Ultima Online: Endless Journey – free to play bank access is live.

uo_bank_box_access

Depending on your timezone, today or tomorrow. Free to play accounts now have bank access. Free to play accounts are limited to 20 item slots and can purchase 8 extra for a total of 28.

Veteran accounts that are now free to play should now be able to see what they have, but unfortunately not yet withdraw. The developers say they are working on the matter and hope to have it resolved soon.

Source: uo.com

Advertisements

Ultima Online: Endless Journey

ec_ej_splash5

UO (Ultima Online) has allowed a free to play option  that is out. Head on to the official website to play now. Keep reading for my personal review.

UO was one of my first MMOs and among my favourites. The big draw of the game was absolute freedom and relatively low power gap between a newbie and veteran player. Now many MMO players are used to the Everquest style of gameplay and content through popular games like Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft so I’ll try to explain  the differences with what I feel are analogous content or concepts.

When I first started, due to the lack of funds I played on private shards (servers). Most of the servers were tied to what many see as the golden era of UO during the expansions of either “The Second Age” (T2A) or “Renaissance”. The servers I chose were tied to what many see as the golden era of UO during the expansions of either “The Second Age” (T2A) or “Renaissance”.  Renaissance is  when they added a second copy of the world (known as a facet)  with no PvP. These facets were Trammel (Safe Zone) and Felucca (Normal/PvP allowed). The most popular servers did not have the Trammel Facet. Thus I will also try and note differences for returning veterans.

Characters – whilst you’re probably used to leveling up, getting items and growing in power at exponential rates UO is very muted in comparison. Firstly there are no levels. There are stat points which go up depending on the skills you use, for example if you’re fighting or mining you will randomly get the strength stat go up or if you’re casting spells your intelligence may go up. Secondly there are no classes, you have a large pool of skills that anyone can use and raise. Skills all had percentage ratings, representing your characters mastery over such a skill and would raise randomly on use so for example you’re playing a swordsman, as you’re fighting monsters you’ll randomly gain more swordsmanship and melee related skills just by playing the game.

Now the stats were quite simple, strength for physical things, dexterity for hand skills and intelligence for magic type stuff. Skills on the other hand were wide and varied and even had nice synergies. For example, musicianship and provocation would allow a bard type player to make monsters fight each or peacemaking to stop combat in the vicinity. Someone with tracking could locate specific people or monsters in an area. Wrestling and Armslore would allow an unarmed fighter to disarm an opponent mid-fight, and if he had stealing could steal their weapon from them. The full list of skills can be found here.

uo_tamer_nightmare_shame

My Tamer training my nightmare, a powerful magic wielding steed in the dungeon of shame. As you can see not only players but tamed monsters also skill up.

Items and Crafting – in UO were also quite tame. A sword was a sword, there were no rare/epic/legendary items which made your characters immensely powered. Skilled player crafters could make exceptional gear which was better then what you bought from NPCs but that was it. These days there are magic items that can drop from anything, with more difficult content more likely to drop better items but there is also a new player skill “Imbuing” which can add magical properties to items so crafted items are not completely left behind.

There was a lot of content in UO. Combat wise the world was littered with wild-life and monsters matching their locations; dense forrests with large animals, caves and dungeons with various monsters. Dungeons were not instanced in this game, you don’t go in with a party and get your own space, dungeons were areas with harder monsters, usually in a cave or castle of sorts.

Quests – NPC quests are not the main feature of the game. Besides some introductory quests to get you going. There are escort quests to gain some money and compassion (ties in with the virtue system). Quests to get decor for your house, quests to gain access to certain features and areas. These can be done at your own pace or outright ignored. You gain skill and stats by merely playing the game, items and money also come from just playing. What I love the most is the lack of daily quests. Most MMOs when you login, you’ll need to do a list of chores like daily quests and dungeons before you’re allowed to play the game. UO allows you to enjoy the game at your own pace.

For trade and economy, all the best stuff was player crafted and sold from npc hired vendors that players would place in their own home. The best items were made by players and gear was not hard to come by soul bound was not a thing. Every item in the game was trade-able.

uo_player_shop_rune_library

A player on my server has turned their home into a store and runebook library, you can see all the NPCs hired to sell the wares and in the middle are bookshelves filled runebooks which are filled with locations for players to teleport to if they have the right skills or recall scrolls.

Exploration and Transport – Asides walking on foot there are a huge range of mounts due to the taming skill. Almost any beast you can see you can tame and by beast I mean some kinda of animal-ish thing including fantastical stuff like dragons, alien like ridge walkers or huge insect beetles. You cannot tame the undead, though when necromancers raise the corpse of a mountable creature they do get a skeletal horse but undead creatures raised by necromancers lose health over time. UO has a huge world though so there is also the option to teleport. Mages can mark locations on an item called a rune. Mages can also cast the recall spell to teleport to these marked locations or the gate spell to create a portal to these locations allowing transport of many people. Chivalry users can use the Sacred Journey spell. Other players can use the recall spell scrolls (consumable) which is crafted by people with the inscription skill. Ships are also a form of transport in the past it was merely that however with the high seas addon you’ll need to be wary of sea creatures, pirate and orc ships.

Exploration – Treasure Hunting. Monsters will occasionally drop treasure maps. If you go to these locations you can dig up a treasure chest! As apart of the high seas content you can also fish up treasure chests. These are primary activities for some players.

uo_ship_highseas

I haven’t done sailing in the high seas but here’s some players battling sea monsters. Those cannons aren’t for show and can fire too!

PvP content was not so much specific content but more so a game system. There were originally no battlegrounds or automated battle events. PvP in UO was based off a sort of legal system. Normal players names were blue, Criminals were grey and Murderers were red. Normal players with in lawful or guarded zones were protected against aggressive actions, if you touched a normal (blue) player you’d get hit with a bolt of lightning that would spawn a guard to fight you, it was instant death.  Criminals (Grey) were people who committed any unlawful act whether it be stealing or fighting (don’t have to kill a guy, just merely attack and you’re a criminal). Criminals did not have the protection from guards so were a free kill to normal players. Lastly the Murderers colloquially known as reds due to the coloured name or PKers(Player Killers). Anyone with 5 or more murders had their name turned red and be classed as Murderers. Murderers could not interact with NPCs at all so you’d need to have a house somewhere in the wilderness stocked up with resources and made sure you could sustain yourself with smart raiding and/or great pvp skills as there were roaming (There were plenty of PKK, player killer, killers who’s sole purpose was to kill murderers) . Existing outside of this blue/grey/red system was guilds. Guilds could declare each other enemies and could freely fight each other anywhere with no repercussions. Nowadays you can only commit crimes in the Felucca facet mentioned earlier in the article or on a special shard (Siege Perilous or Mugen). These servers have a special ruleset which is essentially Felucca only.  There is also a regularly occurring faction system called Vice vs Virtue. I haven’t tried it myself but there are more details here.

Crime – This was originally my main reason for playing. In modern UO crime has taken a fall however, with the introduction of the safe zone (Trammel) and now the blessed items and insurance system. However with the insurance system now, killers at least get the insurance money players spend to insure their items from dropping when they die, so a skilled killer can still earn some money. In ye old days players could directly steal anything out of another players inventory provided they had the right skills and were in the thieves guild, thinking about how the item system was you could see why thievery was not prominent. Most thief players did it just for fun, you’d make infinitely more money for the time and effort you invested through crafting or fighting monsters, even bad murderers would earn more money than you. Despite all this, it was my preferred character type back in the day. I found causing mischief much more fun then killing monsters or murdering people.

Community – The community is generally very friendly. I started playing on the official servers last month before the Endless Journey free to play option was available. Some strangers let me tag along to an adventure at a volcano zone in the newest area, some players just straight up gave me spare gear, and another a player gave me money and some powerscrolls.

End Game – There isn’t really a set “end game”. You’ll be doing what you were doing whilst skilling up and ungeared but with the ability to go in more dangerous and lucrative areas. Craft items to supply the server, treasure hunting, fishing, hunting pirates, home decor, exploration, participate in live events run by event managers and probably some other stuff I missed.

So how free is this free to play? You only have 2 character slots. You have full access to the game world, minus addons you can purchase which subscribers also have to pay for, Housing and the bank. There are also a few systems which are also inaccessible or reduced. Full Details including a full table with Subscription vs Endless Journey Accounts can be found here.

Pay to Win? – Not at all, the purchasable stuff in the game store is convenience, gear on the level that vets just give away, some decor and fashion.

Summary – Ultima Online is a unique open world experience with many activities to engage in. Adventuring, exploring, crafting, home decor and much more. The free to play offering is quite generous and should allow you to view most of the game before committing to purchases or subscriptions. Whether you’re completely new or a returning player, it’s never too late to join in, at most it takes a week to get your character up and running and even during the process you’ll be acquiring wealth and items.

FAQ

Event Calendar

 

Secret World Legends: What really changed?

 

Funcom has had problems monetising their game. Starting with a Subscription, moving onto Buy-to-Play with DLC and now finally Free to Play. Along with this free to play conversion Funcom has touted revised enhanced visuals, action combat and smoothed content flow.

Having played the original Secret World (TSW) extensively and getting back into the revised Secret World Legends (SWL) it’s quite apparent to me that game is essentially the same with some superficial changes, simplification and system overhauls to encourage spending money.

Action combat overhaul

The supposed action combat overhaul is a totally dishonest descriptor. From an operational perspective the game plays almost identically to the previous version. The only change is instead of clicking and tab targeting, you now use a mouse to look at the target instead. Skills still behave and execute identically to TSW.

combat

“Action” Combat

There is only one substantial  upfront change to make the game more “actiony”. Funcom has added secondary mechanics and/or resources to all the weapons which are all too common these days. For example sword has a bar when you fill up you can activate with a skill for bonus damage for a while or fists have a bar which you fill up you can use alternate skills for a while. It’s more of a gimmick than adding any depth or increasing enjoyment of the moment to moment action.

Some returning players may notice the whole build/spender dynamic is “gone”. I argue that it is exactly the same, it’s merely disguised. So previously once you’ve spent your resources you spend your time building em back up by using builders. Now in SWL once you’ve spent your resources you mash your “basic skill” until your energy regenerates back to spendable levels. Functionally its the same, spend resources, while empty mash something else till you can spend resources again.

secondary_resource

Weapon energy and secondary resource display

 

Revised skill system

The skill tree has been heavily reduced and simplified. As a veteran Secret World player who’s unlocked the entire skill tree and loves to play with builds and construct custom decks this was extremely apparent to me. Formerly most skills were not necessarily weapon locked and passive skills much more generically applicable which allowed for some creative or unexpected usage. Examples: Some damage builds would learn elementalist skills to unlock a passive which made every seventh shot do bonus damage, builds which utilised this passive would then stack as much buffs and bonuses as possible on this 7th shot do a lot of burst damage. There were mitigation tanks, self healing tanks, tanks that not only healed themselves but also others which negated the need for a dedicated healer in many instances. There were some hybrid damage builds like leach rifle which would damage and also heal someone at the same time, this was a great build for easier group content to allow for more damage stacking. In player versus player people made incredible damage reflect builds which would murder anyone who attacked them at the wrong time. This new skill tree has almost all passives linked to not only their respective weapons but outright match up with a specific skill to make them much simpler and way less interesting.

passives

The new passive skills. Not only can you boost “x” skill you can also get STAT BOOSTS! I know so exciting…

Enhanced visuals

Some of the skill effects have been updated but honestly an upgrade from terrible to slightly less terrible is still terrible.

graphics.jpg

Instead of merely twirling, you can twirl with some random lines. 

Itemisation

Crafting removed and replaced with a system where you consume unwanted gear to do a sort of gamble to upgrade your gear.

upgrades

Upgrade your gear for up to $2.50 USD per attempt

Progression

A leveling system added to the game to smooth out progress. Previously you merely gained skill and ability points, statistical advantage came from gear which was also limited and not ballooned to absurdity like some more popular online games (World of Warcraft). Now levels also give you statistical boosts. Quests also have level requirements, this prevents more novice players from banging their head on a wall so to speak but however prevents more knowledgeable players from progressing through content so fast. Whether this change is good or bad is debatable.

How Free is this game really?

All content is free in this iteration. The main restriction is keeping, movement speed upgrades, inventory slots and additional weapon abilities behind a “Grind Wall” of sorts. This grind wall is implemented via a currency called “Marks of Favour” which are used to unlock the aforementioned upgrades. You can earn up to 10,000 per day and this currency is locked to your character, not shared account wide. The first speed upgrade costs 1 days’ worth of grind, the second 2 days, presumably increasing drastically to encourage you to purchase their real money currency “Aurum”.

What can money (Aurum) buy you in Secret World Legends? Almost everything: skill points to buy skills, ability points to buy abilities, unlocking weapon sets, and movement speed, and inventory space. The loot system has been changed to encourage purchasing Aurum, you’ll randomly find caches that can only be opened by keys that can only be obtained with Aurum and in instanced content you’re limited to a certain amount of keys per day to open loot boxes which you can either get more per day with a subscription or outright buy with Aurum.

Can you play this game without spending a dime? Absolutely, especially when considering the main draw being mission content, exploration and story rather than some kind of infinite gear grind treadmills you see so often.

subscribers.jpg

Subscriber benefit no longer includes monthly Aurum (Funcom Points) stipend

Note for returning players

A legacy transfer procedure is available to unlock previously earned/purchased skins and subscription time (includes lifetime). More information here.

Recommendation

If you’ve never played Secret World before and you’re more into story and atmosphere definitely give it a shot as Secret World is quite unique in this regard. If you’re looking for engaging gameplay or in-depth character customisation this is a no go. For those who’ve disliked the game in the past, you’ll probably still dislike it. For those who liked the game in the past, you may not like the changes. The old game is still up but is in maintenance mode as company resources are focused on Secret World Legends.

If you think this game is for you click here for the official site.

 

 

 

Good old games: Ragnarok Online

2017_ro_doram_update

My Return

After being disappointed with Tree of Savior I was fairly burnt out from MMOs. The modern convention of WoW cloning or intentional mislabelling of multiplayer online games just didn’t appeal to me, especially since I didn’t really like the Warcraft formula at all. I thought to myself, why not just play an old game that I liked? So here I am returning to Ragnarok Online once again.

I’ve played Ragnarok Online since launch with some breaks here and there. This time my absence was 5 years.

New Character

Starting up again I decided to make a new character. I was surprised to see a new Race/Class the Doram (Cat People) Summoner class and decided to give it a shot.

On character creation they’ve gotten rid of the stat balancing hexagon, all your stats start at 1 so there’s no decision making required apart from sprite and name edits.

As a Doram Summoner you start off in a hyper whimsical area where the buildings are made of pastry and knitting are balls everywhere. As expected of Ragnarok Online the music is very atmospheric and catchy, so in this area it’s over the top cute/annoying depending on your temperament, I personally think it’s great.

lasagne_town

My Summoner in the Doram starting town of Lasagne

From the get go you’re quickly introduced to a quest chain that will teach you about the game and eventually send you off to Midgard to join other players and enjoy the classic open world grindfest.

doram_starter_quest_chain

Torturing some snake for information.

Updated Quest System and Tracker

The quest system and UI is very temperamental, likely because this game wasn’t originally designed around questing. There were several points where I was given very little direction or names of NPCs were different between in game sprite and quest journal. There is also a searchable database and tracker in game now that will give you GPS directions.

tracker_quest_ui

Tracker with guiding arrows and quest window.

Spam and Bots quelled

I’m not sure how the problem was solved, but there seems to be no/few bots and spammers. I encountered a none at all in my 3 hour game session. Previously you had to disable local chat for your chatbox to be usable and all maps were filled to the brim with bots.

no_spam

No Zeny spam or bots encountered.

Still a great game

Overall this was a satisfying return to Ragnarok Online. The population seems to be healthy (2,500 during offpeak). No/Few bots and spammers to speak of. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a comfortable grinder.

dead_branch

Dead Branches are still a thing, so be vigilant! (A consumable that summons a  monster from the games database at random)

Official Site Here

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Leveling Guide

mini_buu

You’ve probably finished the story mode by now and want to experiment with different character builds. Here are some tips to get your characters up and running.

1: Finish the story mode – This enables you to get the 40 tonne weight Super Soul and gives you access to what I’ve found to be the best EXP mission so far.

2: Pick up the 40 tonne weight Super Soul – This Super Soul doubles your score which in turn doubles your EXP gain.

Here’s a screenshot of where it’s found:

dbxv2_40tonneweights

Above the Time Machine area where you do Parallel Quests

3: Go to the Time Vault located at the far end of the Time Nest where you do your story missions. Here is where you can repeat story missions.

4: Do the story mission “By Shenron’s Might! – History Restored” (second last mission)

This should net you approximately 50,000 EXP per minute depending on your performance.

I’ve seen some people suggest doing the Captain Ginyu final mentor mission or simply doing the harder Parallel Quests but neither match the XP per minute of this method I’ve discovered.

Here is a video of a typical run through, as you can see even with mistakes I still manage to get Z-Rank and a lot of exp.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Preparation

dbxv_logo

Dragon Ball  Xenoverse 2 is coming out soon and right now there is a X2 exp event going on in Xenoverse 1. This is an opportune time to level up and unlock content to transfer your save file over.

To make the most of it I’ve created a guide for the fastest leveling experience I know of. Though the level cap is 99 the highest you need to go is 93 for the Elder Kai mentor quest.

Here is a video play-through:

Requirements:
1. DLC 3 (DRAGON BALL Z: Resurrection ‘F’ pack)

Recommended:
1. Strike Attribute Focused Character
2. Maximum Charge (From Parallel Quest 32 or buy from Skill Shop)
3. Blue Hurricane Skill (From Parallel Quest 10)
4. Z-Soul “Purple Spiral Flash!”
(This is created by combining “We’re the one and only Ginyu Force!” and “Burter is the fastest in the universe” which are both found in Parallel Quest 11)
5. Strike Focused Gear

Instructions:
Do the last PQ “The Return of the Giant Ape-Fest!”
Power up. Run into the apes and Blue Hurricane.

Mistakes:
If you mess up and don’t 1 shot the Apes. Grab them by the tail (Block+Fireball button, by default E + Q) or you can run away, charge up and go again.

Considerations:
From testing with different skills for Ki focused characters I found that the tail has its own hitbox of sorts so if you position your character in between the Ape and his Tail (being directly behind him) then you’d get more hits and thus more damage.

If you don’t have a strike attributed character you can just pick Burter. The characters seem to get stronger as your character levels so he shouldn’t be pathetic unless you’re really low level. It’s probably better to just pick Burter than to use a non-strike based character.

For leveling non-strike characters it’s faster to make a strike based character and then use the Dragonballs to wish a character reset and re-attribute your character.

If your character seems too weak or low level do Parallel Quest 53 “Dangerous Duo! Warriors Never Rest!”. In this mission just collect 3 Dragon Balls and hand in to the ship. (You can only hold 2 at a time). Repeat until you think you’ve raised your strike stat high enough or believe level is high enough for Burter to 1 shot the Apes.

World of Warcraft: Silent Edition

legion_logo_cropped

Blizzard has recently introduced a silence penalty into their flagship MMO World of Warcraft.

Supporters are not just happy but aggressively supportive about the intention of silencing bad behaviour. However there are some more cynical thinkers wary of the old adage “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. As great as the intentions are, it is important to evaluate the potential results.

An argument I commonly see is the free speech versus hate speech opposing perspectives which we see in real life right now. People are concerned about being permanently silenced for wishing to talk about divisive issues. But because the game chat doesn’t count as a public space the Warcraft user-base seems to be in support of the silencing.

Players also noted that there was already an ignore and block feature in the game. They express that this feature is over the top and a misallocation of staff resources.

A more recent and also interesting point is a user revealing that some real monetary trade websites that sold Warcraft services such as levelling and currency for money are also selling silencing services. Pay them some money and they will get your enemies globally silenced forever.

wow_silencing_sale

A screencap of a supposed silence service.

The potential for abuse from unsavoury players and businesses selling the power to abuse the system interests me.  I asked myself, what is the impact of the silencing and how exactly does Blizzard determine whether someone should be silenced or not?

From Blizzard’s article a silencing results in:

No instance chat (Raids, Party, Battlegrounds).

No access to global channels such as General or Trade.

Cannot create Calendar Invites/Events.

Cannot send in-game mail.

Send Party invitations.

Cannot send War Game Invitations.

Cannot Invite to Duel.

Cannot Create or Update a Group Listing.

Silenced players are still able to:

Whisper friends

Reply to whispers

Party/Raid Chat Only

Create Party/Raids

Talk in global channels only if there is a moderator

Share Quests

Sign up to premade groups.

The global chat restrictions seem fair enough however the restrictions for group interactions seems to be quite excessive especially since the game is so group focused.

Interestingly you can create parties but not invite anyone into them which makes me think what is the point?

The silence starts off at 24 hours and is doubled for each penalty received with no limit. This shows us how the permanent silence is achieved (many reports).

All up I think the punishment is a little excessive considering the limitation of gameplay not only generic chat features.

So what are the mechanics involved with silencing? Citing the Blizzard article “any player who is reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will, after investigation, receive an account-wide silence penalty.” From this we can infer the following:

Step 1: Multiple Reports of Spam/Abusive Chat

Step 2: Investigation

Step 3: Silence

Multiple reports can easily be abused by dummy accounts or simply many people ganging up on someone but what of the investigation? The article doesn’t elaborate on the nature of the investigation. Is it done via automation or by a human?

Automation is possible and false positives can be minimised by programs analysing the reported text and/or using heuristics to observe writing patterns but no matter how complex the method used it is always open to exploitation.

Training and maintaining the manpower to handle requests is a possibility albeit an expensive possibility. Training for investigators to understand language and cultural norms as to not ignore context is important but requires time and money. For example being much more lenient on the Oceanic realms as Australians like to revel in friendly banter in which other cultures would find grossly offensive. Who polices the police? With humans it is difficult to maintain intentions. Just as there are corrupt law enforcement and public officials. Who’s to say there aren’t corrupt people within the Blizzard support staff supporting the RMT companies on side for extra money?

Blizzard has implemented a silencing feature before in their title “Heroes of the Storm”. When implemented they used the word “investigation” throughout their article promoting the feature similar to the Warcraft article. However users have reported that it is 100% automated. Inquiries lead to Dustin Bowder the game director of Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm tweeting that it is indeed 100% automated.

dustin_bowder_silence_tweet

https://twitter.com/DustinBrowder/status/643956704489504768?s=09

This leads me to believe the article written by Blizzard was intentionally vague to minimise criticism. There is also a lack of information in regards to contesting or appealing these reports and penalty’s. Can players simply abuse the system with no recourse?

An interesting topic to say the least. My impressions after investigating the issue is that this is a well-intentioned mistake that may cost Blizzard. Firstly if they are truly investigating matters with man power it will be costly. Secondly customers leaving due to either too many false reports getting falsely accused or a stagnate atmosphere from the fear of being reported. This results in unhappy customers which will leave the game and act as negative advertising as they will share their negative experience.

I leave you with some interesting player quotes and anecdotes I’ve found.

Top comment on the Warcraft silence penalty article.

comment01

Some people are able to laugh in the face of adversity.

comment02

This user compares this to the abuse of social metrics on other services such as youtube.

comment03

This user is referencing WoW Tokens which is Blizzards first party RMT solution.

comment04

This user is in admiration of the RMT companies.

comment05

This user believes the silence services are are scam. I hope so too.

comment06

A little naive considering the discussion is about the possibility of feature abuse. But I like the optimism.

comment07

 

Most of the quotes I’ve pulled oppose the Idea but opposition on the official Blizzard forums is very much in the minority. I didn’t include many supportive quotes as the majority of them were not constructive. The supporters posts were quite vehement and emotion filled or downright insulting. The themes of supporters were as follows:

  • Anyone who disagrees deserves to be silenced
  • Insults
  • Spam
  • Accusing critics to be trolls, sock puppets or liars.
  • Accusing critics that they fear the silence because they are the type of people to get silenced (veiled insult).
  • Condescending veiled insults “Don’t break the rules, Don’t get silenced”
  • Exclamations of victory over critics
  • Futility of critics and that they will never “win”
  • Naive comments believing Blizzard will always do things well despite the lack of evidence
  • Claim human involvement with investigation despite the lack of evidence.
  • Posturing and Virtue Signalling (To be fair almost all social media platforms have this)
  • Simple disbelief and that critics and thinkers are conspiracy theorists.
  • A lot of CAPSLOCK
  • “I” don’t want to hear “opposing opinions”
  • Supporters seemed use “I”, “myself” a lot. Their desire to speak in first person seems a lot higher than critics. (Possibly narcissism combined with the blizzard forum being an echo chamber of virtue-signaling?
  • I hope you get silenced!

Unfortunately I do not have an active subscription to interview or participate in discussion on the Blizzard forums.  But it’s still an interesting topic to think about. Maybe you can think of a similar occurrence in your games or communities?

It seems to be a hot topic at the moment with threads going up constantly. If you wish read them yourself click here. I’m certain you’ll find the general sentiment to reflect what I’ve written.

*Note: Only subscribers can interact with their forums so responses may be biased in favour of Blizzard

Tree of Savior: Review

tos_logo

After months of play-time I believe I’ve experienced enough of the game to review it. Usually you’d see some kind of star or number system. I feel those aren’t descriptive enough so I am going to list what I like or dislike and why then give a conclusion.

What I liked

Combat System: The combat system is active and direct. You’ve got meaningful attacks, buffs debuffs with nice combos and interactions as opposed to the ever common rotation system you’d find in other games like Warcraft where you press a rotation of buttons to achieve one thing (damage). You can physically dodge most attacks by moving out of the way, some characters can manually block attacks or cast protection fields as well. The monsters also all have their own attributes such as race, size, element which made them more or less susceptible to different kinds of character abilities and builds which is rare these days.

Music: The music is atmospheric and varies between whimsical to epic depending on the area. There’s orchestral, electronic, pop-ish sounding music that is quite pleasing to the ears. I find myself sometimes opening up the BGM folder and listening to the games music when I do other things.

Art: The art-style and colour palette is very nice. Sometimes it looks like the entire area is painted by hand and your character fits in with the area nicely.

Character System: The character system is great and allows for great customization. For example the Cleric characters can be built into a melee-fighter, auto-attacker, full support, magic-caster or some kind of hybrid depending on your class choices along the way and the way you allocate your attributes as you level up.

What I disliked:

Content: Your typical gameplay session would involve questing. There is a main questline which awards status points upon completion so you pretty much have to do these. There are also side-quests sprinkled around the maps that award EXP cards for you to use at your leisure. The maps are designed in such a way that you are funnelled through the main quest with branches along the map where side-quests will be present which makes all maps very samey in terms of exploration.

Missions: These are in short instanced content where you’d typically kill a bunch of mobs and a few bosses. Missions are exactly the same each time so get very repetitive. You can only do 2-3 per day and the EXP to time ratio is so good you’d be mad to skip these, so this becomes a mandatory task.

Dungeons: These are introduced earlier than missions and is practically the same thing, kill a bunch of mobs and some bosses. Some dungeons have clearing requirements and some don’t so you can just rush bosses or kill in whatever order you want. Dungeons also gave good gear and really good EXP depending on dungeon which is also time locked to 2-3 times a day so you pretty much have to do these.

Conclusion: The combat system, class system and presentation is great. But the content is very linear and boring. It feels like the game was designed to be a grinder to appeal to people who don’t like grinding. The result is great gameplay with boring content, especially if you like to create multiple characters.

Recommendation: In general I’d say give this a go and see how you feel about it as the content seems to be designed with modern sensibilities in mind. If you’re an old man like myself looking for the new Ragnarok Online or a completely new experience this I’d skip this.

Links:

Official Website

Steam Page

My Class Guide (For those curious about the system)