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May 26th, 2008, 21:24
There are three parts to a MMO: socializing, exploring and looting.

Socializing is a little awkward right now, and will likely be addressed in future patches. Instancing towns on a server, for example, is a little strange, since it makes harder to find people. The chat box is terrible. These are minor mechanics, though, and no doubt will be addressed. Review points: -0.5.

The environmental art is great and for that the game should be praised. I loved WOWs and LOTROs seamless transitions from zone to zone - this really gave a feeling of a very large world to explore. WOW was cartoonish (but nice), LOTRO is crisp and clean (ok) and AoC is more realistic, organic and lush. There are some issues with pathfinding, where your character - an uber-warrior - gets stuck trying to climb over tiny bumps in the ground, or suffers a falling injury by jumping a meter or two down.

However, the loot art is terrible, and for that the game should be spanked by the reviewers. There should be at least -1.5 review points taken off for this carnal sin. Did I mention the loot art is terrible? I'm absolutely not excited collecting loot in this game. Everything is brown and looks like junk. And items with +0.02% slashing invulnerability just sound plain stupid. +0.02% is much closer to zero than any small number I would care about.

The inventory system needs a major rehaul. You can't tell the level of an item (grey/green/etc) by looking in your bag, you have to roll over the item. It's nice that quest items get their own bag, though, as do resource items.

It's very early on in the game, and there's bound to be problems. From the prespective of polish, mechanics and glitches, a review today isn't going to see the same game as a review done in a month. If the auction house isn't working in a month, people *will* get cranky. However, there are some glaring issues that I think a month of patching won't address, such as re-working all the loot graphics.

The entire combo combat system is a smalls step in making fighting a little more interactive. However, the system should not be held up as a ground-breaking achievement. Realistically, when you fight you don't have any more choices than in a regular auto-attack approach, except that you need to be hitting the mob where their shield's level is lowest (mobs can shift shield amount between left/right/front directions). The caster classes (I played demonologist to lvl 13 and templar to lvl 10) are not only very squishy but don't benefit from the combo system. For casters, it's the same cast, wait for bar to complete and watch the fireworks. I'm now on a conqueror and it's a lot more fun - this class is very survivable (casters are super squishy early on) .

This game suffers, IMHO, from a lack of attention to detail. In 6 months, and this is when a real review of an MMO can be done, so that not only the launch but also response to the community is judged, the game may rise to a 8.5/10. But right now, it's a solid 7-7.5/10.
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martink

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Join Date: May 2008
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