Monthly Archives: August 2010

Iris Online

Iris Online is a gypsy-themed fantasy MMORPG developed by Eyasoft, makers of Luna Plus and Titan Online and published by Gala-Net. With over 1000 quests, 22 themed instance dungeons, and an intricate Tarot Card system, Iris Online is a full feature MMORPG rich in both PvE and PvP action. The cute anime-pop graphics and gorgeously realized 3D environments make Iris unique, with a look and feel all its own.

Through Iris’s mysterious Divination System, players can get their Tarot Cards read from a fortune-telling NPC. Let the Fortune Teller reveal the secrets of the mystic arts, and your character may receive buffs and other special boosts in exchange. Players can also morph instantly into monsters by using a collected Monster Card. Turn into a bouncy and resistant toadstool or a super powerful end-game boss, all with the flip of a card!

The Secret World: Things Man Shouldn’t Know

The Secret World: Things Man Shouldn’t Know
By Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle OnRPG Journalist.
Interview with Ragnar Tornquist 

 

Hi Ragnar and thanks again for offering to do an interview with us. In case anyone hasn’t seen the article that caught Ragnars eye (http://www.onrpg.com/MMO/The-Secret-World/interview/The-Secret-World-Itll-be-a-sht-game-dont-buy-it-4928) hop on over and give it a look.

 

 

OnRPG: First off I have to know something. The Dark Places twitter recently teased us.

 

Something stirs. The wind whispers, the ground trembles, the earth dreams, and we will all be invited in. Soon now.

 

Given that we’ve not seen the game since the GDC in March, what can you tell us about what you have up your sleeve?

 

I don’t know anything about a Dark Places twitter. There’s no conspiracy.

 

I can tell you a little about what’s in store for the game, however. We just (as in the past week) revealed a whole bunch of details regarding London and the first thirty minutes of a new Templars initiate into the secret world – including some pretty cool secrets that we’ve kept very close to our chests. When the embargo lifts this Friday, there’s going to be a lot of new information out there – and hopefully it’ll get everyone talking and discussing and theorising. I know I’ll be reading the forums the entire weekend.

 

Later this autumn, we’re going to talk a lot more about the content and the game mechanics, and show players what’s in the store for the future. We’ve got some really cool things in store, so stay tuned!

 

The Secret World

 

OnRPG: Both yourself and the team behind managing the community should be commended. Between ARGs, twitter, formspring questions and community Q&As you’re all being open with the community while still managing to hold onto your secrets. How hard has it been to keep quiet on all the wonderful (and terrifying, I’m looking at you Cthulluthing) things you have in store for us?

 

It’s incredibly hard to keep our mouths shut! All we want to do is show you what we’ve been working on for so long – but we’re not far away from doing just that. Working with our community, however, has been incredibly easy and a real pleasure. They’re a passionate bunch, and they’re almost as excited about this game as we are. Almost. Their passion makes our jobs a whole lot easier, and all the long hours totally worth it. I wouldn’t be doing this without them, and I love being involved as much as I can – which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s good to hear that it’s appreciated regardless.

 

OnRPG: You’ve had this story in your head for years and there’s been a tonne of speculation on it. It has already been said to the community that “Story is gameplay” here. Was it difficult for you to realise the story in your head with the mechanics of a massively multiplayer game? Or has it always been something for the masses?

 

The story in The Secret World has been built from the ground up as a massively multiplayer storyline, where the player is a hero rather than the hero: one of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of champions granted awesome powers in order to stand up and defend our world from the evil that seeps through from the dark places. It’s always been our intention to write and design the kind of story that could only work in an MMORPG, rather than try to squeeze a conventional single-player storyline into a multiplayer setting, and to design the game with this in mind. Story and gameplay, in The Secret World, goes completely hand-in-hand; one couldn’t exist without the other. It’s been a challenge, but a supremely rewarding one.

 

OnRPG: There’s been mention of possible mounts, fashion items, crafting, achievements and the other parts of MMOs that people love to see. Is there anything you can share with us on those “mundane” games systems?

 

We haven’t really divulged any details yet, aside from saying that, yes, we will have crafting, achievements, social clothing, and lots more. The Secret World is a fully-featured MMORPG. And then some.

 

OnRPG: Social areas, story driven, rich atmosphere. Sounds like a roleplayers dream. However sadly, not everyone is into roleplay. Are you looking at segregated servers or a unified world like EVE?

 

There will be segregated servers – at least that’s the plan. Role-players and hardcore PvP players typically mix as well as oil and water, and everyone in-between might not thrive particularly well on specialised servers. Plans might change, of course, so don’t hold me to it, but I definitely want to make sure that role-players have a home in The Secret World.

 

OnRPG: You’ve stated on Formspring that the team is hard at work on content for regular release post launch of The Secret World. Will the content launches be on a calendar or can we usher in change in the world through the game much like community events in The Matrix Online oh so long ago?

 

I’d love to see the players, en masse, evolving the story and the content, but we’ll see how that pans out as we get closer to launch – and beyond. This is, after all, an MMORPG, and the communal story is a crucial part of our universe. Right now, the plan is to expand The Secret World with new content and new features on a regular basis, and the story will continue for years to come.

 

OnRPG: We know you’ve been playing the game. Right now I’m working out how to steal your computer. Until I pull it off though, can you share any more tidbits on the combat pacing and grouping in TSW?

 

We talked a lot about the combat at GDC this spring, including our really cool state system and the fact that we don’t have levels or classes – instead, players can train any power they want, and combine these in any way they see fit. The combat is ‘conventional’ in the sense that you click (or TAB) to target and fire off powers with the keyboard or the mouse, but players are also encouraged to keep moving and to read their enemies. Combat isn’t as passive as it is in some games, but neither does it require fast reflexes or mouse dexterity, and the character’s skills are more important than the player’s. As for grouping, our team size is five.

 

OnRPG: Related to the last question. The Secret World features a classless system where we can pick, 14 if I recall correctly, skills to create the character we want to play. A tanking character whose main weapon is actually ranged I believe was an example once. Has the testing team surprised you with any weird combinations of the skills and setting?

 

Absolutely. Right now, we’re finalising – although there will, of course, be changes – the complete range of powers in the game – many, many hundreds – and we’ll soon see how all those powers play off each other in both PvE and PvP. It’s a deep and complex system, and I’ll imagine we’ll be constantly surprised by how inventive and smart players are, how quick they are to discover loopholes, strengths and weaknesses and exploits, and we’ll keep tweaking those powers until the day we ship – and undoubtedly beyond.

 

OnRPG: United we stand, divided we fall. The treasures of the secret world, Agartha, must be really something if there’s to be pvp. We know about each societies home city but what will be the first big area where the three will have to grin and work together?

 

The first location players reach after leaving their respective hubs is Solomon Island and the town of Kingsmouth, where members of the three (playable) secret societies must band together, try and forget their differences, and cooperate in order to defeat the rising darkness. But the tension between the factions will keep surfacing, and this is something we address in the ongoing story mission.

 

OnRPG: Something that I have been wondering myself with regards The Old Republic and The Secret World. You’re going to have all this great voice acting in characters yet most people I know who play MMOs tend to have their own music playing instead of listening to their game. Will there be any sneak peeks of the music and atmosphere of the Secret World soundtrack?

 

Who says there hasn’t already been one? Definitely, going forward, we’re going to release material that show off our wonderful music and voice acting. And sure, in the long run, some players will inevitably choose to listen to their own music, but we think that our mission intros are going to be exciting and entertaining enough that most people will listen and watch.

 

OnRPG: One other mundane question, but I’m sure some people will want to know. What subscription models are you considering at the moment and related to that, will there be collectors type editions of the game? If that’s the sort of thing they won’t let you answer yet, OnRPG has to know then… are fezzes cool?

 

Fezzes are cool. We’ll have fezzes.

 

I can’t say anything about our business model(s), but I know for a fact that there will be collector’s edition(s) – and they’ll be worth the cost.

 

OnRPG: All myths and legends are true. Every conspiracy, every “Some bloke in the pub said”… every one of them. That’s a global coverage. The game itself features real world locations across many continents. I can imagine how hard it was to organise. How true are the non-secret society portions of these areas to the real world?

 

Very true. At least, they’re very true to the real world that most of you don’t know anything about: the secret real world. We’ve done a ton of research through the years, and we’re close to revealing what we’ve discovered: that there is much between heaven (and above) and earth (and below) that you don’t know. You’re going to be surprised. And terrified. And blown away.

 

The Secret World

 

OnRPG: Will the out of game Alternate Reality Games continue or will the story only be told through the game after launch? 

 

We don’t know anything about any ARG.

 

OnRPG: On the ARGs… With everyone pouring over all the bits and pieces we can get our hands on, people do become attached to things. So… will we ever find out what happened to Danny and the others from Kingsmouth?

 

There’s no conspiracy. Really.

 

OnRPG: The most important question of all. Can I get in the beta? Urban environments are scary. Darkness and monsters lurk all over the world in your game and players need to come together to overcome it. Should I get a night light or can I trust you not to scare me witless when I’m playing home alone?

 

Fear is important. Fear opens us up for a deeper and more profound truth. Without fear, without darkness, we lose sight of the light. So no, don’t get a night light. You’ll miss out on what lurks in the shadows.

 

Thank you again for giving us this interview and can’t wait to see more of the game as it comes out. Is there anything you’d like to add for the readers?

 

Stay tuned later this week for tons of new information about The Secret World – and keep a watch out in the months ahead for tons more!

Blade Mistress Returns Review: Oh Please No

Blade Mistress Returns Review: Oh Please No
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist

 

What happens when Blade Mistress leaves? Blade Mistress Returns, that’s what. For those who are unaware, Blade Mistress Returns (BMR) serves as the rebirth of the once famous MMORPG. The game is a fossil that has been spit-shined to its former glory. The graphics, game play, and content are almost the same, with only some minor tweaks. I’m not really a big fan of the game (even before) and was easily disappointed after seeing its almost unbearable graphics. You can’t really blame me since the first DOOM game looked a lot better.

 

Blade Mistress used to be a pay-to-play game back in 2002 (Windows 95 days lol), but eventually turned free-to-play after facing its modern competition. Without further notice, the game went under maintenance, leaving a note that assured its fans of the game’s return; however, after years of waiting, the game failed to reappear, leaving its fans and lovers in discontent. Now that the Blade Mistress is back, our heroine faces her greatest challenge yet—- the crowd she betrayed. Is it too late for BRM to work her Windows 95magic? Let’s see, shall we?

 

BMR

 

Create Thy Warrior Princess

Since we are now  ten paces away from its former Operating System, it would be fair to just judge the game to our modern standards. After creating an account and logging in, players will be taken to the character creation screen, where they create and define their own Blade Mistress. Note that there are no other classes or archetypes in the game, as it features no other character than the Blade Mistress herself. You can choose between an array of poorly rendered faces, hair color (yes, you can only edit the color of her hair), and clothing, which look more like a large variety of body tattoos. This feature alone made me want to close the game. It was like a practical joke rather than an MMO, since I could name tons of Facebook applications that look and run better than this game. I know it’s called Blade Mistress, but now everyone’s a chick?

 

Issues Already?

One thing that must be stated is how unresponsive the game’s controls are. You can set the movement controls to your WSAD keys, but none of them seem to work or respond properly. It’s like the W key is the only thing working all the way. What’s worse is that you only stop running 3 seconds after you release the walk/run button. This makes it hard to land on certain locations like NPCs and can be distracting, especially when leaving you next to a strong monster who can send you straight to the afterlife. The camera system does not respond accurately either, as though you’re playing a high end game on a low end PC (how ironic). Despite these unearthly horrors, some players still think of this as one of the best MMOs around, which kept me in awe as I tried to find the reason for their BMR devotion.

 

BMR

 

Simplicity Is A Killer7

The interface is so simple, that the word simple is an understatement. To my surprise, the game actually has quests, which really took me by surprise as not all games are able to implement this feature. Although I was well impressed by its questing features, the game lacks the ability to allow players to keep track of their quests. Unfortunately, the old witch didn’t want to repeat what she told me a moment ago, so I was forced to get a piece of paper (IRL) just to remember that I was supposed to kill a Decaying Golem (or was it Rotten Golem). The chat window is also very small and cannot be scrolled up and down to view past chat logs. This means that a spammer can easily block your progress, just as those other players blocked mine. There’s also no other way to filter conversations you don’t wish to keep track of, leaving you on a wild guessing game on what to do next. The game also lacks tutorials. Simply accessing the game’s “How to play” option will lead you nowhere; however, it does confirm that the controls are indeed unresponsive and terribly implemented. Some of the items on the menu like “community info” also exits the game for some odd reason. This… is really bad…

 

BMR 

 

Graphics and Interface

The graphics are terrible! Extra bad! There’s also an option that allows players to tone DOWN the graphics in case their PCs are too old to be true. The details are so bad, the only words fit to describe it are dunked in a cup of profanity. The world is separated into squares, with some containing monsters who attack you upon invading their territory. Note that the movement controls also make it harder for players to land on a designated square despite its size. All in all, the graphics are just too outdated to be appreciated by modern gamers. Heck, I’ve been playing for more than 15 years and I’m still unable to admire this classic. Everyone looks the same, almost like a fighting game with only one character of different palettes.

 

The Verdict

I….. have nothing good to say about this game. It’s old, ugly, confusing, and simple. The combat is amazingly dull, with the Blade Mistress swinging her sword in a repetitive fashion. Another thing that makes this game troublesome is the character’s viewing range. I remember being lost after taking a few steps away from town since it practically disappeared after I entered my 4th square. I’m still curious at how this game kept its charisma towards other gamers because it’s either they love classic games, or they own such crappy PCs. I suppose I was looking for something that wasn’t really there. It’s good that the Blade Mistress decided to return after disappointing their fans back in 2006, but right now, I’m more interested on when the Blade Mistress leaves again.

 

Pros:
– It came back
– People like it

 

Cons:
– Too Simple
– Horrible Graphics
– Poor controls
– Bad interface
– Lack of mandatory features
– Too Old
– We’re not running Windows 97 games anymore (except for Starcraft)

Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu Interview: Keeping things Luminous

Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu Interview: Keeping things Luminous
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Dennis: Lumanog

 

Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu is a game that has successfully mixed economics and RPG gaming in one stellar MMORPG. We’ve been given a chance to talk to the people behind the game and get the latest scoop on what’s happening inside the world of Luminary!

 

OnRPG: Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu has been operating for some time now, how is the game faring?
Dennis: Luminary: Rise of GoonZu is doing its best to serve its fans and players. As we continuously support them in through our Customer Support we found many loyal players in different parts of the world.

 

Luminary Rise 

 

OnRPG: It’s already halfway through 2010, what were the biggest challenges you faced in the game? How did you guys handle it?
Dennis: Biggest challenge we encountered so far was controlling player’s emotional side towards the game since I can say that we have many political players inside our game, they do some real life tactics just to challenge their opponents. Though we inform them as always where our side and player’s side should be, we just let them enjoy the game and have some fun.

 

OnRPG: Luminary has successfully infused economics and  MMORPG game play,  those don’t usually jive together, how do you guys keep your players interested in playing the game?
Dennis: Basically, the feature of our game makes them interested. One of the features is about choosing a GoonZu (president or Ruler of the whole server) in which players decide through voting system. Chosen leader can influence the market (buy and Sell) of some basic item needs in which everybody wants in their daily playing.

 

OnRPG: How did you guys build-up the economic system you have in Luminary? Where did you base your economic system?
Dennis:  The economy system on the game is very unique since it was based on democratic ideology in which differentiate it from other games because besides the GoonZu who acts as leader of the server we have individual Town Leaders who actually commands and leads the each town on how to progress, so it’s like a real democratic politics in-game, and only Luminary Caters such system.

 

OnRPG: Luminary is an MMORPG that has masterfully mixed economics into an RPG game. The question is, can players survive on being just a merchant without regard to grinding and questing in the game? Why or why not?
Dennis: Actually, it’s economics and politics into an RPG game. Questing and grinding is common in almost all RPG games I can say that players can survive in being just a merchant through buying and selling items. They have to have Gcoins though, or some in-game politician might help them as well and be a part of their group as merchant if they want to play without doing any quest and grind.

 

OnRPG:  What can you say is the game’s advantage over other MMORPGs that are out in the market right now? Why do you say so?
Dennis: In 2D level MMO games, Luminary: Rise of GoonZu got almost all the features a player could look for. From the common favorite part PVP, Guild vs Guild, Quests, Hunting and Manufacturing to Real time Election(leading whole Server)appointing GoonZu (leader), assigning Ministers, police and guardians, Guardian Spirits (calling powerful spirits), Wedding, Family, Pet, Summons, farming, mining, fishing,  Town Chief management, Quiz contest,  and Mentoring in which High level Players helps new players as part of their duty.

 

Luminary SHop

 

OnRPG: What do you think is Luminary’s bread and butter as an MMORPG? Why do you think so?
Dennis: The basic and very unique feature GoonZu Election (Politics) is one of the fundamental features of the game. It builds social interaction with political touch in which they do in-game and in real time campaign. Having party list and implementing democratic enjoyment as part of their propaganda in their own style. The drama of every election is one of the warmest, most intense and yet enjoyable part of this feature. It runs 5 days for campaigning and 5 days for voting.

 

OnRPG: With the game focusing on both the economic and adventuring aspects of MMORPGs can you share us some instances where players were pretty creative in maximizing the game experience?
Dennis: I can say that players here are all creative. With the tactics and styles they do just to run for election and manipulating stocks as a shareholder of a town and the competition with regards to it is one of the proof that they all interact and gain experience not only for their characters but based also in what they do.

 

OnRPG: What kind of event have you guys set up for Luminary players? Where do you base your events and how do you conceptualize them?
Dennis: For the 2nd to 3rd quarter of the year, we set events more on player’s choice. Since Luminary: Rise of GoonZu is more like a social game that reacts in a political and economical real like scenario in-game, suggestions of the players is our priority. Players enjoyed it before so we will give it to them now. Though limitations are hindrance to it, we see to it that they will all enjoy.

 

OnRPG: What exactly happens when Goonzu days occur on the three servers you have? (please elaborate on the player’s attitude during Goonzu day)
Dennis: GoonZu day is a Monthly celebration that happens every last Saturday of the month. A 300% increase in their Hunting and Manufacturing experience thus, making them busy in crafting and upgrading Items and it’s a hunting time as well. In addition to it, we always conduct hourly mini events as part of the celebration and an item giveaway. It’s their busiest day for the whole month. Also, GoonZu day can be extended another day through our voting poll. They just need to vote in our voting poll and leave it with a vote count of 2000 votes as a minimum requirement for the extended day making it GoonZu Weekend. 

 

Luminary Boss

 

OnRPG: How big is the current population of the game? Are you currently satisfied with the numbers the game population is at? Why or why not?
Dennis:  Our satisfaction depends on our players, the more they satisfy in our service and enjoy our game, the more we push through in giving them our service and support.  As for now GoonZu servers had been merged from IJJI and Aeria Games to Ndoors Interactive forming a Global service, Luminary: Rise of GoonZu.

 

OnRPG: How active are the players in-game? How happy are you with the game’s player activity? Why or why not?
Dennis:  From our rate, we can say that we have 98% of our players that are active in-game. With all of the features in-game, there are many things to do and get busy. In our part, as long as we see players happy in our game, we’re happier to serve them well and support them with regards to the game.

 

OnRPG: Are there any major game changes that are scheduled to happen anytime soon?
Dennis: Event: Going Back to GoonZu is a 5 part events that mostly favors on player’s choice.

Part 1 is for those new players and helping them level fast.

Part 2: Artisan’s month is for those players who crafts, manufacture in which they gain more experience with this event and

Part 3: Veteran’s Honor, giving old players a reward for being a veteran on this game. Part 1 and 2 are still on-going now Part 3 will be implemented this month.

For the other parts of the event, it will be announced soon. Special event like “Let’s Get Married” was done and is successful event for this month. As for now, Luminary: Rise of GoonZu is supporting the World Cup Event in which our developers implemented an event to as for cheering your chosen team.  Cheering Paper Item drops in all parts of the map that gives buffs. Collecting them having 2010pcs. can be changed as a” Golden Trophy” in which gives random items that includes many rare items. Update patches for the new rare items are on schedule and announced in our Site. More events and updates will follow.

 

OnRPG: What’s in store for Luminary in the succeeding weeks?
Dennis:  You can check out our Web Mall: New Items will be announced later so better check it out yourself. Join now and experience the Luminary way!

World of Dragons, the biggest multiplatform mobile / web MMORPG, launched

World of Dragons, the biggest multiplatform mobile / web MMORPG, launched

 

World of DragonsThe most expected mobile MMORPG World of Dragons GOLD version has been launched by CorsairBand, multiplatform social online videogames developer and publisher. Users play the role of a hero inside the devastated world of Iglion, where the Black Dragon´s return announces the end of the world. World of Dragons follows the big classics of MMORPG, where, besides playing in a huge virtual world, the player can find lots of options: races, classes, items, monsters, spells, etc. The community of the game is increasing, and at the moment there are more than 100.000 players who have started their adventures with the BETA version.

 

The great difference between World of Dragons and its competitors is that it is presented as a multiplatform game, which has both, web and mobile versions that allow the player to access the game anywhere and anytime, just using an Internet device. Now World of Dragons is available in more than 600 mobile devices, and Android and iPhone versions are under development, and both will be launched during the next months.

 

Players can find World of Dragons for free in the main mobile distribution channels, or in its official website.

First Vikings Of Thule Quest Released – Chapter 1: Slayer Of Wyrms

First Vikings Of Thule Quest Released – Chapter 1: Slayer Of Wyrms

 

Vikings of Thule, one of the first MMORPGs for Facebook,  now offers gamers a challenging expansion to the social role-playing game. This new expansion will be followed by future adventures as determined by the players.

 

Gogogic announces the installment of a new expansion for Vikings of Thule, the innovative social MMORPG for Facebook. Vikings of Thule – Chapter 1: Slayer of Wyrms introduces a dedicated single player quest to Vikings of Thule. The quest is shrouded in mystery, but involves gamers embarking on a mythical journey filled with adventure and a great challenge awaiting at the end. Those who successfully make their way through the perilous paths can expect great rewards. Players can select different difficulty levels, making the quest accessible for both new players and those who have reached advanced ranks. “We have been pleased to see more players than ever before engaging with Vikings of Thule, so we wanted to create a whole new experience for them. The new quests will add even more depth and involvement to the game,” says Iris Kristin Andresdottir, Senior Producer for Vikings of Thule.

 

vikings of thule

 

The game’s map has also been redesigned to reflect the changes made to the game with the new quest addition and the growing number of players who have immersed themselves in the world of Thule. All in all, this opens a new chapter in the Vikings of Thule saga with player participation and feedback determining the nature of future chapters.

Neo Steam: Shattered Continent Review: Adventures in Outdated Technology!

Neo Steam: Shattered Continent Review: Adventures in Outdated Technology!
By Briana Williams, aka Columbae, OnRPG Journalist

 

Too often in the MMO genre we see the standard fantasy medieval setting recycled and repackaged for mass consumption. In this respect, Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent delivers a welcome breath of fresh air. Set in a unique steampunk backdrop of Victorian-era technology and ancient magic, this is a free-to-play 3D MMO that is strongly story driven, surprisingly expansive, and sports a grand PVP system.

 

The storyline takes place in the world of Chrysalis, in which many races once happily co-existed, supporting their technological advancements on the back of a precious resource called “Neo Steam.” The golden age came to an abrupt halt when a massive earthquake split Chrysalis into three separate continents, and in the shattered remains of civilization, three societies arose: the Kingdom of Elerd, the Republic of Rogwel, and the Taxn Alliance. Now, the secrets of Neo Steam are being rediscovered, and the nations are going to war for dominance of Chrysalis. Your role is to train hard, stand tall, and fight bravely for your nation.

 

Character Creation: I Just Want to be Pretty!

 

There is a fun assortment of races, from the obligatory Humans and Elves to more exotic Pom and Tarune, but the rub is in the gender restrictions; all but the Pom are restricted to male only or female only. No elfmen here, I am afraid. Customization is also a problem, with only three hairstyles or faces available per race. The classes are a different story, though. There are four base classes: warriors, mystics, machinists and scouts. At level ten, you chose one of two available advance classes, meaning there are eight in all. Advance classes are nation-specific, so while each faction has a complimentary class, there are distinct differences that add a sense of definition to the separate factions.

 

Neosteam Character Creation
Creating a character

 

Gameplay: I Hotkey What Again?

 

The controls are jerky and unintuitive; though it uses a standard WASD configuration, it is often difficult to get wherever you mean to get, and harder still to talk the camera into cooperating. Targeting can be a serious concern. The skill trees are expansive and nicely done, however, allowing for a great amount of skill customization. Skills themselves are leveled up through a peculiar combination of skill points and talent points – the former being earned when you level, the latter being earned through a variety of accomplishments, such as using your skills and training. While this can be an interesting system, permitting a high level of personalization in your character’s strengths and weaknesses, the combined gameplay effect is an awkward one. It can be difficult to lose yourself in the identity of your newly minted steampunk warrior when moving, targeting and fighting require constant attention.

 

Person Versus Environment: A Crash Course in Grinding

 

This is not Neo Steam’s strong point. Quests are not laid out as neatly from level to level as they could be which results in some inevitable level grinding. There are some neat transportation options available, from balloon to subway to submarine, but it is never really explained how to effectively use these options. After getting the hang of it, though, getting around is fast and easy. Once you manage to make it wherever you’ve mind to go, you may find the spawn rate of whatever you’ve mind to kill less than satisfactory. It should not take 45 minutes to locate and slay ten baby crabs. The quests often fail to tie into the larger storyline as well, making the experience seem manufactured and unnatural. Another concern is that much of the early questing is similar to what you would find in a run-of-the-mill medieval MMO; it’s all too easy, running through grassy fields and over rickety rope bridges, swinging that shiny new staff, to forget that this game is set in a universe where steam power rules.

 

NPC CHat Neo Steam
Chatting to an NPC

 

Person versus Person: Ganking as an Art Form

 

By contrast to the PvE system, Neo Steam’s PvP options are interesting, challenging, and very well executed. Right off the bat, you can join a free-for-all PVP zone appropriate for your level, complete with a safe zone for necessary recuperation. At level 41, you can engage in Battlefields – large battle royales pitting factions against each other and permitting generous bonuses to stats and exp rates to the winning nation. This is where the game’s steampunk themes become more apparent through liberal use of personal steam engines. PvP also adds the strongest element of story to the game. As you rush onto the battlefield among your comrades at arms, this is where you develop a sense of identity and loyalty to your nation. The community is generally respectful and happy to help a newbie, but you learn by doing – or, in this case, by dying. Combat is fast-paced and a lot of fun but does rely heavily on skills and can be awkward at times, given the unintuitive nature of the controls. Regardless, Neo Steam’s approach to PvP is the most engaging part of the game, and if you enjoy bonking heads, possibly the best reason to keep logging in.

 

Graphics and Sound: Looming Mountain, Tiny Avatar

 

The animations in Neo Steam are sometimes jerky and uncertain, and skill displays are often recycled, making for a homogenous visual experience. The world and architecture are expansive and well done, even beautiful, but there are few subtle details. The display could prove problematic in inventory and shop display, as the icons are sometimes so small and generic as to be difficult to differentiate. The steampunk influences do make for something different to look at, though. Sound, on the other hand, is limited and repetitive. Most spells and skills draw from a small bank of sound effects, and the soundtrack ranges from pleasant to obnoxious to contrary depending on the mood the game is trying to set. While not a poorly constructed game regarding graphics and sound, nothing in this department stands out.

 

Give it to Me Straight

 

Neo Steam’s great strength is that it operates on an unusual premise. By giving its players the opportunity to engage in something new and different, it separates itself from hundreds of other free to play MMOs and secures itself a small niche of dedicated players. Though it suffers from numerous technical weak points, the worst of which is its poorly crafted and poorly executed quest system, the dynamic PvP system balances it out pretty well. Ultimately, it is a fun game that doesn’t require a huge commitment. Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent should appeal to role-players looking for a new environment to explore and anyone looking for a fast-paced, straightforward PvP experience.

 

Pros:
– Unusual setting and genre
– Excellent PvP system
– Wide array of classes

 

Cons:
– Poorly conceived PvE system
– Outdated graphics and repetitive sound
– Limited character creation