Second look at a game, MMORPG again.
I almost feel a duty to drop a few lines about this one, it just deserves some attention.
Last time I have been on about Age of Conan and it`s fighting system, how I was eager on it before release, disappointed when it actually launched, and happy again when I tried it a few month later.
Well, the Spellbornstory is much shorter. I have been following it`s development for quite a while, had high hopes especially for the fighting system again, and it delivered.
To me it`s an outstanding achievement. I`ve been desperately waiting for a MMORPG to deliver appealing battles for years, and where many failed, the Spellbornteam deliverd. Which deserves an extra applause considering it`s a relatively small team (as far as i know), and on a tight budget.
The system itself is probably a bit hard to describe, but they managed to implement active aiming, active dodging, and both without cutting down useable skills. It requires movement and actions similar to a shooter, but keeps skillusage alive. Additionally your skillset requires some thoughts and planning to make it flow well in battle, which I really like, reminds me on GuildWars a little.
The second great thing about Spellborn is how equipment, such as armour, is free of stats. Players can wear what they want, and look the way they want, anytime. Mages can use huge blades, warriors can use daggers, it`s just looks. Although I feel that this “mindset” of what a MMO can be like isn`t implemented with final consequence, it`s a big step to the right direction.
Spellborn`s graphics are a somewhat mixed bag. If you want to complain about it you can find plenty of things which don`t look that great. Lowpoly models, weird LOD kicking in way too early on characters, cheap shaders, and so on. BUT…the general artdirection and love for the scenery really makes out for those downfalls. The atmosphere is just right. Oh well, and to name a technical highlight, the skydomes (which actually don`t draw skies but huge caves) look awesome.
Unfortunately it`s not all shiney. The whole gamestructure is incredibly hardcore, oldschool RPG. Questdescriptions require concentrated reading, and even then some things remain puzzling. You get send across wide areas, running around till your shoes are bloody. Mobs are quite agressive and hard to avoid. Attributes and some skills can be a bit confusing at times. Cut short, there are almost no aids for players. Some might appreciate that, but I am quite sure the mass of players tends to be annoyed from the first quest on. It almost feels like SIL doesn`t want to welcome new players, and would be rather interested in pulling everyone off with a tough start. Based on my impressions from two servers, I am worried they succeed there.
And I can`t stress enough what a pitty that would be, the game is really like a rough diamond…maybe it needs some polish, but the core gameplay is very promising, it`s fresh and more innovating than any other MMORPG the last years.
I for one wish the development team the best of luck with their game. There is a free trial available, so maybe you want to take a look at http://www.tcos.com/en/index.html