By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
Yulgang 2 is a free-to-play MMORPG being brought to us by Cubizone. The game is set in an Eastern-fantasy realm, where walking on air and spell-flinging mages are common. Using a mixture of point-and-click and mouse-aim combat, the game promises a fast-paced and epic combat experience. Several methods of PVP are offered, including PVP-enabled maps and battle arenas. All that combined with the interesting Eastern Fantasy setting should make for some great gameplay.
Making Your Character
When I originally looked at the game, it kind of reminded me of a more themepark Age of Wushu. After I actually got into the game to play, I've got to admit my initial reaction was almost spot on. The game seems to be very linear, has your typical gathering/crafting skills, and focuses on quest-based progression. With its hybrid combat system, "air-walking" features, and different storyline, the generic quest grind isn't so mind-numbing. However, after leveling for a few hours, I found myself wanting to get into the PVP so that I could get some variety.
You aren't given much choice in character creation. You're given an alright amount of options when it comes to actually designing your character, but only have four choices for classes. These are your typical fantasy classes: warrior, mage, healer, and archer. I'm not going to sugar coat it, I was a bit disappointed with this small selection of generic classes. Like I almost always do, I chose the offensive caster (mage) and set off into the world of Yulgang 2.
In the Game
Once I was finally into the game, I was met with a story-driven tutorial that actually seemed quite interesting at first. However, before the end, I found myself skipping the cutscenes whenever I could. The controls of the game were a bit difficult to get used to at first, but after about ten minutes of play I was jumping around like a pro. If you plan to play, expect to spend the first half-hour learning about the game via quests that have you running from one NPC to another. Can't say I found this the best way to get interested in the game, but the interesting art style and fun movement abilities kept me hooked until I could really get into the action.
Combat was actually really fun. Playing as a mage, I had access to both a basic ranged and a basic melee attack, using the left and right mouse buttons. What I found interesting was the combo system; each time you attack you are shown your options for other attacks to continue the combo for interesting effects. On top of the combos, you also have active abilities, buffs, and passives. Pretty standard stuff, but the thing that sets it apart from other MMOs is the movement abilities.
Questing, like I mentioned, was pretty generic and boring. Most of the quests are kill quest, with some gathering. Perhaps later on in the gameplay things will get more interest, but keep in mind that this is an EARLY look into the game and not a review. After my first play session, I found myself dreading logging back in due to the questing, but the promise of PVP helped. I tried to get into some of the story behind the quests, but I couldn't really.
I didn't get a chance to try much of the PVP, just a few duels. They were pretty fun, and it wasn't just standing around and spamming your 1-9 keys, I found myself running around (even on the air) and dodging a lot during my fights. Later on there's supposed to be battlefields and PVP-enabled maps which should make things a lot more interesting. I mostly play games for their PVP, so it's always something I pay special attention to. What I have experienced so far, in terms of PVP, hasn't disappointed me.
Crafting and gathering are introduced in such a way that you come to believe that they'll be pretty important to the game. Right off the bat, you're taught how to do all the major crafting and gathering professions and given some tools to get you started. Personally, I didn't find the crafting too interesting as it's your usual “collect X of Y to make Z recipe from a list” which I find pretty boring. The gathering was a bit more interesting, but even that is just your generic system where random nodes of resources spawn around the maps and then you run up to them for gathering. Basically it's the same system from World of Warcraft.
The version of the game I played was based in SEA (South-East Asia). I was pretty surprised that the game was translated into perfect English and I honestly didn't notice any lag. From what I've read on forums, most US and Europe-based players also say they didn't notice much, if any, lag. Once you're in the game, however, you'll find that a majority of the players aren't speaking English. Don't get me wrong, there is a big English speaking portion of the community as well.
While I didn't find the quests and story-lines very interesting, the world itself is spectacular. I'm a huge fan of both fantasy and Eastern setting in MMOs. The graphics were alright, but definitely not the best I've seen. However, when everything is thrown together and you aren't analyzing things individually, the game looked beautiful. The special effects from your abilities and air-walking were also superb. Can't say I have any negative feelings towards the graphics in this game.
The architecture and enemy designs were also interesting. Perhaps they're not unique, but I certainly wasn't familiar with a lot of the things I fought in the game. The maps did feel a bit cramped, at least in the first few areas, but I did like their over-all design. What made the cramped design of the first few maps the least desirable was that due to the open-beta rush I found it difficult to find things to actually kill for my quest. Perhaps it would be such a problem later on in the game.
Current State: Good
My speculations on Yulgang 2 have almost been spot on. It's a fun themepark MMO in an Eastern-fantasy setting, so you get what you think you'll get. Fantasy classes, Eastern lore, and questing. What set the experience apart from other games for me, even other 'action MMOs', was the air-walking and other movement abilities. It just added a whole new layer to the combat that I've only seen in one other game – Age of Wushu. Overall, I would definitely suggest you give the game a try if it seems interesting to you as I wasn't disappointed. Just don't go into the game with high expectations thinking it'll be the game to end all games, and you should have a great time.