Revelation Online is the latest game from My.com, an import of a popular Chinese game from NetEase – a developer known in the west already for its mobile RPGs. The best way to describe Revelation, from our brief time with it, is that it’s an open world MMORPG that bears resemblance to a birthchild of TERA, Aion, and Blade & Soul. It is an odd game, but one that’s proving fun in its first few hours.
My time with RO has been brief, but I’ve still managed to climb my way to level 16 where progress for many players has been halted overnight due to a bug with an NPC character not being where he’s supposed to for the next part of the intro quest chain.
You’ll notice in that screenshot that there is a whole lot of Chinese type, and that’s probably one of the first things I saw about Revelation Online – this really is a first technical test and not just a marketing stunt. The translations from Chinese (and Russian) to English are only partly complete and while most of the quest and UI dialog is English, a lot of the flavor text and cinematics are still in Chinese or Russian. Bugs and oddities with quests are all over the place too, the most problematic being the one at level 16 that halted my Gunslinger’s progress. But the good news is that despite these problems Revelation Online is still heaps of fun.
The game starts similarly to any other recent theme park MMORPG – you’re the “hero” of a small town, and through the tutorial you get imbued with immense power. You leave your small town in search of how to stop an onrushing evil, and so begins your adventure. The story’s cliché, but enhanced by interesting characters, a great anime vibe, and loads of Chinese mythology. Games who don’t really jive with Eastern aesthetics will be put off, but I think RO is unique enough that everyone should give it a try when the game hits open beta.
Combat comes in several flavors – standard tab targeting or mouse-aiming, and the latter works well, even if it’s just an illusion of skill based targeting. In this way, it’s kind of like WildStar or Guild Wars 2’s action mode. The annoying thing that I need to find out if I can turn off is this small line that extends from your character to your target. It looks odd, and out of place, as if I can’t be bothered to pay attention to the rest of the UI to see what I’m aiming at. See the image below.
There seems to be a lot of depth to the systems of RO too, but frankly at level 16 I’m still too noobish to know how far the rabbit hole goes. You hit 16 within a few hours, as leveling through quests and the intro is briskly paced. I’d assume that the curve to the eventual cap of 80 in open beta will slow down. I do know that housing, on the back of a giant turtle no less, is part of the later game, as is some massive faction and guild-based PVP, tons of dungeons, crafting, and more. None of this could be experienced by yours truly yet, but I’m curious to see how it all plays out. Character creation is deep, with a lot of options, but no matter what it seems that each class and sex has its own look – a fine detail, given that unlike many import MMORPGs, the classes are not gender locked.
The actual story is so strange in Revelation Online though, and I can’t help but chalk it up to the fact that it’s going to be hard to translate the game into a cohesive narrative that makes any sense in the West without majorly reworking a lot of details. Just watch Hive’s video on the beta below for an example of what I mean…
Now, I’m going to be spending some more time with Revelation in later betas, but I’m of a mixed impression right now. The gameplay itself seems fun, if a little heavy on the meaningless “fetch” quests early on. But at the same time, it’s clearly still got a long way to go to be ready for launch both in terms of bugs and localization. There’s so much about the UI and Map and systems that aren’t translated, you might as well be playing the Russian or Chinese versions. Revelation Online is promising, no doubt, but before I can say too much more about it… they need to fix that dang quest NPC bug.