By Shahrin Chowdhury (Sahat), OnRPG Journalist
[Preview] WonderKing? Or a peasant in king's clothing?
NDoors, publisher of the famous and rather revolutionary turn-based 3D fantasy game based Atlantica, tries their luck with the 2D sidescroller Wonderking. This game has had a major hype followingin various sites, forums, and the general mmorpg masses. Many christened it MapleStory 2.0 due to its obvious similarities to the infamous MapleStory. Others just called it a reskinned MapleStory. But does it really stand up to its gigantic predecessor? Or is it just another failed hyped game to join the list of failed hyped games?
...Nah, it is a keeper. The game is as different from MapleStory as Transformers are from Gundams. They may both be giant robots but they're robots of a different kind entirely and popular in their own way. Wonderking has features MapleStory wishes it had, setting it on a different route from the casual mmo giant.
Before we even get to the game portion, let's remember to disable our anti-viruses, load up our UC- err I mean, check that we have gameguard as an exception to our firewall. Especially if you're running a Vista 64 bit because at the time of writing this, gameguard has been causing major problems with vista users. Crashing, restarting, and refusing to run is just the tip of the ice berg.
So with that done, starting up the launcher I noticed the settings tab. One of the great features that WK has over other 2D sidescrollers is the ability to run in a window mode without forcing a window mode using third party programs (you guys know exactly what I'm talking about).
Harhar wise guy, log in already.
There are four archetypical classes, mage, scout, swordsman, and thief which then split into two subclasses. I'll get into that later.
Customization, sadly, is very limited for a sidescroller. Most 2D sidescroller games give at least 3-4 hair choices and colors with the same for eyes and face but all WK offers is hair and eye color change. Meaning until premium hair and eyes come out, everyone is going to look pretty much the same.
The tutorial covers everything from double jumps to dashing. Both of which are few of the selling points of the game. Jump-dash and double jump-dash are some techniques used both in pvp and pve to avoid attacks. I recommend finishing all the tutorial quests because the last reward is a weapon of your choice with stats high enough to last 5-10 levels. Another thing the tutorial goes over is the stat system.
Stats in WK are the stereotypical strength, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom and yadda yadda yadda. Same ones in every game with little to no changes. Except for one. Stats did not affect equipment requirements. This is a big change from games like MapleStory where all classes had a cookie cutter build and if you did not follow it then your character would be super gimped and unable to wear equipment their level (remember the Dex must be 2x character level and the rest in Str formula?). Or like Latale where the stats would be auto assigned and the player would have no control over them what so ever. In WK stats can be freely added to wherever the player wishes to choose with no strings attached. Equipment requirements are only class, sex, and level thus allowing for more creative builds such as the Tank Rouge or the Luck Warrior or heck, even the Str Wizard (highly NOT recommended). As for skills, all characters had a shared skill tree where they would learn skills like Rest (makes your character sit and heal), passive skills that increased the amount Rest would heal, and skills that increased maximum MP and HP (but it does not stack upon level meaning that maxed HP-UP would only add 20HP and that's it). Along with two passives that increased critical attack on physical and magical damage respectively.
I wanna know about dem classes!
Mage was my first character and evidently it was the worst choice to start out with. Don't get me wrong here, mages are great in general but they always start out slow. WK was no exception, it was actually worse in this case. Mages had the mp regeneration speed of every other class and hardly any way to speed it up except for ranking useless skills that would not recover much anyway. MP-UP, the skill that most guides from players who played the foreign version recommended to get, was completely broken and did not stack upon level i.e. it only gave 20 or so max mp and that's it, not increasing max mp by 20 per level. So what does this mean? It means that mages are going to be mp pot addicts.
Mages branch off into two subclasses : Wizards and Priests. Wizards are the guys that go around summoning fireballs, icestorms, and the random bolts of lightning to smite their enemies. Priests are the self explanatory healer class with buffs, especially buffs. They get a nifty speed buff which is almost addicting as mp pots.
Scout was my second character, after I gave up on my priest out of pure frustration and lack of funding for his needs. While most games make you level till second job or for 80 levels before even giving the option of letting you even touch a gun (yes, I am looking at you Latale), Scouts can get their first spiffy looking rifles at level 5 and a pack of 1k bullets for 400g. Yea, 1k for 400g. Huzzah for cheap lead. Scouts can also use bows but remember the old saying "sticks with pointy ends can break my bones but bullets can definitely kill me"? It pretty much summed up my thought process. Also bows had a tendency to shoot two arrows consecutively and the second one was almost always not registered as a hit.
Leveling a scout was extremely easy. Sit and shoot. You could just sit on a platform, tape down the attack button, and go watch a movie. Nothing is going to get to you to hurt you, it'll be pumped full of lead (or pointy sticks if you choose bow). Scouts are the masters of kill-stealing with their ridiculously long range and rapid fire skills. Their damage is not that bad either. Only down side to a scout is that they're too easy to play, if you consider that a downside anyway.
Scouts branch off into either Gunners or Archers. Archers get nifty little hawk/bird summons which terrorizes the enemy and Gunners get destructive firearms and traps (which are defective during this CB).
Thieves in this game are the definition of an action packed class. Well dagger thieves are anyway. Their normal attack is a swift 3 strike hit that is actually pretty fun to spam around and use. More so than spamming skills. Their secondary weapon is a glove that throws stars ... very slowly. I much prefer to use twin knives. The only thing stars have over knives is the range and a bit higher max damage but the knives make up for it with extremely speedy attacks and the general awesomeness that is associated with dual wielding sick looking daggers.
Most of the thief's skills deal with either sending enemies in the air, kicking them while they're in the air, or just roundhouse kicking them away. The skill trees do not specify which tree is for range and which is for melee as their skills are all melee.
The thief subclasses are: Assassin and Rouge. Assassin being the one who wields ninja stars and the Rouge is the one with twin knives. Assassins get the really cool ninja armors and such while Rouges get stuck looking like a tacky cowboy from the black lagoon with lime green pants. Don't let the pants deter you though; I assure you the apparel looks better as time goes on.
Your typical "beat the crap out of this thing with a stick" class. They start out strong and they keep getting stronger. Because of WK's stat system, it is possible to go pure Str and create a damage build swordsman (as if they didn't hurt already). The swordsman can only use swords and those come in two varieties, one-hand or two-handed. Two-handed swords are stronger, one-handed swords allow for a shield to be equipped.
The skill trees are more defined than the other classes (much more than thief) as one skill tree leads to an obvious increase in defense and defensive buffs while the other leads to offense and offensive buffs., presumably setting the stage for the swordsman's subclasses: warrior and knight.
Warriors are the offensive class that tear through everything and anything in their path with mighty two-handed swords while the Knights are the sleeker looking defender class that may not do as much damage as a warrior, still manage to hold their own with their insanely high defense.
Past the tutorial, past the characters, on to the gameplay!
Not much to say about the gameplay itself as it is pretty straight forward. You kill things and level up. Leveling nets you five stat points and two skill points to use at your leisure. You can spend your skill points as you see fit or you can save them until second job and use them there. The routine killing of all moving things and some inanimate ones is backed up by quests ... which involve killing more things.
Okay so the questing and killing is pretty much standard in 2D sidescrollers, it is one of the reasons people play the game. Some of the quests are pretty unique however, such as the racing quest in one of the dock towns. The player and two npc's face off in a straight line race, jumping past obstacles, dodging monsters, trying not to fall into gaps. It's quite fun and I must really suck at it because I have yet to beat the darn npc and get the reward (4th time going at it while I'm writing this, hopefully I'll beat them!). Mission quest are dauntingly long and any attempts at soloing them will surely chip away at anyone's sanity. Partying is highly recommended as the party system pools the collective experience together and distributes it by paying Party Points.
Aside from fighting, there is a crafting system in place to create weapons and juices. Weapons require minerals and certain monster parts, the minerals are gained from mining (equip a hoe from the mole npc) and the monster parts are easily gained from killing things. Crafted weapons have higher stats than normal ones but certain dropped weapons have higher stats than both (sometimes even both combined). Throughout the game various fruits will drop from monsters, ranging from grapes to apples, with which people can make juice from. Juices can do a few things from healing to stat boosting or both at once.
There is a pvp system in place where a player is able to challenge another player and then teleport to a map of his or her choice and duke it out there. But the bugs in the game make it rather hard to do so. Many a times the server will bug up when you challenge someone and instead of teleporting to the chosen map, both players are stuck unable to move or use skills but they can still jump. This makes the pvp experience a little unsatisfactory but it is sure to be fixed soon and hopefully before Castle Battles come out.
As an added bonus to slaughtering monsters, they drop epic loot. Now this loot can be a weapon, armor, grapes, or even a door. Yes, a door. Wonder Doors are rare drops that open a portal to bonus game of sorts. It takes the player into a room full of chests and mimics and lets them loot to their heart's content or until the timer runs out, whichever comes first. As if the door itself was not rare enough, the chests also contain rare items if you're lucky enough. Mostly though, they drop juices, pots, hoes, and the occasional silk materials.
Writer's Awesome Opinions (WAO)
As it stands right now, WonderKing is a long way away from challenging its more successful and highly populated rival MapleStory. The game is overridden with bugs and server stability and syncing issues. Bugs are expected in a CB of course and it is our job to find them before release but the server issues should have been caught before the game ever launched into CB. Or when they delayed CB by a good week.
The game has a problem with detecting the hits of others. So two players could be hitting the same monster and the monster would react differently on the players' screens. One player could have sent the critter flying but It would still look as if the creature was ground abound on the other guy's screen. You cannot see other people's damage either. So if a scout was shooting something, all I would see is the shooting animation and the target dying, nothing else, no damage, no hit animations, nothing. After a while, this gets pretty annoying.
Many of the skills in the game are broken in more ways than one. Skills that replace the normal attack for example, do not work. Other skills that send monsters flying work a little too well. If a monster is on the ledge and a thief uses their Flash Kick skill on it (or any skill that sends the target in the air), 8 out of 10 times, the monster is going to be sent flying straight up and depending on whether or not you're lucky, it probably is not coming back. The complete opposite of this bug is when you send a monster down through a floor. Or when you trip and go through the bottom of the floor. The monster usually will not come back if it falls through the bottom of the cartoon world but the player should respawn as if nothing had happened. Sometimes even dropped loot falls through the ground; I should know I lost a set of twin knives that way.
In lieu of all these bugs, I still think this is a great game. NDoors has yet to be lazy with their games (Atlantica is still going strong!) and will no doubt have the clinks worked out before release. I am looking forward to the game and the new features (PVP CASTLE WAR) that are promised to be released sometime this year. Plus I am a complete sucker for crisp 2D sprite graphics and colorful backgrounds and this game, if nothing else, is very colorful.