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the relatively painless experience of getting started in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1796"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Lunia
earlier this month, I was perhaps a bit too optimistic about trying
more free-to-play games on for size. While the style="font-style: italic;">Lunia
download and install process was quick, easy and had me in-game within
a short period of time, I had to jump through more than a few hoops
before getting as far with href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1842"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Holic.
It seems Dalmarus href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/61704" target="_blank">isn’t
the only one to get bit by the
bad install bug as January winds to a close, which leads me to wonder
if quality F2P games are href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/52099" target="_blank">truly
gaining ground after all.

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Koshare are one of two playable races in Holic.

At one point or another, we’ve href="http://tentonhammer.com/node/52189" target="_blank">all
experienced the joys of getting
a new MMOG installed, only to have our excitement for jumping into the
game shattered by the dreaded Mega Patch of Doom. Since the game server
was down for a client update during the install process, I knew going
in that a patch of some sort would be involved before I could launch style="font-style: italic;">Holic,
though I didn’t expect a patch that took 3 times longer than
the initial setup process considering the client itself is only around

The Holic
hoop proved to be a bit more frustrating than simple patching woes
though, and this one comes with a small warning to any Firefox users
out there who may be considering taking the game for a virtual spin.
Though the patcher and game client will ultimately open in a separate
window, players will log in and launch style="font-style: italic;">Holic
directly from the main game portal at Netgame, which is ultimately
where you’ll end up even if attempting to launch the game via
a desktop shortcut. Sounds simple enough though, right?

Rather than being greeted by the familiar glow of a game patcher when
pressing the big, shiny “Game Start” button, I was
instead directed to another page that informed me href="http://www.netgame.com/firefox/firefox_help.php"
target="_blank">Firefox users need to install a
plug-in first. Whether
it’s due to a patch that’s not compatible with the
latest version of FF or not is hard to say, but unfortunately no matter
what I’ve tried style="font-style: italic;">Holic
simply won’t run in anything other than Internet Explorer,
which is a shame considering most FF users intentionally opt out of
using IE. Either way, it’s never a good sign when you find
yourself trying to figure out how to contact customer service before
seeing your first in-game frame.

Resigned to play style="font-style: italic;">Holic
in IE, and finding myself with some extra time on my hands while the
mega-patch worked it’s magic on my hard drive, it seemed like
a good opportunity to read through some game guides and familiarize
myself with what style="font-style: italic;">Holic
is all about. While basic, the offered guides are simple enough for a
younger audience, or one unfamiliar with common MMOG control schemes to
understand, though many of the translations are a bit rough around the
edges. This is also a running theme that carries over into the game
itself, but thankfully the odd phrases and excessive use of
exclamations don’t mar the overall experience.

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MMO should have a Human Cannon.

It’s unfortunate that getting started in style="font-style: italic;">Holic
requires the kind of hoop jumping exercises that only Evil Knievel
could truly appreciate - Perhaps it was due to the lowered expectations
carried over from the install process, but I was pleasantly surprised
by what I found once style="font-style: italic;">Holic
was finally up and running a few hours later.

On the surface, style="font-style: italic;">Holic
could be described as href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
Extra Lite – apparently the influence of Blizzard’s
unstoppable MMOG beast is farther reaching than I’d realized,
as many aspects of Holic’s core gameplay are strikingly
similar, right down to the yellow question marks that float above quest
NPCs. Mind you most quests boil down to the “kill ten
rats” variety, although in style="font-style: italic;">Holic’s
case I suppose that should be “kill ten giant killer
mushrooms and fluffy bunnies”. That said, style="font-style: italic;">Holic
does have a few cool mechanics hidden up its virtual sleeves that
shouldn’t be overlooked, as they help distinguish the game
from the crowd in some meaningful ways.

Call it what you will, but I have an odd attraction to some of the more
absurd things that make their way into MMOGs, as they can help
transform an ordinary experience into something truly memorable. For
example, the first time I realized that WoW’s Darkmoon Faire
had a cannon you could launch your characters out of, I ended up
spending an entire afternoon littering Elwynn Forest with skeletons
from my many failed attempts at a proper landing. I’ve also
been known to spend entire weekends from dusk till dawn participating
in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/47"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars’
Roller Beetle Racing, but that’s beside the point.

While the Darkmoon cannon may have been a sideshow attraction, style="font-style: italic;">Holic
took the same concept and transformed it into one of the cooler forms
of travel I’ve seen in an MMOG. After completing some initial
quests and getting a feel for the game, players will make their way to
Lunatia Town, which serves as a main city hub and is also notably where
the awesome Human Cannon resides. Not only is this my new favorite form
of travel, but the Human Cannon makes getting out into the numerous
overland zones a breeze – a simple interface lets you select
your destination, and then off you go!

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is home to some strange truly strange creatures.

The main starting zone, Feather Plain, is home to an odd assortment of
creatures like the above mentioned killer mushrooms and deranged
bunnies. Even if most gameplay ultimately boils down to grinding, at
least you’ll be fighting mob types that clearly deviate from
the norm. Chalk another point up for style="font-style: italic;">Holic’s
charm in this department.

Upon reaching level 10 as your main class, players are offered a quest
that allows them to pick up a second class from the list of primary
occupations – warrior, mage, monk, hunter, rogue or priest.
Rather than a style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars
style dual class system where you have access to skills from both
professions simultaneously, the system in style="font-style: italic;">Holic
will allow you to switch between the two classes at will. Upon doing
so, everything about your character will switch, including equipped
items and having to level your second class up from level one.
Character stats will also reflect whichever class is currently active,
but thanks to earning double XP on the lower one, it’s not
all that hard to keep the two roughly even.

This system offers a lot of flexibility when grouping, since your tank
can easily double as a healer in a pinch for example. Thanks to being
able to swap out secondary classes at any time via the initial quest
NPC, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that the game
caters to all the alt-a-Holics out there. (I know, bad pun, but I
couldn’t resist)

While overland mobs are typically easy for the solo player to manage, style="font-style: italic;">Holic
offers numerous dungeons that require groups, at least if you hope to
obtain some of the better drops in the game from the various bosses.
Speaking of dungeons, another aspect of style="font-style: italic;">Holic
that helps distinguish it from the crowded F2P market are the
user-created quests and dungeons. I only had the chance to tinker
around with the system, so haven’t managed to create any
dungeons of my own as of yet, but doing so is at the top of my list
before diving into writing a full review.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to scampering around the
Holy Land of style="font-style: italic;">Holic
some more, unlocking my first customizable pets and figuring out what
those bizarre purple grub-dragons I see people riding around actually

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Holic Game Page.

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