In today’s often crowded MMO space, it is sadly too easy to find great games that are often overlooked because of the noise of the ‘big shots’ or even crowded out by the less-than-stellar games that stuff up the games list. To that end, we try to make sure that our readers are made aware of great games that have passionate development teams, engaging game play and are well worth the time for players to check out.
This week, we’re taking a look at Kill3rCombo's Elsword and Rumble Entertainment’s Kings Road.
ELSWORD - DEPTH AND SIMPLICITY ALL ROLLED INTO ONE
Kill3rCombo is an American video game publisher based in Irvine, California. They specialize in online free-to-play games and currently publish the 2.5-dimensional side-scrolling action MMORPG, Elsword. They are a subsidiary of South Korean game developer KOG. Kill3rCombo was founded in 2011 as a joint venture between South Korean game developer KOG and international publisher LevelUp! with the objective of bringing KOG’s games to North America
Speaking with the team reveals its passion for the game that they describe as “play your manga”. The art style is carefully and beautifully crafted to emulate the best of the written manga style. The cell shading is magnificent and the game as a whole is pleasing to the eye.
But what sets Elsword apart, however, is what It brings to the MMO table. It’s a 2.5D side-scrolling game with most of the best features that we expect in MMOs. There are holidays, guilds, party play, social features, dungeons, PvP, and much more.
All characters in Elsword are 100% free to players. There is a misconception that all characters of a certain name, for instance, look exactly the same. While that’s true at the beginning, it has to be stated that Elsword has some of the most amazing customization options ever seen. That “same look” that characters begin with quickly ends as players purchase clothing, costumes, head replacements, different hair looks and more with both real world cash and in-game currency.
Kill3r Combo has made a real effort to make the in-game shop for convenience only. While there are items for sale that can be construed as giving buyers an advantage, all of them can also be found in game or crafted or purchased from player shops.
Elsword follows a typical skill progression with players being offered three paths for their characters to choose from. The first is chosen as a base class, with additional progression choices made at levels 15 and 35.
For now, PvP falls into the realm of 3v3 but the team has plans to add more maps, dynamic types and to add player ranks and ladders.
Lastly, the team showed off both the new Ara Hahn profession and the amazing game play that the game embodies. There is no shortage of wicked combinations and the attacks are fluid and interesting. In fact, the team mentioned that Elsword can be, at the same time, both simple for those looking for a more casual experience or complex for those who want to min-max and score some astonishing battle combinations.
Don’t let the manga-style fool you into thinking that Elsword is a “kids’ game” or some such nonsense. Combat is fast and fluid. Dungeons are harder than just about anything you can imagine. Complex combinations take time and effort to accomplish and pull off.
If you’ve been looking for a game with surprising depth yet, at the same time, easy to pick up and run with, then Elsword is it. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
KINGS ROAD – A DEEP AND ENGAGING ACTION-BASED MMO
One of the first things many people say when learning that Kings Road is hosted on a popular social platform is, “Oh geez…a Facebook game?” If they actually take the time to play the game, and investigate the fact that Facbook is only one platform on which KR is hosted, they would be pleasantly surprised by what they found.
Entering the game via Rumble Games’ portal, leads to the pleasant surprise that this game is a fully 3D game with most of the same features of any of the “big house” MMOs. Some of the features include a friends list, parties, dungeons, individualized loot drops, character progression, quests and all the rest.
I partied up with devs from Rumble Games and we set out into the Kings Road game world. As with any MMO, we met up in the town hub filled with the usual merchants and quest givers. Quests take parties to small instanced areas that, depending on difficulty level (there are three), can take anywhere from about ten to thirty minutes to complete. Each instance is filled with trash mobs on the way to an end-of-level boss that can be mighty tough to take down. In addition, the world has destructible elements that can see players rewarded with individualized loot that can range from the mundane to the exceptional.
One really amazing touch is that when looking at new loot picked up, players instantly know if it’s better than what they have simply by the presence (or lack of it) of a green upward pointing arrow. Another fantastic touch is the ability to sell junk in town without even bothering to go to a vendor. It is simply accomplished within the inventory panel.
After trouncing baddies on low levels for a little while, the devs ramped their characters up and we went off to explore one of the game’s new dungeons. These bad boys are not for the faint of heart and there is both strategy and luck required to make it though. Even the trash mobs can kill players in an instant. Dungeons are filled with characters that cast shadow damage at players and without gear that mitigates it, it’s pretty much instant death. Luckily, the gear that’s dropped in the dungeon has a high probability of being ‘shadow gear’ that will give players the protection they need. Sadly, we wiped and it was time for our session to end, so we didn’t make it to the end boss. Still, the dungeons are challenging and fun.
For those looking for an action-RPG with fantastic MMO elements and that is quick to pick up and learn but, at the same time, one that provides challenge and nuance, Kings Road is a terrific game to check out.
Have you tried either game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom.