Square Enix was showing off the latest build of Wakfu and the newly announced class, the Pandawa at PAX 2011. In the original Dofus, the Pandawa was a premium class, but the panda character proved popular enough with players that it's a character that will be playable by all players in Wakfu.
The Pandawa class is that of drunken martial arts - the drunken fist kung-fu style of legend. But as Wakfu is to be a family friendly game, Square was calling it the sugar rush at PAX. In combat, the honey jar (no, it’s not a keg) from which the Pandawa gets his sugar rush is a strategic item. The Pandawa and his group can stay in range of the honey jar and enjoy the power gain each turn, or stick it in a corner of the fight as by itself, it has a certain number of health points and enemies will try to destroy it. The Pandawa gains energy when they are in proximity of the honey jar, but weaken as they move away from it.
For the Pandawa, the Water element provide the support skills, the Fire are ranged skills and the Earth element are its martial / melee skills and Producer Franko Fonseca of Wakfu North America was happy to show me the various combat spells and animation in this turn-based game, and the strategic use of the Pandawa’s honey jar.
Franko also showed me the new area that will also be released into beta with the Pandawa, the Sadida Forest - a verdant, growing land. All new areas have a gate fee, and this fee can be numbers of different resources as well as gold and each area will demand different resources. Another area soon to be released is Brakmor, a new nation with a darker feel. This area is more heavily Stasis and will provide more quests and things for Stasis players to do. Areas may lean towards one faction or the other, but players who like to play together but are working on opposing factions can still find things to do together.
Wakfu is one part of a force similar to Yin and Yang with Wakfu representing action and Stasis representing stillness. Players select characters which can be Wakfu or Stasis characters, and the quests and actions they take along their career will increase or decrease their Wakfu or Stasis points. At a level of 30% Wakfu or Stasis, players unlock the respective islands. Wakfu is green, verdant and growing; Stasis is purple, steamy and industrial. On these islands, players can obtain buffs from the central crystal on the main island and on the outlying islands are anvils which are crafting stations that players can craft equipment that each have specific Wakfu or Stasis requirements to use.
Finally Franko showed me the much expanded "Haven Bag" - which is the player housing. Player housing is an area for showing off trophies, where you have your shop for merchanting, where you place crafting stations for your personal use, and for farming. This is where you can grow those precious resources you need and don't ever want to have to hunt down. This is important as Wakfu has an ecological system that is player affected and resources can be depleted in your favorite haunts.
Privacy for items like the crafting stations can be set to public, guild, just friends on your friends list or private only to the player, but all players can access your housing to visit your shop unless of course, you do not have anything for sale and are not open.
Wakfu and the Dofus IP is very little known here in the US, but this stuff is huge in Europe with cartoons, graphic novels, sales of stuffed animals and art-books. Free to download and play and browser based, this strategic turn-based MMO with a promise of a player political system and actual ecology is currently in Beta and merits a closer look. Definitely one to keep on your radar if you want something different.