Chrono Tales Impressions
By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
Chrono Tales is F2P Browser-based 3D MMORPG. Brought to us by Ray Media Group Limited, it promises innovative features that will set it apart from the competition such as being fully browser-based, offering a detailed pet system and an immersive story. What truly makes it stand out is how easy it is to get in to thanks to being played on the browser. It can be as hardcore or casual as you like.
Character Creation and Customization
I wasn't expecting much in the realm of character customization when I downloaded Chrono Tales, and because of that I was not disappointed. You can choose one of the five classes: Warrior, Mage, Assassin, Priest, and Scholar. I found scholar to be a lot like the tinkerer class in other MMOs. After choosing your class, you get to choose your character’s gender, select from eleven different faces and nine hair styles. I would have liked to have the ability to choose skin and hair color.
Scholar stood out as the most unique class. That's why I chose it. The rest of the classes appeared to just be the same old story we get from other MMOs. While other MMOs do have Tinkerer classes, there aren't many of them. Once in-game I got a look at the character skill tree and I've got to say I was not too impressed. There weren't many skills to choose from and it was on a pretty linear path. You can pick and choose whether you want to upgrade or learn a skill, though.
Outside of skills, other customization options include a refine/upgrade/enchant system where you can change the stats of your armor and weapons. You can also choose from different pets that are available to use as companions in combat or mounts. Improving your pets is also possible. Furthermore there’s an astrology system which can give you some bonuses. Despite Chrono Tales initially feeling like it offers a lot of options, you’ll quickly realize the beginning of the game to be painfully linear. The path to level 20 was just a grind.
Thankfully the grind is alleviated by the world of Chrono Tales being a pretty interesting place. The game starts off with you being thrown two years in to the past to stop a great evil. Along your journey you will come across a wonderful cast of quirky and interesting characters who are made great thanks to the game’s very cartoony art style. That mixed with the bright colors help make up for the overall low quality of the models and textures.
I did notice a few graphical bugs that are slowly being patched out of the game. The bugs that stood out the most were the occasional NPC standing with its arms awkwardly out to its sides or floating high in the air. Localization is still a work in progress.
Give Your Elder a Hug!
Just about everything is automated. I haven't actually moved my character or fought anything manually since I got in to the game. All I have to do is click on a quest and it'll take me exactly where I need to do, start me talking to whoever I need to, and fight anything I need to fight. It's cool that the game isn't tedious, but I have to think, "What's the point?" Why am I even playing if I'm putting in such minimal input. And while I still make some choices, I can't help but think that this game is closer to a multiplayer visual novel than an MMORPG.
The gameplay in Chrono Tales is pretty traditional. While there are some innovative features, most of what is in the game is no different than what you would find in many other F2P MMOs. You have the usual class line-up, common “kill/collect 15 of X” quest, and bare-bones crafting system. The system that stood out the most to me was the pet system. The thing I disliked the most is also the thing that probably saved the game – the near complete automation.
While the quest objectives are repetitive, the quests in general are pretty enjoyable thanks to a couple of key features. As I already mentioned, the game has an interesting story with some great characters that will pull you in. That added with the completely automated questing makes the game a lot less tedious than it would have been otherwise. And while I did next to no manual combat, even up in to my twenties, the monsters my character fought were quite interesting.
The combat was actually nice. The few times I decided to take over manually and partake in combat myself, I found my Scholar had some pretty neat abilities. My favorite in terms of visual appeal was Gravity Ball, which shot a big spiky ball into the air before slamming into the enemy. In terms of effectiveness, Machine Gun had a very nice DPS output and could be used frequently. Overall though, combat is hardly challenging.
You can gain pets through various means. Pets have two uses. They can be used as mounts to get around with, or to help fight in combat. Pets are not limited to which role they can fill, but sometimes they need to reach a certain level to be able to be mounted or used in combat. If you have a pet summoned while in combat, whether it is being used as a mount or to help you fight, it will gain exp along with you and level up.
There are daily quests, instances and world bosses you can do. Instances are level restricted and you only get so many instance points per day. World bosses respawn regularly, and the person who defeats them gets their name announced on the server as well as listed as the last person to kill it on the world boss page. The ability to quickly teleport to the world boss spawns is quite nice, but there is one big negative. Anyone can participate in the world boss, so you get people who are way over the level of the world boss who come to farm it.
Crafting isn't too intense, but there are a lot of options for improving items. Socketing, embedding, upgrading, enchanting and more. I only briefly got into the item improving, but it seems pretty straight forward. You get special items which you can then use to improve your items or pets. The more you improve an item, the less chance at success it has the next time.
Chrono Tales isn’t perfect but does well for a browser RPG. The world it takes place in is wonderful, yet the game seems to encourage you to not participate in it. From the completely automated questing to the meditation system which gives you exp when you go AFK, I had to wonder what the designers were thinking. Sometimes I couldn't help but feel that I would have more fun playing Progress Quest. The biggest redeeming factor was the fun story that made the questing interesting. Chrono Tales is off to a decent start by bringing us what would usually require a client, to our browser. I look forward to seeing how things develop in the future.