I am a new player to Istaria:Chronicles of the Gifted. Experience with other MMORPGS is not so impressive: Runescape and one Eastern block game (not listed there as official language is not English).
How did I find Istaria? I wanted a game that would feature Crafting, would have no PvP and lots of things to explore. Tried LOTR, but it did not impress me at all. Then, decided to give Istaria a try. I have not heared much about it , so - let it be.
The game features 3 options: free-to-play (can play as Human only and no plots of land), pay-to-play (some 9$ - may play any race, but still no plot of land) and pay-ultimate (some 15$ to play, may play any race and own 1 plot of land). I decided to go for free to play and therefore chosen Human. Customization of character is good, but it is path of no return: once hair is blond, cannot do anything to become black.
Paid players may choose races: from Human to mighty Dragon. Only Dragons may choose their path, called "Hellian" and "Lunus" and only Dragons perform "rites of passage". Player starts as hatchling, then performs Adult rite of passage...and so up to powerfull Ancient Dragon.
When a character/race is chosen, a training begins. First training features Spirit Isle where new players arrive and are given first choices, first quests. I made a mistake leaving Spirit isle too soon: well, new players should always do all the tasks they may get there.
Istaria features some 28 combat and 14 crafting schools and thus "Adventure" (combat) and Crafting levels. Some schools are considered basic and have no pre-requisits to join. Some are half-prestige, requiring certain abilities and some are prestige, having sometimes high requirements. To join a school is simple: find trainer, choose "join school" option and (optionally) ask for training equipment. It is up to player to decide what does he want: become a crafter, or practice melee combat - or maybe switch to usage of magic powers? Chosen Combat school determines what armor player can choose and what weapons he may use efficiently. Chosen Crafting school predetermines usable tools too.
As in all MMORPGS, player gain experience point for certain actions: killing an enemy, crafting an item, deconstructing an item, adding materials to someone's buildings. After enough points are gained, player advances by one level. At Crafting school it means automatic increase of status. In Combat school, it means 12 training points used to 'buy' add-ons to existing abilities. Would player spent all the points to gain more health or will he increase dexterity (avoidance of being hit) - or maybe magic abilitites - is up to the player. However, the more you invest, the more expensive each 'add-on' becomes. I can buy 'add-on' of Focus at a cost of 4 training points and 'add-on' of Health at a cost of 1 training point now. So - plan for the future, plan with care.
Player can also gain experience by performing quests or using magic crystals or temporaly increasing with certain potions or even crafting in an Expert structure (gives +75 to crafting while doing any crafting there).
I do love crafting and in this field I found much to achieve in Istaria. When you join school, you are given a set of quests that both introduce to your school and gives some experience points. Almost any itenm can be constructed, provided you have formula, resources and skills high enough to produce. Formulas can be dropped by monsters or bought either from trainers/quartermasers or from Consignment stores. Some high level formulas are considered to be dropped by high-level monsters only. In order to help crafters, Cargo disks are of help to any crafters: these flowing in the air containers help gathering more resources and thus gain more experience, the only minuses being: not able to recall and reducing speed. In peacefull resource gathering, that's not a problem, but cargo disk may become a little problem if you have a horde of enemies running after you. But not to worry: cargo disk may be attached to player, as well as de-attached, even if player dies, cargo disk awaits his owner where it (disk) was left.
Some weapons may be looted from monsters: sometimes they are broken and player has to find all the required elemets + repair formula in order to make good weapon.
Basic resources are common found and at the begining player has no problems with them. Later, player has to visit some guarded locations where the reosurces are guarded and sometimes - well guarded.
Produced items may be sold to Pawn Broker/Consigner, other player or be deconstructred. Deconstruction is referred as "recycling" in the game. For example: player makes some steel bars, produces Steel swords, then choses to deconstuct steel swords, receives steel bars...and so untill the last steel bar is used. This way may be used to grow faster. In this case Crafting experience plays a big role as it determines how efficient one is at making/recycling items. For example, if you want to make some metal bar and minimum requirement is 400 (and optimal -800) and you have 401 - you won't make that bar efficiently, it may up to 5 metal ore for one bar; but if you are near 800, you may produce 1 bar from 2 ore. Some items do require double components (to make Cobalt bar, you have to have both Cobalt and Nickel). Later, some techniques may be added to items, making them more efficient: initially it is 1 slot, later - entire 3 slots. So, if you have a sword, you may add 2 slots for crystals or apply 2 techniques. The choice is yours, but crystals require monster to be slained and techniques - formula to be bought + special resources.
Crafting goes in special structures using needed tools. Some structures are provided by the game, some are by other players on their own plots. There are public plots with all structures open to anyone, so that crafter may advance very quickly. Typically there are no problems with theft: community does respect everyone who has put his resources.
Overall I am enjoying crafting. At higher levels it is becoming a bit difficult: resources are far and crafting takes more time. Crafting schools may be a place to groqw higher: you get experience while creating brick (basic item), then experience for creating a keystone or construction block and then experience for adding it to the structure.
Istaria relies on in-game currency, referred to as coins, starting from basic copper ending with Adamantium. Each coin equals to 100 lower value coins: 1 silver means 100 copper; 1 gold means 100 silver and so on. Coins may be dropped by monsters (rarely) or by selling trophies to Pawn Brokers/Consigners, selling items directly to other players or adding building materials to other players' structures (provided player has allocated money: if not, you gain experience only). There are some specialized Pawn brokers accepting only parts of the monsters. They are a good source of income too. Money is sometime given for the complection of quests.
What I really enjoy in Istaria is absence of "real currency" shops. Everyone is equal, everyone has a chance to loot epic weapon from high level monster or craft anything after his/her own taste.
Istaria may called a queen of quests. They are easy to recognize: character would have an exclamation mark above his/her head. There are crafting quests, typically involving production of items ("Go craft 5 [item name]"). Town Marshall may ask you to hunt some monsters giving experience points and/or coins in reward. Trophy hunter would always have some dirty job: bring 5 trophie tokens of some monsters and give experience in return. Some NPC may entitle you with the rank of certain mob killer if you slain >100 monsters. This title may be "Giant chicken killer" or "Exterminator" etc. Some quests involves a set of mini-quests. This is a "New trismus defender" or Vandus march line quests. I do like them most as I have to visit different locations, find different NPC, talk to them, then return to the place I began and after several run-arounds finally receive my reward. My only wish is they could have more of such quests: grinding 50-100-150 monsters is not very interesting, at least for me. Some quests involves listening to the NPC without any reward: these are intended to better know the history of Istaria.
Fortunate for thje players, Trophy hunter quests may be repeated as many time as player wishes, as long as it fits into quest level.The only thung is, a number of experience points after 5 completed quests reduces twice: if you gain 1000 xp for firs five quests, you will get only 500 xp for the 6th and further.
Overall, quest system is one of the best part of Istaria. Player would always know what to do: sometimes he would be forced to bring some friends, sometimes - alone, but still it would be interesting.
Istaria features a continet of several races fighting against the evil known only as Withered Aegis. There are monsters of all levels, starting with level 2 grullet wnding with level 112 Indestructable Fiyaki. Killing monster gives experience, as long as player's rating is less than 20 levels higher than monster's and trophies, from broken bone to rare formula, trophie tokens or even coins. However, monsters are different: one are un-social and typically would not intervene even seing their comrade is cut into 65536 pieces. Some are too social and will attack player either when they wish or when/if player attacks other monster.
Some monsters are named ones - these are typically stronger and are considered to be leaders. They are typically guarded by lesser monsters of that kind. Some quests include killing named monster. They do range from some 9 level SandStone golem Pebble to powerfull undead.
Player will meet many kind of fauna (grulets, beetles...even cold-blooded killers: Giant Chickens!), skeletons, Golems, Ogres, Pygmies and hordes of weird Withered Aegis. Sometimes enemies would attempt to attack towns deploying Blight Anchor and assaulting anyone: in such case, high-level players may help to defeat that evil abomination. Higher level monsters reside in Deadlands or in some deadly tombs.
Enemies do differ on combat styles and some strategy must be deviced: it is always a bad idea to attack group of enemies, all at the same time. Enemies may cast protecting spells on each other and even him themselves! Some of them are vulnerable to one type of damage and almost invulnerable to other. Therefore, a study about enemies is very advisable.
Players can form groups to go for a hunt or just hunt down that nasty monster: in such case, experience is divided and most is given to a higher level players. Golems may even be harvested form stone/metal/gem they represent: killing Iron golem means you can freely harvest some iron from him. Such hunts are periodically organized and serve as a practice for novice player or good trophie field for experienced ones.
Combat itself is sometimes difficult combination of player abilities versus monster abilities and mostly is turn-based, although it is possible to hit (or be hit) several times in a row. Some spells may make enemy unable to move and easy prey for attacks - but this does concern the player too. However, the player still has an option to recall: teleport to the Shrine he/she is bound to. Even if player dies, he may teleport.
Another element of battle is magic - something, no player can avoid. Player may cast healing spells helping to restore his own health or help comrades; as well player may cast some curses on monsters or assault them with spells, be it Life or Blight, Fire or Ice. Some may even resurrect player from the dead without any penalties (see below). Some may give increase in status for a long time - these are called gifts and player has limited number for these, maximum being 5. Gifts last for some 1-2 hours. Another type is "boons" or short-termed increase in status. Luckily, Istaria does not use over-boring "mana" system. Each spell has its own "cool down": if you use spell A, it would be available again after 5 minutes, if you use spell B, it may be available after 2 minutes.
Death has some surprises. There are Death points (no points untill level 5 or 10, though) and when player has too much Death points - a Death penalty is involved, reducing status by some 10%. The only way to reduce it is to visit the nearest Tavern and eat enough food. The trick is, there are only 2 good taverns - one in Aughundell and another in Carmo guild. In order to eat food it is required to sit (on the floor!) and eat. Each food has its own 'cooldown'. So, just sit, chat with friends and eat, eat, eat...or, if you want, join Confectioner school and make food yourself...
Well, istaria is not an aloner-type game. You have to find monster or you are lost in the middle of the forest - community would always help you, advice or cover you up. There are some chats one would always meet some friends or do some business ("Marketpalce", "Universal Soldiers"), some Dragon chats etc.
Istaria's strongest feature is an excellent community where everyone would help you, be it monster location or need of new armor. It is the best I have ever experienced and therefore highly reccomend.
Istaria is a big land forming 2 continents and many islands. To visit a town, one has to go there by foot/fly, attune to the temple or just attune to landing pad. There are many teleporters ("travel gates") and landing pads. To attune to some of them player has to perform certain quests. There are towns, mostly racial ones: former capital of the game - imperial looking Tazoon, two Dragon cities of Chickonis and Dralk, reptile-like race sity of Sslanis or even half-giant city of Mahagra. There are also settlements as well as player-made plots with structures and silos (these are not cities).
Istaria also features forests, volcanos, deserts, snowlands, rivers and lakes. You can see how evening comes or how Moon looks at the snow-covered fields of Mahagra or falling leaves of Sslanis forests ir just watch skies from the top of the mountain. Each town has its own distinctive design, sometimes - funny characters.
There are also player owned plots. Mostly the structures there are public access, which means you can easily craft there. The only problem being silos - sometimes they are locked by their owners so that only owner may add items. This is understandable: if I pay money for it, I may have some silos for me. These plots help greatly and personally I am thankfull to these who are building public structures.
No one is perfect in this world. And so is Istaria. Basic problems include server lags forcing player to re-logg, sometimes it is told after several hours of player game lags. As for me, I am constantly experiencing that games does not allow to to write in chat: character responds to keyboard, but no chating.Sometimes it is possible to fall into nowhere.
Combat system makes feel strange: being level X with adequate weapons, armor and gifts does not mean level X/3 won't take 10% your health with one hit. I was hurt by lvl.48 Golem the same amount of damage as from lvl.32 automatron and found it weird. Either monsters are over-powered thus making a point to hunt in groups, or combat system need updating.
There is also system of multiclassing, which is very good - but if you are, say, level 80 Warrior and decided to become a Monk - you won't gain any training point untill you become level 81 Monk. That makes one to focus on one school only (since real level cap is 100) and only then focus on another school.
Another point - updates, there are too little of them and some cool updates are promised but not implemented yet.
Some people keep complaining about graphic / game engine. I found it good for me: after all, I need a good community, big lore to explore. Music was not tested as I always turn it off in any game.
Summarizing this short review: istaria is a great game with super community that would make anyone feel like between friends. Community is adult, so you won't find childish "me iz Runescape admin buy armor from be or me will ban u". If you like questing or leading your friends into a serious battle with spells lightining the dark sky and couple of healers helping warriors to keep up fighting, or just if you like to craft - Istaria is a must for you. If you PvE so you won't get killed by somneone higher 100 level than you - Istaria is for you. However, istaria is not for "lone wolves" or fans of extremely high graphic - but this is compensated by grat community and questing
| excellent community
Game full of quests
Multi-classed battle system`
Great craft system
| server lags
too long spaces to run
not for "lone wolf" play