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Review in Progress #1 - From Beta to Soft Opening

Victor Barreiro Jr. Posted:
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Tree of Savior is an odd sort of online gaming  beast in today’s day and age. With one of its creators being Hakkyu Kim, the creator of Ragnarok Online, it comes as no surprise that Tree of Savior shares a similar aesthetic and purpose as Ragnarok Online, but adds more modern embellishments to make an entirely new online game.

As a player of Ragnarok Online Philippines during its beta phase – technically making that game my first MMORPG  –  and a beta testing participant for Tree of Savior, I was asked to make a review of this game over four weeks.

Needless to say, with over 280 character levels to conquer, 7 class ranks (made up of 15 class  levels each) to strengthen your individual archetype – of which there are four archetypes – I kind of feel overwhelmed with the idea of trying to reach the maximum level of the game on even one archetype to give you a review.

For this week though, let’s start with the basics, which is not an easy thing to say when it comes to this game.

I’ll discuss one of the game’s systems as an example of the complex nature of the seemingly simple game, my expectations from beta moving into this soft launch, and what you might expect from this review over the next few weeks.

Metacomplexity in Game Systems

Tree of Savior is one of those games where having only a rudimentary understanding of the game’s systems may lead a player into unnecessary frustration over the long run.

For most people wanting to enjoy the game, a certain appreciation of the metagaming aspect of build research may be required just so you don’t hit a brick wall (or golem) in frustration.

The leveling system in this game, as an exampled, is multifaceted. As hinted at earlier, leveling consists of gaining experience towards two separate experience bars. If you’ll look at the first screenshot, across the bottom left of one’s screen is a yellow character level experience bar. To the right, a green class experience bar.

These two bars level level at differing rates, but provide character status points (yellow) or class skill points (green) at each new level.

Character status points as seen on the tutorial window on the left of the screenshot above can be used to strengthen one of five different status areas (Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Dexterity, and Spirit).

Class skill points, meanwhile, can be used on your chosen archetype’s current class – beginning with the brawny swordsman, the dextrous archer, the beneficent cleric, or the magical wizard – to unlock or strengthen a particular skill that provides benefits (and sometimes a side-effect) to the class.

Complicated enough? There’s more. Tree of Savior can, in some respects, refer to the branching out of your archetype into its own full-fledged fighting style. Hitting the first 15 class levels unlocks a second Class Rank, which opens up two new classes you character can become, in addition to unlocking upgrades and abilities in your starting class.

As you near the 7th rank, for example, a swordsman can become a limited combination  of 13 different classes, and each additional rank is a no-takebacks sort of deal that locks that rank and class together (though you can reset skillpoints for better distribution, I’ve been told)..

In other words, Imagine the stat allocation meta of an older game like Diablo or Diablo II, and then bump the complexity up about 10 notches, and you will kinda see the resemblance.

There are also crafting, gem enhancement, and item collection systems in this game which, while not as complex as the leveling system, add to the overall complexity of becoming the best buttkicker on your chosen server.

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate and The Secret World columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.