Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Spellborn

I downloaded The Chronicles of Spellborn as it happens to have free play for the first 7 levels. And because I remembered some nice reviews from Tipa and others who have tried and reported about the game way back when.

And I was hooked.

The introduction to the actual game was great: having a few cut scenes really made the beginning interesting. The UI is a spitting image of that from EQ2, so I'm bound to describe it EQ2 Lite.

Ok, granted, the character graphics are awful, the toons are downright ugly, but then again, you don't have to look at your avatar. What really pleased me was the ability to colour the gear the way you want to. 

Me being the sucker for content, surroundings and lore, the game delivered the weird sense of wonder. Many times over during the initial session of few hours, when I levelled my first warrior to level 5 I experienced the 'Whoa!' and  'WTF?!'-moments. The initial area is generally an introduction area, and the tutorial works extremely well except for the combat. Which in turn is a gem on its own.

My honest opinion is that this gem of game is being neglected for no real reason. The comments I saw ingame from people who came to test it -originating mainly from WoW- was that it was too complex and too different from what they had gotten used to. For me that was exactly the point which made the game so compelling and intriguing: you learned new things on every combat, every quest and every encounter. Your range of choices broadened while your character evolved instead of min-maxing like in WoW: your gear really doesn't matter, but the way you use your skills. All the weapons you start with -with any of the three initial classes- deal the same basic damage: the skills and their combinations in combat do the rest.

If I had to choose one thing from the game to the ultimate MMO, I'd choose the PeP system: Personal Experience Points. The basic idea is that you gain both generic experience -Fame- and PeP from each combat you win. They both have their own gauge and own levels. But if you happen to die, PeP is reset, and you lose all the benefits the PeP levels grant you. So you learn to flee from combat very early on, if you really want to keep your speed and damage buffs on!

And this incited the idea of real Achievements in WoW: gain level 20, 40, 60, 80 without dying one single time. Why not? Gain level 80 without dying in the selected raid dungeons. And so on.

Then again, WoW is the watered down MMO for the people looking for few hours a week entertainment with appropriate reset button at the end of the session. Much like TV series nowadays: continuity from reset to reset and the past has very little influence to the present.

People are lazy, gamers even more so. The Chronicles of Spellborn is too strange, difficult and different for the current WoW addict. Sadly so, because it's a full package for the one who wants to change the pace.

Besides, the world looks great even at the low end 'puter.


Elementalistly said...

You realize that it is being ignored due to the massive IP blocks in place, especially for the US, EU, and various other countries.
For a game to gather the audience, it needs to be more open and available to all types of players.
Acclaim has blocked this for a large group of people, thus the reason the buzz is next to zero.
To get an idea, go read here
Spellborn Forum MMORPG
And see all the players discussing empty servers....and it is all due to the IP block.
Luckily, they plan to remove this eventually. But, then Acclaim has also said this game was to launch in December, then January, and now it is March, with no date yet.
Luckily we can live vicariously through you, so start posting screens and stories..

Unknown said...

I know Acclaim has made this thing suck from bottom up by locking the launch to EU only. But even then, the visibility for this game isn't what it would be if it was to compete with WoW, WAR or even Darkfall.

I'll do my best to give my feelings over this game in due time, but alas my personal life is governed by family issues at the moment (positive this time, no worries), so it'll take some time before I'm updating this.

I even started a newbie rogue with whom I try to stay alive as far as I can... She's pretty and deadly...