Category Archives: First Impression Review

Trove: Open Beta Impressions Review

Trove is the first game that I have been following this closely since alpha. And so it’s probably not a big surprise that it did not only get a “First Impressions Review” (in alpha), but a Second Impressions Review (in closed beta) from me as well. But that’s not the end of they journey, of course. Trove went into open beta back in November and with that, everybody can create an account and start playing immediately now without having to pay anything.

I also noticed that in the last few weeks, we have been getting a lot of hits on our “Second Impressions” piece, but that one doesn’t do the game any justice anymore. A lot has changed and in case you have read the Second Impressions review, you may be very pleased to hear that the issues I mentioned with rubberbanding, low FPS, lags etc. are (mostly) gone. Sometimes, especially after logging in for the first time, I still have issues with the world taking a bit to load in fully. If that happens, I have to wait a bit before I start roaming the map. Once that is over, I generally don’t have any problems. What hasn’t changed is the location of the servers. They are still in the US only. I’m pretty sure that especially Australian players will smirk when a European player complains about latency. :p The latest news I saw from the developers was that they still want to give us EU players servers in the EU. However, they also do not want to separate us from the rest of the players. Again, my own latency is not that bad, so I wouldn’t mind keeping it the way it is, especially if that was the only way to keep playing with everybody else. But we’ll have to wait and see about that, I guess.

Another issue I complained about was when adding a new map in your club world, everything bordering that club world (in a pretty big radius), gets destroyed. They have not changed this behaviour, but they have added a warning in the tooltip of the item that you use to expand your club world. So you’ll know about it, at least, and can save all the items from permanent destruction.

Trove_Terraformer_BE WARNED

BE WARNED – this will destroy everything in that zone, as well as borders of adjacent zones.

After having said that, welcome to everybody who may not have read any of my previous posts about Trove! Let’s start with the open beta impressions review and the usual warning: This is me stating my very subjective opinion. Do not expect an objective review (as if those things truly existed anyway… :p).

What is Trove? And what can I do in this game?

No matter what you may have read or heard, it’s not a clone of any other game that I know or have heard of. It shares similarities, for example, with Cube World and with Minecraft. But it has more than enough differences to not be called a clone. It is a voxel-based game where you can roam through non-permanent maps with several biomes that each have a different look and house different (crafting) materials, NPCs and dungeons. You collect equipment items that you can also upgrade to make them stronger. You collect skins to make your character look cooler. And you can build – both in your club world and in your cornerstone (more on that later).

When you first get into the game, you choose a name and that is all there is to customization. Don’t worry, you will be able to customize more later! You can also only have one character per account. While you can only have one character, this character can switch between all available classes. The game currently has 8 classes to choose from: Knight, Gunslinger, Fae Trickster, Dracolyte, Neon Ninja, Candy Barbarian, Ice Sage and Shadow Hunter. The 9th, the Pirate Captain, was recently announced. This already shows you that classes are gradually added to the game. There is an item in the game that looks like a wardrobe, the Class Changer, that lets you change your class. You also level the classes independently. So basically, it’s almost like having several characters. I really love having alts, but I don’t miss having “real” alts at all.

Another item in the game lets you customize your character. You can find both those items in the main hub (entered by pressing H). There are various hair styles and hair colours to choose from as well as eye colours and skin colours. Although I don’t think much of that is really visible to others considering the blocky look of the game. ;) Still, I love my little one’s reddish-brown pigtails. Also of note is that you can hide the look of hat and face items! And you can choose which look to use. I have my hat item hidden, so I can always see the pigtails and am wearing a monocle – because, well, it has style.

Trove Magisterial Monocle

As I said above, the game is about adventuring in the world. You start by going through the level 1 – 3 portal in the main hub. Just look for the huge tower with shiny and colourful portals. Each world is randomly generated. In these worlds, you find dungeons – if you’re new, you mostly notice them because a text appears in the upper right telling you who to kill. Go there, kill the mobs and the boss, find a loot chest. There are also crafting materials in the world that you can harvest. And, of course, lots and lots of blocks! When you collect blocks this way (switch into build mode to do so), you will only get the standard colours. If you want special colours (like the neon green you can see in the screenshot above), you can craft them from those standard coloured blocks with some other materials. You will also need to collect the recipes before you can make those special blocks. The recipes, again, come from adventuring in the worlds.

Trove Dungeon Dracolich

Crafting has several purposes. For one, as I just said, you can craft blocks with different looks. You can also craft things like furniture. All of this is useful for the club world or your personal cornerstone. Trion has also started implementing professions. You can level all of them, so there is no need to choose one. At the moment, we have gardening, ringcrafting and runecrafting. We know that fishing will come soon as well. Those professions let you craft equipment, mounts and more items for your club world and your cornerstone.


A small corner of my garden in our club world.

You can join up to five clubs, by the way. Clubs are the “guilds” you may know from MMOs. Every club can have one club world which is permanent (that is, not randomly generated whenever you enter it) and it lets you build things in there. Since you can join up to five different ones, you can also create one for yourself and have your own personal world to build in. You also have a cornerstone which is a little place in the adventure worlds. This cornerstone moves with you! You will notice empty spaces in the adventure worlds with a !-sign. Click on this (“E” on your keyboard) and your cornerstone will appear. When you die and previously placed your cornerstone in that world where you died, this is where you will respawn. You can also put everything you need like your personal chest or crafting stations on that cornerstone. Don’t worry, nobody can access your personal chest. If they click on it, they will only get access to their personal chest! Additionally, nobody else can build on your cornerstone. But be careful when fighting while you’re standing on yours. Some of your skills destroy blocks and this means that you can indeed destroy your own creation during a fight.

Other than collecting items to become stronger, you will also want to collect items to get their skins. If there’s green text below such an item, you have not yet collected that skin and can put the item in the “style saver”. It gets destroyed, but after that, you will be able to use that item’s look whenever you want to. Just click on the look you want. The stats will still come from the item that you have equipped. This is one of the aspects of the game that I love! There are already so many styles to choose from that it’s really difficult to take just one. Thankfully, every class has its own equipment and style slots. So, items that you equip with one class will stay with that class even if you switch to a different one. You can have a classy monocle-wearing candy barbarian and a silly tetris-cube wearing knight.

Everything you unlock in the game – skins, allies, gaining a level – will also give you “mastery points”. Every gained Mastery Rank gets you something. It starts with +3% maximum health, but there are also cubits (the in-game currency), special skins, materials and even credits (the currency you buy for real money)!

Since this game is free to play, is it also pay to win?

That always depends on how somebody defines “pay to win”. I, personally, would say no. There are some things that you cannot get without spending real money like extra storage tabs or specific mounts. There are items that you can buy which give your equipment stronger stats or a better stat combination faster. However, it’s just “faster”. You can also get there by simply playing the game. Additionally, in Trove, you always work with your fellow players, not against them. I have never seen or heard anybody complain because you did not have the perfect stat combination on your weapon. In fact, nobody knows what you’re wearing and nobody can even see how much damage you deal. So, you may get some things faster, but they will not make you gain an advantage over those who do not pay. Additionally, for me it’s part of the game to try to get the equipment that I want and buying items just to maybe get a stat combination faster than by playing the game is not how I want to spend my money. So altogether, this part may be something that’s not too nice, but in general, it isn’t important. You are not able to buy a weapon with better stats, for example.

Trove_Mounts in the store

You can buy several items either via credits (bought with real money) or cubits (in-game currency). You can earn up to 500 cubits on weekdays and 1000 cubits on Saturdays and Sundays. This means that in a week, you can earn a maximum of 3500 cubits. Cubits cannot be traded with other players. So, by paying with real money, you can buy some things immediately that are time-gated otherwise. On the other hand, I’m talking about classes (the time it takes you to level the class to 20 can also be spent doing those daily quests for cubits which will let you buy the next class), mounts (a lot of mounts drop or can be crafted), costumes for your character (purely cosmetic, but cannot be bought with cubits) and flasks (can be bought for credits and cubits). Flasks are your healing potion. While they have released new flasks in the last few weeks, I did not buy any of them because the standard flask still suits me the best, to be honest.

So yeah, there are items and things you can buy faster with credits than with cubits or by playing the game and then there are cosmetic items that are exclusive to the shop. Decide for yourself if that fits your definition of “pay to win” or not. I personally say it’s not.

How can I help with the development of the game?

Now we get to the part where I think Trove really stands out! They are a very small development team (we now know that they have two designers and two animators) and as such, they do bring us new content and additions to the game quite fast. However, the community certainly helps out a lot! Players can create dungeons, item skins, mounts and costumes. In their latest Twitch stream, they also said that if your mount or costume gets added to the game, you receive 10k credits and 300 codes of said item to give away as you please. But you don’t really need to create something outside of the game, only so that the developers add it – although I admit, this is very cool! ;) You can also “just” build in your club world or on your cornerstone. Trion Worlds has shown a few of those creations on their website.

You’ll also get credited in the game. Your username gets added to the item’s tooltip, so everybody knows this is your design.

 Now that we’ve covered all of that: My opinion of the game in a nutshell

I really enjoy the game, but it could not be my “one and only game”. There is no PvP nor do the developers intend to add PvP. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think PvP would work well in Trove. I just need some PvP once in a while. And there are no quests or storylines in the game either. So, if you can’t live without PvP or without story quests, then this game may not be for you. But I really like hunting for good items (Diablo-style) from time to time. I also really love building stuff. And I love the look of the game! If you can’t get past those graphics, then yeah, Trove is definitely not a game for you.

In short, it’s a fun game that I’ve already spent playing for countless hours. I don’t really have any big goals in there other than getting all classes to max level and finding nice gear for them (okay, mostly good looks!). I haven’t done much building yet in the club world, but that’s because I want to focus on equipment and levelling first.

One thing I do not like is the user interface. Trying to find a skin I want to equip takes an awfully long time. They are sorted by where you find the skin. But this means that if you want to look for a nice staff skin, you have to go through all the different lists and look for staff weapons – in between the melee, gun, bow, face and hat items. The same goes for the other tabs like allies, mounts and so on.

Trove_UI_item skins

User Interface: Uncommon item skins

Some things aren’t properly implemented yet and you can only use them by typing the command. Taking screenshots, for example. I usually use fraps to take a screenshot because it’s much easier and faster, especially when I’m in the middle of combat. However, the game is still in open beta. The developers said that they want to launch soonish. So, I hope that those areas get an overhaul and added features before launch!

In closing, I do hope that the shop stays as it is and that they won’t overdo it: Mostly fun items, but the majority of cool-looking items are still coming from playing the game and not from opening my wallet. I understand that a company wants me to want to buy something and they need the money to survive, of course. But there’s some balance that should be kept where you can get fun stuff for free and fun stuff for money. Because other than the potential “pay to win” that all free-to-play games have looming over themselves, the game itself is a lot of fun! I like hunting after things I want instead of simply buying them and I really enjoy the creative possibilities that this game is giving its players.

Trove: Second Impressions Review

Update (February 2015): There is a newer impressions piece about Trove here.

Back in alpha, I already wrote about my first impressions. Now that Trove is in beta, I figured I should do another impressions piece. As always, I rather call it “impressions review” than “alpha review” or “beta review”, because it is subjective and may not cover the whole game (see shadow arenas below, for example).

First things first, in case you are interested and would like to play the game yourself: It is in closed beta now, meaning you can’t just sign up and play. It will, however, be free to play when it releases. At the moment, you need a key. Trion Worlds, the game’s developer, has given away quite a few keys during their Trove livestreams (usually on Friday evenings, Europe time). You can also keep an eye on the Trove subreddit where you can find people linking to key giveaways. Or if you don’t mind spending money, you can buy anything (even the $5 pack of credits) to get beta access (see the last paragraph in this news piece).

The lava fields biome with the neon city biome in the background

The lava fields biome with the neon city biome in the background

A few things have been changed since alpha (and the time I made my first post). For one, there are no more home worlds. A home world was your personal instanced area where you could build in peace. Instead, clubs have a club world now where members can build (if the club’s leader gives you the proper rank with the permissions to build). You still have your cornerstone which is a piece of land in the open world which basically travels with you. Whenever you’re out adventuring and see a sign with a question mark on it, you can click it and your cornerstone appears. Whatever you build on this cornerstone will be saved and appear whenever you place your cornerstone again. However, building on it is not a peaceful activity. You are in the open world and hostile mobs will come in (or sometimes even spawn next to you) and attack you. The cornerstone is also rather small. You can build high and dig low on it, but you can’t make it any wider.

The cellar I digged below my cornerstone (the checkered place is the ground floor of my cornerstone).

The cellar I digged below my cornerstone (the checkered place is the ground floor of my cornerstone).

The club worlds also start small but you can expand them. Of course, with a lot of members, you will also need all this space if everybody is to have a small piece of land for themselves. You can join up to five clubs (and represent one of them at any given time, just like you do in Guild Wars 2), so there is nothing stopping you from creating a club for yourself which will give you so much space, you probably won’t even notice the lack of a home world. ;)

Bookahnerk and I have a club that we share with his cousin (the infamous cousin by now… ^^) and another friend. We have put everything in there that we need, so that we hardly ever use the main hub of the game anymore. But more about our club world later – there is an unpleasant experience here waiting to be told.

Robots can no longer be found in the ice areas. They have instead gotten their own biome. I love the look of that one and think it was a great decision to take them out and give them their own place! As soon as those are available for the club world, I want one of them. Sadly, not every biome can be built in club worlds yet.

But enough about the things that have changed. Because maybe, just maybe, you are here to hear my opinion about the game. In short: I love it! Simple as that. I find myself playing the game even though I’m tired from work. There’s so many things I can do. They have added gardening and a lot of people think it’s dull to go into the adventuring world, find the peaceful biomes where the sunflowers grow, jump around on those sunflowers and gather the lightbulbs you need in order to grow stuff in your own garden. I, on the other hand, really enjoy doing that. True, it doesn’t need much brain or concentration to do so, but that’s perfect after work. I usually am too tired to do things where I need to concentrate and make sure my character doesn’t die (like in Guild Wars 2’s combat – or Trove’s, for that matter…). Doing something peaceful is what I enjoy most and since I can also grow plants and (decorative) flowers in our club world then, it’s also something useful. It is a bit like fishing in Rift where I may not be able to do anything useful with that skill itself, but I do fish up dimension items once in a while that I can then place in my dimensions (or sell for gold to buy other items).

A small corner of my garden in our club world.

A small corner of my garden in our club world.

In case you are wondering what you can do in Trove other than gardening: Killing things, collecting items for stats or looks, gathering items (for building and crafting) and building things.

You can go adventuring, killing mobs in the open world, but there are also “dungeons” which are places in that world where harder mobs spawn. And then there are shadow arenas which I haven’t been at yet. They are like dungeons, but with harder mobs and better loot. ;) You can go hunt items and forge them in the hope of getting better or more useful stats. At the same time, Trove has a feature that lets you choose a skin for the look while equipping another item for its stats. That feature is free of charge, by the way! So, collecting skins is also part of the game. You can choose one of the available classes: knight and gunslinger are free. You need to buy the neon ninja, fae trickster and dracolyte with in-game currency or real money, depending on your preference (candy barbarian will be the next class, but hasn’t been released yet). You can level a class to level 20. If you want a change, though, you can just click on the class changer and switch. One character, every class. As easy as that. And if you want to change the look of your character, there’s a feature for that as well. You can change the hair style, hair and eye colour, gender (which is basically just different hair styles, I think) for no cost at all.

A dungeon in the Neon City biome.

A dungeon in the Neon City biome.

Then there’s the collecting part of the game: Collect building blocks and items that you need in order to change the look of the building blocks you have collected. For example, when you collect any yellowish building blocks in the open world, you get “Primal Yellow” blocks. If you want a “Yellow Glass” block, you first need to find the recipe and when you have that and have the yellow glass blocks unlocked, you need three primal yellow and one formicite ore (also found in the open world) to create three yellow glass blocks. You can also build different items to place in your club world or cornerstone like a chair, a table or an arctic commando gnome.

If you have been reading my blog posts for some time, you probably know that I am hardly a person who only sees the white or the black side of things. There are too many shades and colours for that. In Trove’s case, as much fun as the game is, there are also negative things and there is a lot of work left to do for the developers! The game is in beta, so I am quite lenient when it comes to bugs and missing features, but I still don’t think that they shouldn’t be mentioned, because they are currently part of the game and who knows if they can get rid of them all (I hope so, but I’ve seen too many games who nourished their bugs for too long… (*coughwarhammeronlinecough*)

It is actually kind of funny. The alpha was really stable, I did not notice any glaring bugs most of the time. The beta is the opposite at times. I’ve seen and experienced so many crashes, unsynching with the world (thankfully, a restart fixes that and restarting the client and logging back in only takes a few seconds), invisible mobs hitting you. Characters were rolled back, too. All of that started with the beta. The crashing has constantly decreased over the last few weeks and I think they fixed the rollbacks now. But it was a bit disappointing to experience these issues when none of them were present in that extent during alpha. I don’t know why that is… maybe they just let in too many players and it was stressing the servers too much. Either way, I still have confidence that they can fix all those bugs and make the game as enjoyable as it was in alpha. I guess there is a reason they squished in the beta before releasing, right? ;)

Another issue is a lot more annoying! Our club world had been carefully planned and designed – well, one of the biomes, at least – by bookahnerk and he had built an awesome castle in there. Within the safe walls of one of its towers, we had placed all our crafting stations. Then we decided to expand the club world and added a few more biomes. What we did not know: Everything built within 40 to 50 blocks from the border of where the new biome will be placed will get destroyed. The tower got hit and disappeared and with it all the items we had placed there. When something like this happens, the items don’t get put anywhere, they are just gone. So, we had to go and farm all the materials to get back those items which cost me the play time of two days (not a lot for “hardcore gamers” but it was for me).

However, as said above, it’s the beta. I put in my feedback and now have to hope that they will at least warn players that this is happening before they try to add a new biome. We are warned and will not build anything close to the borders that we may want to expand at some point in the future anymore.

Other than that, there are a few more things that I wish they would add, change or make more comfortable. The chat, for example. You only get one chat window for all channels. No resizing or moving the window anywhere. What I do love, though, is that you can read – and write in – all club chats that you are a member of at the same time and not just the one you are currently representing. Why doesn’t Guild Wars 2 have something like this?

While I don’t need a mini map to travel through the world, I would love to have a compass. I find myself losing any sense of direction quite often and then need to open the map to see where I am and where I wanted to head. Having a compass would make this much easier. Of course, having a sense of orientation would be helpful, too. :p

Those are just two rather small things. Apart from fixing the bugs and performance issues, I’m quite certain there is a lot more that others would say have to be added to the game. However, altogether, the game is playable (especially now that there are no rollbacks anymore) and if you can get a beta key for free, that’s a whole lot of fun that you’re not paying for. ;)

First impressions: Trove

Trove Alpha Screenshot

The path up the trees leads to a boss.

Update (October 17, 2014): Trove is in closed beta and I have just posted a newer impressions piece. Please have a look at this one, too, if you want to know what I think about the game.

A few days ago, I was idling for a bit before it was time to leave and catch my bus to the doctor’s office. I had decided to check Twitter and saw a tweet by which had been posted a few hours earlier announcing that they were giving away Trove Alpha Keys. Not really believing in my luck, I still went there to check if any keys were left and actually got one! I immediately made bookahnerk aware of it, so he could get one as well.

I have spent quite a few hours playing Trove now and – as a tl;dr version of what my first impression is: I also now spent 18,99€ on the adventurer pack, so obviously, I enjoyed my time playing the game enough to give them some of my money.

As usual, this “review” has “first impressions” written in front of it. It is going to be subjective and about my experiences within the first few hours of playing this game. Read the following post accordingly, please.

Trove is a sandbox game currently in alpha which will be free to play once it gets released. I haven’t followed it too closely lately, so I’m not sure which features will still be added in the future. I do remember that when Trion Worlds first announced the game, people called it a Cube World clone. I had never heard about Cube World, but it does sound like it belongs to the genre of Minecraft and Terraria – as does Trove now. As far as I can tell, Cube World is more about adventuring (and questing as the developer has added or is adding a questing system to the game) and not so much about crafting, creating and collecting resources. In Trove, you do adventure, kill mobs and collect better items to advance to more dangerous areas, but you’re also collecting various resources and will probably spend quite some time crafting, most of all items for your homeworld and your cornerstone – more on that later. Let’s just say: Trove has got housing! :D

After installing and launching the client, I had to name my character (“Paeroka” in case anybody wants to add me to their friends list) and that was all there was to the character creation. Off my little (male-looking) avatar went into the tutorial hub. This is just a very small region which introduces you to the very basics of the game like moving, switching between adventure and building mode, etc. After leaving the tutorial, I got thrown into another hub where I quickly found a barber shop. Here, I could finally change my look and make Paeroka female – as female as it gets with those avatars – with reddish hair and green eyes as most of my main characters have.

Trove Alpha Screenshot

The class changer with the three classes currently in the game.

I had automatically become a Knight, but I knew the game has more classes than that. In fact, three are released already and there will be more. A quick internet search told me that I can change classes in the hub and that the Gunslinger is free now (this was added with a patch which also hints at how they’re handling classes in the future: Some will be free, some will require a purchase) while the Fae Trickster costs something (in-game currency or credits which are bought with real money). When I had created my character, I actually got some in-game currency. I am not sure if that is something like a daily login bonus or what triggers it. However, you can also earn more of this currency by playing the game and defeating bosses. I decided not to save the in-game currency for the Fae Trickster and bought myself a mount instead. After that, I rode through the hub to finally find the class changer. One click and I was a Gunslinger! You level each class separately, by the way. I got the Gunslinger to level 5 at which point bookahnerk suggested I should try the Knight because that’s usually what I enjoy more than a ranged class (but the dual pistols of the Gunslinger are quite awesome!). The Knight was still level 1 and she is now level 6. The current maximum level in the alpha is level 20 for each class, so I still have quite some content ahead of me.

Speaking of content: What is there to do in Trove? You start in a central hub where you and other players gather. From there, you can take one of several portals to the adventuring world. Those are divided into level brackets. You can go to a world that is higher than your level, but mobs will hurt you a lot more than if you were even level.

Once in such a zone, you can stroll through the world and will probably get attacked by mobs that roam around in the world. All mobs are hostile. There are no quests, but something like “events” in some areas. Sometimes, those are bosses, sometimes, those are waves of mobs spawning to attack you after you started the event. Some of these events have something like jumping puzzles to get to them. Nothing has been very challenging so far, but I’ve only gotten to level 6, after all. Bosses drop chests which give you loot (equipment) which makes your character stronger. Standard mobs can also drop such loot but this is rarer.

Altogether, you can roam the world to farm bosses and earn XP and loot to advance in levels and get stronger. However, the other part of Trove is what I enjoy much more: There are resources in the world. Some are, for example, tree stumps or mushrooms that you destroy to gather the resources. Then there is also ore. You need different kinds of ore to craft different items. And most of the world can be destroyed as well. It mostly consists of cubes which you can collect and use for building yourself.

Trove Alpha Screenshot

This was the way my cornerstone looked before I destroyed the building on it. The glowy thing on the left lets you refill your healing potion.

When I first started playing, I found a cornerstone. If nobody else has claimed it, a simple click on “E” on your keyboard claims it for you. You can have one cornerstone in the world. It is basically a tiny piece of land that you can build on. It can also host different useful things like the healing potion refiller (your healing potion has 15 charges and can be refilled for free here). I had claimed a piece and then gotten attacked by a mob. I realized that there were two or three mob spawns right next to the cornerstone and I didn’t even have a calm minute before another of them showed up and attacked me. I was a bit upset because I hadn’t seen how I could switch the cornerstone yet. So, I left it and went to explore the world. The further away from it I got, the less I remembered where it actually was. So at that point, I wasn’t just disappointed about the location, I also had no idea where the location actually was (it shows up on your map, by the way. I’d just been too blind to see it!). However, by now I know that a cornerstone is not meant for you to claim a specific location in the world. You can do that, I guess, but that’s not using the cornerstone to its full potential.

There are lots of places in the world and in the different zones where you find empty cornerstones. As soon as you find one, you can click “E” and the cornerstone moves from the previous position to the current position. A cornerstone can house, as mentioned above, the healing potion refiller (handy to have in the world out there, right? ^^), crafting stations, a box where you can store some items, or even a crafted item that lets you destroy looted items (you can’t sell them anywhere but you can destroy them to get a resource that you need to upgrade your items). So, the cornerstone basically follows you wherever you go and lets you conveniently do whatever you want to do – as long as you have crafted the respective stations and put them on your cornerstone. You can also build on it, of course! And if you happen to die, you will get resurrected at your cornerstone (or the starting point for that world if you haven’t claimed a cornerstone).

Trove Alpha Screenshot

A small part of my homeworld where I’ve started building a modest little house (with a garden, at least).

One bad thing is that the cornerstone is tiny. Your homeworld, on the other hand, is pretty big! And that’s where you can build to your heart’s content. But first, you need to build your homeworld portal which creates your homeworld. After that, you can jump to it from anywhere in the world (the homeworld is an instanced area). Since the cubes are pretty big, placing items in your homeworld isn’t rocket science (oh, the amount of rage items in Rift have already caused when I wasn’t able to align them properly …). One may argue that the graphics are ugly, too blocky or whatever. I guess this is a case of “either you like it, or you don’t”. I like the graphics and I think they’ve got a certain charm. It works for games like this one.

As mentioned above, I bought a supporter pack now. I like knowing that I support the development and that I spent about the same amount of money that I would have spent on the game had it not been “free to play”. It is not a required purchase, of course. The things I got as bonus items are things like a pet or cosmetic items. It doesn’t look like I’ll get anything that’ll give me an advantage and I hope that this is where the shop will also go. No f2p without an item shop, right? ;) At the moment, the shop mostly has mounts, pets and the Fae Trickster class (for credits or in-game currency) available. But the Knight and the Gunslinger are free, so you do not have to spend money on it.

So far, I would say that if you don’t mind the graphics and enjoy gathering resources, crafting and building on your homeworld, then Trove is a game to check out. If you’re into challenging fights, collecting items to make your character stronger, etc. – then I’m not sure if you’ll have tons of fun in the game or not, because I haven’t seen enough of the bosses yet to judge that part of the game properly. ;) One thing I do not like is that apparently, you don’t have a wardrobe or a cosmetic item system where you can choose a certain look but wear other items for their stats. With the amount of funny looking items, I would have assumed they have such a system in place!

Since it’s in Alpha currently, you either have to sign up and hope you get an invitation or buy your way into it (it starts with 18,99€) – or, as in my case, be lucky to win a key in some giveaway. If you’re patient, you can also just wait for beta to start (5€ gets you a guaranteed spot in the beta – yes, unfortunately, it seems that the best and easiest way to get your hands on the game in alpha or beta is to spend money) or even wait for the game’s launch since joining the game will be absolutely free then! We will also know a lot more about which features will be in the finished game then. And, of course, the whole experience will be more bug-free than it is now. I haven’t encountered a lot or anything game-breaking, but still. It’s not yet a finished product and you notice that, of course.

Wildstar: First Impressions

Wildstar Beta Linya EngineerCarbine Studios lifted the NDA for Wildstar some days ago, so I can finally share my impressions about this game. This also includes screenshots with watermarks, so this is what you’ll see here. I have tried to include new ones which I took after they removed the watermarks, because the watermark is indeed very ugly. ;) But in quite a few of the screenshots (see the gallery at the end of this post), you can see the watermarks showing a number or my name. I’m sorry about that. Just ignore them! They’re also not of any special quality, etc. since the watermark made them looking good obsolete and I didn’t think I would get to actually show them to others. ;)

First things first, I would have loved to dedicate much more time to this game, but I couldn’t for various reasons. Also, a standard disclaimer: This is not a review and this is not going to be objective! It is about my “first impressions” of the game.

The TL;DR version is as follows: I really like the game. The music is awesome. The world is full of humour that made me smile and chuckle several times. The housing looks solid and like something I could be interested in for a long time. But, it comes with a monthly sub and since my RL job just gave me a great opportunity, I won’t have the time to be playing Guild Wars 2, Rift and Wildstar and thus, the one that costs the most is the one I won’t be playing.

Now for the longer version. When I first got into the closed beta, I actually wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. I had seen the videos that Carbine had published and had really liked the humour. I had read a bit about the game and while it looked “cute” (as in: comics graphics) and I loved the humour, it still did not seem like a game I would want to play on a regular basis. The longer I played in the beta, the more that changed. Now, when I say “the longer I played”, I do not mean that I got to any high levels. If you know how I play my MMOs, you know that I can spend hours online without gaining a single XP point. This is just how I am. So no, my characters did not get far and you need to keep this in mind, because while I think I can write down my impressions, they are, of course, limited to the bits I have seen.

The character creation was quite solid, but also mildly disappointing. While there are lots of options for your chin, nose, eyes, etc. there is no option to change your body height or size. If you are interested in Wildstar, you have probably read about that point before. It even led to Carbine reducing the breast size of the female characters, but they still all have an hourglass figure. And don’t worry, the breasts can still be seen without applying a magnifying glass! ;) I don’t mind the female body shapes per se, but I do mind not having a choice. This choice could be either being able to change the body shape a bit or having alternative races which feature a different body shape. In Wildstar’s case, this means Chua or male characters, as all the female characters have the hourglass figure.

Before I started playing, I had a look at the available races and while I prefered the story of the Exiles, I thought I’d actually want to play a Chua. The Chua are a “genderless race“, whatever that means. I had imagined it to mean that they are like asura (more in Guild Wars 1 than Guild Wars 2) where neither the “typical male” or “typical female” stereotypes apply (you know, breasts, beards, that sort of thing…). But apparently, Carbine meant “Lord of the Rings dwarves” where all Chua look more male than female (still no breasts, but lots of beards). I love the first, but not the latter. So, while I still liked the look of the Chua I created, I can’t think of him as being female.

My personal favourites are the Mordesh. They remind me a bit of the Undead from World of Warcraft or the Xadaganians from Allods Online. Unfortunately, while I like the Mordesh, I chose mine to be an engineer and I did not like that class. But more about this later.

One big thing was the housing. I only got to try it out during an earlier beta phase. I’m not going to get into any details here, because they made some changes and the points I would have criticized aren’t there anymore. Housing looks solid now and if you’re into this kind of thing, I’m pretty sure you will have fun! One great thing is that you do not just have a plot and place a house on there. You can get something out of it like buffs or rested XP. If you still prefer checking out housing before you buy the game for its housing, you can already find several videos (for example, here and here).

What I did not enjoy much was the questing and the combat. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that this game also requires you to move and dodge. But the telegraph system always made me try to position myself according to the pixel bars in front of my character and I did not really pay attention to any of the combat animations. I only paid attention to where the bars on the floor were facing. Part of that was also because I did not like the engineer class much. I would have imagined it to be a very agile and mobile class, but compared to others I had tried, it seemed sluggish. I tried out the medic and enjoyed that one a lot more. The medic can both be a healer or a DPS class. It depends on which skills you are using, which stats you’re wearing with your equipment and so on. I liked the skills system, by the way. It reminded me a bit of Guild Wars 1 where you unlocked skills and then chose which ones you take with you to combat. The higher in level you get, the more skills you’re allowed to take with you to combat up to a total of 8 skills.

If you’re worried about playing with others in crowded starting areas when the game releases: It now features open tagging. So you can attack a mob that somebody else is already attacking. There is no need to be in a party with them, you will get your experience points, your loot and can even advance in your quest if the mob belonged to one. Speaking of quests, some are pretty standard “kill those mobs over there!”, but some are actually fun and entertaining. I think in general, it’s a nice mix. At least in the lower level regions.

As I mentioned above, I still did not like the quests too much. Instead of stating how many mobs you have to kill, you get a bar that fills up. It may sound like the same, but it’s actually different. A weaker mob does not let you progress as much as killing a stronger mob. So while similar, it still allows for a bit more freedom in choosing which mobs to hunt. What I did not like was the map design and with that, the lack of being able to navigate around easily. I was constantly trying to figure out where to go for each quest (yes, even after reading the quest text!). This was not as bad when I had just accepted two quests and did them. But after going out to explore the region, accepting a few quests here and there and then taking a break of a few days, I found it difficult to get back into the quests.

Another area where I think the game wins is the world design and possible exploration. I also loved all the weird animals. My personal favourite here is the “Jabbit”. As I just wrote, I did go on to explore the maps a bit and the things I found were quite often beautiful and in a few cases, surprising and made me laugh. I will not go into details, because I do not want to put spoilers in here with the exception of the video below. This is a challenge. A challenge is usually something time-limited. Up until that point, I had only had kill challenges. This one is different, though. It does not only show the quirky world, it also is a great example of how the music just fits perfectly to your environment.

The soundtrack in general is amazing. I do hope they will make it available for purchase somehow, because I would love to get my hands on it. As an example and to hear something less silly then the song in the challenge video above, you can listen to the character creation theme here.

In general, I’ve enjoyed my time in the beta, even though it was brief and I was lacking time (and sometimes, motivation). My main caveat is the character design as I would have loved to get more options and not knowing what awaits us at the endgame stage. We do know there will be raids, but I am not a raider. So the question is, how many other things will be available, how much fun it is, etc. At least, the game has lots of “fluff content” as I like to call things like housing and cosmetic items for your character to wear.

But with my lack of free time and two MMOs I’m already playing, this isn’t a question for me. As I said, it wouldn’t make any sense for me to play a game with a monthly fee. So, is this Wildstar’s fault? Only as far as the monthly sub requirement goes. The game itself, however, seems solid to me and I had a good time in the game.

First Impressions: Folk Tale (Alpha Version)

Folk Tale is currently on Steam’s Early Access and it is an alpha version! Keep this in mind when reading my post about the game.

Folk TaleI had first heard about Folk Tale when I had tried out Steam’s Greenlight for the first time and I was very happy to see it Greenlit. It had instantly reminded me of Cultures. Cultures was one of the first or maybe even the first PC game I bought. So naturally, there is a lot of nostalgia involved, but it’s not just that. I really like this genre where you are building your village (it’s not a city, really) and all your little inhabitants have names and you can direct them somewhere individually. It’s a bit like The Sims married The Settlers. ;)

I think Gamesfoundry explain their game a lot better in their latest video. They also include what they want to add for the release version, which is why I’m embedding it here.

What impresses me about the developers, Gamesfoundry, is that they are a from various different countries collaborating together. And they’re either all watching their social networks or have somebody awake 24/7 as they did reply to questions quite fast and regularly both on Facebook and Steam. This is what I usually like about independent or smaller developers in general. You can get “in touch” with them much more easily and it feels like they listen to your feedback. They may not agree with you and that’s fine, but at least, they listen. ;)

I’d eagerly awaited the game’s “release” on Early Access ever since they announced it. For those who don’t know what it is: Steam lets you publish your game on Early Access which means that potential costumers buy the game and get it “as it currently is”. In this case, it means that Folk Tale is still in alpha state. When you buy it, you get it for a discounted price ($19.99/16.99€) compared to the retail price later on. But you will have to live with the non-finished version in the beginning. Gamesfoundry already said that we will get updates in between now and the finished version and of course, by buying the Early Access version, you will get the release version without having to pay again! So, as an Early Access-customer, you will get to see, step by step, how the product gets closer to release. What you cannot expect, however, is to pay money and get a finished and polished product immediately, as this is not what Early Access is about. I much prefer that over the pre-purchase options that games have been doing more and more often lately (like Guild Wars 2, for example). In both cases, you pay money upfront, but with Early Access, you get something to play with already!

Having said that, it should be pretty clear that my impressions are not based on a product that will “ship” like this. Folk Tale currently offers you the tutorial and even within the tutorial, there are things that are probably not polished yet. They are working on adding the sandbox part of the game next. Missions and multiplayer will follow later on.

Gamesfoundry said that the tutorial, if you play through it perfectly, will take you about 1 to 2 hours to complete. I am never a person who runs through something like a horse with blinders. It took me five hours to get through the tutorial. There is currently no save option which means I decided to start over again at two points. That, however, is not a complaint. I’ve liked my first playthrough, but all my militia ended up dead, so I thought it was best to just start over again and do things a bit differently (like not sending one single guy into a pack of werewolves). But let’s start at the beginning.

First of all, the game has been very stable for me. The client did not crash, I did not get any black screens and so on. That is a big plus in my book! I know that a few people reported problems on the forums (mostly related with cut scenes, I would say) and the developers are on it. You can zoom in and out with your camera, move around the map with WASD, arrow keys or the mouse. Moving around worked fast and without any stuttering on my PC.

The game itself starts off with a cut scene. The poor squid! I loved the voice-acting and the game itself has a silly kind of humor which doesn’t take its setting too seriously. So it’s certainly not an accurate depiction of a medieval time – but who would expect that given that it features goblins, dwarven ghosts as well as magicians? ;)

You’ve got an advisor who gives you quests and tells you what to do. I liked that the advisor can be seen in the game itself and he’s actually walking to the “scenes of action”. When you’re asked to build a wheat field, he’s standing next to it watching its progress. You do not need to assign builders. Just click on “build a wheat farm” and peasants without a profession will arrive and build it. Once a building is finished, click on a peasant, then click on a building which will give that peasant the appropriate profession and he will start working there. I say “he”, as right now, only male peasants can take on jobs (with the exception of tavern keepers which is reserved for the female population only). I was a bit disappointed to see that: this is a fantasy setting, after all, and not a medieval one, so there is no reason at all not to let women take on all professions! However, it’s just because the art is not finished yet. Women and men will be able to take on each and every profession! So yay for that.

There I was, floating around and watching my advisor watch my peasants work and I decided to have a look at my little village. It already came with cottages, a store house and a tavern. Then there were placement slots for new buildings. As said in the video above, those will very likely disappear in the future and I’m all for that. Having certain placement slots makes games like this too limited, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, once your advisor has explained something, it won’t appear again. Or at least, I couldn’t find a way to get the tutorial text to show up again. I would definitely love that as I had looked away from the screen and missed the section about capturing resources. Additionally, I had put one of my villagers close to a resource and then watched in awe how a flag near the resource slowly disappeared in the ground and how another flag moved up the flag pole. Silly me didn’t realize this was my village’s flag and my villager doing the capturing. Cause and effect are tricky to understand sometimes. ;) Not long after that, I built a mine next to the iron resource. Not long after you have done that, some kobolds appear and your villagers have to kill them. Again, I had not paid attention – I really shouldn’t talk with my boyfriend, bookahnerk, while playing a tutorial that doesn’t have a save option yet – and had again missed the capturing of a resource and the appearance and killing of those NPCs. Oh well. I did eventually figure it out and that’s what counts, right? ;)

Then finally, we got to the combat action. Although when I say “finally”, I should probably say “unfortunately” as not only do I prefer peaceful settling, I also did get my behind handed to me on my first try. The tutorial said “one or more militia”, so I thought I would start with the careful option of just one militia, in case I needed peasants for something else. This poor guy did not stand a chance against the werewolves! The kobolds were no problem, though. I ran in, killed one, ran out, the kobolds followed and then reset after a while, running back to their spot. Then I waited until my militia had regained his health and sent him in again to fight the remaining kobolds. The werewolves, on the other hand, were much stronger. I think I had recruited a second or even a third militia at that point. The poor guys went in, fought against three werewolves and then I had them run out again, waiting for the werewolves to reset. But they’re definitely fiercer: They ran after them right into my village. I already saw my peasants hide in fear, but nope. They killed the militia and then peacefully walked out of the village again. Yeah, they’re beasts, but at least, they’re not completely inhuman by killing innocent bystanders. ;)

I looked all over the village and here’s my biggest problem with the game as it is right now: There are no statistics. You cannot find out where your peasants are, how many you have, etc. In fact, there is no statistic about any of your professions or buildings. I’m a fan of those. The more, the better! Give me my tables, overviews, diagrams, pleeease! I eventually looked in the tavern and sure enough, there was a lonely guy drinking mead. Lazy bum. But I would have needed much more than just one guy to get the werewolves down. As it had gotten rather late, though, I quit the game and decided I would start over the next day. On the forums, people reported that they would love to be able to find peasants much faster. Or militia that they have lost somewhere on the map. The reply from the developers is that they are working on this, so once again, I’m not worried. Did I already mention it’s in an alpha state? ;)

On my second try, I quit after a few minutes. I had placed a building at the wrong spot and you cannot delete them at the moment. (Edit: You can actually delete buildings by selecting them and pressing “del” on your keyboard.) Oh well, it had only been 3 minutes or something like that, so no big deal. The third try went much better and smoother. I knew my way around and hey, I even figured out that the loot you get from killed enemies included equipment like axes, helmets and so on that your militia can wear. Additionally, I also found a lonely knight standing near three ogres that apparently belonged to me. He died before I got to the end boss, though. By the way, your soldiers can level up. If they do, they gain full health again, which saved my militia on numerous occasions. The magician I got at some point during the story and the militia I had recruited after the first few had died (again) finally managed to kill the “end boss” of the tutorial. Once again, brilliant cut scenes. I hadn’t expected those from an independent developer. They set the atmosphere of the game and it’s just fun watching them.

I also like the sounds and background music. I think the goblins, werewolves and your villagers have different theme songs. I didn’t pay too much attention, but it seemed like the songs changed with the different races/areas on the screen.

All in all, the game is a fun mix of a city-builder and RPG/adventure game. It is clearly in an unfinished state. Playable, stable, fun, but currently missing key features, UI elements and so on. If they had done a kickstarter campaign, I would have backed them. But if they had done Kickstarter instead of Early Access on Steam, I would have missed out on five hours of fun! So in short, I do not regret spending that money at all! I’ve had fun and enjoyed the short time it took me to play through the tutorial. It’s nice to see that it wasn’t too easy, but involved a learning curve.

Do I recommend it to others? That depends. If you know this is a kind of game that you love, and you don’t mind – or even love – playing an alpha version, seeing the game grow and develop over time, then yes, definitely! Go get it! If you’re unsure about any of these, then watch it at Steam (or on their own website – they also have newsletters) and follow its development from the outside.

The 10/10 project: Wurm Online (Day 7)

Wurm Online_32Game number 7 for the 10/10 Project was Wurm Online. Even though the game officially released on December 12, 2012, this is not a new game at all. According to its wiki article, development began back in 2003 and people could start playing it in 2006. Notch, the maker of Minecraft, was also one of the developers of Wurm Online.

I had tried out the game at some point last year, but that hardly counts as I had to quit after maybe 5 minutes or so due to simulation sickness caused by the game being in first person view. In the meantime, I have learned that I can deal with it better if I make sure that there’s enough light in front of the PC, but the biggest help is to put mouse sensitivity as low as possible. In Wurm Online, it’s not just a slider in the options, though. You need to open the console (via the F1 key) and then enter “sensitivity 2″. Well, you can use any number between 0 (nothing happens when you try to move the camera with your mouse, though) and 10. 1 was too slow for me, but 2 worked perfectly. With that done, playing was no issue at all.

Installing the game, on the other hand, was a bit of an issue. It somehow got uninstalled after installing it the first time. I have no idea what I did (and I usually do know that, even if I may come across as clueless sometimes ^^), but the installation folder was empty. Gone. So I reinstalled, but the game couldn’t be launched. Then I deleted the folder and used a different one to install the game again. That finally worked.

Was the game worth all the hassle and the risk of feeling sick again? Yes, yes it was! Wurm Online did not feel like a game, but more like an adventure and I loved every minute of it.

Wurm Online_40You start the game with a few basic items like a pickaxe and then you’re thrown into a foreign world – okay, not that fast. You start with a tutorial that teaches you the basics. Seeing how this game is a bit more complicated than your average MMO, the tutorial was rather long with lots of text to read. Most of the items in the game are crafted. The buildings are all built by players. You get basics like clay, cotton, water, but the rest is up to you and the rest of the players. You cannot just go somewhere and buy a pottery flask to carry water with you. First, you need to find clay, then you make a clay flask, then you need to find a stove, oven or campfire (which were made by other players or made by you) and turn the clay flask into a pottery flask. On top of that, you need to be careful where you go as there are hostile mobs around. The Wurm Online Wiki will be your best friend, especially in the very beginning.

But let’s get right into my adventure. Here I was, just freshly finished with the tutorial. I decided to join a non-PvP server. Hey, I have trouble understanding the basics of the game, the last thing I need is having to deal with hostile players on top of that! Independence it was, then. It sounded like a nice enough name for a server. Apparently, you can travel to other servers and play on there, but I haven’t tried that out.

Guides for starting out in Wurm Online said that I should try to find an empty space where I could settle. Let me spoiler you already: I did not find anything. ;) Independence was built on by other players as far as I could see. So I tried to just find a corner where I could start crafting or do something. Food and water aren’t needed to survive per se as you won’t die without them, but it’ll still give you serious disadvantages if you’re starving or getting really thirsty. Food wasn’t the problem, since you can always forage or botanize grass. This resulted in several kinds of berries that I could eat. I decided to stay close to the water to drink whenever I got thirsty. Since a pottery flask allows you to store water, I tried to make one. The first step, as mentioned above, is to find clay, which I did, lucky me! ;) Then I needed wood for a campfire or find an oven I could use, but the trees all belonged to other players and I wasn’t allowed to use any of the ovens I saw. If something belongs to you, you can choose whether others can use it or not and it seemed like nobody allowed strangers to use their stuff.

Wurm Online_46For the most part, there were no mobs around. So I felt safe – until I ran right into some wolves. I kept on running, hoping to get away from them which I eventually did – only to run right into an old angry troll. The result was a few wounds, nothing big. I tried to figure out how to heal myself, though. While doing that, I also remembered that the tutorial said something about water and that most animals/enemies won’t follow you into the water. I guess I should have tried that instead of running from the wolves right into the troll. After asking for advice on Google+, I was told that I should try to treat the wounds as they would get worse over time if they’re bad enough. I had been told about that in the tutorial as well, but of course, I had forgotten about that. After checking, I could confirm that one of my wounds was a lot worse than it was in the beginning and had turned into a severe one. At that point, I only tried to find a cure as I knew it wouldn’t heal and it kept taking away life from me. Again, the Wiki is your best friend in a situation like this and it told me what I needed for some healing covers. I finally found some items I needed by foraging grass. Unfortunately, the first try failed. I managed to use healing covers on one wound when I tried again, but as I wrote, the second one had gotten severe already. The others were at medium, one light wound had healed. I decided that staying in the open hostile world was too dangerous and I had read somewhere that there are usually resources near the starting area where you spawn after the tutorial. I figured this would be the safest place for now. Besides, healing covers are nice, but the ones I had weren’t strong enough to heal the wound and it meant that without treatment, I would die soon.

Wurm Online_01Finding your way around in Wurm Online isn’t too easy either. There are no maps in this game! I had a compass which didn’t help me much as I hadn’t been paying attention to it earlier. I looked for online maps and found one. The maps you find online are all maintained by players, by the way. I knew the general direction I had to walk to then to get back to the starter area, so off I went. I did not run into the first pack of wolves anymore, but instead, I found another one. Hurrah. With less life thanks to the wounds, I did not want to risk running into them. I remembered that water was probably safe and decided to swim around them. You can swim, but only for a limited amount of time. The longer you swim, the lower your stamina (which equals your “life”) gets. If your stamina is at 0 and you’re still in the water, you will drown. Unfortunately, the more wounds you have, the lower your stamina. I misjudged the amount of stamina it would take to swim by and the result was that I chose death by drowning over death by wolves – and over death by my severe wound. It was a slow, rather embarrassing end. Luckily, I was revived at the starting area. Unfortunately, I had lost quite a few of my starting items (including the compass) that are or were still in my body. I tried to find the location of my body on the online map, but the place that I had memorized was not mentioned there. I only know vaguely where I died. Oh well, c’est la vie. ;) That’s when I decided to ignore it and start fresh.

My second attempt had me going the other way trying to find some resources and I avoided all wolves and trolls this time. There was a starter village or whatever it is, which is player-made as well, I assume, but at least, there was a public mine and there was even an oven that you’re allowed to use. A lot more welcoming! Sadly, I did not have the clay with me anymore and I couldn’t find any. Ironic, isn’t it? And there was still the issue of not being able to find an empty space to call my own and settle. That’s when I decided to end my trip to Wurm Online.

All in all, I haven’t been able to build anything in the game apart from a clay flask and healing covers. I did manage to raise a few of my skills like botanizing and foraging, but nothing else. And yet, I’ve had a lot of fun! I don’t know what the game is like when you’re playing for a longer time, but the hours that I did spend in the game were great and I enjoyed it. I always felt terribly lost, the Wurm Online Wiki was open all the time and used heavily. Still, it was a welcome change to the usual MMOs and I actually like digging into something like that. Not being able to just buy everything at vendors but having to rely on the player economy and crafting is something that I really love and I always hope that the “more mainstream” MMOs adopt this feature as well.

The 10/10 project: Age of Wushu (Day 6)

The 6th game for the 10/10 project was Age of Wushu. This game released on April 10, 2013, with its US publisher Snail Games. It’s been released in China last year. European publish gPotato will probably follow later this year, in case you are waiting for a German or French version – or for a lower ping. The game is called Age of Wulin in the European version.

Age of Wushu

The gold spam was quite annoying…

Just like Dark of Age Camelot, Age of Wushu also gave me a bit of trouble when it came to my mouse. It simply refused to accept the mouse clicks for the camera view/rotation. I could move while  using the arrow keys to let me change the camera view to look left and right (and move left and right), but that was still too inconvenient, especially as my right hand is on WASD and can’t switch to the arrow keys easily. ;) After having problems with my mouse before, I came prepared this time and had a symmetric mouse ready. This setup worked perfectly.

The customization options for my character were disappointing. I am not talking about how all the settings always make your character look Asian, no matter what you do. This game is set in China, so what do you expect? I did see people complain about that, though, so I thought I should mention that this is not the case here. But there were just very few hair styles, no body options, etc. If you’re into heavy customization and if you really want to look different from the other characters, be prepared that Age of Wushu does not give you this possibility. At least not in the character creation menu. It may be possible by adding costumes.

Age of Wushu is an open pvp game. This means that you can attack and kill every other player in the game. Before you set foot into the game world, you are warned about that fact and need to click on OK to enter the game. So no complaining afterwards, you were warned! I personally do not like open world PvP at all, but I still wanted to have a look at the game. For the whole time I’ve been in the game (a few hours on three different days), I haven’t been attacked once. The system they set up seems to be a good one that discourages mindlessly ganking others… or maybe attacking others just wasn’t possible in the extreme newbie area.

What I absolutely loved about the game were the graphics. The scenery around you is very pretty. I started out in a town (I’m not sure if every character starts in the same place, as you choose a background story in the beginning and this may change where you start). For the first few hours in the game, I have only killed 4 animals to get food for a quest. Other than that, it was combat practice (this is a martial arts game and you start as a beginner) and getting the game explained.

Age of Wushu

You can gain experience while being offline.

When you go offline, lots of things can happen. As is usual for games nowadays, there is a wiki about the game and it explains what happens when you go offline. This includes your character working as an NPC and when you log on again, you receive the money the character has earned in the meantime. There are also disadvantages: For example, your character that appears as an NPC when you’re offline can be kidnapped by other players. Anything you would have earned normally while being offline gets lost for you. No money for jobs your character did, for example. This is both exciting and annoying for me. While it certainly makes the world feel more alive and immersive (possibly with the exception of characters with horrible names), I also don’t like having something taken away from me without me being able to do anything against it, apart from being online 24/7 which probably wouldn’t work too well either. ;)

What I liked was when I walked into an NPC, they turned around and told me off for being rude. That’s a nice little touch there.

Age of Wushu

Joining the Wudang

The combat system is something I have not been able to look at too closely in the time I spent in the game. Most of my time was spent reading, looking around, trying to figure out where I am and what I’m doing. You start with your character that doesn’t have a certain class. There are eight schools in the game and it doesn’t take long until the tutorial asks you to join one. I joined Wudang. I chose this school because in the description, it said something about defensive skills and the ability to survive. What I wondered was whether that means that all Wudang characters are basically more “tanky” characters than those of other schools and if that meant that I basically choose a “class” by choosing a school. At this point, the game and its tutorial don’t do a good job in explaining it.

Your character does not have a level per se. Instead, you level up your skills by cultivating and here, team practice is apparently the best way to go. You do that with other players. I haven’t done it myself, so I don’t know what it’s like, but I watched a friend and it didn’t seem difficult to do. Just seemed a bit boring while he was waiting for everybody to be ready and start. Using internal cultivation is only good for as long as you are logged in as it gets paused when you log off, unless you are VIP by buying a monthly sub in which case internal cultivation continues after logging off. Internal cultivation starts out fast, but it goes up to several hours for each skill pretty fast. If it only works while you’re logged in, it’s just not too efficient.

I did get to fight a bit in the tutorial quests as there were teachers that showed me certain moves. The game features active blocking, for example. Another fun thing is that you get flying skills. The combat felt alright. But again, I was a bit confused about where and how to choose which skills I want to have/use.

Age of WushuBeing “confused” is probably the feeling I’ve had for most of my playtime. Age of Wushu is not a horrible game at all. On the contrary! There are some really good features. If you like the kidnapping system or not, it’s at least something that you don’t see in every other game out there. But I could tell pretty fast that this game is not for me. I play games to relax and have fun. Being constantly vigilant because another player could be out there to attack me is not what I call fun. I knew about that before I gave it a try, so I’m not complaining here. By trying out the game, I simply confirmed that I still do not like open pvp like that. ;) On top of that, I have the feeling that I would have to invest too much time into the game. Time that I would rather spend on several other games instead.

I did, however, tell bookahnerk’s cousin about the game who has 9 accounts by now, so he can see everything, try out all the crafting professions, and so on. The game only allows you to have one character (per server, I think?). His cousin digged into the game, read all he could find about it and he’s been telling us about the game and how great it is. He loves open pvp and for him, this game is perfect. Oddly enough, what he loves isn’t even that it has open pvp (he still loves that fact, of course), but everything around the game. The features like farming in the game, that your character needs to eat and drink and that the food is made by players exclusively, the combat system and so on.