ASTA: The War of Tears and Winds is a MMORPG out of South Korea that is heavily based on eastern culture and myth. Also known as ASTA Online, it is sometimes referred to as the WoW of the East. Originally released in 2010 by the South Korean Studio, Polygon Games, they decided in August of last year to officially close all games and move into the mobile world. Three days prior, Webzen Games announced that they were taking on the task of bringing ASTA to the western part of the world.
Before we can even create a character we get faced with the decision on which faction to choose from, the Asu or Ora. Both are continents that are at war with one another, each with their own unique races. Even humans who are on both sides of this dispute are very much different and have little resemblance to each other. Ora is the continent named after the world of the dead and falls on the darker side of the game. The Asu, naturally falls towards the more righteous or light side. After you decide your faction you move on to character creation, where you pick your race and one of the five classes. The classes are the RPG standards: Warrior, Archer, Healer, Mage, and Rogue. Some of the races are bound to a few certain classes accordingly, while the human race is the only one that is accessible to all.
The game is very easy for the first few levels but with quick level-ups and abilities that unlock by themselves you can fly through it in no time. The combat, while traditionally tab-target, is fun and will keep you entertained. With lots of abilities that are powerful, you don’t have to grind through the boring early-game battling. By level three your character already has a complete bar of abilities and a second one starting up. Along with your character, your abilities have a level and gain experience by being used. You also have an inventory slot where you can equip a core: an offensive item that allows you to use a special ability with varying damage depending on the stats of the item.
The gameplay follows suit with any other WoW knockoff you can find, so if you’re used to the large scale MMOs, learning this game shouldn’t be a problem at all. If you aren’t however, the tutorial is user friendly and a learn as you go experience. It brings up advice as you encounter the fundamentals of the game so you don’t feel overwhelmed and rushed. ASTA goes away from quest trails or markers for guidance, instead next to each one of your quests you see a constant arrow pointing you in the direction of where to go next.
While adventuring the landscape you will find a ton of NPC’s, which help the feeling of never being alone with the small fan base ASTA has at the moment. A large chunk of the characters in the game give you quests as well, which vary from a few different types. There are the regular quests that go along with the main plot, group quests sanctioned to a certain area that anyone and everyone can compete in, and then there are the bounties, which are manhunt operations that you complete along the way.
Fast travelling has a different twist to it, along with towns or waypoints you can bounce around, you can also choose your own spots to teleport. You start out with being able to choose only one spot and then can purchase more the further you go. Be careful though, once you choose a spot it cannot be undone. The set points for fast travel are unlocked automatically by level, and there are teleport NPCs that can shoot you places for a price as well. Both of these options are enough to get you around even if you screw up your personal teleports. If fast travelling isn’t your style, you get a mount, which for my character was this mechanical fish... thing. You acquire one fairly early in the game so it can help you get to and fro before you get all of the travel spots.
Now, as familiar and cozy as ASTA is, as of right now this game needs a lot of internal work. Between random crashes and the several errors that can occur on startup, this game could make you rage quit before you even get started. It's not exactly a new game, and my rig isn't exactly out of date, so errors like these are alarming. Even trying to create an account on their website was problematic. ASTA is truly a beautiful game, even though it's a bit dated. The art style and overall presentation are on point and there's a pretty decent musical score too. The real question about ASTA isn't whether it's competent or nicely put together but rather... will anyone around still care to play another WoW copycat in different clothing?
We'll keep playing and plan to bring you a final review in coming weeks.