Atlantica Online: Through the Ages
By Jerrico Tan (JetSet), OnRPG Journalist
Atlantica Online is a full-fledged online game that goes back to the roots of RPG gaming through turn-based combat. Developed by Ndoors and purchased by Nexon, we now take a closer look at the innovations, new features and updates to see how 2008's Best MMORPG has fared throughout the years.
The usual character creation system greets the players as they log in the game for the first time. Facial/gender features are of little importance, as the relevant armors will eventually cover these up. After the character selection, 7 classes are made available for players to choose from and these classes vary in terms of weapon proficiency and skill.
After choosing the right avatar and preferred class, players start their journey with tutorial quests concerning its story and game mechanics. Finishing a couple of those starter quests teaches you how the turn-based battles work and also unlocks your very first pair of mercenary slots. An auto-path feature is also added in the game so players won’t have to endure the pain of finding and walking their ways to the NPCs that they need to interact with for the quest.
Another thing that left me in awe is the world that players are left with to explore. With a hint of fantasy, the setting of the game begins in the ancient days of civilization. As you progress further, you’ll come across several historic sites such as the Yellow River and even the Great Wall of China. Some places are mere towns that you can seek for shelter while others are monster-infested dungeons, great for farming EXPs. To the joy of many players, the most recent patch has just spread its world even farther out across the western regions including the Alcatraz prisons and New York.
Iconic people in history (such as Muramasa, Marco Polo and even William Shakespere) carry out the quests that players must take. The stories of the quests are also based on historic events so this game would probably give you better grades in your History class (assuming you pry yourself away long enough to do homework).
The combat system is the game’s main selling point and it is superbly impressive. Comparatively, the closest game that I can think of it resembling is the Persona game for the PlayStation. Each side of the combat area has 3x3 grids where the characters could move around, marked by a 30 second time limit for each side’s turn and thus making this game strategic yet fast paced.
Just like in any old-school turn-based RPGs, players will never fight alone thanks to its mercenary system. As you progress in the game you’ll be able to unlock up to 9 mercenary slots that will accompany you to battle and these slots could be filled by hiring any number of mercs from the 7 available character classes in the game that would suit your tactical style. This feat gives endless combinations for combat, making this game even more interesting and addicting. Note however that no matter how powerful your mercs are, you’ll still lose the game should your main hero fall so the formation of your party must also be considered to achieve an impregnable team of champions.
Also considerable improvements in the game were made throughout the years. The much despised stamina system - which limits the battles that you can do in a day, has been removed from the game. They also added a daily task system that rewards players with a considerable amount of EXP once they have completed it. And lastly, an LDP (long distance party) exp sharing system has been implemented, much to the delight and benefit of the game’s loyal citizens.
Like I’ve said earlier, the facial features of your character don’t really matter. Crafting and forging for upgrades are of more importance as they determine your character’s performance in the game and items that are required for crafting/forging can be traded in the marketplace. Trends of the commodities change daily as the players themselves price the items in the marketplace.
Even if the equipment sets available for your hero’s level are limited to three types only, there are also ways to stand out from the pack. Forging better equipment to better grades gives you an intimidating demonic aura. And if you got the cash for it, you can cough up 10 bucks worth of NX credits to buy mounts that range from pandas to war mammoths and even a motorcycle. Of course the mounts also give bonus stats and faster movement speed when traveling the different continents in the game.
The graphics in the game are impressive and competitive with their rival MMORPGs. The rendered Wonders of the World are pretty much identical to the real ones, blended with fog effects and shadows that give contrast to the environment. The combat presentation in the game has commendable and fluid character motions and spell effects as well.
This game could run on ultra settings if your PC has a Pentium 4 2.0 GHz processor, 1GB RAM, and a 256MB Video Card. With several improvements and expansions made, it has increased its hardware requirements but if your rig was made around 2008 then you shouldn’t have problems with it.
One noticeable fact is that Atlantica has a very rich and active online community. During my first hours in the game, a dozen players gave me heaps of gold, much to my confusion. Later on, I discovered that giving away gifts to 10 newbie players is one of the daily tasks that players should accomplish in order to claim bonus EXPs. In this way, newbies are given a warm and exciting welcome, while regular players level up and just want to keep on playing. Online friendships and future game camaraderie among players can be established through this manner as well.
The chatbox in the game is always active and filled with requests for LDP team ups. Partying up is also essential for there are several dungeons in the game that require a full party before being able to gain entrance, while some guild dungeons can only be accessed once you have joined a guild. Every town in the game can be housed and controlled by guilds, thus giving them a percentage of gold based on the town’s daily income. They could also help in guild crafting by adding contribution to the workload.
There are also apprentice features in the game where the master receives gold when its apprentice has reached the max beginner level cap (lvl30). Players could also share their knowledge in craftsmanship so low level players could learn and grow their craftsmanship level faster. But if you don’t feel like helping out new players, you can always try your merc combinations in an arena in Rome where PvP tournaments are held three times a day.
Lastly, an FAQ support where newbies could post questions about the game and wait for a veteran to reply and answer it has been made available.
The Dawn of a New Age
The latest patch called “The Rise of Riederan”, which added some major content in the game was launched a week ago. Aside from having a new storyline that veterans could tackle, this expansion also widened the max level cap (now up to lvl150) and a new armor set called Pegasus Gear is available for crafting for end game players. It also implemented several system revamps and several class balances for the convenience of all players. There is also a brand new hero talent tree system that would certainly give diversity in each player’s play-style. A cross server market was also employed so players could get better deals and supply in the market’s demands. With regular updates such as this one, loyal players of the game would definitely stick to Atlantica like a second home.
If I were to judge this game I say that it is still getting even better. The additional character classes and several game improvements give solid proof that the developers truly care about their consumers, which is highly important in all MMORPGs. The game’s innovative gameplay, frequently fresh updates and fun and clever community features build up a game that would truly last for a very long time. And best of all, it’s free-to-play! So along with other Nexon titles, Atlantica gets my two raving thumbs up.
*Wide range of character classes
*Action packed turn-based combat
*Endless combat combinations
*Familiar World Map
*Regularly updated content
*Great PvP and community features (long distance partying)
*Turn-based combat is not for everyone
*Limited character customization