The Subscription Edition Review of Wakfu
I rerolled a new offense-oriented character to explore the paid features of Wakfu and give you a more appropriate look at what the game offers for those willing to pay the subscription costs. In short, there’s a lot more to do, and I hope this additional article supplements my initial review with that info.
The World Unlocked
Running through Wakfu with a subscriber account was akin to unlocking a entire world's worth of content. The list of things to do and places to explore increased tenfold, and the amount of things to experience just seemed a bit overwhelming. It's also in conversations with the various NPCs that other deeper facets of the game like the in-game election system and criminal system became more apparent.
No longer was I constantly plagued with red messages of denial and NPCs would no longer brush me off abruptly. Instead, they would offer to train me in the various Harvesting/Crafting skills (if I haven't already learnt them). Crafting stations were now usable, with various recipes listed out and clearly marked with a Tick or Cross depending on whether you possessed the prerequisite materials. In addition, harvesting outside of Atrub would now bestow skill gains. Nice.
Caves and caverns that were previously inaccessible could now be entered, though some of them required the use of keys dropped by certain monsters. Underground caverns in Wakfu are usually filled with destructible blocks, so be sure to bring a few bombs (crafted using the mining profession) and get ready to blow stuff up Bomberman style.
With subscriber status, it is possible to travel to the other nations via cannons. At this point in time, the only nation in possession of nation-to-nation transport cannons is Bonta. While some players may be overjoyed at the prospect of traveling to foreign lands to take in the sights and sounds (or PvP with others), you won't be able to enter certain zones in these foreign lands without holding a passport for that nation.
Out of all the features 'unlocked' by subscriber status, the most important one has to be the ability to mint your own cash. There are multiple recipes to mint (or should I say, craft) coins from, and all of them involved ores that could harvested using the miner profession. With cash in hand, I was able to purchase equipment from the Marketplace, pay for teleportation to the various portals (Zaaps) that I had activated previously or pay for a boat ride to one of the few islands which could be 'taken over' by any of the 4 nations.
One of the islands I visited to was The Lord's Pastures, which costs 10 coins to get to. Retro video game fans might want to pay a visit to the big green pipe at the North East of the zone. Don't be afraid to jump inside, you'll get a laugh out of what you see (and pick up).
It was while running around The Lord's Pastures that I encountered players with skull icons hovering over their characters: the mark of a criminal. And it's around this point that the darker aspects of Wakfu started to make themselves a bit more apparent.
By becoming a subscriber, the world of Wakfu suddenly became a slightly more dangerous place. Non-consensual PvP is 'unlocked' and players run the risk of being attacked by other players. There were even a few instances where I was aggroed by monsters (more on this later)! That said, there are a few rules in place which discourage and even outright forbid non-consensual PvP.
Subscribed players can only attack other subscribed players and they can't attack other players whose levels are much lower than theirs. In addition, non-consensual PvP is not allowed in Astrub. So, the only places you'll get attacked when you're in your own nation, someone else's nation or the island territories that can be reached by boat. To top it off, PvPers run the risk of being penalized with decreased citizen points and being branded criminals.
If you've accumulated any penalty points, you can opt to voluntarily surrender yourself to your nation's prison. It was a really amusing experience, when I saw my character in prison, decked out in a stereotypical black and white striped prison outfit, with a countdown timer at the top of the screen. I'll try not to spoil the surprise for people wanting to experience this themselves and just say that there's an option to make little rocks from big rocks when you're behind bars.
As mentioned previously, I got aggroed by monsters. It was quite a surprise considering the rather docile nature of most of the game. My first experience occurred after entering a dungeon which required a key dropped by Bow Meows. After taking a few steps into the dungeon, I was immediately set upon by 3 NPCs 'stationed' near the entrance. Suffice to say, I didn't survive the encounter.
The other instance where I got aggroed was something of a curiosity. I spent more time leveling my character up so that he would survive the boat ride to Mount Zinit and actually made it to the beach after a few tries (and a lot of praying). Upon moving further inland, I was aggroed by a group of monsters consisting of a hermit crab and a starfish. There didn't seem to be any discernible pattern as to why I got aggro from the monsters there. I'd run circles around some of the monsters for seconds and nothing would happen. Then suddenly I'd get pulled halfway across the screen to enter a fight. Seeing as Mount Zinit is considered as the 'endgame' zone in terms of the game's story, being extra careful seems to be a good idea when paying that place a visit.
NO NEED FOR VIOLENCE
Outside of combat, the amount of things that can be done is staggering. For players who decide to be jacks-of-all-trades and skill up every harvesting/crafting skill, there is going to be a lot to keep you busy. Every zone is filled to the brim with things that can be harvested, ground areas to plant seeds in and animals to re-populate. There's even a quest of sorts to donate 100 pieces of a resource (differs between nations) to your nation's Jonk character.
I spent an obscene amount of time running around, harvesting seeds from tree and plants, replanting them elsewhere to create a private garden of my very own. It was time consuming, it was laborious, it gave me enough skill gains for my Herbalist skill to hit level 15 quickly and I LOVED IT. I have the means to change the world around me, and if I wanted to be a big bad meanie, I can also go around trampling seedlings that other players had planted.
Just for the fun of it, I grabbed a few Ash Tree cuttings from Bonta and hopped on a cannon ride to Sufokia with the intention of 'introducing' this species of plant to a foreign nation. To my amusement, and slight disappointment, other players with the same idea had already beat me to it and a tiny forest of Ash Trees greeted me when I was looking for a spot to plant my cuttings.
There is also a noticeable abundance of crafting stations all over Wakfu. You can find them in the middle of zones, along the roads and (in one rare instance) in an underground cavern. This is in addition to the crafting stations located in the towns of every nation. The close proximity of harvestable resources next to each crafting station also makes it easy for players who don't wish to run around too much.
The Haven Bag, your portable player home/bazaar, also becomes much more useful with subscriber status. I was now able to put things up for sale, invite other players inside, as well as view a transaction log of my previous sales. It's an interesting take on player housing and personal bazaar, mashing both of these mainstays in most MMORPGs into one item that's only a click (or shortcut) away. The only gripe I have with it is that the space inside is so incredibly tiny; there's hardly any space for you to truly decorate your 'home'.
THE COMMUNITY IS KEY
With subscriber status, it becomes all the more apparent that the longevity of the game is very much dependent on the player community. Crafting stations sometimes break down and require donations of coins or crafting materials from players, player elected governments can influence certain aspects of the game, the environment can be altered through judicious replanting of plants/trees and there are plenty of public areas with all the right ingredients for player-hosted events.
Even though I ran the risk of getting randomly attacked, I found that the Wakfu player-base to be very civil. This was a pleasant surprise given the some of the experiences I have had in Ultima Online and Lineage II. Everyone seemed content to go about their own business, and the atmosphere wasn't any different from that of the F2P experience.
WORTH THE MONEY?
There is just so much more content in Wakfu when you decide to become a subscriber. So much more that it simply makes the F2P version feel like a mere whisper of the full experience, which I suppose is the idea. Another side note: the lack of aggro from almost all the zones’ mobs is also a literal godsend for players who wish to mainly focus on harvesting/crafting and avoid having to level up. With a very affordable subscription model unlocking so much more content, I do feel like Wakfu is worth the price of admission and then some. Now that you’ve seen both sides of this review, what are you waiting for? Go give it a try!
Be sure to read our Wakfu: Free Edition Review.