Review in Progress - The Right Game at the Right Time
It’s been a week or so since Riders of Icarus entered Open Beta (for Founders at least), and I’ve been finding it oddly cathartic and relaxing to delve into a new MMORPG that doesn’t seem afraid to let its Inspired-By flag fly. While a lot of Riders of Icarus is clichéd, the game’s got a certain sense of charm and I find myself wanting to log in regardless of knowing exactly where the adventure leads.
You see, like all theme park MMOs, I expect I’ll get to (or at least close to) the level cap in Nexon and WeMade’s game, and while I’ll have enjoyed my time playing I’ll move on and find myself longing for a game I can truly sink my teeth into. But remember, we have a luxury these days that the MMO gamers of the late 90s (many of them us) didn’t have. We have variety, we have multitudinous choices, and we can very easily hop from game to game enjoying what flavors they have to offer.
That’s not a bad thing. In fact, I reckon it’s part of why I’m enjoying Icarus a lot right now. I’ve been playing Black Desert Online and ESO pretty much solely for the better part of the past six months (minus review time for Blade & Soul, among others). Riders of Icarus is a nice change of pace from my two current games of choice in that it very much adheres to the “Ways of Old” while still offering a unique take on mounts, pets, and collecting. Even without PVP present in the game at this stage of Open Beta, there’s something alluring about the leveling, collecting, and looting. It’s charmingly old school, and it’s exactly what I needed right now in my gaming world. It won’t be that way for everyone, and that’s alright.
Crafting so far seems rather pointless, but I’ve started dabbling in it anyway. You get so much gear, and enough stones to upgrade or temper them to higher levels that it doesn’t really seem to be something necessary. It’s there to check off a box on a “What we need in an MMO” list, but at the very least it doesn’t seem too grindy a task to level up.
The joy in Riders of Icarus comes from something we’re familiar with after so many years of playing these games. It’s a fresh new world, there are loads of players, and everyone’s doing it all for the first time (well most of us, who didn’t go hardcore into the beta). That new car smell is still there, and I’m breathing it deeply in, even if part of me knows I’ll be left with a basic sedan at the end of the day.
I did my first dungeon, several times actually, last night with the help of higher level players looking to clear our achievements (which award you with cash shop currency or gear often). I can’t gauge how easy or hard the Lavalight Caverns are, but I got the impression that it’s supposed to be a short 2-boss affair that takes 30 minutes for the average group. For my 2-level 25 Wizard-wielding group, we made short work of the hardest difficulty setting in just around 5 minutes – leaving with tons of loot and cash in tow. When the party leader first enters a dungeon, he or she can choose what level of difficulty (from Story to Elite or Heroic) and then how hard the monsters are within that difficulty bracket from a range of 1 (easy) to 5 (hardest). It’s a nice touch, sort of reminiscent of City of Heroes, and the harder levels come with greater rewards too.
I’m almost 16 now, 9 levels from the current cap of 25, with the level 35 cap expected in a week or two. I definitely see myself getting there, but beyond that depends on how much there really is to do once PVP and more is added to the game. Right now, Riders of Icarus is a fun PVE escape from my usual MMO fare, and it’s a F2P MMORPG I can see myself returning to from time to time down the road. But I can already say I feel no desire to level another character, if simply because running through the same linear quest chains is something I no longer have the desire to do in any MMO.
Have you been trying Riders of Icarus? If so, what keeps you coming back? What do you expect to get from the game that you can’t get anywhere else? For me, it’s something new to play and honestly… that’s enough right now. I don’t feel like its gouging my wallet, and it’s been $25 well spent. But for the love of all that’s holy, Nexon and WeMade… can we get some better costumes and maybe some mounts in the Shop? I’d pay for anything but the Nazi-esque military garb.