It’s not too much of a stretch to say that most import F2P MMORPGs are barely worth one’s time. But publisher Gala Net has been trying to change that mindset for years now. One could even say they succeeded (if with a few cash-shop blunders) with Allods Online. They’re trying to make a second strike with the upcoming sci-fi fantasy theme-park Sevencore from Noria. But in a world where many are clamoring for the death of the traditional WoW-alike, can Noria’s game make any dent at all? After spending a few hours with the title during its closed beta, I can’t say it’s going to topple Blizzard’s behemoth. But I can adequately say that it’s going to be a decently fun take on a familiar gameplay style… and it’s free to boot. Just don’t go expecting to be blown away by it, and you might find yourself enjoying what’s on offer.
The controls are your familiar hotbar and WASD setup, but you can also click to move if you so desire (a nice carry-over from the Korean version no doubt). The downside is that this makes turning your character with A&D a chore. Good thing I prefer to use the mouse to turn myself. There are three races to choose from. The Sion are your typical Human-like race, the Nuuk are more like elves (roll your eyes, I did), and the Einher are something of a new breed. Think big animalistic race, something akin to TERA’s Amani. Oddly the game claims their large stature and tough nature comes from years of seamanship. Sure. I guess all Navy guys I know have horns and claws and fur over their bodies.
The classes are somewhat run of the mill too, except there is no healer. There’s the melee focused Warrior, the ranged Gunner, and the Magician. All healing is done through consumables, sort of like Diablo. Only here you’ll equip them and set an “auto-heal” level so that when your health or mana reach a certain level your character will automatically eat or drink to recharge. Kind of a neat feature, and one that eliminates the need for a healer to progress in group content. I will go ahead right now and predict that one of the best things to spend money on will be food and drinks… but I’ve been proven wrong before.
One of the standout features of Sevencore, though I didn’t have time to explore it much, is its mount system. They’re not just a means of travel here. In fact there are Defense, Attack, and Movement based mounts, and each of them will have their own set of unlockable skills to make them better in combat. The can fight both alongside you, be used for travel, and you can fight from their backs as well. Mounted combat is expected to be an integral part of the game, but we’ll have to see how it plays out in the Open Beta phase later this year.
Another feature of Sevencore that’s bound to remind folks of TERA is its political system. Your guild can control regions, collect taxes, and occupying guilds will have to be defeated in battle (20v20) to be dethroned. It’s a pretty ambitious system, and will likely stand to make the powerful and devoted guilds very rich in-game. I just don’t see many of the more casual folks a F2P game attracts caring all that much about the political side of things. Oh and yes, the guild masters of each region will also have a shot at winning presidency of the entire world. So there’s that.
There is a basic form of crafting as well, but it’s not unlike anything you’ve already seen. The one cavear is that you have a crafting skill tree to deck out in order to make the best items in your chosen profession (Blacksmith, Refining, Alchemy, and Armorcraft). There’s also an item-upgrade system that uses a resource called “Soulite” to make items and mounts more powerful. It was unclear during my brief time with the beta just how one obtains soulite, but hopefully it’s not just through the cash shop. The game will launch with two instanced PVP Battlefields as well, with familiar level-bracket ranges and capture and hold objectives. Victory Points are won during the fight, and can be spent on gear, mounts, and so forth. Lastly, there’s a fully-functioning Guild System in place (as might be obvious from the previously mentioned Political aspect) that includes leveling, guild skills (increased HP, Mana, and so on), and even a guild warehouse and shop.
In short, Sevencore might seem like an also-ran to folks who are tired of the theme-park treadmill. But there’s something to be said for its mount system and political gambit. It won’t be for everyone. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of the comments here will shrug it off. But if, like me, you like the occasional F2P diversion, you might be surprised by what Sevencore has to offer. It’s a fully-featured MMO, and as long as they don’t make the same cash-shop blunders as they did with Allods, Sevencore may stand proudly among some of best F2P imports. Just don’t expect a game-changer, know what you’re getting into, and you might be surprised. Look for more on Sevencore as it enters Open Beta later this year.