Today is the release of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. If you haven’t done so already make sure you check out the review by our Editor In Chief Bill Murphy right here. I won’t go on about how good I think the game is but I will offer up a few suggestions on how I think this game could shape up to be a MMORPG, or at the least a solid multiplayer experience. I’ll also give you five tips (and a bonus) on what you should know before you start playing.
Five keys to making Star Ocean Universe:
1) Grouping: Throughout Star Ocean you’ll have party members drop in and out of your group depending on different parts of the story. Your group can have any number between 1 and 7 members in it. You will only ever actively control one of them at a time and the other members will have AI guide their moves. For a Star Ocean Universe it would be conceivable instead of AI controlled party members they are really Bill, or Bob from down the street.
2) Crafting: Star Ocean already has a crafting and collecting system in place. There is alchemy and weapon enhancement. This could easily be expanded upon to classes dedicated to collecting and crafting and help for the backbone of an economy.
3) Combat/Classes: Star Ocean has seamless action combat. You see an enemy on the world and walk up to them and start duking it out. There is no second screen transition here. This makes a multi-player experience easier to conceive. You could see Joe Schmo over their struggling with a bandit and decide to help them (or not). Classes also have roles that are dependent on each other. There are physical melee classes that are designed to draw the ire of foes while backline warriors take them apart with ranged physical or magical attacks. There are also casters that can dedicate themselves as healers or other support functions. It’s not quite the trinity but it’s not Guild Wars 2 either.
4) Quests: In addition to the main quest in Star Ocean in each town there are quest boards. These serve to post notice about other odds and ends the villagers would like you to do for them. You can choose to help or completely ignore them. This would also be a cheap and easy way for developers to seed more content into the game. A few quests here, a few more target monsters in the wild there. Instant content update.
5) The IP: (SPOILER ALERT) In what seems very similar to the federation in Star Trek there is a Pangalactic Federation in Star Ocean. There are multiple planets and races that belong to this Federation. They also have a directive to not interfere with planets that are technologically underdeveloped. In Star Ocean V you start off on Faykreed IV, an underdeveloped planet only to find your kingdom sucked into an intergalactic war. There have been enough planets fleshed out with lore that there could be a cohesive Star Ocean Universe game that makes use of these planets as starting points with a few extras mixed in. There would also be plenty of places that we have only heard of but haven’t seen in game that could lend themselves to be expansion or DLC content further down the road.
Five things to know before you start playing:
1) Buy new gear in each town: Each town will have an armory. Here you will be able to buy new weapons and armor for your characters. Make sure to upgrade at each stop along the way. If you don’t you’ll still be able to survive but combat will be much slower. This is a huge time saver. Don’t be precious with your money. You will make plenty of it so you shouldn’t find yourself grinding for gold.
2) Don’t forget to use the manuals you collect: In the heat of combat it can be easy to have the items you are awarded scroll off the screen. Make sure to keep an eye out for new manuals. You can use these to learn new or improve existing combat skills. You’ll use them through the “learn new skills screen”, not the “items screen”.
3) You can have multiple roles active at once: You can have up to 4 different roles active at any one time. Early on I was swapping back and forth between roles. The game doesn’t tell you that you can have more than one role active at once so I just assumed you couldn’t. Also you can spend skill points on roles to level them up faster. Or you can just leave them equipped and through mastery they will level up on their own.
4) Don’t forget to pick up crafting: This is available early on but if you are just chasing the main story quests you’ll run right by it. I had to loop back and learn it later in the game. It can be very helpful. Make sure you talk to Welch in Myiddok. You can make concoctions that take the blueberries you’ve been collecting and make them into a juice that heals for 100% HP instead of just 30%. In the later stages of the game you’ll be able to upgrade your weapons and gear as well.
5) Use Inns and refresh your MP: Similar to number one don’t be too precious with your money. You earn a lot of it just playing through the game. Stay at an inn and refresh your HP and MP every time you can. Make sure to use your battle skills (which consume MP) and you’ll quicken the pace of combat by an order of magnitude.
BONUS TIP) Hold onto your Reserve Rush: During combat you’ll build up a specialty meter known as the Reserve Rush. You can unleash this on your opponents for devastating effect. You can also hold onto it and let it build up until you really need it. I recommend to keep it until you really need it because it as a side benefit it grants a substantial bonus to experience points, skill points, and money you earn at the end of each battle.