Revelation Online tries hard to turn you away for the first 20 or so levels. Rarely have I played a game whose introductory quests are such a jumble of mechanics and narrative. But by level 30, the story begins to make more sense, the game’s other features begin to open up, and a game that’s worth playing comes out of the shadows.
It’s weird to say that an MMORPG’s first THIRTY levels are essentially one long tutorial, but that seems to be the case with Revelation Online. It’s also rare that I welcome “auto-pathing” in an MMO, but with the mess of a mini-map and quest directions that don’t give you much, I quickly came to relish such a feature. But I’m getting off track – Revelation Online will not be an MMORPG for everyone. It’s a very Eastern experience, and folks who prefer their games to have more grit than Anime appeal will likely find themselves unable to get past RO’s many idiosyncrasies.
But if the aesthetic and somewhat rough localization are things you’re able to look past or appreciate, you’ll likely find a fully-featured MMORPG. The trinity is actually in play, something I wish more games would continue to offer. There’s a seamless open world to explore. There are dungeons, raids, and open world bosses. There’s open world PVP, castle sieges in the open world, arena PVP, battlegrounds, guild battles, and aerial combat. There are player shop stalls, a vestige of an older time for MMOs that’s welcome here. There’s also an extensive crafting system, player housing, and so forth. It’s really a deeply featured game that spends too much of its opening hours dragging you through a story.
The localization has also made significant strides, though there’s a lot of the UI that’s still in Chinese and/or Russian. It’s clear they’re getting close though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Open Beta (launch) was the next step in the game’s release. But speaking of the UI, one of my biggest original complaints was that RO’s UI was far too cluttered and messy to enjoy the game’s art and scenery. For while RO’s graphics aren’t the top of the line, its Chinese fantasy-inspired art can be really beautiful on higher settings. Thankfully, the UI can be shrunk down, pieces and parts can be made invisible, and the clutter of NPC and Character names can be turned off to make the world stand out more than the interface. I highly recommend tweaking the UI to your liking in the settings.
By level 30, you’ll only have made it through the introductory story setting the tone and staging the bad guys. You won’t even have started crafting, housing, or unlocked the PVP system that comes at level 40. PVP is open world, but you can activate Peace mode where only players who are in Slaughter mode can cause you harm. As you kill players, you’ll gain Slaughter Points, which allows other players to kill you in Defensive mode without gaining Slaughter points themselves. Peace mode players can’t attack, but can defend should they be attacked. You get a penalty for attacking players in defensive or Peace modes, but I can’t comment yet as to what or how extensive that penalty is. Someone above level 40 will have to tell us here if 40+ is just a PVP fest or if you can still safely PVE. It’s also worth noting that there’s a whole island where PVP doesn’t have any penalties – kind of a hive of scum and villainy for those who want to go there.
It’s taken 3 closed betas, but I think I’m starting to see why the game has fans. It’s got a lot going for it, though its aesthetic will be enough for some to shy away. I have friends who can’t stand anime-styled games, and I understand that sentiment. I prefer western fantasy or sci fi myself. But I’ve also been known to enjoy games like TERA, Blade & Soul, and Aion. And frankly. Revelation Online has far more to do than most any other imported MMORPG. Too few games pay attention to activities outside of combat, and RO wisely including a deep crafting system and housing to go alongside its plentiful PVE and PVP options.
Will it dominate the West? I’m doubtful. Like many games before it, I suspect it’ll launch with a large fanfare and loads of streaming on Twitch, only to diminish as people discover it’s not to their taste. But I think RO will find a faithful niche audience so long as My.com manages the cash shop well, and keeps the content and changes coming in response to their English-speaking audience.