Perfect World Entertainment is a North American publisher of free-to-play MMORPGs. In addition to Battle of the Immortals, PWE has provided a home for other well known MMOs such as Blacklight: Retribution and Jade Dynasty. In May, 2011 Perfect World Entertainment acquired Cryptic Studios, and with it Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and the upcoming Neverwinter.
Battle of the Immortals is a free-to-play MMORPG which opened up to the general public in May, 2010. The game allows players to hang out in the lost city of Atlantis, ride reindeer, have pink pigs for pets, and battle unique beasts. Whether you enjoy PvE or PvP, players tend to find themselves in one of two camps – it's "Zenners" vs. "Cheapos", and the age-old argument that those with the most real-world money win the game.
The world of Motenia is a hot mess. The main players in Motenia lore include The Dragon Emperor, a merciless dictator who was sealed in stone by the Witches of the Millennium; the Goddess of Fate, who had a vision which led her to believe that the Dragon Emperor would find a way to free himself; the Immortals who search for Odin, the God-King; and Demitrios, High Priest of Motenia, now corrupt and seething with hatred. Atop Mount Olympus, Demotrios offers his own blood as a sacrifice to wake Cronos, who in turn wages war upon the Immortals. The future of Motenia depends on the brave few (that would be you!) who will take arms against Cronos, the God of Kings.
Battle of the Immortals is a complex game. While players can hop in and start questing and killing without much difficulty, if they want to reach the end-game then a fair chunk of time will be spent learning the game's many intricacies. At character select there are six classes to choose from including your standard tank type classes, healers and DPS. Customization features are one of BOI's weak points, so it's pretty much straight to the server from there.
All classes are given active and passive skills at various level intervals. Skills are effective for about 10 levels, but can be upgraded by seeing a trainer in Atlantis. The BOI combat system features something called the XP Ability, which lays out all of your enemies with a powerful area of effect attack. An XP meter indicates when the attack is ready to use. Kiting is a decent combat strategy for classes with DOT (damage over time) spells, just as running through an aggro area will allow you to use your XP Ability on a whole horde of mobs at once.
Leveling in BOI is both weird and wonderful. Weird because it happens so fast; wonderful because it happens so fast! Watching the levels fly by gives you something to constantly look forward to, and it almost hides the grind. Quests are plentiful and simple to complete. Perhaps a little too simple. Many well-rewarded quests will literally have the player run from one NPC to the next in Atlantis. As if leveling wasn't quick already, you can toggle Double XP whenever you like. Players receive 300 minutes of Double XP per week.
Traveling around the game world is done on auto-pilot. You can select a zone, merchant, quest NPC, and even a quest objective on the map to automatically run to. Directionally challenged players will love this feature, others might think of it as over-simplifying. At level 25 players receive their first mount. Mounts can be upgraded using gems, which will provide your ride with higher stats and a new appearance. There is also a multiplayer mount available, which will not only deliver you to your destination, but your group members as well.
One aspect of Battle of the Immortals that is quite enjoyable is the pet system. If you can catch it, it's yours! You can have more than one pet and can switch between them as you please. When the player levels, skill points also become available for the pet to boost basic stats. Pet gems can be used to further improve (fortify) your pet. Unfortunately, the gems with the best stats come with a high fortification failure rate.
Crafting in BOI is called "Tech", and it can be started once a player reaches level 35. Initially ingredients are gathered for the purpose of refining and researching tech, ultimately crafters are able to create gear, pet gear, fashion items and potions.
Trading in Battle of the Immortals can be very confusing. Available methods of trading include player vending, the ZEN marketplace, ZEN trading, the Bonus marketplace and NPC trading. When player vending you can set up a tent (literally) in Atlantis, where your store can remain open unattended. The ZEN Marketplace is where players can purchase premium game content. Players can purchase ZEN from the Perfect World website, or in-game via the marketplace UI. If you do not wish to purchase ZEN with real-world money, you can still engage in what is called "ZEN Trading".
With the use of ZEN Trading you can sell your in-game coins to other players for ZEN, and in turn purchase items for yourself from the ZEN Marketplace. From the Bonus Marketplace players can purchase items using other types of currency, such as Salary. In BOI players receive a small salary at the end of play sessions just for questing and playing the game. Game credits can also be earned by spending ZEN.
When selecting a new MMO to play, it's always a pleasant surprise to come across a feature or two that you've never seen before. In Battle of the Immortals, one such feature would be the pet system. Taking a pet brings back old school memories of playing an Enchanter in EverQuest. Just head out to your favorite hunting ground and snag a mob to fight alongside of you. Toss some skill points into the pet, give it an upgrade and you've got yourself a little fighting machine.
Battle of the Immortals is aesthetically challenged. At character select your character looks sizzling hot; once in the game... not so much. Because of this, when logging in for the first time BOI can be rather disappointing. When you zoom in on your character and surroundings everything looks fantastic. Unfortunately, due to poor over-head camera angling, it's not realistic to play the game while zoomed in. Therefore, what could have been a very attractive looking title ends up being a turn-off.
The in-game user interface is another bone of contention. UI pieces such as chat windows, mini-map and spell bars are docked and locked. The UI graphics are tiny. If you are playing BOI at a high resolution then be prepared to pull out a magnifying glass. Shortcut keys save the day, but it would still be nice to see some UI customization.
BOI has done well since its launch two years ago, and continues to house a healthy-sized community. Patches featuring fixes, optimizations, changes and additions are rolled out two to three times per month without fail. Paid in-game content goes on sale a couple of times per week, tournaments and events take place regularly, and free content has been released several times since the game's launch. Battle of the Immortals seems quite content to carry on business as usual for a long time to come.
Public chat channels are active, but not annoyingly so; and there's not a huge amount of trash talking to be seen. While the game is chock full of chat options, there's not much customization to go with it. This means that if your peepers are a little on the blind side, then you may have trouble viewing your chat screen. Group invites tend to come regularly throughout a play session, and most players seem quite receptive to grouping. BOI also features a number of emotes, and at level 50 players can engage in in-game marriage.
Since Battle of the Immortals launched two years ago, one would hope that the game would be well polished; and it is. Encountering any sort of bug or crash is a rarity. Classes are well-rounded and seem to be quite balanced. As mentioned previously, the UI could use a lot of work, and the game economy is a bit of a mess, but neither of the two seem likely to change. The game client performs well, but in-game lag is not uncommon while in a populated zone like Atlantis.
One might think that a free-to-play game would be loaded with value; after all, it's free, right? For the casual player who is not concerned with playing competitively, Battle of the Immortals can be played completely free. If you are the type that needs to be at the top of the leader boards, then prepare to open your wallet wide.
Battle of the Immortals is a fun, flawed game. It has a very casual feel to it initially, and is very easy to just jump into without doing any heavy reading. However, if you want to keep playing then you'll have to learn what BOI is all about, and that learning curve is steep. Although there are many quests to guide you in the right direction, some aspects of the game require additional research.
Despite the game's few issues, graphics and camera angles become the deal makers and breakers. BOI would be far more appealing if it featured standard MMO camera views, allowing the game to be seen from a first-person or behind the character perspective. Quests are easy to find and easy to complete. Perhaps a bit too easy. Travel is a no-brainer, literally. Click on what you wish to find and the game will lead you right to it. Ultimately, Battle of the Immortals has been dumbed-down in some areas and then raised beyond mortal comprehension in others.