Shot Online Review
Shot Online is a MMO Golf Simulator, developed by OnNet - a Korean company. I guess it was just a matter of time. The Koreans are crazy about anything MMO, and they are crazy about golf. Someone just had to put the two together. Lets explore it together, shall we?
Let Us Create a Golfer
When you first start the game, it takes you to Character Creation, which is a bit limited. Here you get to choose from five player types, three male, two female. During open beta, there were only four, two of each gender, all right handed. Towards the end of the beta, they added a left handed player type.
You get to choose from Belzebuit, a 19 year old English lad, Wotan, a 19 year old Spanish guy, Erda, 17 years old, female, from Italy, Shaoring, a 15 year old Chinese girl, and Zygmunt, the left handed 18 year old man from the USA.
A sample description, this for Wotan: "Reticent and sincere. With a great sweat, he ranks one of the tops even though he lost his one eye in an accident. His nick name, Odin becomes him." If you're anything like me, first off, your wondering what is up with the names? Then you get hit with the broken-English translations, (which is a recurring theme). I had to laugh at this description numerous times. If he has a "great sweat", it does not sound like much fun playing 18 holes with him. Kind of like that underarm deodorant commercial where the golfer sinks a putt, raises his arms in victory, and the entire crowd, wildlife included, fall over from the apparent stench. Also, if he "lost his one eye in an accident", would not that make him partly blind? I would be pretty impressed if he still ranked as "one of the tops" then!
The difference between the five player types is they have different physical features, as well as different values in the four attributes; which are Power, Impact, Skill and Stamina. You cannot change these base values, but you can add to them later as you level. Here you have to decide if you want to be the big guy Wotan, who is all power and stamina but no impact or skill, or the smaller in stature Belzebuit who has more impact, but less power, etc.
Power controls how far you can hit the ball, Impact affects your accuracy, Skill affects how good you can control backspins, fades, etc, and Stamina affects your fatigue. If you get too tired, no matter how good you are, you will start hitting wild shots and have no control over anything.
You then get only a couple choices of colors for the starting clothes, which makes for a lot of identical looking people running around at lower levels. As you progress and make some coin, you can buy more shirts, skirts, shoes, even hats and hair. The preferred dress for Wotans seems to be naked. Well, as naked as the game lets you get, which is white boxers and white t-shirt. And yes, you do get to pick a name, so you aren't stuck with the player type/class names.
So 'this' is Valhalla?
Now we get to the Director's office. He tells us we have just entered Valhalla, and may be a little confused, so he will assign us a helper to show us the ropes. Well, I know of some Vikings who would be very perturbed to say the least to find out Valhalla is a country club full of anime looking toons trying to put a little ball into a little hole. The only battles here are on the golf course, and no, you can't beat up people with your clubs. Maybe in a past life you could, maybe that is why that Odin character lost his one eye, but they seem to have put a stop to it.
Your helper takes you on a tutorial to show you how things work, like how to hit the ball, how the different controls work, etc. You get in game cash for completing the tasks called NG's (for Not Gold). During the tutorial for me in beta, and also now in public release, the text a lot of times overlapped in different colors and it was impossible to read some of it, while the broken-English here gets even more rough.
If you've ever played any golf sim before, you'll already know how to do pretty much everything. You have a golf ball with a red dot on it, that shows where you want to hit the ball to give it backspin, topspin, slice or hook. You have the power/accuracy bar that you click once to start the bar up for power, click again to stop the power/swing and it goes back down, and you click again when it gets to the other end for your accuracy. If you click perfectly on the lines at the top and bottom, the screen flashes nice shot, you get a few hundred NG's, and the ball goes mostly where you aimed. You also have the wind & weather displayed, as it also affects your shots. When it is sunny you hit the ball farther, cloudy, your shots are shortened.
Welcome to The World
During the tutorial you are shown how to putt and drive, you get NG's for completing your tasks, and then your moved into 'The World'. You can train on the putting green, the driving range, or a three-hole course. Putting gives you a grid with arrows flowing in the direction of the slope, the faster they move, the bigger the slope. You get NG's for sinking putts. On the driving range they have floating targets of various sizes, your NG prize is higher for hitting the smaller targets. On the three-hole course, you put it all together and see how it all works.
Once you are ready to compete against other players, there are three levels of courses to choose from. The beginners courses have two fairly flat, not too challenging 18-hole courses that are great to get your game on, and collect a few levels. You need to play some on these courses to get a feel for the game, and to level up. The designers felt that as in real life, if you are new to golf, even though you have the best equipment and know how to hit the ball, it does not mean you are going to do it right every time. Thus, at low levels you have virtually no control over backspin, and your ball rolls forever. As you progress, you gain levels, and every level you gain, you get two attribute points. You can put these points to your four attributes, the more in one attribute, the better control you have in that skill. For beginners it is recommended to put them all in Power at least until level ten, because backspin doesn't really come into play for you until later.