Final Fantasy XIV – A Small Critique

Final Fantasy XIV is my favorite modern MMORPG. I’m reluctant to say favorite MMORPG, because I grew up playing Dark Age of Camelot and EverQuest, so both of those games will hold an extra special place in my heart. There’s a lot to love about FF14, namely its gorgeous graphics, unique multi classing system, adorable emotes, countless glamors, and excellent late game boss mechanics. It also has the best player housing system I’ve seen in an MMORPG, but I haven’t seen the new homesteads in Elder Scrolls Online, which I heard was great. The one thing that nags me about FF14 though is that each job has zero actual customization. This means that every single Black Mage has access to the exact same set of skills. In fact, there’s ZERO difference between every max level black mage in the game. That’s right; zero class customization. Most people don’t criticize this feature because the class system overall is pretty great, as everyone can play EVERY class on a single character. Switching between classes only requires a player to equip a new weapon. Tired of being a mage? Just equip a bow and now you’re an archer! Being able to play every class on one character is great, but it doesn’t excuse the lack of customization on a per class basis. Yes, there are stat points, but there’s only ever 1 viable stat point build per class.

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Revelation Online’s Early Game Sucks

Having played both phase 1 and phase 2 of Revelation Online‘s closed beta tests I think it’s time for me to share some of my feelings about the game. This is by no means a full review for Revelation Online, but rather a quick overview of my thoughts. First of all, I really like the game’s graphics – not so much its sharpness, as games like Black Desert Online and Moonlight Blade both look way nicer, but I really like the open world persistence of the game. It feels like a lot of modern MMORPGs gave up on having a seemlesss open world. Even great games like Final Fantasy XIV and Blade and Soul don’t have expansive worlds. Instead, everything is gated in smaller zones. I’m glad to see some Chinese MMORPGs go back to the wide open worlds that MMOs became famous for. Prior to BDO and Revelation, I remember this style being a big part of Lineage 2. (Even Lineage 2: Revolution, the mobile MMORPG, has an open world!) Continue reading

Tree of Savior Lives up to the Hype

Tree of Savior began its second round of closed beta testing in early November, and I’ve been playing it quite a bit since. I wasn’t able to test out the game in its first round of testing, so this was the first time I played it and I have to say right away that I was impressed. Having loved Ragnarok Online from WarpPortal (and various private servers), I’ve long been looking for an MMORPG that filled the void Ragnarok left in my heart when I quit and it looks like Tree of Savior may be it. I’ve played quite a few Ragnarok Online style games in the past, including Secret of the Solstice (was published by Outspark until they shut down), Water Margin Online (some obscure Chinese Ragnarok clone that shut down) and even Ragnarok Online 2, but none of these games came close to the original Ragnarok in terms of variety and depth. Tree of Savior on the other hand, both looks and feels like an improved version of Ragnarok and is easily one of the best fantasy MMORPGs out there. I also love that it’s free to play.

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Similar to Ragnarok, Tree of Savior has A LOT of class variety. I think IMCGames, the studio behind it, said they want to have 80 classes available at launch which is incredible, even though it counts job advancements as individual classes. Most newer games today don’t have nearly as much class variety. Wildstar for example, which recently went free to play, only has 6 playable classes. Dragomon Hunter from Xlegend has only 4. These aren’t older games either. Dragomon Hunter launched into open beta in late 2015, while Wildstar came out in 2014. One of Ragnarok’s biggest appeals to me was its huge roster of classes. Whenever you got bored with one character, you could create another one and have an entirely new experience with the game. Tree of Savior is built the same way. Not only are there going to be 80 classes, but players have a lot of control with how they customize their growth. Each class can be advanced into multiple times, which creates a new infinite path of progression. So for example, when it’s time to advance your class early on as a swordsman you can either A) become a highlander or B) become a swordsman rank 2.

Another aspect of Tree of Savior that’s simply excellent is its musical score. SoundTeMP did the music for Tree of Savior and they’re the same company that composed the music for many notable MMORPGs including: Fly for Fun Flyff, Granado Espada, MapleStory, LaTale, Silkroad Online and even Ragnarok Online. If you have no interest in Tree of Savior, I still recommend you check out the Tree of Savior Soundtrack, because the game’s music is incredible. It’s easily some of the best music i’ve ever heard in a video game.

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Ultimately, I want to emphasize that so far I’m loving Tree of Savior. The second closed beta is set to end soon, so I’ll need to wait till the next round of testing to resume my journey. Too bad there’s going to be a wipe as I worked so hard on my current characters, but alas, I knew going in that I’d have to restart. This game lives up to the hype. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Guild Wars 2 Free to Play Review

Ever since Guild Wars 2 from NCSoft officially went free to play, (August 29, 2015), I’ve been playing it pretty casually. I don’t have too much time to sink into MMORPGs the way I did when I was younger, but I still like to sneak in an hour or so of grinding a day. Guild Wars 2 was a game I was always sort of interested in, but never to the point where I was ready to actually pay for it, so going free to play was the sole reason I finally got around to playing it. I actually think the decision to go free to play right before the release of the Heart of Thorns expansion was genius by ArenaNet/NCSoft. Given the game’s age, it was released in 2012, it’s safe to say the pace of sales for the base game slowed down dramatically. Since they aren’t selling very many new copies of the game, going free to play doesn’t cause the company to miss out on any new sales and instead opens the game’s doors to an entirely new set of players, like myself, who never would have played the game otherwise. So with a slew of new players, NCSoft is making more money than ever selling premium currency to their new users. Continue reading

Savage Lands Early Access Review

Savage Lands is yet another entry into the rapidly expanding survival genre that’s arrived this year. Making its way into the Early Access program, Savage Lands released earlier this year to a moderately positive reception, and has since only improved. While Savage Lands is clearly not a perfect title, it has the potential to be something great. The success of survival games like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved led to the rapid development of similar games in the genre. Continue reading

Magerealm: Rise of Chaos Review

Magerealm: Rise of Chaos is a browser-based fantasy MMORPG by Chinese developer GTArcade, publisher of the highly popular League of Angels game. Players take control of one of three unique classes to protect the Holy City from total destruction, recruiting Angels and Heroes to aid in combat against evil. The game was launched globally on June 18, 2015. Continue reading

Victory Command – Quick MOBA Review

I recently downloaded and play a new MOBA called Victory Command from Petroglyph Games. For those that never heard of it, it’s a 3D military themed tactical MOBA that actually plays more like an RTS than a traditional MOBA. The game launched on Steam early access on May 27, 2015 and its trying to disrupt the MOBA market. Unlike games traditional MOBAs like Dota 2, Victory Command doesn’t really have any RPG elements. Instead, the game gives players control of multiple units on the battlefield. Continue reading