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Wakfu (WF)
Ankama Games | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 02/29/12)  | Pub:Ankama Games
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:$06.00
System Req: PC Mac Linux | Out of date info? Let us know!

Wakfu Review: Our Official Wakfu F2P Review - Edit

Polish - 9 /10

Ankama, the developers of the game, are a French company. And because of that, I forgive them for the tiny quirks that are seen in the dialogue for some of the NPCs. You can also find NPCs with curious names like 'The Hullk' and 'Buddy Hully'. Makes you wonder whether the localization team had trouble translating the French names or the developers were having fun whilst naming the characters. Minor localization issues aside, I'd say they did an amazing job making the game as good as it is.

I haven't encountered any bugs so far in the time I spent playing Wakfu. Most people would expect game breaking bugs and server issues to crop up from the majority of online games in their first weeks after launching (even after closed and open betas), so I'm relatively impressed by the non-existence of any issues that may have hindered my gaming experience.

 

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Longevity - 6 / 10

It's always hard to say for certain whether a MMORPG has legs, the kind that lets them keep running and running for the next few years. Whether an online game is still around after a while is dependent on factors like the player community, the amount of things to do in the game as well as the player's own preferences.

For me, I find it rather hard to keep playing Wakfu under a F2P account. I'm not an achievement hunter, so the long list of in-game cheevos don't exactly set my gaming passion on fire. What I always look for in an MMORPG is collecting equipment, exploration, story and endgame.

Seeing as I'm unable to craft using a F2P account, I doubt I'll ever be able to make my own equipment. Buying it from the 'marketplace' (auction house) is not possible also as that requires in-game currency that I am unable to mint due to the inability for the F2P account to use a minting machine. So... collecting equipment is is a no go.

Exploration is a mixed bag in this game. The starting area and your faction's lands are explorable. But to see everything the game has to offer, you'll need to at the very least make 4 different characters to join each of the four nations and also become a paying subscriber to access certain areas.

As for story... well, that's a really tough issue to tackle. Wakfu is based on the French animated series of the same name. And if I wanted story, I'd probably get a lot more (52 episodes worth) from the 2 seasons of the animated series than from this game.

The story in the game is minimal. What's listed in your 'quest log' as story quests are actually shoddily disguised achievements. I kid you not. One of the 'quests' in the tutorial area requires the player to wait for an NPC to randomly drop a feather. It's a rare drop by the way, with somewhat complicated conditions. Urgh.

The only way to make this NPC move about and drop stuff is to kill off all the sheep in vicinity. That's a bit hard especially when another 'quest' taking place in that same area requires you to re-populate the sheep. Thus, you'll have a situation where one group of cheevo hunters are frantically killing sheep while another group is repopulating them to complete the quest and get an emote scroll.  Double urgh.

Endgame for Wakfu involves the player going up against Ogrest. He's a crying Ogre at the top of a mountain. You're actually given a chance to meet him immediately after exiting the tutorial area. It's a very short meeting by the way.

Players are actually able to pick up the quest to gain access to the 'final dungeon' as soon as you enter the starting area of the game, Astrub. Whether you're able to survive the waves of enemies on the boat ride there is an entirely different matter though.

Social - 7 / 10

The lack of a global chat channel definitely limits the social aspect of the game. While everyone is able to chat freely, only the people next to you will be able to see what you're typing. Paying subscribers are able to set up guilds in the game, but I'm not really sure whether F2P players are entitled to join them.

All in all, the time I spent in Wakfu was generally a pleasant one. The player community seemed mature. Some of them appeared to have immigrated to Wakfu from Dofus whereas a few others were like me, just running around exploring and taking everything in. A few guys did try and challenge me to a duel but I always rejected the offer. It was a nice change from the non-consensual PvP that I was always subjected to in Ultima Online.

Value - 7 / 10

As the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison. There's a lot to love about Wakfu. It's not everyday you come across a game this beautiful which just lets you explore to your heart's content. I loved what I saw in Wakfu, and therein lies the main problem with being a F2P player. I loved what I SAW, not what I DID.

I was never really able to invest myself in what the game had to offer because everywhere I went outside of the starting area was peppered the very blantant 'You need to pay to enjoy this' message. Compared to other F2P games out there that allow their players to do everything under the sun, Wakfu's business model feels like a step backwards when compared with F2P games from other companies.

In Conclusion

Wakfu is going to be a tough sell to the F2P crowd of today, or even the MMO crowd in general. The main target audience for this game is obviously the fans of the animated series in France or former players of Dofus. Newcomers will have a hard time adjusting to a game which lacks the modern conveniences found in many MMORPGs today. The restriction of player content based on whether you pay or not doesn't help matters too.

In contrast, Wakfu is a truly beautiful game. I'm sure you're getting tired of me saying this but it's true. There are gardens, grassy plains, cities, taverns, houses, workshops, places that are just begging to be filled with players. There are chairs and benches everywhere you go and to make things even sweeter, the monsters don't aggro. It's as though the developers predicted that many F2P players will opt to use the game as a graphical chatroom. And with the game client being so lightweight, it's not inconceivable that many of them will actually choose to do so. I know I would.

This game may not be for everyone, that much is certain. But since it's free to download and explore, I would sincerely urge everyone to give it a try at the very least, to savour the sights and sounds of a truly beautiful online world.

Final Score

7.8

Pros
 Beautiful F2P game
 Consensual PvP
 Easy to pick up
 Monsters don't aggro
Cons
 Lack of real story & quests
 Lacking modern MMO conveniences
 Some features require subscription
 UI ill-suited for hi-res monitors
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