Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6 2014 - Review of Eldevin

What attracted to test out Eldevin was it's rise on some mmorpg charts. I started to read around and I liked what I was reading. I saw the company, Hunted Cow, say things like: "6 Talent Trees featuring over 200 talents." - "Use strategy and tactics to defeat epic Foes and Bosses". - "Your decisions and actions will affect future encounters and possibilities." etc.. They boasted lots of content, items, and class less combat with the ability to attempt to learn all class combat features. What also got me in was the payment model. They state: "
"Eldevin is a free to play game. As gamers ourselves we are definitely opposed to "pay to win" games, so when we say free to play, we mean that our players can enjoy the entire game - all realms, all quests, all levels - without spending a penny. However, for those that want to support the game and enhance their experience, we offer a Supporter Account for a small subscription fee and microtransactions are also available, all through our in-game store.
Check out the features here: https://www.eldevin.com/content/overview

That said. How is the game stacking up? Well, I will do an EVOLVING review and give it a score based on my progression with the hopes to reach close to or near end game to give out a final score of the game. So, what did my first 5 levels reveal about the game? Uninstall or gem in the rough? Read on to find out!
(Tough life being a noob)
Character creation:
Before I Get into this I must point out that Eldevin is a browser based mmorpg. That said, the last game I played in a browser was City of Steam. And although it had some nice concepts, the game just was full of...steam, in the end and did not really interest me. However, it did offer a decent character creation for a browser based game. Eldevin is about the same. The standards are risen a little more and we have some decent selections to chose from. Granted it is not the full on AION or PWI customization, but it is also not the "one look anime" of so many other games. It has JUST enough features to mix and match. There is no gender lock so go ahead and pick your sex. I created a male with a beard, wild hair, and my favorite part...CHEST HAIR! Ohhh yaaaaaaaa! 
  That is as simple as it gets. There is no class selection or anything else at this point. All that will be done in game as you progress. So, let us get on to game play!
(No client, no problem. Good gaming fun in a rich world)
Game play: 

The game starts you off awakening in a hellish like cosmic void. At this point it is clear that this game is a top down 3D isometric kind of view. No over the shoulder, behind, or first person view. If this turns you off, this might not be your game. The controls are easy enough where point and click or holding mouse down move you around. Normally, I am not a fan of point and click. Thankfully, this game runs smoothly and it WORKS with it's combat system (combat below). So it was not a hindrance at ALL. The void is a tutorial stage and it is one of the best tutorials I have had! Mostly due to the story that is unfolding and the learning of some new game mechanics. I learn the basics of equiping etc.. that all mmorpgs know. However the cool new feature is the story interaction actions. I run into a friend who is leading me out of the void and as we combat a boss, he is thrown to the ground and his weapon goes flying, he says "Throw me yours!" At this time a little help menu appears to tell you to un equip your weapon, put in in inventory and THROW it! I do so, and the animation shows me doing just that! I throw my fiend the sword, I am not without arm, but he saves me and clears the path! We walk up a few ways and he is dragged into a caved, eaten, and his bloody pulp is spit out. His last words to me are to RUN! I run to the exit portal! Welcome to Eldevin.
 
 (Lots to do)
Not bad huh? That is where this game shines. If you have been looking for a story driven game that is actually interesting and enjoyable to read and play. This is a good MMORPG for you. The story is dynamic. The choices you make IN GAME will EFFECT the OUTCOME IN GAME! I really like this model. They also put in ALLOT of detail into your actions to make this game feel alive. Door knobs turn. The gates of the main city actually open and close with a opening noise as you enter. You will be asked to open, trade, move, and interact with objects and items in the story line. This is no longe "OPEN MENU A. Except quest. Click on quest item. OPEN MENU B. Quest finished.". This is, interaction and result. You have items that are very interactive. A loaf of bread says "200 HP in 15 seconds." And guess what, you can SPLIT the loaf of bread to break down the effects and eat a smaller piece of bread! THAT is called intelligent interaction! This game is awesome in that regard!

I should also note now this game was listed as sandbox. yeas and no. Yes, it has a very open choice feel to it. But it is about as sandbox as mabinogi online is. I have not played any hardcore sand box games. But I hear you basically build every item, including houses brick by brick and death is a hard thing to deal with. In this game, it runs more like mabinogi, where you manage allot more of your character, items, and professions. But the quest, story, and progression areas are well defined. You will not be left in "survival" mode. But you will need a decent commerce eventually and a well defined role. I personally like this model because I hear hard core sandboxes are gank fests. So, with a little mmorpg structure, and a wide open character customization, I enjoy playing in this world.
  If character models and graphics turn you off, it is good to note that almost all items have a graphical effect. From shoes to belts, to shirts, etc. Each item will show up graphically and therefore can get interesting in you own personal look. I enjoy the slots to equip items as well. I can wield 1 sword, shield, and a secondary weapon such as bow and or rune for magic. This leads to a variety of fast attacks on the go. More on combat later. Let us talk about skills and class building.
(Your guide. No more.)
Skills and class:This is where the "sand box" part comes in. To start off, you press "C" to see your character stats and voilĂ , your points to spend on stats such as STR. AGL. etc... so you have the doors wide open. You can build in the HP, MP, Dexterity, etc... That means you are carving out a sort of profile of a player. A high HP and STR obviously leaning towards that warrior / Tank build. etc..
  Next, are your skills. These are not points but rather spells or skills learned. They are broken down into camps. Mele camp housing a list of mele skills that host all the skills involving the sword. Some, of course will favor a build such as the skill taunt. Perhaps you want that on your tank instead of your warrior...or not. You build how you want here. After the tutorial, you have small quests to train in each camp of combat. This means you have the first 1 or 2 spells of each camp. So as a level 1 or 2 noob, you will have an axe, a bow, and a magic rune to use and a the first few spells to play with. So you can start right away getting a feel of what you will prefer to be using...I am leaning on a Paladin build (I hope it works or I am screwing things up). I hot slotted my mele, shield bash, and heal with one fire spell to pull enemies.
  Each level up I am spending my STAT skills on HP, Magic, Mele and mana. 
(Skills to the left to learn as you go and Talents on the right that are the passive to the left. Mix n match)
(Jobs to the left and yes, lots of achievements for you achievement fans)
(Jobs page to the left. Crafting your way to survival is key!)

Now that said, you are pretty much free to build and combine as you will! Pretty awesome! There is, at level 5, the CLASS SKILL POINTS. These points give passive boosts to your skills. They are grouped under class names. Templar (Tank, pally), Warrior (dmg), Assassin (dps), Tracker (ranged), Mage (spells), Prophet (healer). Now, these points, again, are passive. Meaning, for example, you can have taunt, from the mele skill pool (equiped to yourself regardless of being ranged, magic, etc..)... This "Templar" tree is there to tell you that if you place a point in Templar you can boost in "Increase taunt effect 10%". That means things start to take more a role shape and fall in place logically. Obviously if you are building in magic and healing, taunt is one skill you leave alone...or do you? The choice is up to you. There are Class skill trees to start building in to have a pure build if you will. But you can mix and match freely. I am putting points in the Prophet for my heal boosts, and I plan to start in either Warrior or Templar next to help mele out on my fighter side...again, that is my first impression and my first spending of points. I could be building wrong, but the freedom to do so is exactly how I just described. And that is COOL in my books! A nice sandbox character build.
Now that we have aligned all our points in place, let's talk combat.
(Details in this game make for a rich experience)
Combat

Because the tutorial was a little chaotic, I really did not get a sense of combat. So, once all my above skills, mentioned above, were in place and I had some quests in the book and wild nature to test my weapons on...I set forth! Naturally, in these kinds of indie games, the combat is iffy... Especially with these kind of graphics, I was expecting silly animations mixed with slow combat or wonky hit boxes etc...Surprisingly, this game delivers AWESOME! The animations are rewarding, especially for a browser game. The combat is tab, but it is very smooth and responsive. One thing I like is the hotbar system and the ability to swap out attacks to make epic combos. For example. I have my mele swing linked to 1, my heal 2, and my Spell arrow shot 3. On my second hot bar I have regular arrow shot 3 (because the spell has a cool down). To swap hot bars, I press the Z button. This means, each attacl, I do 3 (Big shot), as the enemy runs to me, I do Z - 3 3 3 3 to shoot rapidly at the charging enemy. If he is not dead by the time he gets to me, I press Z to swap back to my main attack bar and 1 1 1 1 mele attack and DEAD! 
  The combat is fast, you swing your weapon like a mad man! The arrows are shot rapidly...probably a little to rapid to be considered "real", but it does not take away from the smooth action packed combat. The spells are shot out in a nice spell animation for each one etc..
I changed my attack around as I hit level 5. I now do one fire spell to pull (I gave up on bow and arrow for now, as I am building in magic and mele). I then mele the enemy and throw in a shield bash. Epic! Enemies have their standard attacks so far. Magic or mele. etc. Standard fare in general, with a little smooth edge and for sure a winner for browser based mmorpg! 
(Check out that hot bar. I Range pull. Then spam the sword, shield bash and heal up if needed...Smooth and efficient killing)
 Conclusion:
Right away, this game is addicting! At first, I was turned off because I am coming from client based games like TERA, RIFT, eetc..and I come into the browser world looking at it like "not bad, but it better have more to seduce me with". And it did! It has a very addictive story and game play. Smooth enough movement and combat. Great skill system! And lots of mystery to discover what is out there! I enjoyed as a low level, doing some epic quests already! I was saving peoples wives from goblin caves, etc.. I enjoyed the detail in EVERYTHING! entering peoples houses means if you find a kitchen you can use it to cook bread and do other tasks, you are not confined to the cities public oven like most mmorpgs do. The community is friendly, the company seems to have a good business model. 
As of this noob test drive into the first 5 levels, I give the game a solid 4/5
My worries are: The population hangs at about 50 to 100 people EU and a little more US. SEA having around 20-30 on the servers. (Thankfully you can server hop anytime!)
  Asking around, people are saying this game can have a grind, but it all depends on how you play. If you built weak cloth pure heal, you might find yourself grinding more than others. Otherwise they said you can do it all by questing, sometimes there are holes between quests to farm, but they assured the grind is not as bad as other games. I am not sure how this will effect me or if I am building right. Time will tell.
  Will this company be around or dissapear? It seems solid and only publishes about 3 other titles. It is a nice little nitch and warm place to call home. I invite you all to try it out and give it some support if you are into a little old sandbox ish browser based mmorpg fun! 

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