I’d been seeing images of Skyforge for some time before Gamescom. Everything about the game is beautiful. But surprisingly few MMO gamers I know have heard of Skyforge. It’s a Science Fiction-Fantasy MMORPG from the makers of Allods Online. Combat is all geared towards action and somewhat reminiscent of console games in that there are combos to learn for various attacks. I was never good at learning combos in my old school Street Fighter days and if my demo at Gamescom taught me anything it is that nothing has changed.
The team started out our introduction to Skyforge with a bit of history. In this universe gods protect planets but for some reason your planet has no god. Your job is to become a God and to protect the people of your world. This is of course done through a complex character progression system which I’ll go into a little more detail on later. But the most interesting thing to note is that once you become a God your story isn’t done. Now, I’ve not seen all of the game yet so I wouldn’t say that the game doesn’t really start until you reach godhood but being a god comes with unique benefits. There are items that only gods can create for instance. Gods can heal in combat which makes them really popular with their friends. And once you become a god you unlock an all new ascent matrix.
But Skyforge isn’t all about being a god. You start out as a lowly immortal with three classes available to you. At launch there will be a total of ten classes to pick from and you will be able to unlock all of them on one character. Swapping classes is very easy to do; I did it several times in my short demo. I didn’t have to go to a hub or talk to anyone. It was as simple as a couple of menu clicks. The hardest part was changing your mindset to match the character you had changed to. Things like remembering an archer doesn’t need to be in melee range. During the demo the Cryomancer was by far my favorite. Which fortunately for you dear reader the Skyforge team has released a video for.
As you can see Cryomancers are very flashy. This most likely explains why they’re my favorite. But I also enjoyed the dual chain wielding Slayer class which, if I were to play would likely be my preferred class. I think what I love about all the classes in this game is that combat is big. Its flashy, it’s got a lot of energy in it and its just plain fun!
One of the things that makes Skyforge stand out in my mind though is the fact that quest hubs aren’t really needed. If you enter an area where a quest is taking place it automatically gets added to your list. No more needing to worry about if you’ve talked to all the contacts for an area. No more completing an area and going back to the nearby quest hub only to find out you actually missed that one NPC who was hiding behind a tree so now you have to go back. As a gamer this sort of thing is exciting, it keeps the fast pace of the game going. But as a roleplayer, I have a few concerns. The biggest being, will I know why I’m doing this thing? Lets say I’ve got a quest to kill ten rats (I’m not saying there is such a quest, but it’s an easy example). I wander into a field and the kill ten rats quest gets added to my to do list. Why am I doing it? Maybe a farmer wanted the rats gone? Or maybe it a squeamish girl with something against rats. This sort of thing is important to me and I am concerned it might get lost in the noise of combat.
But that is hardly my biggest concern about Skyforge. In fact what I find most disappointing, the thing that will keep me from playing Skyforge, is the lack of character customization. If I understand correctly, and I will admit that I did have a bit of a language barrier with my guide, if I understand correctly character customization in Skyforge means being able to change your clothes. Nothing more. Okay, maybe it isn’t that big of a deal to some people. I will grant you that this isn’t a show stopper for a lot of people. But for me character customization is vital in an MMORPG. At my core I am a roleplayer. So if I walk into town and every Archer has the exact same face that is a deal breaker. I’d also like to mention for a moment….how to put this politely…jiggle physics. You know those inflated dancing things in front of car dealerships? They’re called air dancers and in Skyforge female characters basically have two of them strapped to their chests. They don’t obey physics and just like air dancers they each have a mind of their own. The end result is a bit jarring. Thankfully when you’re playing you see your character’s back so it isn’t that big of an issue.
All of the negativity aside there is still one very interesting feature that I’ve not yet discussed, character progression. Progression in Skyforge is complex. You have this massive Ascension Atlas which is basically a roadmap of progression. It zooms out, it zooms in, and it seems to go on for ages. See the video below for a better look at the
In the end Skyforge was a lot of fun to play. They have a lot of fun ideas with combat and the God system sounds really interesting. I would strongly encourage everyone to give it a try when it hits beta sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. I’ll certainly be there playing it even though I won’t play it once it launches. I am sad that Skyforge is a let down in character customization but I hope that won’t stop you from giving it a go. If you want to find out more about Skyforge the team did do a Twitch stream from Gamescom, which I should warn you is half an hour long.