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EDIT: That should say (Spoilers) at the end of the title, but, oh, well. (Something I thought I'd start doing as I play Dragon Quest titles again would be to go over their stories and analyze them and share my thoughts, since I'm old enough to appreciate their themes now, and since I happen to be replaying IX at the moment, I figured I'd start with that one. Also, it means I don't have to play VII yet. The concept I've got laid out in my head involves writing about characters and towns one-by-one, from their introduction to the post-game, because many of these tales are self-contained. That technically requires a spoiler warning, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Oh, and don't worry about the title, that'll become apparent soon.) Intro IX is the most interesting child of the franchise in several ways, not because its too different from the rest of the franchise (which I've always found to be an inaccurate complaint) but because it's too similar. IX actually draws heavily on elements going all the way back to III (such as the class system and party structure) in some ways while being very modern in others (like the skill system and the story), so it's clearly attempting to strike a balance (and as the fifteenth best-selling DS game ever, and the best DS-based Dragon Quest title, period, it did a damn good job). Naturally, modern fans complain that they miss the characters, and classic fans want more open world exploration. It's also the game in which the localizing team decided to go full steam ahead in imitating the original charm, being the most pun-filled game yet, over and above stumbling efforts to capture that effect in the DS installments of IV and V that preceded it. This also jarred a lot of players, who remembered the straightforward high fantasy localizations of older Western entries (even VIII didn't really pull into punsville, that was Rocket Slime). This is a game that continually defied expectations, and rather fittingly, too, as you'll see as this series continues. So, let's begin: Opening and Angel Falls IX doesn't start like many of its older brothers, which very clearly have some adventure in mind to start with. The first three games all begin the instant you're being assigned to go on your adventure, while IV starts with the hero having been raised to be prepared for his destiny. V has you coming along on somebody else's adventure, while VI takes another tack and plays coy about its grand opening scene with a classic JRPG small-town opening sequence (a "classic" that's never been in Dragon Quest, go figure). For a while, VII had the most distinctive opening, being the closest to that small-town opening, but you were clearly already up to something, and your small-town was also the only-town (I looked up the first two minutes on Youtube just now, shut up). VIII straight up starts with you well on your way. In IX, adventure and exploration aren't even concepts in the beginning. It plays the small-town bit almost teasingly before switching over to a couple of guardian angels (it would be a shocker for DQ to play the small-town hero straight, I swear). It's their (your) job to look after the town and keep things nice and steady, and it turns out to be a good gig. Such a good gig, in fact, that your first successful stint as the town's guardian ends with an event that's been ten thousand years in the making: Fyggbloom. The Celestrians, the guardian angels, have been harvesting mortal gratitude as fertilizer for Yggdrasil the world tree -- they're not entirely sure why, mind, just that it'll set them on the road to salvation. And they desperately want salvation; salvation from their charges. Spend about five minutes talking with other Celestrians and you'll get the distinct impression of how full of it the Celestrians are to look down on mortals on the grounds that they're superior. (They've got a fair argument, mind -- they're just like us, but with extra powers, and, besides, we all know how Celestrians never do anything wrong). Of course, after tens of thousands of years, the Celestrian heirarchy gets a little shaken up -- the head angel Apus Major decided to bump you up to full Guardian ahead of schedule. And he proved right; despite confessing his initial misgivings about you, your master Aquila finds you worthy enough of your position and leaves you to your business. You take over his township and he takes over the world. Or something like that. Anyway, you collect some smelly horse byproduct and it earns you some shiny human byproduct, and that's enough fertilizer for Fyggbloom, and that's when everything promptly goes to seed. The instant the Fyggs bloom, somebody from the Protectorate blows your secret orbital base right the frick up and you fall to your doom. And the surviving Celestrians, who thought they had things well enough in hand to get bored, get a very rude awakening. Luckily, there's more to you than meets the eye, and despite being young and scrawny, you survive by plummeting tens of thousands of feet into a pool. And all it cost you was your invisibility and wings. Now you look just like a mortal. Of course, the mortals have their own opinions. The entire town of Angel Falls (where you landed due to remarkable chance) thinks you're an oddball and because you happened to show up at the same time as the earthquake that wrecked everything, a few of them think you're a jinx. One of them in particular, local rich boy Ivor Litlun, thinks you're a pest. On the other hand, local maiden Erinn, whom gave you your first crystal of Benevolessence (I'm just going to air out the Your First Time joke right now so nobody wastes any time), apparently thinks you're more interesting than Ivor. Ivor, Erinn, and the Hero fit an archetypal love triangle (yes, love triangle) that you might recognize from Ocarina of Time -- point for point, they resembles Mido, Saria, and Link; Ivor has a crush on Erinn, who's closer to the Hero (which must be all the more galling, since Ivor's known her longer). Unfortunately Ivor's still stuck working out the kinks in his own life -- he's not particularly worthy of any girl, much less a girl like Erinn. Erinn's amazing; a teenage girl (the only real note on her age I can think of is from King Trode during his downloadable visit to the Quester's Rest, who indicates Erinn's younger than Medea, who turned eighteen in the middle of VIII) who looks after her grandfather and runs a whole inn on her own, she's more mature than a few of the village women. And it's kind of hard to cast her as a type, even a Japanese type -- eternally good-natured, caring, devoted to work, pious, but when Ivor shows up she refuses to take any of his guff, and she might even let him have it if he gives her reason. Erinn's basically the best the mortals have to offer in a neat and tidy package without being an ingenue stereotype. And Ivor, well, Ivor's a bully and a whiner. Which isn't to say Ivor's all bad, either (first rule of IX: don't jump to conclusions). Ivor's a good example of what I call the Miyamoto technique, after Shigeru Miyamoto's principle on villains, where an evil guy like Bowser is never quite as bad as you thought. And for what's it worth, Ivor isn't half as bad as he seems. You see, Ivor's stuck emotionally (not just at level 3). He's caught specifically between childhood and adulthood; he wants to grow up, but has no idea how to do it, only having some idea of giving orders and occasionally defending his turf from outsiders (like Nine). The mayor is a poor father, just lecturing and criticizing the boy on the assumption that that's how you raise a kid, which clearly isn't working and hasn't been working for some time now, so Ivor's gotta work it out for himself. But good adults don't just happen, they need to be reared properly (or else be very lucky in their learning); you need good parents (which Ivor is kind of short-handed on) and good friends to uplift you, and since Ivor's the dominant kid in town, he's in the lurch, because who's gonna help him improve? Hugo? The lackey? But he's not all bad; none of the Litluns are (I can't even ding the dad too hard, running the town and raising two children has to be hard when the family's wife and mother is inexplicably gone). Ivor's very good with his little sister, so much so that she can only sing his praises. He has good ideas, too, in fits and starts -- he takes the initiative to try and clear the rubble isolating his hometown from the kingdom of Stornway, if only to show off to Erinn and rub his dad's face in it. He's also aware enough of his own limitations that he knows he needs someone decent in a fight, and Nine's not only survived a fall from who knows how high up, he has a big ol' sword on his back at all times. Of course, it's not as easy as he figured (don't jump to conclusions), and Ivor very nearly starts crying in frustration. The juxtaposition between Ivor and the soldiers is very clearly there to indicate how unprepared for a man's job poor Ivor is (another contrast with Erinn, who's been running the village inn since her father passed away two years ago, and doing an excellent job at it), but he quickly latches onto something that might salvage the situation -- bringing back good news. Naturally, it doesn't work, and Ivor settles in for a long lecture. Mayor Litlun struggles through another fathering moment -- it's true that Ivor's news doesn't ultimately matter, but they miss the fact that it's not at all certain things wouldn't have been fixed eventually; the soldiers make a point of asking about Patty, which may in fact be the reason they left Stornway in the first place. Erinn's inn would've continued to flounder and likely collapse, and there goes her family's well-being. But only Ivor thinks of that. In the meantime, Erinn suddenly takes center stage, and we're treated to a study in how nothing is certain (again, no jumping). Patty's arrival completely shatters her understanding of family, her history, and, more subtly, of herself, and the whole town's understanding of them as well. (Edwinn, incidentally, gets the Single Father with Responsibilities award, too, being far better than Mayor Litlun, who might very well perform his mayoral responsibilities as he does his fatherly ones -- sitting back and lecturing other people). But when the dust settles, Erinn's ready to leave her small-town beginnings and carry on her father's legacy to be an Inn master (another reason I like Erinn so much: she's an innkeeping Shounen hero), and she charges Ivor with taking care of her old inn. It's through the inn that Ivor finally gets to become an adult -- not because he suddenly steps up and gets his life together, but because he doesn't. While he does a squarely mediocre job of it in the beginning, by the second act of the game, he's doing such a garbage job that Erinn's grandfather has to get a hand in and make sure things get squared together. And while it's rough, Ivor finally has what he needs to become the adult he wants to be -- a mentor. We can see the fruits of this by the end of the post-game, when Ivor is in the running for an Inny of his own. Who thought the old man had it in him? Final Notes I'm actually slightly disappointed in the opening chapter, because while it does a good job of teaching Ivor a little lesson, it glosses over the substantially meatier conflict of Erinn's life and family, never really does that drama its due, and everyone ends up looking poorer for it. Patty comes off as greedy and callous, and Erinn's decision to abandon her grandfather is too quick to properly digest. We could've grabbed some more character out of those two if they travelled alongside the Hero, but that's for later discussion. She deserves her own post, so I'll write something later. I think I might include her in the Stornway section, but that involves the twisted history of three towns, so that'll be a huge section already. I wasn't expecting to write a fricking essay on the first chapter, so it might take a while to find the time to produce another one. I also intend to revisit this and edit it up some once I'm far enough along in the story to go back and wrench more characterization out of the villagers. Next on the agenda: Stornway and Schott.
Before you get pulled into Skyforge, best to read this to know all the facts of the game currently. Please keep in mind of some spelling and grammar mistakes, typed this all up on Word before posting it on here and other forums. Well a bit about me, I been playing mmos for over sixteen years now, seen the rise and fall of many, the reasons to why can be baffling, weird, or just expected. Supported and fanboyed a few games in my younger years though now my experience has broadened me and I do keep a open mind weighing the pros and cons of any mmo I play and determine if it will fail or not. Because of my experience, alot of my friends I met along the way of my mmo play that I often converse with via skype, yahoo messenger, emails, etc. Would often come to me asking questions if a game they have a eye on is worth playing or not, chances are I may have played it to a extent and can give my opinion on whether its worth the time to play. This is basically my first time giving all the facts and opinions I have on a game publically. But Skyforge, being somewhat different, and from being mostly created by a Russian developer that is notorious for P2W, I felt I should share everything I manage to find out up to 18k Prestige so far and about six open world dungeons in. As well as everything I have read and witness to on reddit, the NA and EU forums. NA forums being especially hard to read since still at this time it is having major problems for most users to access and view. I will list here all the faults the game has at this time. But be warned, spite the game may seem to be in open beta, the state the game is in is akin to being in Alpha. Some die hards and fanboys may disagree, but I am looking at this in a neutral mindset and for what is acceptable to the majority consumer that pays the most money in F2P mmos. I will be posting this on multiple sites and forums to help inform the world of the poor state this game is in. 1: "No character customization at the start" This is a minor issue, but for some and the uninformed, this can be a immediate game tosser right here. You basically start as a legionary of the Aelion army on a mission to liberate a town. After some events and a few tutorials you get to select your appearance and gender. Sadly you may as well stay male if you care about being immersed in the, somewhat decent story, because of what ill explain in number 2. 2: "Voice acting cut offs and no recognition that you are a woman" It would seem that alot of the voice acting tends to cut off after a few sentences, me personally I do not mind, seen it happen in plenty of mmos, it reduces costs, for others its immersive breaking, but what makes it worse is that if you are playing a female character, the npcs fail to aknowledge that thus refer and speak to you as if you are male. Which can be very immersive breaking for those who want to try and live the story. This was likely all done due to a limited localization team budget. 3: "Localization is sketchy" I have seen and witnessed alot of translation mistakes amongst all things in the game. NPC dialogue, descriptions of items, skills, symbols, talents and so on. Basically a by product of a low budget localization team. I dont mind these myself personally but a few of these errors regarding items, abilities or the tutorials can confuse and frustrate players. This is something I would have expected in a Alpha and mostly fixed by now in open beta, but their are too many errors. 4: "Chat is lagged terribly even after a few weeks" yes this is true, spite the "upgrades" they did to the megaservers, any chat that isnt public such as Vicinity and Region, can fail to process requiring the player to type and enter it out several times until it goes thru. Basically private chat, Pantheon chat and group chat is affected by this. Spite the game being in open beta for over three weeks now this is still a constant non-stop problem. My take on it is that they are holding off on anymore server improvements and waiting for alot of players to up and leave the game. Which can say alot on the future of this game, it means they are trying to save money instead of improving things to make everything better. 5: "Only three classes at the start" Another major turn off for alot of players is the fact you only get three classes at the start. A defender "Tank" a Lightbinder "Support" and a Cyromancer "DPS". You can get more if you were a founder or buy a CE. However the CE only gives you the other Defender class Knight, and the other Support Alchemist. Of course as we all know, over 95 percent of players want to play DPS classes in mmos, but in this particular game, 99 percent of them will play anything that isnt a Defender "Tank" more on that later. This poses a problem because to get even the closest reaching classes, which is Slayer and Archer, you will need at least two weeks of sparks farming because of caps. More on that one later. While the more far reaching classes can take up to three weeks depending on how well you can get specific sparks you need to go along the path. Once they do obtain this class, then problem number 6 occurs. 6: "Players playing newly unlocked classes that are not developed and underpowered" This is generally a problem in the prestige brackets between 3-10k. Players will often unlock a new class, come into runs on impossible, made significantly worse on 5 mans, and be completely and utterly worthless. Not only because they are coming in on a difficulty that outright says impossible, thus they lack the stats to be able to take a hit much less do any dmg whatsoever, but they are doing it on a class they, most of the time havent even reached the class spark portion of atlas, thus only having they're basic skills and talents, and little to none of the talents needed to do any damage or survive. Making things increadibly frustrating for not only themselves but mostly for other players having to "carry" them thru things, or just wipe in 5 mans and a few select 3 mans over and over until too much time is wasted and everyone leaves, or kicks the player responsible for holding up everyone. 7: "Progress is capped" This particular problem is a double edged sword, it prevents the hardcores from being too far ahead of the casual player by limiting how much progress you can make each week, but if anyone new came into the game late they would never be able to catch up with friends, though that particular problem will be alleviated somewhat in a coming update. But it is also a way to get players to buy argents via the small cash shop to be able to progress further via other means, one of which is causing problems for not just the player itself but for others stuck doing anything 5 man or even 3 man with, more on that after this. But pretty much, the game uses a "PaytoProgress" model to earn its money. This is a turn off for hardcore and casual alike. 8: "Prestige bloat" This is a mixed opinion in general. From everything I read and seen into, players who rapidly increase they're prestige via the Order System. What players who do this usually do is go after Greatness nodes on the atlas specifically, ignoring everything else, symbols, stats they can use, even classes, to then "Paytoprogress" via buying argents to convert to credits to then power level their order ranks to a significantly high lv of around fifteen to twenty, and then purchase holy texts from the games cash shop to then rank up the levels of each of their temples, thus giving them a boost to prestige, but also giving them stamina and health bonus, which is useful to everyone, but alot of might too which only increases base damage and is otherwise almost worthless. By doing this, you have players with low equipment proficiency, unable to equip most things from the dungeons they are at prestige for, as well as having no useful symbols to help them. They will even go as far as to equip grey equipment long as it boosts their prestige, further lowering they're battle performance. 9: "Bad Collision" This happens to be all over the place. Open world maps, instanced maps, mounts. Can happen anywhere and at the worst of times. But it is so buggy and in such a state I would consider it Alpha like, that I cant help but feel disapointed in this. In a game that requires you to look at the enemy for choreographs already made increadibly difficult due to all the spell and ability effects, and no telegraphs to warn you save for a very very rare few I seen, the worst thing you want happen is you try to dash out of the way only to become stuck on a tiny rock or something invisible, then getting killed as a result of it. This seems to happen in some instances, likely the ones that has been rushed out of development to make it into open beta. Not only is this an issue, but their are alot of skills players can use that seems to put them into a state of stuck collision. As if the game thinks they are under the ground when they are not. Seen this happen to alot of classes, few times as a paladin but often to Berserkers. 10: "PVP is Unbalanced" In what game is PVP ever balanced? It is fundamentally impossible to balance PVP, ever, few games came close, but to achieve perfect balanace will never happen. It just cannot be done, with CCs, high bursts, latency, skill setups, equipment setups, etc, developers can never ever pinpoint every exact unbalanced trick a player may come up, as more and more content comes in, new abilities, gimmicks, equipment and the like, just means more ways to cheese it out in PVP. Right now, Skyforges PVP is horribly unbalanced, due to no CC dr, alot of cheap and overpowered skills, no way to counter many of these skills. Therefore alot of players except the diehard pvp players, actually does PVP, and the ques can be increadibly long. Right now the "Flavor of the Month" class seems to be kinetics in FFA, and 2-3 Tanks in 3v3. Kinetics due to being able to constantly slow and CC opponents and put out completely unavoidable high damage you cannot break or use anti-CC cooldowns against. Devs could alleviate the unbalance by taking a que from a few other mmos, FFXIV being one example. Make PVP only abilities you can swap to and use in PVP, or make abilities have a different effect when used in PVP. Also the camera controls and targeting of the game are pretty glitchy for PVP at this time, causing your combos to not go off, making it more in the favor of ranged classes becaue they do not have this problem. But the worst part is, you are FORCED thats right, and no matter how much players devoted to the game may say otherwise, you are FORCED to pvp if you want to advance in your order. Ill explain this now. 11: "Forced 5 man groups and PVP to obtain Order temple/shrine items." That is right, your order items that you need, to be able to upgrade your temple and shrines which gives not only prestige, but increadibly helpful bonus's mostly for the PVE player, can be half the time, locked behind a PVP Match you need to do. The thing is, you dont even have to try to win the PVP match, ya can just afk and lose, and still get the item, which is still a bad thing. At the time of this writing, my tablet, pommel, and ring, all ended up on PVP matches, the 3v3 which the two kinetics on the other side gave up completely spite they even had a witch, because they saw a Paladin, Knight, and Necromancer on the other side, my side. After one match one of the kinetics flat out left, indicating to me that he was a guy who actually likes this unbalanced pvp and wasnt there for his order item at all. For good reason as I stated above, matchmaking does nothing to balance the teams, and we ended up with a team that can litterally have one person, the knight, 1V3 them due to his overwhelming CCs and reflect damage ability, giving even two kinetics no chance. Paladin is almost nigh unkillable, and the Necromancer would just go into reaper when killed, slow down everyone so they cant get away from him, and get his health back up. Due to how unbalanced the PVP is, its frustrating for PVE players forced to having to do it, more than likely not even having PVP centric abilities up, I sure as hell dont swap to skills best for PVP whenever I have to do it, it costs transformation marks to do so and its absolutely ridiculous to not have the ability to save two sets of traits/skills/symbols, one for PVE and one for PVP. I can kill any Kinetic over time as a PVE paladin, but it be significantly easier if I had my PVP spec going for it. But it is also frustrating for the PVP centric players, to get matched up with players in PVE spec, or worse, players who just AFK or even using a bot that ques for the match, accepts when its up, then it proceed to random attack or run in circles or just sit down doing nothing, simply because the player just wants his order item and doesnt care for the PVP. It frustrates the players who try, frustrates the players who have to wait these very long ques to get their item, anywhere up to six hours que time for the 10 vs 10. Their is a update coming that will alleviate some of this issue, but you will still be forced to do pvp to get your items, only now the que times will be likely cut in half due to the update. Did I mention both teams can talk to each other? Thats right, no filter, so you are subject to jeers, mockery and insults if you happen to be on the losing team, or worse the completely underpowered team. As for 5 man groups, again this can suffer from long que times, especially if your a DPS. Tanks are far and few in between, due to the major difficulty of this game, more on that later. Because of this, their is a 1:2:500 ratio of Tanks, Supports, then DPS. Only two classes of Tanks and Supports, nine for the DPS. Because Tanking in this game is much more stressful than in other games, due to the lack of any real healing class. Tanks are forced to focus alot more, and be extreamly choosey on the weapons and rings they select, as well as having to beeline for symbols they need for tanking, ignoring classes they would like to unlock until much, much later, which is about five to seven weeks of caps away to get all your needed symbols before you can start unlocking more classes. But this whole thing is another matter ill go on later. But pretty much you are forced to do these 5 mans for your order stuff and thus can expect long que times. Coming in only to possibly find that the group is bad, the Tank is likely mediocre, or the support is crap at doing what he has to do. Thus everyone leaving, if they dont have a good reason to stick with it, and then having to wait for replacements, which may never come at all, due to the buggy matchmaking system sometimes not actively looking for a replacement when someone leaves. Though I do not mind the 5 man, I can only mind the PVP so much, not because its unbalanced as hell, I dont mind that, I am used to horrible balancing, its the waiting for up to three hours for a match that I do mind, and the update wont be able to alleviate it all that well. 12: "No true healing class" Now their are mmos that abandon the holy trinity, and thats fine, some of them actually manages to make it work, putting more emphasis on the player and their individual skill, setup and equipment to dictate success or fail. Sadly, in Skyforge it falls very short. What you have here is the usual Tank and DPS, but then you got Support. Now support classes have existed in mmos, even as far back as Everquest, such as the Bard. Support classes typically do a variety of things such as ability to remove certain debuffs, cast buffs to strengthen the group, cast debuffs on enemy targets to make defeating them easier, and at times some light healing. Support has basically been always that fourth odd person out of the Trinity of Tank, DPS and Healer, but they have always been around, most of the time falling under the DPS category unless specifically stated otherwise. However it isnt enough. Due to how horribly unbalanced half the mobs in the game are, specifically minion mobs who are stated to be "Weak but in number" generally can each individually do up to 3x the auto attack damage a dungeon BOSS can do, it not only makes Soloing squad adventures anywhere impossible for most classes if done on anything higher than Normal, but it puts tremendous pressure on the tank too. If this was a true action mmo like Vindictus or TERA, this would be acceptable, but this is not a true action mmo, it is a pseudo action/tabtargeter with unavoidable auto attacks. Basically if your group doesnt cordinate or has bad CC potential, your tank will have a really bad time. Both tanks have their own aoe CCs but it is limited on how often they can do it. Knights are best with trash mobs, having slightly superior CC capability than the paladin and alot more aoe damage as well as brain dead easy to do mitigation, while Paladins are best with Bosses, due to superior single target threat and the ability to constantly absorb a bosses big attacks, as well as better mobility. Once my Knight is all finished out, I will be using Knight for trash mobs, changing to Paladin for Boss mobs. However Paladins can do trash very effectively, it takes more effort to do trash on Paladin than it does Knight, while for bosses it takes more effort on the Knight than it does Paladin. However, not many Tanks are willing to do what is needed to get the skills, stats, and passives needed to tank. Most just wanna tank to be a tank because they did so in past mmos, much easier mmos, where they had a healer. Then they find out they completely fail at it, cannot do it, gets frustrated then quits tank or rolls DPS. Leading to fewer and fewer tanks. This problem is primarily the fault of minion mobs doing way too much auto attack damage, and no healer to back them up, just a support with shields if LB or Alchemist with its damage buffs helping the party kill and lock down the minions before they get a chance to screw over the tank. Pretty much as a Tank your job is to buy time, for the DPS and Support to burn down the mobs before you go down and they proceed to completely destroying your entire party, only a few classes being able to prolong death for awhile themselves *Lightbinders, Necromancers* and this is a new concept for most tank players. 13: "Unbalanced enemies, in both instances and open world" Now Open world I can explain why people feel things are unbalanced, this is actually the fault of the developer for not providing any way to gauge enemy strength or even make any mention of how open world content works. But lets start with the instances. As I have mentioned before, instances can be easy or somewhat impossible to most classes if you solo, or even made impossible for 3 mans if players come into it on hard or impossible difficulty. Nothing wrong with difficulty, everyone likes a challenge now and then. But the fact is, you dont get much choice in determining difficulty of the instance you do. You may only have one option, impossible, and it has a reward or maybe even your order stuff that you need. Or it may have just two options, Hard, or Very easy, one of which will not give you any reward at all. Though doable with 3 people with some effort for Hard, what if you wanted to solo it? The problem here is that mobs, Minion mobs in particular, hit excessively too hard for how numerous they are. If your on a class that cannot CC them down and kill them before they can reach up to you, you are pretty much dead, the minions hit for obscene amounts, and its not a collective of 5 minions hitting you, each and every single one of them auto attacks for 3x more than the instances boss does with his auto attacks. Which means that for alot of classes, you are forced to do 3 man, and sit in a waiting que for it, or else you have to come back to the instance later if you want to solo it, spite it may have rewards you need. Skyforge imo needs a way to be able to select more difficulties to suit you be it you want to solo or 3 man. As well as a significant nerf to Minion damage as I stated when talking about the 5 man instances. None of this seems to be indicated in the coming patch. Their are instances where you can only get it on Easy, meaning crap equipment drops for you, but you cant go any higher for difficulty which is locked via prestige, and when you do get that prestige, it will be rated impossible for you until you get more prestige. Now for Open world content. It puzzled me at first after the third open world instance, I noticed towards the end of the quest lines mobs seem to have gotten more and more difficult, and spark rewards gotten greater and greater. By the time of I believe the 6th open world, the Eskenian Peninsula, that for me, as paladin, and my partner a berserker, had one hell of a time. We went in at about 15k+ prestige, by the time we got done we were at 17k prestige, with rings and weapons that are double the profiency we now currently have, right now I have about 1136 proficency, a weapon I have has 2020. The enemies about 50 percent of the way in became brutal and would do ridiculous damage if caught unshielded and flat out can one shot my partner if caught in a special. Spite this we managed to duo our way to the end and take out the final two bosses with help from a Pantheon mate. Where he then told us that this whole time, we been doing content meant for players 8-10k prestige over our current prestige, and could not believe we had the acute skill to pull it off with low problem. That what I had a feeling to be true was correct. Open world content scales higher and higher in prestige as you go along, that they are meant to be done periodically as you gain more prestige. Sadly because of this, alot of players are getting frustrated and claiming horrible imbalances akin to a game being in Alpha, it doesnt help that each open world zone is buggier than the last in bad collision detection, mobs not spawning which isnt a bug really, its the devs being lazy and cheap and using placeholder mob groups you have to kill to spawn the mobs you do have to kill, an old mmo tactic not commonly used much anymore. But most new gen players do not know of this and end up waiting twenty-thirty minutes for a mob group they need to spawn, totally unaware about the placeholder mechanic, thus getting frustrated. Also, mobs tend to spawn under the world or within walls and boulders, unreachable. As well as the usual trigger event bugs seen in any mmo beta. The Devs failed to provide mention of open world scaling in any tutorials, nor any way to check the prestige of A.I enemies, which leads to players getting destroyed, frustrated, then not doing open world. By the 6th open world instance I hardly see anyone around, and when I do, because I am a tank, they tend to follow me and my partner and get hits on what we are killing, because they are unable to solo due to either being on a bad class for it, cuz of Minion damage, or the prestige they have is too low for that area. Even had players constantly try to invite me in open world to their groups because they franctically need a tank to help them do the quests. 14: "Skyforge official forums is not moderated by a official forum hosting paid team." When I was informed that the official forums of at least Europe, not sure on NA yet, is being moderated by unpaid actual players. I could only shake my head at this. Many bad things can come about a player moderated forum that is moderated by the players. For one, it shows that the developer/publisher is too cheap to get proper, payed for moderators that can respond and do things professionaly with little to no bias. Secondly player moderators are highly prone to power trips, being bias and abusing power. Third it can cause backlash and toxicity when moderators abuse their powers. So to test this out, I went and proceeded to finding the right flame bait, to see how the moderators respond. They responded very poorly. I was banned from the forums for a day, by one moderator called Kiandal. So then I went to test how they would react to a civil protest, and how they did nothing about the other person who was committing a serious wrong, in this case it was him enjoying what is a criminal offense in most countries, Pedophilia. The response was he accused me of being uncivil, that I was harrassing the person who enjoys acts of Pedophilia spite it was pretty much indirect to begin with. Then banned me for another 15 days for even bringing up a dispute for my own forum ban. This was issued by another moderator one named Alumio. In which I did some background checking on and sure enough their has been alot of players he has warned and banned, most of which these players claimed this particular moderator is very bias. When I then explained to Alumio that this is something I setup to test EUs moderation team on how well they can do their job, spite its volunteer work, and found it to be very lacking and will ultimately hurt the game far as getting more players and getting money, that I will be placing this into my review of the game unless he can convince me of any reason why he and his fellow moderators are abusing power. I was then met with a PERMANENT BAN from the EU skyforge forums, issued by the community manager Spunky. This is what he had to say. Failure to head previous Mod warnings due to inappropriate conduct and subsequent insubordination has led to you being permanently banned from posting on the portal. Mod decisions are based on direct input from the My.com team and are not performed without their knowledge. Sincerely, Community Manager Spunky Notice the word I outlined, Insubordination? Far as I can tell, I do not work for Allods team, this is a free forum for customers who play and pay for Skyforge, yet he claims "Insubordination" like I am a employee of the game, instead of a paying customer. This speaks volumes about how the game will end up being. At least in Europe. If the NA Moderation team is anything like this, I fear for the future of this game. 15: "Lack of Optimization" This is a problem for any mmo that just hit open beta. Lack of optimization. Heard reports of many beefy computers getting bad fps drops down to 25 particularly in open world areas, spite the game suggests maximum configuration for them, these players are forced to customize and turn off things to try and maintain 60 fps, or the very least above 40, never dropping up and down 20-35, which can cause nausea for some people. I for one am running a I7 980, OCed to 4.0ghz with a G1 Championship Series 970GTX Windforced superclocked and overclocked a bit further. I had to turn off high animations, sky, and lower a few settings from the suggested maximum, as well as turn off a few annoying effects like Bloom *hate bloom in most games* chromatics, depth of field *Hate Depth of Field* etc. Even then in some instances I will drop to 50 fps but maintain above it. Openworld though in certain places ill drop to 30-35 when combat starts, but maintain 60 fps in certain other places in the open world. I noticed my GPU, spite I have it on maximum performance in the nvidia settings, only using 25-30 percent of its power, while in other places it will shoot up to 100 percent. CPU constantly stays between 20 and 25 percent. A DX11 client would help somewhat alleviate the optimization issues and most mmos now come out or along the way makes a DX11 client for those who wish to use it and can get more out of their hardware with a DX11 client. FFXIV did it recently with its expansion, and hell, even WoW did it. But SE and Blizzard can do that because they have money. Allods Team, I will be very surprised if they ever put out a DX11 client to improve player experience. With all the cost cuts I seen thus far, I doubt they will ever make it happen. 16: "No starting weapons when class is unlocked" This is more a quality of life problem. You get no starting weapon or additional when you unlock a class and chances are it will take you some time to get a pair to do so, because of this, depending on where your at in the game far as your weapon booster and additional booster is, you will be anywhere from 500 to up to 8000+ less prestige, or more, than any of your classes that do have weapons. Your weapon and additional gives prestige, as well as might, stamina and additionals, but so does your boosters which also gives might and stamina, yet the missions you can undertake do not reflect this, your mission unlocks completely go by the highest prestige you managed to get thus far, so a mission you are trying to do on say normal to get your weapons, may as well be Impossible Nightmare mode times four. Due to your severe loss of Might and Stamina. Devs need to provide starter weapons to be given to the player, even as weak as a low 50 prestige so long as you can activate your boosters, upon unlocking a class. 17: "Berserker girls love to strip" Well this is a visual bug that doesnt just happen to females wearing the berserker outfit, it can happen to males too wearing certain outfits, but sometimes you will get on your mount, and be shown naked in either your character creation underpants, or in this two rare times I saw of my partner, wearing nothing at the bottom at all. Yea, well it is beta. Added: Recently came to my attention that viewers did not believe me about the Moderator's and its failures. I should not have to be bothered about this, but a reader messaged and insisted I put it up. Please note the word "Insubordination" as I stated in my original post. I will also add that I did not flame the moderators, nor spoke out against them on the public board, rather, in the customer support ticket where I voiced my concerns and outrage, spite it was simply an act to gauge how well the moderation team will handle things. Thank-you. http://s29.postimg.org/6evdxftl3/proof1.png Conclusion: The game is somewhat fun, but it has alot of problems, the fact that all evidence points to the development team cutting costs where they can does not bode well for Skyforge. I say if you really wanna play the game, make an account, play it somewhat at least till you unlock ascension atlas. Then let it sit for three to six months and come back to see how the game seems to be doing. Right now the game is hardly out of Alpha spite it is in Open beta, and the coming changes and additions on the 11th will not be enough to help it. Many players are already quitting in droves, or just logging on wednesday to grind out, then come back next week not caring about anything else, just to try and keep up in the hopes the game gets better. But from what I seen, alot of it is unprofessional, the game wasnt ready at all, Allods team needed money and cut corners to save money. It does do a few things I favor however. Such as. Sphere Grid like "Leveling" system. Weeky Caps to lessen needed playtime for people. Good for those obsessed who cant stay away. Many classes at the start, spite half of them are broken, while the other half is overpowered in PVP. Training area that allows you to try out each class, so if you find one ya like that isnt in your founders or CE or your 3 base, you can go for it immediately and get it within 2-3 weeks. Psuedo action combat. Hey, least it isnt a full on tab targeter. Tired of those. Ultimately, If say DQX a SE mmo from Japan came west, I would go to that, its very unique though it is sorta a tab targeter, but not here to explain DQX Today. And if SEGA would release PSO2 to us, I would likely go to that as well, tempted to just play the JP Version since its mostly translated by a team now, and its action combat is superior to Skyforges. Overall if Allods team, My.com, and Obsidian dont make drastic changes soon, I give this game about six months before it dies. Plenty of up and coming mmos otw that can compete and destroy Skyforge. If SEGA had the sense to bring PSO2 to the west though and market it, I forsee alot of Skyforge players or those thinking of trying out Skyforge to go to PSO2 instead. GRAPHICS : 8/10 AUDIO : 6/10 GAMEPLAY: 6/10 POLISH : 3/10 STORY : 4/10 P2W : LOW P2PROGESS: HIGH POTENTIAL : MEDIUM EXPECTATION: LOW RESULT: C+ Take it for what you will. But these are my findings, and I will not respond back to any inquiries other than in Private Message. I will respond so long as it is civil, respectful, and not flammatory in any way. - Alexandrious Tiamat Dragorath aka Christopher Taylor.
Title: Soulcalibur V Genre: Fighting ESRB Rating: T Amount of Content: 7.5/10 Soulcalibur V has a lot of content. It has five different basic Arcade Modes: Normal (A basic Arcade mode), Asia (Fight characters from Asia), Europe (Same as Asia, but with European characters instead), Leaderboard (Time is ranked), and Extra (A more Over-The-Shoulder perspective). Each type is referred to in game as "Routes." Each Route (Except Leaderboard) has three difficulties; Easy, Normal, and Hard. It also has a painfully difficult variation on Arcade, titled "Legendary Souls." Imagine Battletoads-like difficulty, but slightly easier. The game has a Story Mode, which has about twenty fights. I'm trying to prevent spoilers, so I won't talk about it. However, I will say this: Prepare for sub-par voice acting, mediochre story, and a comic-bookesque style of Storytelling. There is a mode called "Quick Play." It has you fighting various opponents for titles. There are 250 Quick Battle opponents, each with various rankings, with E5 being easiest, and A1 being hardest. Of course, the game has a Online Play mode. There are two options; Ranked Match, and Player Match. Sadly, the Online Play lacks variety. There are around 30 different Fighting Styles. Three Sword and Shield styles, Two Katana styles, Two oversized Sword styles, One Hidden Dagger style (Two if you count Ezio), and three Mimic styles. The rest is really a mixed pot, with highlights being: Fists, Cat Claw-type-things, Lance and Sword, Sword Whip thing, and a Morphing Body. The best part of Soulcalibur V is, by far, the Creation Mode. You pick you're favourite style, a Gender, and a size. From there, you can customise a blank slate of a character in great detail. It's amazingly easy to create an awesome character. Sadly, Ezio's and Algol's styles are locked for creation. All in all, Soulcalibur V has enough Content to last you months, but not all of it is top-grade material. One wall of text later, and I'm done with the modes! Graphics: 9/10 This game looks great! It probably has some of the best Graphics I've ever seen in a Fighting game. The games art-style is sort of like Street Fighter IV's, but it attempts to look slightly more... realistic? I think that's the best word for it. A problem, though, is that created characters often have components of their costume clipping through other parts. This is most notisable with Breastplates and Cloaks. The Stages are great looking. There's often things going on in the background, from a battle against an Ogre, to a generic war, to a full out Pirate battle. The game rarely lags, even online. It all runs really fluidly. Game Mechanics: 8.5/10 This fighting game feels a bit different from most others, with it being somewhat similar to Tekken, and amazingly different from Dead Or Alive and Mortal Kombat. The battles feel much more deliberate than most other fighting games, and is still fast-paced at the same time. The characters themes are great. Take, say, Tira for instance. She can swap emotions- "Jolly," and "Gloomy." Which emotion she has "equipped" dramatically changes her fighting style. For example, Gloomy Mode deals damage to herself with certain attacks. At the same time, though, new combos are opened up, and you generally deal more damage. And there's Yoshimitsu, everyones favourite suicide "bomber." The game is easy to pick up and start playing. It's easy for first-timers to get a grasp of, and theres a lot to learn after the basics. Story: 4/10 Sound:7/10 The Music is well varied, but average at best. The in-battle voice acting is great. So are the sound effects for weapons. However, the story modes dialogue really ruins the experience. It's corny to the max! Altogether Rating: 8.7/10 A great game, although it has a few glaring flaws. On Monday, I'm getting my XBOX Gold renewed. If anyone wants to have a bout later, my GamerTag is "ryangroovy" Next time, I'll be reviewing Banjo-Kazooie, for XBLA/N64. Hopefully that review will be shorter. â€º_â€º