By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Okay, so I’ve been seeing videos for Twin Saga for just about a full year now. We’ve been posting them again and again, but I never really got access to it when it was in closed beta. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, despite seeing tons of trailers, because I didn’t really watch any of the gameplay stuff. So what is Twin Saga? It’s an MMO from X-Legend, so that’s a pretty big deal. Aeria brought it to America, and I have noticed that there is a lot of controversy surrounding it. One of the big contention points of any f2p game is: Will this game be p2w? That is to say, can people just throw money at the game and be stronger than the people who are not doing that? I’m torn on this issue, but I want to get my thoughts of it out of the way before I delve into what makes this game work and not work.
Now are there people who spend loads of cash, have tons of gold and incredible stats and blur through content? Sure there are. Can you play this game without that, and still have a fun time? I have. The game does give you LP for doing dailies and such in game, and there’s also the Wishing Gem [which I believe right now can be completed twice a character]. But it’s a major contention point for most f2p MMOs. Honestly, I’ve gained ridiculous amounts of power simply by playing the game and min-maxing with character classes. I’ve not come into many, if any problems not being strong enough. I’d dub it “Pay to go faster,” but you sure don’t have to. Do you really have to be OP on day one? I’d rather earn it, thanks. Maybe that makes me old school?
Enough of what it isn’t. What IS it? Twin Saga is an adorable f2p MMO with roots in the anime/manga style, because of course it does. You pick one of a few character classes, the latest of which being the Monk [which is incredibly fun], and go through the world solving a great crisis involving the Twin Goddesses. Your characters are damn adorable, and have a pretty cool variety of skills, including Finishing Moves! Your specialty attack varies on enemy/class, and they hit for tons of damage and have a pretty generous cooldown. Simply fighting will build the meter too, so it’s not like it’s going to be a hard thing to do. Another definite bonus in their book is that you can be any class you unlock, anytime you want. Your weapon will change to one that fits that class, so you don’t have to go questing and stressing about gear/classes like you do in some other MMOs. From what I understand, you acquire all the classes as the story progresses. I’ve gained a few that way. But there are secrets and things to discover; I’m grateful the classes unlock in a neat progression though. Every class I’ve played has been an absolute blast, though I’ve had most fun with Dragonknight/Monk/Paladin.
When you swap classes, you can take certain abilities over with you to the new one, so find stuff that synergizes well together [like class attacks that offer haste/crit for a melee class], and get right back into the action. There doesn’t seem to be any cooldown/waiting period either, unlike some games I could name. There are lots of upgradable things though, such as their talent system which goes off of your character level, not class level. Yes, like Tree of Savior, you have two levels: character and level. Whenever you do something, you gain exp for both. So if you want to level some low classes, go do some Astral Tales, get the free, more than adequate exp [which you can only do ten times a day, but they’re worth it and easy]!
The talent system is standard MMO fare; if you played old World of Warcraft, you’ll get how it works. Boost stats, upgrade abilities, but there are two trees (one for each Goddess), and you can put points in them as you see fit. You aren’t bound to just one tree once you dedicate to one. Thank Goodness. Or… thank Goddess? No, that’s enough of that. While I do think all of the classes are fun, I do worry that this game is…well, kinda easy! I was doing big numbers and slapping the crap out of things with the greatest of ease. Maybe I’m just good at MMOs by now though. I won’t lie, everything has felt incredibly easy, no matter how many levels above me my foes were. You can find named/rare/elites in the maps by the Grey Crown icon on the map itself, and even those posed no threat to me. It’s a very casual game, which is fine. Everything doesn’t have to be a chore or a struggle! This is a very fun game for people who want to get into the anime-style MMO, or want something cute and fun to play.
Okay, so I mentioned Astral Tales above, so I should probably explain that in some detail. The game has two styles of map, the overworld/continent map, and the maps within those [basically zones/areas]. On the overworld you’ll reach a point where you see glowing cubes hovering in the air. The game will notify you that you need to make a decision, and you’ll have about 30 seconds to agree to tackle this new challenge. This is one of the coolest things in the game to me. Astral Tales are basically combat-free ways to get exp. It’s a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, where you try to solve a problem or help someone out. The decisions you make matter, and you can unlock titles and achievements by doing them. Maybe even other stuff? That I haven’t seen yet. However, you can redo them every day! You can do 10 a day, and they offer, as I said, pretty great exp. Want to get a class a few levels but worried you might not be strong enough? Just go do some of these! They’re cute stories, you can change your mind on your story decisions the next day, and some might change or offer new tales later! There’s a lot to do there, offering a non-combat option if you want to just run around and read fun stories and help influence them. I’m glad that you can auto-run for stuff like this.
You can also have an NPC ally to help you! One of the Senshi [Soldiers] in this world can help you, and you will unlock several as the main story progresses. However, I do believe there are some on side missions, as one of mine did not appear to be on the main story. You can only have one out at a time, and their attacks are pretty devastating! As you gain levels, you can add a few more to a slot [up to 3], and can swap them at will using F9, 10 and 11. They vary in look, style, and abilities, from tanks, to cute magical girls. They’re worth investing time into, and you can level them and evolve them [like you’d do in pretty much any mobile game with characters in ‘em]. That’s where the grind/money comes in. Whether you’re upgrading gear or Senshi, spending money on tickets/items will no doubt be easier. Again, I’ve had zero challenge so far, just kicking the snot out of stuff with the set-up I’ve put together. I have primarily put points into Dragonknight, but also Monk for haste, and Cleric/Paladin to sub in some survivability when I rarely need it. I also like that it has an auto-potion feature, dependent on what percentage of health you set it at.
You also get a house! Yes, this game has a housing feature. Not only that, it’s a cool mobile house! It has tank treads and stuff, and moves you around the world at a pretty decent pace. Now, it feels kind of lame when you see tons of people doing it, or at least… makes it feel less special. But it’s a customizable [inside] house where you can arm it with a Senshi, and use it to help you progress in professions, and do daily quests in it [which also get you loyalty points, usable in the in-game store], and I love the idea of having my own Mobile Oppression Palace. It can’t fight for you, but it’s adorable, huge, and has tons of room to customize it to your own liking. I haven’t done too much with it yet, but if nothing else, I love the concept. Speaking of mobility, like I briefly touched on, this game does have auto-run, where it moves you to a quest objective. I think it works well for this game, and it does quickly give you an insanely adorable .. It’s like.. It feels like a gerbil or hamster or some kind of adorable mammal that runs you around to your next objective. It’s probably the cutest mount in any game ever.
Ai no Senshi yo~
There have been a lot of people who have claimed this game is totally pay to win, and only “cashers” or “whales” will be successful at this game. But it’s all a matter of how you measure success in an MMO. If you want to be the absolute strongest in the world/server? You’ll probably have to put some time in, along with money. Honestly? There’s no shame in spending money on a free MMO if you want to support it. As long as it doesn’t become a crutch or a way to get better/farther than other players. That’s where I draw the line. So far I haven’t had to though. That aside, the game is fun, and it’s cute. Visually it’s appealing; you can make players invisible if they’re crowding quest objectives/vendors/etc, it rewards you for playing, and it’s not terribly difficult. I stand by “every game doesn’t have to be a ballbuster,” but I’m sure the farther in I go, the more difficult it’s going to get. But I’m about halfway through the level grind at this point, in my 30s or so, and I’ve had a nice easy time. You can’t spam dungeons, as I believe you get a certain amount of them a day, and you have to stay in game to get more runs. But dungeon runs mostly exist for me for a shot at some better eq [and there’s a solo option or a party option, as well as Hard Mode] but more for gear to fuse, and Senshi Evolution. There’s a ton of stuff to do, and replayability in the manifold ways you can play, with the awesome class system. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here! Twin Saga is adorable, it’s fun, and I’ve had zero issue playing it alone, or with people!