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Vindictus — Season 2

Vindictus — Season 2

2014. nov. 14.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, Vindictus is on my Top 5 list of MMOs, and that was deserved by a pleasantly presented prologue, a coherent story, a finely tuned development system, and a destructible and weaponized environment, which latter is still not widely used in MMOs. Besides, Vindictus can stay on my Top 5 MMOs list, because it is improved continuously. I didn’t play it for years, so I couldn’t lure my old character out to the sun (but I couldn’t use her name either), but there was no worry about it. Since the publication of the article linked above there came three new characters, some serious Raids, and new game content called Season 2. (And ‘Episode 3’, and… —Garcius) The instance system changed not a bit; you still board a ship alone or with a little team, then there comes the hack’n’slash on the selected difficulty level and tricky skills for tearing the mobs apart. About the new Raid locations it is enough to mention that in spite of the earlier stages these offer rougher tasks done by bigger teams fighting against exceptionally hard bosses. However, the new characters are worth to be detailed a bit. I did not write about the older ones, because they embody the basic types: the knight Fiona builds on shield defense, Lann is an attacker with two swords, and the sorceress Evie throws fire and ice. The new threesome shows the extremities. Like Lann, Vella slashes around with twin swords, but her acrobatic style makes her a meat mincer built into a spinning-top. She reacts with easy jumps and direction changes for every button pushed, and instead of any block she protects herself by doing fast dodges. On the area of heavy beating, Karok offers a relatively easy playing style. This big guy walks with a waist-wide battle pillar on his shoulder, and the lower level boss fights are only about knocking the opponent out, then beating him till he comes to his senses. Then knocking him out again, then beating him till he comes to his senses. Then knocking him out again… Later the play with Karok goes harder, for example he will be able to...

Vindictus

Vindictus

2014. nov. 14.

I picked up on this game earlier, because there was some hurrah about its physical engine. In that time only North America and the Far East could play it, but today there is a European server too, so it came on and I tried it out, and since then I can’t really put it down. If I had to write a shortlist with the best MMOs of the world, Vindictus would be in the first ten. Maybe in the first five. Yeah, I admit it; the first twenty or twenty-five levels come easily, you quickly grow above your enemies, but starting on the third location you must pull up your socks. Broadly speaking, a game of real challenges and solo or team tactics starts here. Although character creation gives not much opportunities, the prologue is impressive. Its excellent quality is only one thing: besides, you can get an insight into gameplay and physical engine alike, and it lays the foundation of the main story – I don’t ask more from an intro. I would be glad if there are some more cutscenes in the continuation, but on the whole we can set this aside. An interesting element of the game is that you get no quests but you take part in shorter or longer stories in a war situation. If you are interested only in action, perhaps you will find it boring that sometimes you have to walk in circles around the town just to talk a heap of NPCs and get to the next step of the story. However, when it’s time for action, the real merit of Vindictus suddenly show itself. And it means indistinguishable levels of difficulty, an excellently working point system, and a nicely wrought physical engine. Because it’s not the same if you fight a Battle either on normal or hard level of difficulty. On normal level you will have not much trouble with your opponents, but on hard level the damage and accuracy of their attacks is increased, so you have to pay attention to not to be hit by them. Bosses attacking fast or in unexpected directions won’t make it easy. And how can a point system...

The Secret World — Real Virtuality

The Secret World — Real Virtuality

2014. nov. 13.

Did you ever think about what a virtual reality would be today, at your home, in a form realizable and available on any day? Hereby I mean no virtual reality in general but in a specialized form of virtual world that is not separable easily from the real one. I mean it is a virtual environment that can be considered as another world, but it mixes with our current environment. Well, I was thinking about this a lot years ago, and I believe that good (and sometimes bad) ideas can emerge in more than one head worldwide, and in the same time, of course. (For skeptics: Having no scientific explanation for something doesn’t mean that the given thing cannot exist, does it?) This real virtuality idea could be such a thing because Funcom made it and released it summertime, this year – however, the idea had the come up for this years ago, maybe in that time when I was thinking about it too. I can’t remember when had an MMO such an impressive effect on me. Anno the ad of The Secret World was considered special; besides the usual e-mail newsletters they started a Facebook application titled Secret War, in which you had to use your social network to get points and win ingame items, and a closed beta keycode if you reached the maximum. After this I was waiting for the game with the usual mix of disinterest + mild curiosity. I was watching only a few of the trailers, and I paid attention to the big words of advertising only with one eye. Then I got a beta key and started it. Perhaps the first hours will show you no novelty. Seasoned MMO-players can go forward by watching only the quality, which is good enough, 4/5 in the MMO category. So, you start in a city environment with a tutorial, then you make a jump into the Agartha, which is something like a fugue dimension with much shorter distances between locations. The first such location is the town of Kingsmouth, full of zombies. Zombies again, yes? If you can live with this gnawed bone, you may dive into the details that...

Star Wars: The Old Republic

The result is mixed somehow. The scale mostly tilts toward the better side, but the flaws are so general that makes them easy and worth to spot and eliminate. The game Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) passed the exam with good grades, but it is far from being perfect. On December 15th, 2011 they switched the servers of Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) off, but we didn’t have to wait too long, because after some days the successor, SWTOR was released. If you bought it pre-purchased, you could start your adventures sooner. Anyway, this switch-off wasn’t a real problem, because SWG was too complex, empty, unbalanced and annoyingly bugged in the same time. Related to this, the newcomer is much simpler, full of quests, and if you want, you can swing your lightsaber right from the first moments. Does it sound good? Unfortunately, this has its own price too, for example some conventionalism and inconsistency. In the character creation you can choose from four types on each side, be it the Republic or the Empire; this means two Force-user and two more ordinary characters in both case. The developers tried to make them identical by their own main story, which you need to fight through all the way alone. For example, on the Republic’s side the story of the Jedi Consuler is about a strange plague that attacks only Jedis – and it is probably spread by a mighty Sith. On level 10 you can choose an advanced class. Each character has two such options. The system is sufficiently complex to make you think about your choice, even if there are not much unique opportunities, because the characters walk on skill paths set preliminary. In any case, it’s worth to read some skill descriptions, advices and suggestions written by other players on the forums. It seems like we cannot step out of the conception that in any circumstances only the combat can be the foundation of good MMOs. Of course, one can refer to the success of WoW, but I would like to ask: Do we really need a cloned WoW titled Star Wars? Of course, this would be devoid of any sense, and...

Lord of the Rings Online ― Multisolo

Lord of the Rings Online ― Multisolo

2014. nov. 11.

When talking about fantasy MMOs, LotRO mustn’t be left out. This online variation of the the world of Lord of the Rings is worthy of the big ancestor and namegiver, and although gameplay is not so unique, you won’t find too many flaws in it. It is free since September (2010.), for which cause it was left by thousands and started by millions, so the conversion seems like a valid pull. There is a disagreement on the web between the fans of f2p (free to play) and pfp (pay for play), but I won’t go into it: I see reasons in both the fully paying and the microtransaction model alike. I rather write about the game. The American publisher, Turbine (and Codemasters in Europe) follows the same principle in LotRO than in Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO): A free player can have such points that he/she can use for paying in the online store of the game, so this way even free players can have almost anything that paying players get. While in DDO you need to complete the quests again and again (this repetition was why I get bored of it time and time again, but otherwise it’s a good game), LotRo handles this part of the system as a separate type of tasks. These are the heroic deeds, and although they are in a defined number, but playing with two characters (free game allows only two) you still can get enough Turbine Points to get horses, maybe remove the money cap, buy some quest packs (each belongs to one or other lands of Middle Earth), etc. If you create the two characters to augment each other in ways, you can easily find yourself undecided regarding which one you will play next time you start the game. I ran forward a little. I was at the tasks: Besides heroic deeds there is an epic story, and between the quests of it you can handle all the sidequests, your hobby, your crafts and the events of the war. Ups, this sounds a bit too many in the same breath — indeed it is. It is so many that I mostly neglect the main story,...