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Aika (AIKA)
Hanbit Soft | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 12/31/10)  | Pub:Redbana
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:Free
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

AIKA from the experience of a former player (Not Advertising!)

A PvP-oriented F2P MMO with a politics metagame. A spiritual successor to Tantra Online.
Final Score

8
Great

Pros
 
 Huge battles everywhere, everytime
 Politics metagame
 Simplified game mechanics
 Crafting for everyone
 Nymph sidekicks with personality
Cons
 
 Lack of dueling
 Global server is emptier than gPotato server
 Lack of character customization
 Late game could become a grindfest
 Gender locked classes
Disclaimer: The following article is the sole opinion of its author and does not represent MMORPG.com in its thoughts or opinions. This is not an official MMORPG.com editorial article.

My first MMORPG was Tantra Online. Even if Tantra was not perfect and lacked in a lot of aspects, it had almost free for all PvP and some original concepts like skill combos (skill X does extra damage if applied immediately after skill Y). So, when I read that JoyImpact, developer of Tantra, just launched a new game and that such a game had won awards in South Korea, I decided that I had to try it. And by day zero, I had downloaded the client, that was surprisingly lightweight (around 450 MB), and was ready to test it.


You have 6 classes to choose from. Unfortunately, classes are gender locked in order to minimize the memory footprint of the game. So you have:

  • Warrior (male, offensive melee)
  • Paladin (female, tanking melee)
  • Rifleman (male, offensive ranged)
  • Dual gunner (female, assasin ranged)
  • Warlock (male, attack caster)
  • Priest (female, healing caster)
Each class has like 5 faces, 5 hair styles, and 5 hair colors to choose from. So it probably will dissapoint severely those wanting extensive character customization.
 
Lots of gameplay mechanics considered standard for F2P MMORPGs have been tweaked in AIKA to make them easier. By example:
  • You don't have to manually pick mob loot. Its automatically added to your bags. (But in the other hand, you have to take care of discard unwanted items, or very soon your bag will be totally cluttered)
  • You can craft almost any item. You don't have to learn a separate crafting skill, your crafting is limited only by your level.
  • You don't lose experience when killed by mobs. You lose armor and weapon durability. An item whose durability reaches zero is the same of not carrying any item.
  • You don't need a cash shop item to redistribute your skill points, you can do it for in game money.
The game runs relatively smooth in somewhat outdated hardware. 
 
The PvE part is almost standard, quests give you enough experience the majority of the game to ensure that you don't need to grind, at least until higher levels. Dungeons are very few, they are instanced and the party leader can choose the difficulty of the dungeon. When you have all 6 classes in your party, the party receives a bonus buff.
 
The main outstanding deature of the PvE game is your nymph sidekick, called a PRAN (Princess of air nymph). You get her in a quest, and it evolves gaining experience as you kill mobs. It asks you questions often, and depending of those question she changes her personality and the way she interacts with your character. And she has buffs that enhance your attack or defensive qualities. 
 
The world is seamless, meaning you don't experience load times between areas. The world has 2 channels, PvP and PvE. Players from other nations different from yours cannot enter the PvE channel of your nation.
 
You have an auction house where you can put items to be sold, but you can put a personal store if you want to.
 
Items, meaning armor and weapons, can be enhanced from +1 to +11. But you have the chance to break an item during enhancement.
 
Now to the PvP part:
 
There are 5 nations in the game. They are not nations in the common sense of the term, they have exactly the same maps, and you move from nation to nation via a dimensional rift. Before you get to level 10 you can enter whatever nation you want on game login, but once you choose a nation, you can only enter this nation and have to use the rift to travel to enemy nations and a local NPC to move to ally nations.
 
Each nation has temples in its territory. Those temples hold valuable relics that give nation wide buffs to players. So most of the time nations are raiding each other to get as much relics as they can, and those battles can have 60 or more players in each side. Relics are similar to the kalas in Tantra's Kruma, but they grant buffs instead of opening another area.
 
Each nation has a player-driven government. To decide which alliances will rule each nation, every weekend an event is uphold called the Castle Siege, reminiscent of Tantra's Biryu Castle Siege. And by virtue of that, alliances wanting to win the Castle Siege have to recruit as much powerful players as they can, be somewhat popular, etc. Thats where the politics metagame starts. Former governments that performed poorly are unpopular, and they face greater difficulties trying to recruit players to win the Castle Siege.
 
Governing aliiance gets permanent buffs and the right to decide the tax rates. Tax money is needed because you can upgrde defenses at temples, or buy defenses for your castle during castle siege. Taxes are applied both to auction house and personal merchant stores. But if a government raises taxes too much, they can lose the nation's popularity and face a bigger enemy force at the next castle siege.
 
There are battlegrounds, where all players scale their HP and MP upon entering, to ensure a most balanced gameplay, but even then, as equipment bonuses are not scaled, higher level players have some advantage.
 
There are 2 PvP features that i miss from Tantra Online:
  • Dueling. There is no dueling in AIKA. A shame, given the strong PvP orientation of the game.
  • Skill Combos. (Skill X doing extra damage immediatly after skill Y).
Cash shop items are mainly no-fail enhancement items, aesthetic items for you and your Pran, infinite supplies of ammo for X amount of time, exp enhancers, etc.
 
Resume: If you can stand the late game grinding and you love massive battles, play AIKA.
 
UPDATE:
 
I just tried AIKA again. There are several changes to the game.
  • IP ban has been lifted. You can create an account from everywhere.
  • Fast respawn, high experience boss mobs have been added to reduce grinding in late levels.
  • There is now an in-game mail system similar to Tantra Online latest versions mail system. You can send text and items instantly.

More Aika Features:

Aika - Fun For a Certain Crowd Review added on Friday October 14
Aika - The Conqueror and Templar Class Evolutions Dev Journal added on Wednesday June 02
Aika - Darkrane Forest: Treachery in Paradise Dev Journal added on Friday May 28

More Features:

Albion Online - Guild Alliances Dev Journal added on Saturday July 12
Shards Online - The Development Road Map Column added on Friday July 11
 
thatnovaguy writes: 

Aika Online is a great game. Fun PvP, Great fellow players, and solid graphics for a f2p game. Its even desigined so that those who cant cash shop can still earn in game money to purchase those items from other players should they have the time to earn the money. I give it a solid "A".

8/07/11 8:57:53 PM  / Report
 
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