Wakfu CB Impressions – Quick look into a Living Cartoon
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
After several years filled with delays, Ankama is finally ready to give the rest of the world a little taste of their latest foray into the world of Twelve with Wakfu. Wakfu is a MMO Tactical Roleplaying game that features a beautiful cartoon world that is shaped by the actions of every player. As a sequel to their already popular MMO Tactical RPG: Dofus, Both titles have become very popular (especially in France) with tons of apparel, toys and even a full blown animated series (which just started its 2nd season recently)! Although I played the original Dofus way back during its first open beta test and didn’t think much of it, I managed to snag up a closed beta key for this one, so I gave the game try.
There’s currently only one server available and four class choices: Iop, Cra, Sadida and Eniripsa. Now I usually don’t play as a healer or a support class with any kind of MMO, but I was so draw to the design of the Eniripsas that I decided to give them a whirl.
Upon entering the world, I was instantly taken in by the detail put into it, using an isometric view to make the world seem three dimensional, and everything was just so bright and colorful. The game didn’t waste any time getting me up to speed with the battle system, since I had to save a little goo monster which served as my guide and companion.
Although I’m not much of a fan for tactics RPGs, the pacing of combat in Wakfu has got me hooked. Unlike most tactical RPGs were you must take your time and plan out each move, Wakfu awards players for quick decisions with stat bonuses. Even if you’re not a tactical genius at these kinds of games like me, sometimes making your next move on instincts might not be such a bad idea.
After I completed a few tutorial lessons and fought with a crazy lady wielding a wood chopping axe, I found myself in Incarnam, a town that serves as an extended tutorial for all players. After a few minutes of walking around a bit aimlessly, I meet up with some other players and we went around exploring the town together.
In the middle of the town, there was a chubby white cat that pointed players in the direction of the Dojo and the Gobball farm. I wanted to see what the dojo was like, so we checked it out first. The place was filled with Pandawas practicing their martial arts skills, and one funny looking Iop in the corner that was doing his own thing. One of the members in my party pointed out that the Pandawa trainer made a small reference to Hong Kong martial artist Sammo Hung by having the first letters in his name switched, which made me chuckle just a little bit.
“Kick up the bum!”
Speaking of which, Wakfu is a game that’s filled with light hearted humor and definitely doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s hard to go even a small moment without seeing something that will make you chuckle or at least just put a smirk on your face, like that Sammo Hung reference or Pandawa master that likes to sit on a stick of bamboo all day.
How does he do that? That must really hurt unless he’s… Err… Nevermind… :X
The lessons taught at the dojo explained the important of using elemental attacks, playing out turns quickly to earn speed bonuses and attacking enemies from different directions. After I completed these lessons, and claimed a couple of rewards, I went down to the Gobball farm to learn a bit more about the ecosystem. The farm is run by an old man named Wolfram and his two sons: Wolfgang and Mimi. They teach players on how to be trappers that effect and shape the world.
There’s two parts to the ecosystem: Wakfu and Stasis. Wakfu revolves around the act of restoring nature while Stasis revolves around destroying it. Performing these acts is as simple as killing the flora and fauna in the area or by planting seeds gathered by the flora and fauna.
Whenever the farm had too many or too few gobballs around, Mimi (who supports acts of Wakfu) would come out and plant seeds everywhere to spawn more of them, while Wolfgang (who supports Statis) would walk around and eat every gobball in his sight. Personally, I thought it was more fun watching Wolfgang eat everything with his huge fork and knife, unlike Mimi walking around planting stuff with his huge bug eyes and flower basket.
Those eyes… Those creepy eyes…
While no effects could be done to farm, outside of Incarnam, acts of Wakfu and Stasis can have serious results on the world. Entire species of monsters and plants can be permanently wiped out if enough players kill them off, but overpopulation could also lead to ruin, so it’s important to make sure areas are balanced with both Wakfu and Stasis, which can be checked up on by simply clicking the Wakfu button at the top left corner.
The more I played Wakfu, the more I fell in love with the game’s buttery smooth animations that resembled the animated series quite nicely, all of which made me feel like I was in a living cartoon.
Overall, I had a lot of fun trying out Wakfu, and most of my enjoyment came from the tutorial areas alone. The quick pacing of combat makes this tactical RPG a lot more enjoyable compared to the others I’ve played, plus the rich visuals prove that 2D will never go out of style, not to mention the impact of players affecting the game world makes Wakfu perfect for some actual role-playing, which you don’t see a lot of these days with MMOs.
Again: most of my time was spent playing around Incarnam, so I haven’t even delved into the other available features in the closed beta, such as crafting, baking and even politics (although I’m not much into politics in real life, so I doubt I will be interested in politics for this game…)
Wakfu is currently still in closed beta and finding beta keys at this point will be nearly impossible, but don’t fret since open beta should be right around the corner.
For more information, check out our Wakfu profile page here at OnRPG.