Knight Age: The Era of Mounted Combat Arrives
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Fighting on your mount; this is a relatively new feature on the MMORPG scene that not many titles have copied yet. And I can think of even fewer titles that have implemented it in a way that felt fluid in combat. Knight Age attempts to fix this issue by taking a different approach entirely to it. Rather than building the game around standard combat and tacking on mounted combat as an afterthought, they focus on being mounted as part of your day to day activities in-game, allowing you to be inseparable with your mount and still accomplish all you could in a normal MMORPG. I must say I really like what they’ve accomplished!
When you first create your character you can choose between four characters:
The almighty Knight that decided to become a hero and chops his enemies up with a sword.
The intellectual Magician, studied in the four elements of water, fire, wind, and earth.
The Archer that sets out to recover the honor of her family with her superior dexterity and skill.
And last but not least the tough Warrior that is a huge muscled giant, capable of wielding 2 handed weapons better than any challenger.
After having done the tutorial, to learn the basics of this game I was really astounded by the look. The graphics may be cartoony in style, but the artists’ attention to detail can’t be ignored. This looks more akin to the art style of a title you would see on the Wii rather than as a free to play 3D fantasy MMORPG. Now that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it certainly is a refreshing change of pace from many of the glowy Asian styled titles on the market that are nearly identical.
Quest design is always a delicate process in any MMORPG; sometimes it can be a pain doing the same thing over and over again. This can be especially apparent when a title has just launched and everyone is trying to hunt the some monster or object. Luckily Knight Age dabbles in just the right amount of instancing to counterbalance this problem and make the story still have a bit of an epic feel. The game does a decent job of layering you with plenty of quests prior to entering these instances so players are forced to explore the entire instance rather than just rush to the end
For the rest of the quests you can’t do within instances, Knight Age at least implemented an astounding autowalk feature that rarely gets you stuck and is quite reliable compared to other titles on the market. I figured with the mounted design of the game this would have created issues but I was pleasantly surprised! Furthermore, you can just choose random locations on the map to meet up with friends and your character will autowalk there without hiccups.
The gameplay of Knight Age is really something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. For a game that is entirely free-to-play the combat and movement is top of the line. Their design choice to focus on mounted combat and build the game around it really paid off, resulting in smooth animations, smooth controls, and an overall appeasing experience that I would normally expect on a console title.
There’s various other additions to this game that, though by themselves are small, come together as one to make for a much more enjoyable gaming experience. One such feature is the addition of your experience bar besides your level and hp/mp meters at the top of the screen, as well as the bottom middle of the screen. Another major feature that is rare to see is the ability to attack while moving on your mount, whether it be casting magic or swinging a battle axe. Players have been talking for years about how much they hate not being able to attack while moving and out of nowhere Knight Age comes in with this very thing and on mounts. I was deeply satisfied with both ranged and melee characters under this combat system and found neither to really be at a disadvantage. The cat and mouse game of kiting and chasing feels much more skill and reaction dependent than other titles thanks to this well implemented combat.
And another great feature is pets! Yes that is right there are even pets beside your trusty transportation mounts. There are all different kind of pets with different stats and uses that help each class out differently. I could tell some serious TLC went into this system due to the huge number of pets available at launch and the advanced training system available to players to customize their Pupas as they see fit. These cute little critters have enough power to sway a battle in your favor so make sure not to neglect them.
At the Job Board you can pick up a wide variety of quests for a specific level, usually these quests ask you to kill a specific monster and in return you will receive experience and some cash. This can provide a nice challenging break to the monotony of standard questing, though in the end is just another cleverly disguised form of grinding. But the glory of options is that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it, and if you do like it, it’s always there waiting for you.
Cooperative play with other players is heavily encouraged in Knight Age. For instance the dungeons in this game adjust their difficulty depending on the players participating in it. The dungeons also react differently depending on the actions you take during it, resulting in different outcomes each time you try them. It’s rare to see much replay value in MMORPGs but this at least provides a tiny bit to the genre. Also for those that prefer to go solo, solo dungeons exist to keep you not feeling left out on content.
If you feel like battling it out versus other players than you are in luck! There are multiple PvP modes that you can participate in, because what kind of Knight Age would it be without competitive tournaments to prove yourself?
I have already said it but this game just looks amazing! Knight Age is really beautiful looking and sets yet another high standard for future free-to-play MMORPGs. Normally I am not a big fan of the cartoony styled graphics, but Knight Age makes it work. You can adjust some of the effects to remove glowing effects and just customize the game to your liking or increase distance draw if your PC has some power behind it. To play Knight Age you will need the following computer requirements.
Pentium single core 2.4GB or higher
1GB Ram or higher
Geforce 6600 / Radeon x1600 or above
1GB of free hard disk space
Windows XP (service pack 2) or above
Pentium dual core 2.0GB or higher
2GB ram or higher
Geforce 9600 / Radeon HD 3750 or above
1GB of free hard disk space
Windows XP (service pack 2) or above
Just looking at the requirements I am amazed again, how can a new MMORPG from this generation that is so good looking ask absolutely nothing out of your system at all? In this I believe we see the true strength of their unique art-style in that it not only differentiates the game from its competitors, it ensures just about anyone can jump in to play! I don’t think anyone will run into any trouble trying to run this game at all, even with a computer made out of twigs and stones.
I have said it a few times but Knight Age really stands out in this year of sparse quality titles on the free to play side of the industry. I have seen a lot of MMORPGs launch in the past couple of months that only had one good feature or just one thing that they were specialized in. Knight Age however feels absolutely finished; it excels in every front and sets the bar really high for its competitors. When I first heard about Knight Age’s unique combat system as a selling point, I had many questions whether or not it was actually something that worked. Considering how long players have been asking for this system it’s understandable that I was skeptical if it had really arrived. I hope Knight Age sets in motion a larger array of mounted combat titles like it to breathe some new life into MMOs. Knight Age really made me a fan, and if you are in search of something free that doesn’t immediately remind you of the same old, this is probably your best pick right now.