Visuals / Graphics & Audio
It's a flash based game and it looks as good as it can be. Animations are minimal. Facial animations? Forget-about-it. That said, there are some animated emotes including the always popular /dance and /wave and /point. The combat animations are actually much less lame than some truly spastic arm waving I've seen in other MMOs. I'm of the "Keep it Simple" school in that I believe having simple animation that works is better than complex animation that looks like someone dropped an earthworm down your character's armor.
Audio is limited to "swooshes" and "thuds" with no environmental music or background ambient sounds. This said, a recent event for Friday the 13th - To the Bottom of the Sea - included cutscenes, voice-overs and songs re-sung (much more family friendly than the original) by Voltaire for AdventureQuest Worlds which maxed and crashed servers. The re-play was available for two weeks and for a flash-based game, I was impressed at how lag-free it was, but the lag on launch day must have been incredible.
Bugs, bugs, bugs & Community
Being a flash based game, all player data is kept on Artix servers and players can log into any server that is up and available. There are two "Moglin" safe servers that children under the age of 13 are limited to. Only drop-down menu chat is available on these two servers. Several others are a mix of drop-down menu chat and free chat - if a paying subscriber, or verified paid up member of one of Artix's other games, yet several others are free chat as long as the email account is verified at registration, and one subscription server where subscribers get exclusive events and items.
There are grouping and clan (guild) capabilities in game and a forum for players. The subscriber server seemed to be a little friendlier perhaps because no one had ever seen a level one noob there. However, zone into almost any level appropriate zone and you'll find players issuing you a group invite to do the boss. The forums are friendly if not super busy as are most players in game. One particular fun time was being invited at level 2 to do a level 12 boss and another at level 5 to do a level 25 boss with 50,000 hitpoints. A pity I didn't have the quest yet.
Although I was invited to join a few clans, I was not spammed with clan invites. The lack of trading and re-selling of player items also meant that there was no zone spamming of items and gold for sale.
What's an MMO without bugs? The communications from the developers are all tinged with humor. A recent release was titled "Let loose the dogs (bugs) of war" with one item crossed out later and replaced with "This broke BAD" One frequent issue I encountered was the game freezing on moving from one screen or area to the next. The only way to get out of that is to close the window and log-in again. This is particularly annoying if you are working on a quest as you have to restart them.
AdventureQuest Worlds is free to play - unless you want to have a pet, buy exclusive fluff armors, get additional storage space and play on the single Paying Customer server for the exclusive events. There are several different subscription packages which come loaded with Adventure Coins (the paid for currency), beginning with a three month membership plus 1,000 Coins for $19.95. The Adventure Coins can also be purchased separate from membership.
All items can be previewed before purchase and range from a Werewolf Morph for 200 AC to the ferret pet for 900 AC to higher level weapons that go for 2,500 AC. To keep the game balanced, purchased weapons are level 1 and have to be enhanced when you level, or may only be equipped if you are of level.
The one big difference between AdventureQuest Worlds and many other free to play games is that the items you buy with Adventure Coins are permanent. Even when you stop paying the subscription, you will still be able to equip the armors and weapons, show-off your pet(s) and you will retain the additional bag slots and bank space purchased.
For a game that is pure hack and slash and item collection, AdventureQuest Worlds is a fun little casual MMO. It may lack depth, have no tradeskills or other career paths besides the adventure path and lack a certain amount of immersion, but that doesn't make it "un-fun" to play. A good community accounts for much in and MMO, and hanging out in the town during my lunch break, I watched the chatter. It was mostly about someone's cool armor or weapon, and where they got it from, and some chatter about quests and boss mobs.
Permanent buys mean that gamers can pay for a short subscription and coins, buy the items he/she wanted such as that neat little ferret pet or additional inventory slots or flaming sword, then go back to playing for free - and who can argue with that as value for money?