Over this past weekend I dipped my toes into the sandbox (or in this case oceanbox) MMORPG Uncharted Waters Online. UWO is developed by Tecmo Koei and published by CJ Games Global and Netmarble in the NA EU regions.
In UWO you take on the role as a sailor preparing to make your big splash on the world. You have the option to represent six historical European nations during the 15th century and via for naval dominance. I choose to represent the Netherlands. I have a soft spot for the little guy.
The first thing you will want to do after you create your character is take a visit to the Maritime Academy. While at the Maritime Academy you will be assigned missions that will serve as your tutorial. During character creation you will get to pick your class. You can be an Adventure, Trade, or Battle type. You can also switch between what class you want to level. Also you level each class independent of each other. You could be level 10 in Adventure but level 0 in trade or battle. I decided to spend the majority of my time as an adventurer.
As an adventurer you start off with three skills, Sail Handling, Surveying, and Searching. You will be primarily focused on making discoveries. There are 16 types of discoveries in all: historical sites, religious buildings, historical relics, religious relics, artwork, treasures, fossils, plants, insects, birds, small creatures, medium creatures, large creatures, sea life, ports and villages, geography. The reason they choose to group ports and villages yet separate creatures into three separate categories based on size escapes me, but that is how they did it. Very early on as an adventurer you will discover a piece of artwork and a creature at sea.
As a merchant you will primarily focus on establishing trade routes between the ports that you discover. As a battle type you will focus on naval battles. You can also choose to be a pirate and attack players with the same nationality as you.
The graphics for UWO are pretty average. They are not terrible to look at yet they are uninspired. They remind me of a slightly updated look to Final Fantasy XI. The port towns reminded me of Jeuno. The movement is also recognizable to people that play eastern MMOs. It is a click to move interface. For players that have recently tried out Age of Wushu it will be instantly recognizable. You can click on a destination and watch your character run there. Sometimes you can instantly teleport there as well if it is a quest objective. One of the largest detractors for me playing this game was the UI and command recognition. There were a number of times where I would have to interact with an object more than once to get the game to acknowledge my interaction. While this did not ruin the experience for me I can see how in the middle of a pitched naval battle this could become an issue.
There did appear to be one bright and shining star present in this game. A GM was attempting to organize an in game event for later in the week. While this used to be a feature more prevalent in MMOs in years gone past it was nice to see that feature was present in UWO.
If you are looking for a free to play sandbox MMO with a nautical theme Uncharted Waters Online is the perfect game for you. However if the prospect of spending hours at sea looking for new life does not float your boat you might want to sail past this game. You can now download and play it via Steam, and if you're into the piratical ways, you just might find something to enjoy in UWO.
Robert Lashley / Robert Lashley is a Staff Writer and Online host for MMORPG.com and RTSGuru.com. Rob's bald and when he isn't blinding people from the glare on his head talking in front of a camera you can chase him down on twitter @Grakulen