Early Access: Lime Odyssey Part 2
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Those Ortans Love Their Bridges
Welcome back OnRPG viewers and Lime Odyssey faithful for another round of Early Access: Lime Odyssey! If you missed out on part 1, I suggest you read up on the introduction to learn about the trade professions, character customization, and what makes Lime Odyssey tick in general. The second part of this series will focus on the battle professions, the art of material gathering, social elements and dungeons, as well as a sneak peak into future content. Let's begin!
If you're interested in covering the farming process in greater detail, I suggest you take a look at PM Anex's Dev Diary on Farming and Ranching as it already goes into great detail on the subject. We're expecting a few more Dev Diaries from her in the future so definitely keep an eye on our site to get greater details on various key features of the game as it gets closer to launch. I'm going to charge ahead and cover the other bits of the process in gathering materials for trade classes.
The first and likely easiest part of the crafting system is actually gathering the materials. Now if you're a rich coo' guy like me you would just go to the local auction house and buy all your materials in bulk. But I suppose that's not the case for everyone and there is plenty of material out in the wild to salvage... if you know where to look. The process of salvaging is mostly based on your creativity, smarts, and judgment. Creativity and smarts is obvious since this determines your speed and rate of success but it's also good to know that judgment can allow you to get jackpot draws on mining and farming resources just like it does in crafting. This of course makes judgment a valuable stat to invest into no matter what your trade profession focus is. As an added bonus the items you craft will be permanently labeled with your character's ign, so if you're a ham for fame be sure to pump that judgment stat!
As you level up your crafting profession through various quests that exist for the sole purpose of leveling your crafting up, you will discover that there are multiple ways you can collect materials from the same resource. For instance you can mine or collect a muscavite node, resulting in muscavite ore or muscavite metal depending on the method you choose. Of course each material serves a different purpose to a tailor or blacksmith so there will be a hot market demanding both types of metals, but only one node per area that can successfully gather it. Now this concept could be overwhelming to players with ADD, and others with limited attention spans. Thankfully this was foreseen by the devs and an automated journal exists letting you know each time you collect from a node in the future what material you can expect from that node.
Now this is only the beginning, as a crafting system that basic would still fit in the era of MMORPGs from 2005. Players seeking to create the best materials in the game will have to fight for the right to do so. Boss monsters, some instanced but most existing in the open world, will drop various items needed for crafting including recipes (you can't craft something if you don't know the blueprint for it!), equipment enhancing items (I give props for offering these somewhere outside of the cash shop), rare crafting ingredients, and the usual ready made equipment you can expect from a boss pinata. Also to answer the forum question regarding item upgrading, better items do need better material to refine them. At any level there is a chance of failure which results in losing all your crafting materials used. And finally when refining past level 6, you will risk breaking your item completely when refining it. Let that RNG roll!
So now we've covered collecting items from ranching/farming, collecting materials from resource nodes, and rare boss drops. The final piece of the puzzle was implemented by the devs as one of the many coin sinks placed in the game to fight inflation. Most good crafting recipes will only be available through the purchase of them at dedicated crafting shops located in the various cities. To answer a question posed to me on the forums, yes the required items do increase in value and rarity as the item being crafted increases in power. Therefore to craft the top gear items within the launch game, you will probably need to travel to Al Amir in the Louran Desert to find the goods you need. This involves navigating through some of the most dangerous monsters in the game (and without autopath to save you!), so expect at least somewhat of a challenge on your first trip there. These dedicated shops also readily sell most recipes, so unless you are attempting to craft something of unreal value, you can usually expect to be able to dish out some gold to learn the recipe you desire. Once you have all necessary materials AND knowledge of the item you wish to craft, you can begin crafting wherever you'd like. This of course costs you crafting stamina that can only be refilled through time, sleeping at an inn, or by drinking certain chef items.
The battle classes in Lime Odyssey aren't as extraordinary as the trade classes, but still reflect the high production values of the game. Unlike the trade class you don't have control over your stat allocation so my apologies to any strength clerics out there that were raring to go. There are four classes total including the warrior, thief, mage, and cleric. Each class has the option of going down one of two tree specializations, though I heard from many players in the alpha test that hybrids were quite viable on the warrior and cleric.
Warriors are able to follow the route of a tanky DPS, or tanky tank. Obviously if you know how to handle yourself, mixing your tankiness with your DPS allows you to solo content easier, and who doesn't like seeing big numbers from their attacks. Of course if you live to regret your decision, I'll go over the method shortly to reset your character skills.
Thieves are able to choose between swords and daggers. The sword route offers some pretty intense burst mechanics for sneak attacking and assassinating targets. However the daggers offer more consistent damage over time. This really depends on if you think you'll be facing opponents with tons of stamina, or if you're up against a large group of weaklings and swords will offer that extra bit of damage to one shot them before they can retaliate against you.
Clerics offer the usual zealot versus support roles with their two class trees. I imagine the solo burst route is more useful for leveling up and clearing quests, though at end-game the challenge increases ten-fold and you will definitely need to specialize into some of the support tree to be able to keep your allies alive. Of course when PvP is released this may become a very difficult decision to make.
The Mage offers some really fun diversity in builds between the elementalist and warlock. Elementalists are your typical elemental mages offering crazy aoe burst damage that if used properly can capitalize on the elemental weakness of foes. However the warlock has its strengths, particularly in long drawn out battles as their specialization in curses, debuffs, and disables can combine to reduce a foe to rubbish and ensure the safety of your allies.
An important thing to note about the combat system is that even though the game uses the traditional target and hotkey method, it's very action oriented towards mid to late game. This is due to your skills having short cooldowns combined with many skills requiring skill shots. Some skills are localized aoes, some skills send your character spinning around causing aoe damage wherever you spin to, and some skills allow you to move a large cursor onto the screen to aim your aoe attack at a specific location rather than a particular enemy. Also important of note is the burst meter, which builds through combat and allows you to go Super Saiyan for a short period of time. To see this in action check out JamesBl0nde's impression video from the first alpha test.
If you've played Eden Eternal you'll be right at home with this system, as well as know the type of difficulty it offers in some of the PvE scenarios. Though unlike Eden Eternal, characters are much more mobile and can jump over a larger variety of obstacles, making the feel of the combat very fresh and invigorating.
The current level cap at launch will be level 50 and players will receive one skill point to assign after each level. An important factor to consider is that not all classes have 50 skills in each of their trees and not every skill in each tree may appeal to a character. For instance the tank warrior tree only has 47 skill points. This is another factor that contributes to the viability of hybrid builds and should create some more diversity between players. Afraid you might mess up your build? Not to worry as skill resets will be available in major hub towns for in-game gold fees.
Diverging Stories and Playing with Friends
Now one of the more important questions posed to me before the Aeria trip was the issue of multiple races and starting zones. Each race does have a unique starting location with unique quests available for them to do. While this has been seen many times before I have to say that the production value put into each starting zone is far more detailed than I've seen in just about any F2P game before it. From the tiny butterflies fluttering between plants to the plants waving in the wind to the textures on trees, if you have any love for Anime stylized MMOs, you should be able to enjoy each of the starting zones. Each starting zone also feels very unique, with completely different monster sets (omg they weren't just reskins!), as well as different needs from locals resulting in different quest lines.
However as cool as this may be, it will start to grate on you after a while that you're locked out from partying up with your friends that may have rolled a different race. Luckily the devs foresaw this as well (I suppose making games for as long as I've been playing MMOs gives you some experience in the industry) and enabled a nooby teleport feature accessible by doing the main storyline quests up to the point where you should be between level 10 and 12. At this point you can teleport to any of the other 2 starting locations and team up with your friends to go down their quest line. This game highly encourages questing over grinding by offering you trade as well as battle experience for most quests, which makes it a good idea to check out each of the three starting zones if you intend to take advantage of the trading system later.
Towards the end of the beginning story you will receive a quest to obtain your first mount! The mounts are pretty diverse and for those on the forums wondering, yes they are free AND permanent mounts. The mounts for each race are different so here's a look at what you can expect:
At the end of the three starter zones you will finally converge in the first real world hub town at around level 22. This is the Duval Highlands and here players will finally be able to get serious with their trade profession as the NPCs provide plenty of materials and recipes to help get you started. Also at this point the difficulty of the game starts to ramp up and it's a good idea to start making some friends or forming a guild to tackle these challenges.
Guilds, Parties, and Dungeons
The good news is that the guild system will be implemented at launch. The bad news is that a majority of the really cool guild options are likely still going to be in development at that time. So for now you can expect guilds to function as more or less an extended friends' list, with a cap of 100 members. The guild leader will be able to assign recruiting officers, and a guild bank will probably be included at launch to store your crafting goodies. However no customization beyond this will be available.
In terms of individual parties, the current limit will be 5 members. Thankfully the radius that you can be relative to your party members and still earn experience is quite generous, but not quite as ridiculously large as in Eden Eternal. In the instanced dungeons however (which require a party to enter), you can be anywhere in the dungeon and still receive credit for each kill. This should be good news to those worried about respawning in the middle of a boss battle and not getting credit for the kill (*shakes angry fist at Forsaken World*). At launch they are expecting around 5 or 6 dungeons consisting of multiple pathways to the goal and a boss key system that sounds straight out of Zelda games. Basically you'll be forced to defeat numerous minibosses to obtain the key to proceed to the final boss of the dungeon to obtain the greatest rewards, including some awesome monster cards that can enhance your gear (inspired by Ragnarok Online of course). Those seeking the ultimate drops will also have the ability to select from one of three difficulties (medium, hard, and very hard). Very hard mode is supposed to offer some of the most intensive challenges any of Aeria Games' titles have ever offered, leaving even some of the GMs scratching their heads trying to figure out the right tactics to overcome them. Also as you progress through the game expect numerous puzzles and challenges, including a dungeon with jump quests coming soon after launch!
In terms of party exp/gold sharing, it sounds like a typical RNG is in effect to determine item drops and experience is split evenly with a slight variation formula in place should the party have level differences. However partying with someone 10 or more levels apart from you will result in no sharing of kill experience to prevent power leveling and other such abuses.
The Road to End-Game and Future Updates
Sirius and Aeria Games have taken an interesting option in their development cycle. Aeria's Producer has an air of extreme meticulousness in his personality and is not willing to release content that is lacking polish of his standards. As such most of the end-game content will not be available immediately after launch, but instead will be prepared to be launched at the time they expect most players to reach end-game.
Based on their testing, they estimate the average dedicated player, described as someone with a goal focused mind-set who plays around 4 hours a day, will reach the level cap of 50 in about 8 weeks time. The method of hitting level cap in this time period is actually through exploration and questing, as Lime Odyssey has enough hidden quests spread throughout the world to get you to maximum level without ever having to aimlessly grind. Of course this is assuming all their gear is mostly handed to them as you can spend quite a bit of time dabbling in learning your profession which of course will slow your battle class' leveling speed. Besides crafting, collecting, and dungeon crawling to obtain the best recipes and loot, many side ventures also exist such as hidden bounties in the most extreme corners of the world. The producer actually showed us one such instance in which he swam so far out to sea that he was no longer on the charted world map and revealed a ginormous manta ray world boss. He later proceeded to high-five one of his GMs that he was actually able to find this world boss on his first attempt.
So what features can you expect shortly after launch? For starters they have some pretty epic plans involving PvP tied with the guild system. The producer wouldn't share too many details but it sounds like there will be realm versus realm wars in which each realm is represented by various guilds. This will probably coincide additional guild customization and player housing. Also in the works is a major content update to the western continent introducing the Majerona desert, including a huge world hub town, hundreds of new quests, and about 5 additional end-game dungeons. As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, there are also quite a few new trade professions in the works.
On a less serious note, Ragnarok Online was a pioneer in its time for ingame emotes. Fans won't be disappointed in Lime Odyssey as there are tons of emotes, usable by both players and NPCs alike! Although there are already four types of dances (unique to each race/sex), and a slew of happy, sad, and flirty emotes already in game, I would expect to see plenty of additional emotes on the way as the game develops because Sirius remains a bunch of suckers for the Anime emotes.
All in all after meeting with the producer of this game I have faith in the future quality Lime Odyssey will bring to the table. To call the game incomplete would be an insult to the massive world and extremely well put together classes and trade professions put into the game. Although it's still unknown what the cash shop will look like, the majority of balance altering items like increasing crafting chance or materials for equipment refining that you would normally expect to see all seem available in-game for free if you're willing to work for them. Be sure to keep an eye on OnRPG and Aeria Games' official site next month as it seems another limited alpha test is in the works.