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Weekly Random Meaningful Blabber

A blog about anything MMO related. I suppose I could have confined it to more specific things...but I dislike losing my freedom!

Author: Gishgeron

Wonderland, a review.

Posted by Gishgeron Thursday April 10 2008 at 2:08PM
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  Allow me to begin by saying that I am only level 6, and have only JUST played the game today...and only for about 4 hours.  I typically stay away from forming opinions without really delving into something, but this game warranted my immediate written opinion.

 

  Now that this issue is cleared up and you all can see where I'm writing from, lets begin.

 

  The guys making this need a well deserved hug.  I found almost every conceptual element to this game refreshing enough that I'll be playing it for a while.  First, it plays very casually and enjoyably.  The combat system is so terribly nice compared to the boredom I'm used to in this genre.  I like turn based battles, genuinely, and found this type of said method to be very well done.  Its slick, fast, and easy to grasp without reading a single word of instruction.  The games interface was quickly learned, and I was moving right along within moments.  I found out very quickly that other players could even jump into a battle you were engaged in...though I'm still not sure how to do so myself.  Before you begin to question my earlier comment about the interface...understand that I simply did not care enough to try.  I'll explain why next.

  Groups:  Within mere moments of gameplay I had already acquired 3 NPC party members I could assign into my team whenever I wanted.  As a result, I had no need to "join" anyone because I was still to early into the game to really need an actual player behind the wheel when I can control the NPC's better than some players can control their own characters.  You can even "capture" enemies to use as pets (which is what the game calls any NPC team member) and level them as well.  You can ride pets too...and yes, this includes the humanoid NPC members I picked up lol.  I've been "riding" some straggler I picked up lying on the ground, unable to even speak the local language.  Humor entails, and I never leveled her. 

  Housing:  Immediately upon reaching the first village you can acquire a tent which will serve as your first player hosue.  So far as I know, wherever you place that thing is where it stays...so I'm hoping there is some way to pick it back up again.  The house also comes equipped with starter crafting tools in the form of a workbench.  I quickly set myself to build other starter level crafting expansions to this tool, and left it at that until I discover more about it.  Based on what I saw from what little reading I HAVE done (I prefer to dive into a game and learn as I go usually, its often a better indication of how good the UI is and how well designed the game is as a whole when you don't NEED a 120 page text document to explain everything) the crafting is pretty deep and I am actually eager to cut my teeth on it some more.  I suspect there is more to the housing thing, but I won't dwell on what I'm not sure of.

  Grind:  I felt NO grind as of yet, and I feel that I may never feel one.  Tragically, I think a lot of the grind problem games have is found in the dull combat that MMO's are built upon.  I'm having too much fun fighting things....even things ignorantly below my level trying to get crafting goods.  I never even look at my xp bar...I'm just not interested.  My goals aren't level based at the moment.

  Skills:  I have no ideal how deep this rabbit hole goes...but I do know that the element I chose offers me some 30-odd skills eventually.  Each skill gains levels based on its use...and each are tied into how the elements play on each other.  I chose water (I'm a Pisces,  and I wanted to make my avatar blue) so my initial ice-melee attack is "super-effective" against fire based foes (which I'm sure takes rocket science to deduce) dealing some 80 damage to them.  Against an earth foe...it may do 20. 

  Stats:  You assign stats, though I think the attributes stats effect actually go up each level as well.  I'm not sure, I only just now thought to check that because I hadn't placed any agility points in a level or so...but noticed my speed wasn't the same.  How the math plays out isn't important really...what is important is that you place your own stats.  I think we all kinda like that.

  Mobs:  I haven't seen anything overtly mature yet (the golems were pretty neat), but then...I'm fighting things on a tropical island too.  Since I actually enjoy vibrant colors and the act of killing wobbling piles of jello actually turns me on...I'm not complaining.  The fact that said jello then drops things I can craft with...well...is icing on my proverbial happy cake.  I've also had a few matches against some pirates, and I gotta say the fight animations are pretty hawt for a game which mimics old school console RPG combat stylings.

 

  Now for the bad

 

  Translation:  I could follow everything that was said, but its loose and kinda choppy.  No big deal for me, I've been around non-english speakers my whole life.  My current landlord is asian, and we are good friends.  I can accept that kind of thing, and generally ignore it.  It genuinely doesn't bother me, but I have to mention it because it DOES bother some of you.  If translation is going to ruin your fun (god save your gaming soul....) you may wanna try it first, but be expecting some hitches here and there.

  Population:  These newbie zones are crammed.  I need to break right now and explain something.  Combat occurs when you encounter a mob.  This happens in one of two ways.  You either click or collide with wandering mobs, or you get a random encounter in zones where you can be randomly encountered.  In random encounter zones...being crammed with players doesn't matter.  When the invisible dice say you fight, you fight.  In other places...it DOES matter.  There are also random chests that are strewn about the world which are NEVER going to be unopened because of this...but I didn't really care about that.  There is another form of encounter which comes at you in the form of scripted engagement that happens as the result of talking to certain people are following certain quests.

  Lastly...not everything is the game is super easy to figure out.  The company does have most of that information on their website, and I advise anyone interested in this to go there and read at least enough to be familiar with the site so that you can return later if you NEED to.  I still haven't figured out how to catch a pet, and am about to go learn now.

 

  My vote on this game:  7.5-7.8.   I want to really encourage developers to think outside the box...and to make a return to gaming elements that are based more on actual fun rather than bleeding my time and wallet.  The 2-D of the game is something I didn't even think to notice.  I was actually glad for it, because I needed something fresh after all my time in these stagnate 3-d worlds that offer nothing.  I won't swear I'll keep that score as I play on...or even once the game leaves beta.  But for now, for what I've just played, this is the score they deserve for making me as happy today as I have ever been in MMO's in all of my life.

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