To be honest, I haven’t played many MMOs. For a couple years I was hooked on World of Warcraft (as were millions of other gamers worldwide), but once I got tired of it I began to check out other MMOs to see if anything came close to being as fun or fulfilling. The few I tried just didn’t satisfy me for one of two reasons: either I just didn’t like how it worked or I didn’t want to put any money into a game that would likely sink faster than the Titanic (seriously, Aion looked good, but didn’t last too long it seems). Paid MMOs tend to sink fast if they don’t do well, since people don’t want to put money into a game that they don’t like, which leads to a lack of subscribers which leads to an untimely end. What about free-to-play MMOs though? Can a FTP MMO still be good? Well, I recently got the chance to check out the open beta for a new MMO called Spirit Tales, so let’s see how it’s coming along so far.
To start with, there are not many races/classes in the game, but keep in mind this is a free MMO. The game has three tribes with two classes each: the Gold Kinn tribe has the Fighter and Shaman classes, the Maned Dragon tribe consists of Archers and Warriors, and The Lunar Foxes have Sorcerers and Assassins. Now people who know me well with RPGs know I tend to err on the side of magic users, so I decided to create a Sorcerer, meaning I was part of the Lunar Fox tribe…tail and all. Yes, my character has a tail. This kind of surprised me at first. Each tribe does hail from a different region, kind of like different races in World of Warcraft, but even then some classes were shared amongst different races. Still, other than maybe starting area, I didn’t see too much of a difference between races. Then again, I really only delved into the Sorcerer class, so I really only saw some play with the Lunar Fox tribe.
From what I’ve played thus far, I have enjoyed my time with the game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no World of Warcraft, but then again, it’s not supposed to be. While playing I have come up with some things that I did like about the game as well as a few things that kind of made me go “meh”, if you get my meaning. First, let’s get the “meh” out of the way first. The game overall seems a little easy. Now keep in mind again that I’m used to games like D&D and World of Warcraft, where one wrong move could make all the difference. With Spirit Tales, I rarely died, and when I did, it was mainly because I decided to speed things up a bit and just walk right into a pack of enemies before my health and magic regenerated fully. Not the wisest move. As such, as a sorcerer my first spell I got was a nice little blast of fire that dealt some decent damage to an enemy. When I got my first quest, I made my way towards where the objective was, which was to take out several enemies. However, I noticed how quickly I was gaining experience at my current level, so I decided to sit there and grind a few levels. Within a few minutes, I was already at level 5. Leveling wasn’t always that simple though, as it did quickly begin to get longer and longer between levels.
The enemies themselves are another tiny thing: they respawn quickly. Early on, this isn’t a bad thing, as you need to defeat a lot of enemies for some quests and it beats having to wait for them to respawn. However, when you begin to find enemies that are hostile towards you (as noted by their name being in red instead of yellow) and you pull a stupid move like I mentioned above, you could find yourself swarmed pretty quickly. On top of that, now and then you’ll find Elite enemies. Much like in other MMOs, elite enemies are stronger versions of a normal enemy, with higher attack and defense rates plus higher HP. By themselves though, they weren’t too hard to take down from a distance, as I just kept using my fire spell. However, I noticed that they didn’t seem to give off any experience. That was a mild disappointment to be honest, but nothing big.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s see what I enjoyed about the game. First off, it does feel a bit similar to games like WoW. You can use WASD to move and the mouse to rotate the camera and attack an enemy: left clicking will do a melee attack while right clicking will do whatever’s assigned to the right mouse button…and that’s one more tiny thing that I should have mentioned above. In WoW and other MMOs, hitting a button on your keyboard that corresponds to a spell will use that spell. Hotkeys are a wonderful thing really. However, in Spirit Tales, hitting a key on your keyboard that corresponds to a spell or skill will just assign it to the right mouse button. I often forget this when I’m trying to quickly heal myself. However, the skill tree is easy to use and the skills themselves are pretty nice. Again, I only used a Sorcerer, so a lot of my skills were either ice and fire spells, or tailored to upping some of my stats.
One thing that concerned quests that I at first had doubts with but soon changed my mind on is the ability to right-click on an objective and automatically run towards the objective. At first, I thought this made the game kind of easy, but then I thought back to all the times in World of Warcraft where I couldn’t recall where to go for the next objective and kept having to look at my map. Auto-moving towards an objective takes care of that, and I ended up using it frequently. Just be sure to take care if you’re moving into an area with hostile enemies.
Unfortunately, that’s about all I got in. I was able to get my character near level 20, but that wasn’t quite high enough to check out the arenas (minimum level of 30), so I can’t write about those (gotta love long work days). However, from what I’ve played, I really enjoyed my time with this game. My worry is that hardcore gamers will be turned off by the cutesy anime-styled look of the game and say “it’s nowhere near what WoW is”. Thing is, it’s not supposed to be. I’ll be blunt, if Koram took this game and said “this game will be the next World of Warcraft”, I’d probably look at them like they were crazy. This game is no WoW, but again, it’s not supposed to be. As is, I like the anime-style look, as it makes me think of what Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles would be like if it were an anime (yes, I liked that game). I see this as more of a casual MMO, and that’s what will make me come back to this game after the closed beta is over. If you like the art style of the game and enjoy MMOs that aren’t too hardcore, definitely give this one a try. I did, and I haven’t regretted it one bit.