Last week was all about the things I personally enjoyed within Perfect World Entertainment’s Forsaken World. Of course the comments quickly degraded into a “why are you even covering this game?” debate, but that’s not going to stop me from using this week to talk about a few things I believe Forsaken World screws the pooch on. Something tells me it won’t have nearly as many detractors. Of course there will be those few who wonder why we cover F2P MMOs at all, and my answer will always be the same: “There’s an audience for everything.” If Forsaken World isn’t your cup of tea, nothing I write will change your mind. That said, it is one of the more engaging Asian conversions on the market and is newly released. Therefore I feel it’s within my scope of duty to give the title its due diligence. So please, check out the following items and feel free to toss your own in via the comments below. Most of the “wrongs” for me lie in the way the Cash Shop is handled. Sure there’s plenty of fluff items that make it seem pretty mild at first, but as you play more you begin to realize the absurdity of some purchasable things, that will make most anyone (subscription fan or not) want to pull their hair out.
There are a whole lot of things to do in Forsaken World. It’s a game that’s absolutely ripe with systems and details to educate yourself on. But the biggest problem with all that is there is just not a whole lot of direction on all the little details. Sure around level 10 or so you’ll gain access to the game’s Encyclopedia, but ideally a game’s tutorial would show you a little more than how to move about the world and how to kill monsters. The pet system, the guild system, the fortifying, the crafting, the world events… it’s all a lot to take in and what winds up happening is players are seen asking the same questions over and over again in local chat until the player-base starts putting them on ignore. Bad representation of game information does not a healthy community make. Instead, it creates a strange divide of “Noob vs. Vet” (minus those too few nice players in any game).
Points of Interest Routing
I wrote last week that this click-to-go portion of the game was actually one of its bright spots. I still believe that… in some cases. The other side of the coin however is that you’ll soon find yourself not exploring a single damned thing in Forsaken World. You’ll just start opening your quests and clicking the waypoint links to go places, essentially putting the game on auto-pilot. It’s a real shame too, because there’s a lot of world to see in PWE’s new game. But if you’re anything like me, once you realize that auto-piloting is easier you’ll wind up using it until you get bored of watching the game be played for you.
You Must Buy Your “Re-specs”
It’s not like this is a new idea for games with item shops. People will generally spend money on something like this to avoid having to save up enough gold to do so. But what I feel is a real misstep is that FW makes it so that you absolutely must buy a re-spec with real world currency. You can’t earn one in the game, or save up enough gold to buy one. The only way to swap out your talents and try a new build in Forsaken World is either to a.) spend some money or b.) make a new character altogether. Of course Perfect World Entertainment knows they have you dead to rights, and most people would much rather pay a few bucks to switch things around than go through the same quests all over again. It’s a real shame, and just one of many things that I dislike about the game’s cash shop.
>Pay to Chat
This is probably one of the most asinine things I’ve ever seen in a micro-transaction game. The only reason it’s not first on my list is because it doesn’t really and truly affect my gameplay experience more often than not. The virtual equivalent of making a long distance call in the era of land-lines, Forsaken World actually has a system in place where you have to buy a consumable item to send a world-wide chat message. That’s right; you have to pay to send out messages to the rest of your server’s community. This is where I’d put an ASCII art of a “facepalm” if I was in to that sort of thing. I’m all for F2P games making money. I know they have to somehow, but I prefer them to do so with items that don’t seem like sheer money grabs right off the bat. But if “Pay to Chat” wasn’t enough, the last item on today’s List is the real deal-breaker for me in any F2P game.
PvP Buffs in the Cash Shop
Forsaken World’s most painful misstep comes in the form of Star Crystals. With them you can “fortify” equipment to add stats and gem slots to them, permanently boosting your stats in any number of ways. A small stack of 5 costs a few bucks, while a stack of 20 will cost you closer to $10. Basically this means that players willing to shell out a hundred bucks or so at the level cap can deck out all of their gear and trounce their opponents in the game’s PvP. Yes it also applies to PvE, but since that part of the game is not competitive in nature I’m not really worried about the spending. I’m also aware that with enough patience and time a non-paying player can earn the same fortifies and gems and deck out their own character. But it’s this sort of “shortcut” purchasing that really drives me away from a game. Currently I believe Forsaken World is still considered in “Open Beta”. So who knows, maybe this sort of item will disappear after enough testing. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.