| ‘Fun’ is found later, little fun in beginning
Areas seem closed off
Auto-Move—you can be moving for 5, 10, 15 minutes…
Quests and main storyline un-compelling
Every good MMO should have crafting. For some players, crafting is a separate game in a game, and for this reason, an MMO with a poor crafting system will lose out on a large player-base. I'm a mid-level crafter. I get sucked into crafting for a few weeks, then stop, then start, then change my mind completely, start over, etc. etc., but an MMO without crafting is not much of an MMO for me. Crafting in Atlantica is essential, since at higher levels all of your gear really should be crafted. You can learn to craft from an NPC or another player. You gain crafting components in a similar fashion to other MMOs, either purchasing or killing mobs, and mobs mainly only drop crafting materials randomly, but remember your Handy Dandy Notebook? You can find out which mob you need by pulling up that mob and their information. This comes in handy when you're trying to figure out what you need to kill to obtain a certain ingredient. Your ability to craft something depends on workload, and you don't need to be in town or a city to craft, you have to have a certain workload instead. There's also an auto-craft action that can be acquired in game.
The tutorial quests are a positive. Each quest in the early levels teaches you a function of game-play. I like the way the tutorial is incorporated into the overall story, but it doesn't overcome the basic problem of the game which is, even the quests seem half done and uninteresting. This isn't a problem when you are in the first three starting areas, 'dreaming' with the three sisters. But when you get into the game, the quests aren't that compelling. I loved the auto-move function, but found that once I selected Auto-Move, my mind wandered to something else: the television, a snack, laundry... I'd get up, leave my character moving somewhere in the game, and then forget entirely about coming back to play it. The auto-move encouraged abandonment of the game. Listening to the narration would have been cool if I didn't find the actual dialogue annoying... 'I don't want to talk right now, so why don't you go away' type dialogue just seems to make the game less immersive. Also, the user interface for quest dialogue could have been done better - there has to be a way to get rid of the [brackets] around certain [highlighted] words.
This feature is one of Atlantica's more redeeming qualities, and probably where they hook a large number of players. Arena betting is conducted at specific times of the day, and while I avoided this feature, having a highly addictive personality, I encourage everyone else to become addicted to it. Bet on your gladiators and throw some in-game money down. It's a way to do something different in game, and one of the details in Atlantica that explains why people stick with it. You can pick your favorites, the long-shots, the sure-to-wins, and then during the match, chat with others betting.
I expected this game to start out exciting, and to hook players early in order to get players to shop the item-mall and engage in the player and GM events and the gambling. After all, if you start out playing a game that you really like straight off, it's easy to justify spending money, gambling and frolicking in the areas that will make NDOORS a profit on this game. I didn't feel that in this game. I kept hoping as I went along that something interesting would pop up, but all I could think as I played was that I could just log in to EQ II. There wasn't any reason for me to stay long enough to want to buy anything. The truth is, the game gets more fun the more you play it and the more side-features and tricks you learn. It's not the questing, the wandering and the end-game that will keep you engaged. It's the style of combat, the equipping of you and your mercenaries, the tactical combat style, the betting, the crafting, the community and a myriad of other 'side' reasons to stay that you won't discover until oh, level 20 or so. The story is okay, the quests aren't interesting and the narration can be... annoying. The one redeeming quality is the turn-based combat. I encourage everyone to try this game out, but don't pass judgment until you've 'found the fun' because it's there; it just takes a while to get to. This is a game I will return to and play, especially if I can avoid getting sucked into spending too much money in it, but as of now, it's not my first-choice game. As I go off and explore more and quest less, I may change my mind. This is a game well-worth sticking around and expl