game) or if you're like me and just genuinely forget things and need to constantly check to make sure (I am a goldfish, it's my actual nickname from my dad).

Crafting System

Now, the main story of the game is... I dunno. I didn't keep doing the story missions with the one archeologist girl. But the story, at least in my opinion, isn't really a major driving factor of playtime (and that's coming from someone who plays FFXIV). I prefer no-lifing by gathering materials and crafting to make my plot look better. In terms of this, I think it takes a bit too long to craft your materials via smelter/sawmill. It takes an hour just to run through all your planks and turn them into the type of wood that you need. And then once you finally get all the materials, the house itself has an 8-hour timer to build before it's complete. I think it's a bit too long, but I can live with it.

However, I think that there should be a queue mechanic for the smelter/sawmill so you can craft multiple things at once instead of one at a time. They take minutes a pop anyway so I think you should be able to do so. Maybe you can cheat it by making a duplicate smelter/sawmill, but I haven't tested that yet, and besides I think it should just be a built-in quality-of-life feature.

Levelling Professions

The main tasks in the game are leveling your professions and picking one that you intend to master completely (although maybe you can master it all with time?). The main tasks are foraging, mining, fishing, hunting, insect catching, cooking, furniture making, and gardening. The main ones you will be leveling are foraging and mining for different basic materials. The system is very reminiscent of FFXIV's leveling crafters — every crafter can be leveled just by crafting and some crafters should be leveled simultaneously because they can craft things that another crafting class needs. For instance, for furniture making, you'll need to do some foraging, mining, and hunting. The ones that I haven't touched all that much are insect hunting, cooking, and gardening.

It takes a fair amount of materials to level up, but you'll need them anyway for crafting. When I was foraging, I'd say about 100 trees took me from level 1 to level 2. I think it ramps up each level so it will take a while but, the way I see it, you have to gather the things anyway. All in all, I think instead of focusing on leveling, you should focus on gathering/craftings the things you want. Don't try to farm to a high level and burn yourself out.

Hunting uses a bow and you shoot animals, but it's not combat. You have to shoot the animals to kill them. A chappa dies from one arrow, but deer takes two, meaning you shoot them once then have to track them and shoot them again. It's kinda annoying, but you can get arrow upgrades later after reaching a certain level so I imagine it makes the deer die in one hit (at least I hope, since that would make life easier).

Making Money

All the recipes and things you'll need to purchase in the game can cost quite a bit of gold. Furniture recipes easily stack up to thousands of gold. The only way to get money is to sell goods you've gathered. Most of the things you make cannot be sold (for instance, easy furniture, which is always what I sell in FFXIV's marketboard for gil). The main way to obtain money, from my experience, is cooking materials, the thousands of flowers near the city, animal furs from hunting, and mainly, fishing. A single fish, at the least that I've seen, is 30 apiece. If you catch more rarer ones, it can be 100 or more. Fishing has been the easiest way to make money in the game. I wish there were more options to make money, like maybe daily tasks or weekly things to do. I think having generic daily tasks, like "craft 30 items", or "chat with 3 NPCs", and "give 1 gift", would be great for not only encouraging people to log in daily but to give another source of gold. Or maybe they could add a request feature of sorts where you deliver requested craftable/gatherable items for gold.

NPC's & Gifts

The NPCs are pretty cool. It's a wide range of characters with different personalities, so naturally, I don't like them all. I mainly like Tish and Reth, and Jel seems interesting too. I didn't particularly care about the romance options in the game (I'm not a dating sim type of person) but that was before I learned that you get rewards. Also, I am interested in seeing what Tish's bedroom looks like (I'm one of those people who is obsessed with those 'out of bounds secrets in games' videos so I naturally want to see what's behind every locked door). I like that they have their own walk paths, houses, and whatnot. I like that you can chat with them every in-game day. There is also a gift system where you can gift items you've gathered to NPCs to raise their relationship meter. Additionally, there is a weekly gift that you can give to them. My original gripe was that I couldn't fucking figure out where to learn what they wanted for a weekly (I'm blind). When I finally discovered that little button below the gift button, I felt dumb. As I should. I have seen people complaining about the fact that you can only give one gift per real-time day, but honestly, that's standard for most gift-giving systems and I personally see no problem with it.


I really enjoy Palia. It's fun, relaxing, and I can see myself spending hours just cutting down trees and embracing my Sims obsession in the housing department. I think there should be more customization in terms of outfits, dyes, and — especially — hairstyles, but for open beta there were good options. I think the main things I want them to add are dailies to get gold and the ability to queue up multiple items in the crafting machines. They could also add in-game timers for a quality of life feature that tells you when the daily chat, daily gift, and etc. reset. All in all, I think Palia is a great game and I can see myself playing it for a long time with my friends. I can't wait to see what all they add between now and it's official release.