The name of this game is not in the Nietzsche concept of "God is dead and we have killed him." No, it's more of the "We killed God, buried him in the backyard next to the gardenias and oh shit, I hope no one finds out" kind. With a name like Deicide (The act of killing a being of a divine nature), you'd hope the game would at least have some sort of god theme going. Alas, it did not. A quick gander at the creation myth on the official website left a little to be desired. I don't hold this against the game makers; not every one can have the deep background already built up like the Warhammer Fantasy universe. At this point in this hopelessly flooded market of almost non-playable MMOGs, trying to do something original story-wise runs into the "Simpsons did it" problem: All the good and decent ideas are already taken.
While I was researching the background to this game, I ran across an interesting entry in the official mythos of the game. This line taken verbatim from the 5th chapter entitled "The war against evil" of the History of Deicide was indicative of a continuing problem:
"Finally humans fond about the fact that Karis's vengeance is not over yet by one of their Oracles."
Yeah, wrap your head around that. I pray this game was made by non-English speakers with no quality control, but I doubt it. Most ESL people I've met have better grammar than I do. There are many points in the game that are just as bad if not gut-wrenchingly, hilariously worse. We'll get to those in a bit.
After reading up on the game controls (hint: left click!), I decided to download the game and give it a try. While it was downloading, I read up on the MMORPG.com forums for the game and discovered there was, at least at one point, a virus in the updating program. Whoops! I updated my anti-virus and crossed my fingers while I watched some LOLcat videos (possibly for the last time) and waited for the download to finish. The install process went without a hitch and I successfully created and logged into the game. Nothing fancy in all those steps. They seemed to understand that their game was free and they should streamline the process to make it easier to get into it.
There are three servers to choose from at the moment: Vail, Miras, and Test. The one I picked, just because it was on the top of the list, was Vail. The loading was very minimal, but then again it should be: there's not much there to load.
Character creation was pretty standard here. You choose gender, hair, face, upper clothing, and lower clothing. There was no race choice, so everyone plays human, which was more an aesthetic choice at this point. The leveling up system was different from most, and I think in a good way. Most games give you experience for killing "bad" NPCs. They don't care how it's done as long as the baddie goes down. In Deicide, leveling up was attached to the skill you use to kill them. They are broken up into four basic groups: Close Attack, Range Attack, Dark Magic, and White Magic. As you use these skills, you increase your level in those particular skills. Your character's actual level was then calculated by adding all four groups together (ei, 4 in Close, 2 in Range, and 5 in Dark magic equals a level 11 character). The leveling of your standard attributes of Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence are done, seemingly at random, but I'm sure they have they're own leveling setup. This does lower the meaning of the Character's level, but that wasn't doing you much good anyway. There's no way to tell which enemies are in your ability to kill and that would be very useful seeing as you can't tell from the monster's names. Who knew I'd be able to take on a dragon hatchling but get absolutely mauled by a zombie dog?
The first thing I noted upon entering the game was the music. It's actually good! I don't know what or where they got it from, but it had a very Gothic feel to it. It's amazing how well the music set the mood for the game; quite beyond what I expected. It matched the game quite well. In Vail, (the town in-game, not the server), the same song repeats over and over. I almost had to turn it off, but then I went to the next area. No music whatsoever. It's actually kind of creepy. I thought everything was about to crash. After I passed through that area, however, the music was back.
The world wasn't open with the ability to explore in whatever direction you wish to go. It was closer to a linear path with precious few forks in the road. It was obvious that the town at one end was the safe zone, comparatively speaking, with monster roaming through the other zones with a few safe spots to recover health and buy items from a single vendor. This was probably the most damning thing for me. If I can't explore, there's not much in the game.
Visually speaking, the game was a little behind the times, even in MMO terms. The graphics remind me of an updated version of Vagrant Story, which, sadly, was not a complement. That's Playstation graphics for the uninitiated. Considering this game came out in 2006, this was not good. It also pulls out an old trick from N64 days: The fog.
To keep engine lag down and to keep the system requirements are their barest lows, the developers used a fogging technique to limit how far the player can see. In most games , this was adjustable, but the only thing graphically adjustable in Deicide was the screen resolution and some generic texture depth setting. And speaking of environment, there's no real sky. The fog just changes colors depending on what time of day it was. There's no sun, no actual clouds, and no stars. The ground looks like it was painted on, there's no buildings that are accessable (at least none that I've seen), and the highest detailed objects are the players.
On the plus side, the animations aren't too bad. The character running looks okay, and the combat animations are up to industry standard. There are virtually no loading times on my computer, which was about a year old as of this writing. Once you enter an area, the load was instantaneous. I suffered no lag while playing, so for those of you with a lower end computer, and not-so-great connection, I would almost recommend this.
The HUD was very minimalist, which was something I like, but there's no real ability to adjust it. Just like the controls, everything was set. You are constantly displayed your name, health, mana, and overall level. There was an experience bar, a chat window with various standard options, and quick tabs. This was usually enough for anyone, and Deicide does not stray from the industry standard. Still,a few more options would be nice.
Everything in the game can be done using the 1-4 keys and the left mouse button. The only thing the number keys are used for was changing which type of combat you're using. You move, target, and attack with the left mouse button. You can zoom in/out as well as pan left and right with the WASD keys, but that function can be done with the mouse as well, using the wheel. That's basically it. If you need more info on that in-game, you can just his the "H" key, but as far as standard iteration, that's it. The combat was your typical click-and-wait; you click on an enemy to tell your character to attack it, wait until either it's dead or you are, then collect whatever bounties there might be.
This leads me to my favorite part of the game; the NPC dialog. This stuff was amazing. The greatest writers of the 20th century have nothing, NOTHING on these guys. We'll start light, with Vumbi. He's a armor maker and salesman. He says, quite rightly, "If you want to survive, just get yourself ready for monster such as Troll, with better armor." You can understand why I thought this might be an English as Second Language game. There's sense there, just not much. Similarly, Berman the weapons maker says, "Damn it, how more wight should I loose to get married? I'm sick of taking this spa here at forge." Once again, a certain understanding was conveyed. Tuilmarr, whose only purpose seems to be to allow you access to your warehouse and bestow this pearl of wisdom, says "Damn it, I Tuilmarr will be returned to Centurio. Love handle, that's no big deal." If you focus on just the first sentence, then everything was okay, but I'm trying to figure out who he's calling Love handle. Or perhaps that's a new curse? Maybe I'm Love handle? These are gems, but nothing holds a candle to May, the Navi-like character that follows you around for the first ten levels.
This Great Gazoo look-alike simply baffles me. From his lines "I am the May used to rock the house" to "You know what?... There was a whole another you inside you.." None of these hold a candle to my favorite line "If you have to unreash your anger, do it on me." That's right, UNREASH your anger! Do I "rack de disciprine" as well?
After playing the first ten levels, I get the discomforting feeling that this game was ignored. It was ignored by the mainstream MMO crowd because it was ignored by the developers who worked on it. There was no reason for as many mistakes as I have found in it. The graphics are behind the times, but that's not as bad as the stale combat, the now-repetitive music, and obvious lack of quality control across the board. Fans of this game will undoubtedly respond with their praise and defense of the game, but that's true of anything nowadays. I'm not sure I can properly rate this game on a 0-10 system, so I'll do the next best thing: I do not recommend this game. If you have a low-end machine, there's plenty of better games to try out before this one.