Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Impressions...

After putting in enough time to get 3 characters to level 15, I've come away with these first impressions of the game.

Graphics/Game Stability
Both are top notch.  It's a beautiful game.  I'm runing a modest set up that's about 2 years old (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 Ghz, 2 GB's of Corsair gaming RAM, 500mb Nvidia 9800GTX video card, all of it running on Vista Ultimate) and the game runs pretty well on that platform at max graphics, but runs better if I drop all the settings down one notch from max.  The game was released in Korea in November of 2008, so a fair amount of the bugs have been worked out of it in the 10 month span between the Korean release and the North American release.  Thankfully it's not the usual "rush-to-market-even-with-all-the-bugs" fare that we've been used to of late.  In fact, aside from it locking up on me twice since I got it, it's been flawless.

Game Play -
Is a lot more challenging than, say, WoW, which in my humble opinion, was somewhat dumbed down from the onset in order to attract the type of folks who make Barrens chat such a delight.  The lore is pretty good, though not too deep or convoluted.  I'd say the difficulty/challenge is about on par with Verant's EQ and Sigil's Vanguard, though I haven't run any dungeons yet so therefore I can't comment on that aspect of the game just yet.

Questing/Zones/Travel -
I like the way they set up the quests.  The Asmodaen newbie area, for instance, which is huge, is for levels 1-10, and it itself is broken down into various sub-areas, each with it's own unique mobs and quest lines.  The quests in each sub-area eventually end up having you travel to the next new area/zone once you've exhausted all the quests pertaining to your current area or reach a certain level.  There is a fair bit of travel involved and you will spend some time doing just that, since the areas are pretty large and sprawling.  Travel is by foot for the most part, but you can fly for a price.  There are NPC's that offer the service in most of the central hubs that I've been to.  Once you hit level 10, you can also begin using the NPC Teleporters for the really long range travel.  For the most part though, travel will be localized to your immediate area/zone until you level and are ready to move on.  Zone travel is seamless, though you will get some loading screens when you go from one major area to another, for example, from Altgard to Pandaemonium.


Gear -
Gear matters and you can often see the impact of a new piece of gear on your character as soon as you take it out for a spin.  Gear drops from mobs frequently enough that you probably won't want to buy any gear right away.  Green gear, the lowest of the "above average" gear, drops with enough regularity that by the time you hit level 10, you will have picked up 3-4 pieces of it.  It won't always be something you can use, but you can usually trade it for gear that you can use or sell it to buy some if you just can't help yourself and need that new shiny right then and there.  Right now, green gear sells for some good cash (the game is around 3 weeks old at the time of writing).  You can also get nice gear from quest rewards but in my opinion, I think most of the gear dropped by random mobs is better than a lot of the quest rewards - at least it has been in my limited experience.  That being said though, I have gotten some nice quest rewards.


Classes - 
I'd say 80% of the game you can get by solo with just about any class if you play it right (again, bear in mind that this is from the perspective of my limited experience).  The classes that I've played so far are pretty typical.


1 - The Templar is the heavy tank, slow to level solo, but wanted in groups once you hit level 17 or so.  In fact, I see more calls for a Tank in the LFG channel than I do for anything else, to include Clerics.  He can usually take on 2-3 mobs at one time if geared properly.  Bring lots of bandages, potions and reagents for the herb treatment - it will keep you in the field a lot longer and therefore speed up the leveling process just a bit.


2 - The Assassin, which was my first character, is a great damage dealer, and levels at a decent pace, but I have noticed that there are a ton of them running around.  They can take a mild beating, but you should know when to run away to fight another day.  The stealth (Hide) ability makes some quests easier to complete, than, say for my Templar, who has had to fight his way through the same quests and has died a couple of times as a result.


3 - The Ranger, I've found, is pretty squishy, but maybe that's only because I've died with him the most.  He obviously can't take a beating as well as my Templar, but he's also not as resilient as my Assassin.  Maybe it's the gear? /Shrug.  But what he lacks in the durability department, he more than makes up in the fun department.  And to be fair, he actually CAN melee some, and should in fact, especially in the lower levels because his bag of tricks doesn't have a lot in the way of keeping targets away from you at first.  From what I've read, that gets better later on (around 19) and you can often kill something before it even makes it close enough to a lay a paw on you.  I did learn to kite a bit better with the tools currently at my disposal, so now I find myself being able to take out mobs 2-3 levels higher than me at this point.  I did get my first trap the other night, but haven't had the chance to try it out yet.


Crafting/Money - 
From what I've read, crafting is very expensive and of course, time consuming and tedious.  Food and potions seem to be highly desired for PvP, so I'm thinking that that might be the way to go if you want to have a steady stream of money coming in.  Armor smithing and Weapon making also seem to be pretty popular.  Something else you might want to look into, is harvesting.  I know, it's about as fun as poking yourself in the eye with a stick, but right now, you can make a good bit of money selling it on the broker to those folks who are just too busy leveling to harvest.  You also make decent amounts of money doing quests and from selling the occasional mob drops, but things seem to cost a lot of cash too so you'll quickly see, what seemed like a lot of money, disappear with just a few purchases.


Flight/Leveling - 
Flight is VERY cool.  You get your first wings at level 10, which if you can play non-stop, you should be able to achieve in about 4-6 hours of steady game play.  It goes faster for your Alts, because you'll know where all the quest mobs are and what drops what.  Leveling slows down once you hit level 10 and in some cases you'll run out of quests (not the right level, need a group to finish, etc.) that you'll have to resort to grinding out mobs to get those last few bubbles to ding.  You get new spells/abilities, it seems, every few levels, and usually more than one.


Final Thoughts (phew!) - 
So far, I'd have to say that I'm addicted to it.  It's one of those games that i can't stop thinking about and all I want to do when I get home is kiss the wife on my way to the computer.  Hell, it's even inspired me to try my hand at writing a blog, a first for me.  Of course, only time will tell if it's a keeper...

2 comments:

screammonkey said...

Hi there!

just found you going through my stats. Selling crafting mats right now is more or less profitable (first tier of mats anyways) since a ton of people are doing it.

Mojeaux said...

Yep, you're right and I forgot to mention that in my post. I'm new at this blogging thing. Thanks for leaving a comment though!

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