If someone were to tell me they had a lot of complex systems to implement into an MMO, a full sketch book and wanted to rush out F2P MMO onto the market, this wouldn’t be far off the result. While the systems are varied and interesting it feels all a little rushed to get everything in, resulting in a rather bad user experience. Nothing is really explained to you and I often felt a bit like I was fumbling about in the dark.
There are also a large amount of typos found throughout the game in some cases in the main windows. The localization isn’t first rate, resulting in some rather unusual and awkward NPC interactions. In several places the text for windows overlapped text or even ran over the edges of windows to give a very messy and budgeted feel to the game. However, it did run remarkably smooth within my browser and I did not encounter any performance hiccups or noticeable bugs.
After hitting level 40 the game slows down massively, the mobs are more difficult and you end up resorting to a daily grind. From this point on, Eternal Saga doesn’t feel very involved, and the desire to log in and play each day decreases overtime.
I don’t see the end point of this game: nothing seems to give you any direction and the story is convoluted. It may be in there somewhere beneath all of the glitter and fanfare but after hitting level 42, I’ve still yet to find it and this gives me little drive to play.
Eternal Saga approaches social interaction in an interesting way and does a good job of encouraging players to interact with one another using various rewarding mechanics, unlike many other MMOs.
One mechanic being a “Lucky Cat” that each character obtains and players on your friends list can “feed”. This cat can be fed up on 10 times a day and allows the owner to receive additional rewards that can be collected on a daily basis, think Facebook games that encourage you to click on messages asking for help. Incorporated within the “Lucky Cat” window is the option to “Add Friends”, in which 12 randomly chosen players are displayed for you to add and in addition you are also rewarded for reaching milestone amounts of friends on your list (which certainly explains why I was constantly bombarded with friend requests). While this mechanic does encourage you to add people from this random player lottery, the question is, do you really want to be friends with everyone?
The guild system is also introduced early on and joining one is just another way to gain additional bonuses and quests. Finally the world chat is very active but between the contents of the chat and the NPCs terminology, it is clear this game has marketed itself for a specific player base.
With the option to become a subscribed (VIP) member, premium currency and a micro-transaction shop in which you can pump the premium currency into, there are no absence of ways for the game to take your money. They certainly do a good job of ensuring you know this. Annoyingly, achievements that require gold are posted in chat with links that automatically open to purchase the premium currency, this can be easily clicked and feels almost as if I’m being tricked into giving the company my money. Not to mention the quite frankly insulting pay-to-win prices that translate in-game - almost $10 for a Leaf Sprite that is required to unlock another section of the game? It feels like day-light robbery considering the quality of the game itself. And it seems that to be able to experience any variation in the game, or even just obtain new items past the tutorial you’ll need to start pumping money in.
The VIP subscription system grants you additional bonuses such as 20% off the shop and differing EXP boosts. It is split into various models, none of which are clearly displayed with prices in-game. Upon clicking to “Become a VIP” you’re requested to blindly input your card details into a pop-up window, leaving you unsure of exactly what you’ve just signed up for which in turn makes me feel uneasy.
While it has its flaws and it certainly isn’t a game I’d pick to play, you cannot ignore some of the interesting features Eternal Saga has to offer. The game definitely leans more towards the social gaming side of the MMO genre, and with the way the time management mechanics are set up, it allows someone with a small amount of time to get a lot done – but for your average MMO gamer, there is not enough here to keep you hooked in the right way.
For me personally, I really don’t feel like it fits in with any of the other MMOs I’ve come to love. However, for those who do enjoy this type of game and are looking for a more social experience along with it, this could be the game for them. Overall it just feels like a cheap Facebook game with extortionate micro-transactions that I just don’t see a reason to pay into.