I’m going to try and make it a precedent to do this for all games I review at MMORPG.com since MMOs in general are such multi-faceted beasts that deserve a little extra attention when it comes to grading them. We recently wrote a “Rights & Wrongs” for Rift, and so I thought we’d try the same with Perfect World Entertainment’s Forsaken World. Now, I know that the title’s technically listed as in “Open Beta”, but let’s be honest: if the Cash Shop is operational, it’s a live game. So with that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of five things that Forsaken World does right. For a translated sand-box game from the East, I wasn’t really expecting much novelty. But there are plenty of little touches in FW that make the game interesting and a decent experience for fans of the F2P cadre. If you don’t like these sorts of titles, you’d probably best steer clear. This one won’t be for you. Of course next week we’ll delve into the areas where it could use some definite fine tuning, but for now let’s just focus on the positives, shall we?
So Much to Do
At first it may seem like yet another quest grinding theme-park game. I guess it really is in many ways. But PWE has crammed so many little things to do throughout the title that it will probably take you well into the leveling process before you’ve experienced all of the game’s systems. From the crafting to the item system to pet raising and incubation, and of course the many different group dungeons and side events like fishing and achievements, a guild leveling system and guild bases… you’ll never be able to say, “I don’t have anything to do” when playing Forsaken World. You may not like every system, but the developers certainly made a point to throw a lot of them into the game to keep players busy.
Points of Interest Routing
This bad boy is both a negative and a positive, depending on how you’re looking at it. On the bright side, I don’t think there’s ever been one game in which I haven’t found myself lost to the point of frustration at one time or another. At first, being lost in a new world brings with it a sense of wonder. But when I first hit a capitol city and all I want to do is find the auctions or my trainer and it’s not plainly obvious where either is I get frustrated. One nifty feature of FW is that you can look up an NPC or POI and click the name as though it were a URL link and you’ll be taken there on a sort of auto-pilot. I know many will disagree, but considering just how packed with different NPCs and factions and so forth the game’s capitol city is I found the routing to be very welcome. Eventually I’ll know where everything is and I won’t need it, but for a beginner it’s a nice touch. There’s a big downside though. You can use it for pretty much anything in the world, quest locations included. It’s not necessary, you’re not forced to use it, but it becomes awfully tempting to use it for everything. Which is why it’ll also be on the “Wrong” list.
The Pet System
I love pets in MMOs. They’re an extension of my character, a companion when I don’t have real people with me, and in some games they’re actually quite useful. The latter is the case in Forsaken World where you earn (or purchase) eggs and incubate them until they’re ready to hatch. The longer you incubate, the better the chance of the pet being of superior quality will be and each pet can and will aid you in battle with its own skills, weaknesses, and strengths. So far I’ve only seen a wolf, a sheep, and a turtle but you can tame additional pets and get many more kinds of eggs as well. For the pet lover in me (get your mind out of the gutter), this is one of the game’s brightest spots.
MMOs are so filled with information. From the lore to the beasts, the classes, the locations, the skills… it’s all a whole lot of info to take in. And with the industry growing at such a rate, it’s impossible for me to keep track of every detail in every game I play. That’s why I’m so glad Forsaken World comes with its own Encyclopedia. Basically a giant index of all the game’s features and doodads, it’s always at your disposal to look something up should you need a little clarification. It’s honestly something I wish more games worked to make available. I’m well aware that it exists in some, and even serves as a part of the discovery for games like Warhammer and Lord of the Rings Online, but this is the first F2P game I remember it being such a big factor.
A Mostly Fluff Cash Shop (for PvE…)
That is of course, unless you’re playing FW for its PVP, then you might want to bring your wallet. The general remarks I’m seeing about FW’s cash shop is that for PvE it’s mostly just fluff and convenience items, while for PvP right now it seems you can spend a few hundred dollars to make your guy much more imposing than those who don’t. So while I’ll gladly throw that part on the “Wrongs” list, I have to say I’m quite pleased from a PvE perspective that most of the items in FW’s store seem to be about dressing up your character, making crafting easier, and so on. When I play a F2P game, that’s what I expect. I know that revenue needs to come from somewhere, and I’m okay with the shops offering convenience and fluff items. Heck, I’d buy a mount for five or six bucks too. But the PvP stat purchasing? Well… that’s another story for another List next week.