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My 2 Copper's Worth

Well we're on a website dedicated to MMO's so I'll give you one guess as to what I'll write about. And no it's not mustard.

Author: ivan50265

The Chronicles of Spellborn: First Impressions.

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday March 29 2009 at 11:43PM
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    As many of you may or may not know I am currently in between games. While in between games I have two things I like to do which is revisit old games to see if I can remember why I left it and try to find new ones to play.  The latter reason of course led me to "The Chronicles of Spellborn."  I decided to give this new game a little test drive to see if it might be a nice time sink until the mmo's that I'm waiting on launch.  Below are my first impression of the game.

First Impressions

 

   So let me start off by saying I wasn't ever really excited about this game for two reasons.  First was Spellborn International's attempt to wow me with the GDC 2008 music video/trailer  "Within Temptation." Watch at your own peril here www.gametrailers.com/player/31296.html

   The second would be finding out the Acclaim would be the US publisher for the game.  For those of you who are not familiar with Acclaim presently I'll give you a quick run down their games are generally Free 2 Play Asian inspired grind fests that if they ever do offer you a story attempt to kill you with boredom and monotany in an attempt to get to it. 

   But I never try to condemn a game that I have never tried whether or not it's got a lame publisher and a music video.  But I do like to know what I'm getting into so I just click on over to the handy dandy MMORPG.com game page and look to see what's in store for me while I download the client.  So here's what the game page tells me:

 

"What differentiates ‘The Chronicles of Spellborn’ from other MMORPG's?

Having your own virtual identity from the start and to grow this identity meaningful by:

Dress to impress: From day 1 you will be able to look cool by choosing and changing clothes, armors, weapons, skills.
Influencing the world with your actions: This ranges from lifelike statues of your character in Quarterstone to unlocking and owning new parts of the worlds through questing, politics and conquest.
‘Join and play’, you don’t have to walk whole marathons before the fun starts.
‘The Chronicles of Spellborn’ combat system based on skill decks. You will be able to create your own individual fighting style."

  Ok for fariness sake let's just use this criteia for my first impressions. 

Dress to impress: From day 1 you will be able to look cool by choosing and changing clothes, armors, weapons, skills:
  

TCoS does have a robust character creation system where you can pretty much look like whatever you choose within the choices given no matter which of the three initial classes (fighter, theif, mage) you decide to go with.  I should also mention that you also get the choice of two races the humans or daevi. All in all there is no lie when they tell you that you will look like a bad ass rather than a peasent from the outset.  And I will add I was impressed by the amount of customization options for weapons and armor I did not even come close to meeting myself while I was playing the game. 

‘Join and play’, you don’t have to walk whole marathons before the fun starts.:
   There is definitely no walking marathons before the fun begins as you do start on a floating rock that looks like a ship in space.  This serves as your tutorial whic of course teaches you the basics and is really well done.  You beat up some straw dummies and boxes to learn the combat system and then get tested when your ship is attacked by somthing reminiscent of an obese mynock that spits out little baddies for you to kill. So needless to say I was pumped to get into the game world and start out this awesome action packe adventure.  When I got to the beginning part what did I find but fucking fetch quests.  You have got to be kidding me.  One minute I'm fighting off weird space insects the next I'm asked to quell the local bear population and thus begins the down hill slide.

Influencing the world with your actions: This ranges from lifelike statues of your character in Quarterstone to unlocking and owning new parts of the worlds through questing, politics and conquest.
Well if you're looking to make an instant impact on the world other than being a homicidal park ranger in a land filled with homicidal park rangers you will not.  It never ceases to amaze me how developers will dangle some great feature of their game in front of you only to make you earn the privelage of actually doing the one thing you started playing the game in hope of doing by having you wade through fucking fetch quests to get to that feature.  Now I'm not saying I want a statue of my toon at level 10 or even impact the world in some profound manner, but it would be nice to somehow be given the opportunity since I already look like a bad ass to do something other than kill x number of wildlife or deliver kegs of beer to the local inn.  At least throw me some sort of bone here an intriguing quest line, or some little taste of the bigger questing, politics, conquest picutre. 

The Chronicles of Spellborn’ combat system based on skill decks. You will be able to create your own individual fighting style."

Ok so here's the game mehcanics in a nutshell for ya.  Skill decks is pretty much a catch phrase for spinning hotbar. If you look at the piture above you'll see what I'm talking about, Now the trick is where you position your moves depends how efective you are in combat.  Eventually if you place moves right you'll be able to fire off some serious combos but don't get ahead of yourself.  Before that though be prepared to have more skills than spaces in the rolling hotbar soem will call this tactical other may call it annoying for the purpose of this post I'll go tactical.  each column has a correspondning number from lfet to right 1-5 to be exact, but each time you hit an ability on one row you go to the next.  Add on the target reticule that must be kept on your target at all times in order to attack and mix that with trying to get thr right nuber pressd to execute the right move in the right row and you have a pretty clunky combat system.  At best it takes some serous getting used to.  I give kudos for trying something new but in my opinion it deters from the game experience as opposed to enhancing it. 

Random thoughts:


  The game is graphically very good looking and ran on my laptop lag free on the highest graphics setting.  

   The community is friendly and helpful not unlike alot of games at launch or open beta. 

   The whole sigil idea as a way of customizing your equipment is interesting but honestly I found myself wishing I could have found some equipment as the loots tend to be worhless.  As well they did a very good job on the beginning armor pieces and weapons I would have like to found some more to add to my toon. 

   The game is a freemium which means you can play to a certain level before you have to pay a membership to go further.  Which leads me to my biggest gripe about this game. Nothing about the early levels of this game to make me want to pay to go any further.  The stroyline failed to reveal itself although it offers hints to itself at times.  If you want me to play further give me a taste of the overall storyline as well as affecting the land. Now before you start the "you have to play the game longer" bit I will say no I don't and I shouldn't have to.  If you want to grab a player base right off the bat do it through good strorytelling and interesting quests not the promise of it later when you're paying. 

TCoS looks like and interesting world on paper it failed to grab this player's  interest.  Grat graphics mixed with mediocre gameplay and absolutely lame ass fetxh quests which can be found anywhere leave me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I will not condemn this game hell I'll actually reccomend you give it a shot since it's free for the first 7 levels, but the next time I see an mmo with a music video for a trailer and a publisher that is known for uninteresting grind fests for games I might just leave it alone.

 

And that's my 2 copper.

Have a good week all.

Ivan

craynlon writes:

nice first impressions
the problem i have with these first impressions (theres a number of them now) is that its just that, a first impression.

it might also be a problem of accalim or tcos eu to only give new people access to a char up to level 7

a think that i noticed in a lot of posts/blogs lately is ppl seeing the combat deck as a rotating hotbar.
keep in mind that by level 7 you have only 2 rows and 3 slots (of 5), no combo starters, no combo build ups, no finishers, no skill or item sigils to influence strength, range and execution time of the skills, no body slots and very little skills that actually depend upon each other.

playing 3 month now with 2 different 34 chars and a 25 char i have to say i love the concept of the skilldeck. i constantly rearrange the damn thing finding new ways to optimize my deck. while 2 weeks into aoc or war (prolly wow as well) you find the "optimum skill tree" for your class. 3 month into tcos people still shifting skills and finding new tactical setups.
at around level 30 you have all rows and colums at your disposal and a ton more skills then that would fit into your deck not to mention that youd want to place certain key skills in the multiple times. my vision of the game is that the devs even introduce more and more skills later on.

Mon Mar 30 2009 3:11AM Report
PalmTrees writes:

Your first impressions match my own. Decent enough world, visually but nothing but boring delivery, kill and collect quests. Including crap like pigs that don't have meat on them when you kill them.

Ugh, and don't make new players fight vermin and assorted normal animals. Freaky monsters, sentient beings of opposing factions; those are the enemies of adventurers.

Combat has some twitch with the ability to dodge attacks. Mobs go: 1. move to you 2. pause 3. attack. During that pause phase if you back up or strafe behind them they'll miss and then you can go in for a free hit. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I got tired of the jousting and stood there and traded blows.

Mon Mar 30 2009 4:11AM Report
biff10426 writes:

Craynlon's pretty right, just like my own "first impressions" thing, we find that the combat system is new...but yea, a rotating skill bar.

 

Problem is no one, outside of bigger name reviewers that get to go deeper into the game without paying the fee, is going to be doing a full "review", unless Cray there wants to do one. >_>

Mon Mar 30 2009 12:09PM Report
jefaw82 writes:

Exactly. No fun at all and nothing to make me want to pay to play.

 

I do disagree with the "well designed tutorial" part of the blog. Personally, I thought it had a feeling of being slapped together over night and probably the last thing they put into the game before release. Anyone with half a brain and a little gaming experience knows how to move around in a game. The "walk tot his glowy spot... and again... and again... and again..." got very old very quickly. They could have shortened that a tad.

The breaking of the barrels was as dumb a tutorial task as they come. Combat could have been fully explained during pauses in the deck battle.

I know it's not a huge part of the game, but the tutorial still needs to be fun . I knew from the beginning that the game was going to be complete suck... and after 10 minutes of in game play I found out I assumed correctly.

Now it may not be a great game as a whole, but the funnest tutorial in an MMO I've ver done is the tutorials in City of heroes/Villains. CoSB could have borrowed a card or too from that deck and my opinions might be a little different. But then that may have just led to a fun tutorial preceeding a major suckfest of an in game experience.

Mon Mar 30 2009 12:25PM Report
Hiroko33 writes:

/agree. I played around for a few hours to see if I like the combat system. I really wanted to like this game because I'm currently not playing any MMO atm. But sadly, I didn't like the combat system at all. Waiting & fighting for the bear spawn (since not many bears around although you have to kill x bears) was pretty boring too. I'm disappointed. I liked the graphic tho....oh well.

Mon Mar 30 2009 4:18PM Report
Cynthe writes:

The tutorial was probably slapped together overnight, I'm going through it myself and while it's ok and does it's purpose it's just ok.

Fukin fetch quests, that's the only thing I disagree with. It's an MMO, it's going to have lame ass fetch quest in some shape or form. Perhaps their mistake is to slap it so early on, not that they weren't told they should have some better worded quests, because they were..... *cough*

Mon Mar 30 2009 6:31PM Report
Kordesh writes:

 "but it would be nice to somehow be given the opportunity since I already look like a bad ass to do something other than kill x number of wildlife or deliver kegs of beer to the local inn. At least throw me some sort of bone here an intriguing quest line, or some little taste of the bigger questing, politics, conquest picutre."'

You get to those quests as of about level 10, which honestly, takes maybe a day or two tops. Personally, I'd consider that plenty fast. There are a few interesting quest lines to start off with as well if you're willing to look beyond the "bear quest". The trial really should have been extended to 10, because you're playing almost an entirely different game at that point with the vaults quests and such.

As for your opinion about the skillbar, I can only acknowledge it as your opinion. Personally, I think the whole skilldeck thing is great. It doesn't really play its part until you get openers and finishers to perform combos at 16 however. There's also not terribly much you can do with the few starting rows you're given to get you used to it.

All in all, your making the same mistake many others have in juding the entirety of the game while likely never playing past level 5, when it doesn't even really begin until well after. And before you go "Oh but it should be given to me nooow ;;" for one, this game definitely does not work like that or cater to that playstyle. Secondly, you can hit 16 easily in a week, less if you're not running around and actually exploring/experiencing the world (which you really really should). 

Honestly, the one thing you DIDN'T bitch about, which is the one thing that's truely worth complaining about, is that it's taking forever right now for major patches to come over from the EU servers to the Acclaim servers. 

Tue Mar 31 2009 4:49AM Report
Sargoth writes:

I find it hard to justify incrementing the skill deck bar thing as a level progression device.  It's like Aoc giving you two extra swing directions when your lvl 40/50 or so.  It's a gimmick.  The spawns in the beginning are atrocious and do not help any new people to continue on playing. 

If the game is a free trial to lvl 7 and the game sucks hard till lvl 16 or whatever you claim, don't you think theres going to be people that will not pay to play?  The entire first part of the game has been done horribly as far as hooking players to get them to pay.  No taste of combo's, not even a noobie combo to whet your whistle.  Spawns suck.  I started a char on the pvp server and the first thing I see is a gold spammer bot.  No simple right click chat interface for ignore or whisper or anything. 

Plus acclaim is handleing the server so the options to pay suck hard.  You have to buy two months to get down to the regular fee of 15. 

Overall interesting idea but the screwed up hard with the scroll bar skill deck thing.  It's simple.  Never create a device that the user should focus instead of the combat.  I don't want to stare at my skilldeck, I want to watch my sword swing. Not some rotating hotbar. 

Tue Mar 31 2009 10:18AM Report
arrowotwood writes:

If you're not satisfied about Acclaim and their handling of servers then join the international servers hosted by Frogster & Mindscape/Spellborn NV. These users get the patches the quickest as well ;).

Tue Apr 21 2009 12:01PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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