Review by oblivion from aoc

Reviewed: 12/07/07

Get me out of this moat!

A friend recommended me this game. So I downloaded it. It’s a free fantasy MMORPG, free meaning you can download and play it without paying any money, supposedly.

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Gameplay
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3/10: The game starts with the player choosing a class, and a name to go with it. The customization of the characters appearance is pitiful, you get two to three different types of faces to choose from and one-two types of clothing to choose from. The problem I found with the limited customization is that many of the players looked very similar. When you have chosen a character you are dumped into a middle of a dungeon, like many MMORPG, its click and kill style of play. Click the enemy you wish to attack. The start dungeon is just a practice run, so it’s virtually impossible to be killed. At the end of the dungeon you are placed into the centre of a town, from here you must explore the world yourself and learn how to play the game.

Roaming around the world map, players can easily get stuck in the towns’ moat which surrounds the main starting point. I found this to be a little silly; also the only way to fight new monsters was to grind for hours. For example, first I had to kill one hundred foxes, than I was strong enough to kill five hundred wolves, then one thousand drakes. It just goes like that; I just felt it was slow paced. The game does have many monsters to battle, but you only get to fight a select few at a time depending on your level.

Most of the gameplay consists of hours of grinding, trying to sell items to other players at the highest price you can whether or not they are worth it. You can get a partner pet; a dragon or a horse which looks good to have but actually does very little. There’s also all the standard MMORPG features such as guilds, pvp, skill points, levelling, trading and partying with other players to fight.

I found the game to be very difficult to begin with, there was little help, and the majority of the players were in merchant mode/away from keyboard so there weren’t many players to talk to. The few pointers that the game gave me as I progressed, I felt were badly written with poor grammar mistakes and too brief to give me much help at all.

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Graphics
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3/10: For a free game, the graphics are nice. The landscapes are quite mixed, vegetation looked all the same but different there were different environments to visit. There is quite a range of equipment available for players to show off with, items that are upgraded receive a white glowing effect that does get very old very fast. The majority of the monsters look good, their animation and sound is limited and repetitive but does the job.

There is a mix of AI characters but they all look too similar, there are no fat, small or skinny ones. One thing I found very lazy was the skill-masters, they looked all exactly the same, why did they even bother spreading them out through the town for? It just spoilt the atmosphere seeing a rogue master and mage master depicted as boring old motionless bearded men clones.

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Sound/Audio
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6/10: The sound effects get repetitive after a while; each monster only has attack, move and a death sound. So after hearing the growl, or woof for the hundredth time in a row it’s just annoying. The action, or emote sounds I found amusing, you could make your character laugh, boast, tease and a few other things. Despite rarely seeing any players using this function, it was probably the most fun selection of sounds in the game.

There are a few soundtracks with the game, one per environment. So depending on the town or map you were in the music would change. It got a little boring after a while as you only two at a time until you were able to progress, one in the town and another outside the town.

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Challenge
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1/10: The game gives you quests when you reach a certain level, but unless you seek them out they are easy to miss. I found them all to be a major waste of time, you carryout repetitive tasks such as killing x amounts of monster a, or talking to another AI character for some silly reason. Most quests involve either killing a certain amount of monsters or finding another AI character for some made up reason. They were a waste of time because of the reward you received for doing them was so small.

Yes, you could battle monsters way stronger than you for a challenge, but in the long-term it gives you a handicap. Fighting stronger monsters mean less abilities but higher level, so it is very easy to level up with very few abilities until you notice it is impossible to kill any enemies your level so you become stuck on a certain level.

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Controls/GUI
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6/10: I’d love to rate the interface much higher but I felt there were things missing, like a mini-map in the corner, or a health meter somewhere. I found the font of the text to be poor, I could not read it that well and the o’s and zero’s looked exactly the same, so adding friends and blocking the spam bots became impossible.

There are plenty of keyboard shortcuts to get to menus quickly, but without a mouse you cannot navigate the world map which I felt was a let down.

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Replay Value
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1/10: I am reviewing this game as a free game. As a free player you will struggle to get anymore enjoyment out of the game when you reach level 20, you notice all the good stuff you have to buy with real money. You buy x amount of ‘AP’ for y amounts of $. There are more items on sale that require real money than there are for free players in-game. I felt the length of this game is from approximately one week to a month as a free player before you notice how you must pay with real money to receive any good items.

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Support/Community
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3/10: I found the support to be extremely poor, most of the information about the game is spread across forums that you have to search through yourself. There is help on the official website but there is so little it seems like a waste of time. The support isn’t that great, their grammar is as bad as the in-game grammar. The official forums appear to be in disarray most of the time, filled with junk, unhelpful moderating teams and notices which aren’t kept up to date.

Every time a patch is released, it usually takes several hours no matter what your connection. This is a problem for all players, because every update the forums always flood with the same problem.

The volunteers of the game do try to keep things active like creating events, but they aren’t fun for all of us. The type of events include double experience for one hour, double item drops for one hour and so on. The one good event was the quiz room feature, but sadly it has been poorly executed. The players meet up in one room, get asked a question and must answer x or y, and the longer you last without getting a question wrong, the better your prize. The problems are that the set of questions are commonly repeated, and not friendly to foreign players. I found many of the questions only Americans would have had a clue about, the questions didn’t start easy and get harder, instead they were just random levels of difficulty. This could be so much better if the developers and people running the show weren’t so lazy.

The only way to get ‘AP’ points without paying real money is by taking bribes, or ‘jobs’ from the company which involve promoting their games, such as writing good reviews, adding videos to video sharing sites and so on. Just as long as you email them the evidence or post it in the forum, you should receive free AP. How bad does a game have to be before the company bribes its’ own players to promote it? I wonder if bad reviews mean you lose AP? Good thing I didn’t waste any of my hard earned money then.

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Overall
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2/10: As a free game, it is poor. All the good items are restricted to players that pay real money; there are also grammar mistakes throughout the game, players ripping you off, chat-bots flooding all the rooms all the time, chaotic forums, updates that take hours and hours.

I would never recommend spending money on this, because even if I did pay real money for items, it would still feel like a free game, do I receive any benefits for paying? No. So even if you spent real money, you will still get treated the same as free players, poor support and poor forums and slow servers.

This game is just a fishing hook, it hooks the players in because it’s free, but then they need to pay real money to continue having fun. The system which just seems like a waste of money to the player, the membership-system is the most popular way for companies to make money from their MMORPG’s for a reason, because it separates the free players from the paying users.

GOOD POINTS
-Good graphics and sound for a freebie
-Many monsters
-Large landscapes
-Has most of the standard MMORPG features

BAD POINTS
-Boring, unoriginal quests
-You must pay with real money to get any decent items
-Poor support
-Poor grammar
-Slow paced

Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

Product Release: Last Chaos (US, 11/20/06)

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