Yesterday I met my soul mate. We gained three levels together before she had to log off. It was glorious. And it was in an MMO. The aforementioned MMO is Lucent Heart, a free-to-play game developed by Gamania that absolutely reeks of self-indulgent, undeniable, cute-tastic charm.
As Bill has stated before in his preview Lucent Heart is not for those faint of heart manly men who need copious amounts of blood and gore to satiate their more primal desires. Indeed the game caters to a much more pleasing visual aesthetic that not only aptly portrays the (cute and adorable) carnage as you pile bodies up on your way to the top of the level cap but it also makes a name for itself by defining the user experience with fun and meaningful activities that also help players progress further into the game!
Our previous coverage detailed the peculiar yet oddly-satisfying social mechanisms Lucent Heart employs to encourage good nature and fun cooperation between players via the pairing system and handy-dandy (and absolutely necessary) crafting. However the recent expansion has taken leaps and bounds in the social-interactivity department to encourage even more “city-sitting” by players. Lower your torches dear mob, and listen, for unlike certain other MMOs players congregating in cities is not a deplorable and lamentable event but a stupendous and exciting one! If players were always out in the world they couldn’t participate in dance contests, doh!
Oh yes, dance contests! The newest content expansion not only boosted the level cap and introduced new zones and bosses, but also added in a dance system robust enough to stagger even the most seasoned dance master. The range of activities belonging to dancing stems from the simple preset dances to custom-themed variants of said stock songs, to imported music that the player selects from their very own hard drive and even player versus player dance battles! These dance battles appear in a few different flavors ranging from personal challenges to server wide dance-offs that have the entire population dancing DDR-style! Ludicrous you say? Extremely! Ludicrously fun.
If there is one thing Lucent Heart makes exceedingly clear it would be that players play the game to have fun. A simple and obvious enough mission statement coming from a game played for entertainment, but in a sea of MMOs that can easily bore players to death it is extremely refreshing to see antiquated old cliché’s (players sitting in cities waiting for queues to pop) and turning them on their head by giving players enjoyable things to do. Not only are the activities such as dance competitions entertaining but they are rewarding too. A myriad of rewards are available ranging from buffs to experience points to unique pets and items, depending on the activity. Other interesting activities to partake in are server-wide trivia quizzes, the formerly mentioned dance competitions, blessing other players, getting paired up through the zodiac system, going on “date” dungeons with a significant other, getting married and fighting with the guests, and romping through customized dungeons using the star core system. Furthermore the next expansion (more commonly referred to as a content update) is aiming to add in player housing, pet races, and pet dance parties.
Is all this sounding a bit too casual? Fear not, because beneath the bright exterior lies a startling complexity to the new dance system. Not only can players import their own music to dance to, but they can use the dance customizer to create completely original dance routines. The options available for tweaking one’s dance range from a simple drag-and-drop organization of individual dance steps to painstakingly adjusting length, orientation, and timing of each step to fit perfectly with the song. The depth of this system is illustrated by the copious amounts of entries in the Step Up competition. The amount of work that goes into those dances is staggering.
But perhaps dancing and dating and generally having fun in an MMO doing activities other than grinding and running dungeons aren’t of much interest to you, and that is fine. There is plenty to do besides get lost in the endless stream of enjoyable “side” activities. The latest expansion updated the world with multiple new zones and world bosses for guilds to fight along with new world events and star cores for further options when customizing a dungeon to run with friends. A new Guild versus Guild PvP battle has also been introduced as well which pits two teams against one another with one on defense defending five points while the other team ruthlessly attempts to destroy them.
With that in mind Lucent Heart continues on the path of pleasing its players, both old and new alike. Be it difficult pitched PvE battles, strategic guild PvP goodness, or spontaneous and whimsical fun-itude the game has something to offer everyone in a big way. The wide variety of things to do and people to meet in the wonderfully welcoming community really was a breath of fresh air for me compared to my normal MMO haunting grounds, and I advocate anyone willing to try something a little bit different, and a little bit out there, and just a tinge on the cutesy side to download the installer and have a good time.