GDC 2012 Day 1: Wakfu
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
The adventure began at what looked like an abandoned industrial section of downtown San Francisco. After cluelessly standing in front of the entrance for a good 20 minutes, I was finally directed by Square Enix into the building where they had all the major upcoming games sprawled out like Wakfu and Final Fantasy XIII-2.
One the demo started I got to check out the new introduction to the game in which players are dropped from the clouds above but hijacked by Ullu, a mechanical avatar of the gods that looks like a 1970s Television Set with wings and a robot face on the screen. The main owl tries to protest the kid napping saying it's pointless for a noob like you to challenge the mighty ancient Ogrest living at the top of Mount Zinit but Ullu thinks you can handle it. Well if by handle it Ullu means get 1-shot for 99,999 damage then he's spot on!
After you get rescued you're dropped into the neutral center zone of the world as players are already familiar with. But now in addition to choosing your nation you can also help feed a scraggly crew of sailor cats (if cats hate water, then becoming a sailor shows these felines have nerves of steel!). One you help the kitties out they will offer to sail you to Mount Zinit to get your revenge! This begins chapter 1 of the new NPC driven main storyline they have added outside of the normal sandbox world initially offered.
Chapter 1 is a solo only mission that's ideal to challenge at level 4 or 5. It's heavily cinematic focused and offers very animated NPCs that will move around and change forms as the story progresses. The production value of these missions is high so don't expect to run into recycled monsters from the main world. Chapter 1 culminates in an epic battle with a water dragon that drops some loot to help you stand above your peers in the early levels... assuming they all aren't wearing the same gear as you.
Of course that big ogre doesn't just sit on the mountain all day waiting for challengers to get to him. His tears will continue bringing down great disasters randomly on one of the four nations, causing monster outbreaks and destroying workshops and other useful features on the landscape. So expect to constantly be banding together to combat Ogrest as you wait for future storyline chapters to unlock getting you one step closer to the top of the mountain.
Now is also an exciting time in the game world as they just held their first post-commercial launch elections, and the four nations are in an unsteady neutrality that could break at any time. Some things I didn't know about the political system before GDC is that if you vote you can actually rate your nation's governor in real time through your state menu. If enough players approve of their job, a statue is constructed in their honor. If enough people oppose their leadership you can get them impeached before the next election.
Overall there is a lot of hidden content and secret dungeons inside of Wakfu, and I definitely will be checking it out in greater detail when I do my write-up on politics in MMOs in 2012 in the near future. If you want more info on the game be sure to check out JamesBl0nde's impressions video! I'll also be revisting Square Enix in the future to discuss a new online multiplayer Internet connected dungeon crawler on the 3DS they have in development... just as soon as their NDA lifts!