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Vampires and Lolita Dwarves – A Review of Forsaken World

Updated Thu, Mar 31, 2011 by jeffprime

Eastern games with a free-to-play model continue to be imported to the West with varying degrees of success. Most Eastern MMOGs have a hard time finding an audience with Western players due the play style differences between the two regions. Perfect World seeks to change that by launching a game with the Western player firmly in mind: Forsaken World. This fantasy MMOG, which began its open beta in early March, strives mightily to bridge the gap between East and West.

Stylistically, Forsaken World is a fantasy MMOG that combines elements of Eastern and Western games. The lore for Forsaken World is your typical clash-of-the-gods scenario with the player races loosely banded together to face the increasing threat of Dysil, an evil entity now housed in the body of a black dragon, and his forces.

Cautions

There are no ratings for the game, but there is mild violence depicted within the game along the same scale as World of Warcraft.

Gameplay

80GoodThe gameplay for Forsaken World will feel familiar to Western players and is similar to other successful MMOGs currently on the market, most notably World of Warcraft. Players create their character by choosing a race and a class. FW adds a couple of new races to the standard fantasy mix, Kindred (a vampire-like race created when a demi-goddess “embraced” her mortal true love) and Stonemen (a race of males that are born out of the stones of the earth), and race selection does have an impact upon what class you can play. Dwarves can only be Marksmen (ranged DPS) whilst Humans and Kindred can be Assassins.

Once you have chosen your race and class, you start out in your race’s starting area. From there, you’ll follow a linear quest path that eventually takes you to Freedom Harbor, the questing hub of the game. From Freedom Harbor, you can quest in the surrounding countryside or travel to other zones. The different zones are level locked, which means that you’ll have to be a specific level (20, 30, 40, 50, etc) to travel there.

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A female dwarf marksman.

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A male elf warrior.

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A female kindred vampire.


Just like other MMOGs, there are crafting professions (called Jobs) such as Alchemy or Cook that a player can learn. Some Jobs are automatically learned by reaching a certain level, whilst the others are learned by spending Job points. In addition, each class has their own talent trees (starting at level 20) by which they can further specialize their class. Other game amenities include a bank and an auction house.

While every person is on the same side (the good side), there are three factions in the game that a player can increase their reputation with for rewards, normally in the guise of better gear. Just like in World of Warcraft, gear can increase stats and abilities.

Quests are your typical MMOG quests: kill X of something, gather X of something, and run messages back and forth between NPCs. There is a main quest storyline in the game (denoted as yellow) and offshoot quests (green) as well as daily quests. The dungeons in FW require a party to enter and the usual minimum is three players, so if you play solo, you’ll miss some of the content.

A feature that I like in the game is that when you’re looking at a quest entry, you can click on the name of an NPC or monster and you will automatically run to their location. While some might think that this takes the fun out of exploring, I have almost no patience and I don’t want to spend an hour looking for a specific named monster or an NPC contact in the city.

Combat is straightforward with the player having an auto-attack and special abilities. As you gain levels, you gain new abilities and increase the effectiveness of certain abilities. However, you regenerate health and mana (used for all your abilities) very slowly, so you’ll be drinking liquids and eating food to replenish your vitality after fighting.

Two other things stand out about monsters and combat. First, hitting TAB does not automatically select the closest enemy to you in the direction you are facing. It selects the closest one period, which means that it can select one behind you. If you’re not paying attention, you can start a fight with one creature and accidentally attack an enemy behind you. With the incredibly fast respawn rate of creatures, this can become quite a problem.

Another weird trait is that most of the monsters do not attack on sight. If they can be aggroed, they will have a symbol of crossed swords over their heads. It took me awhile to get used to this, and it still feels weird to walk through a pack of vampires equal to my level and they don’t even bat an eye (no pun intended) at my presence. You will definitely have to keep an eye out for those creatures that will aggro on you as that the respawn rate in FW is insanely fast, so you can find yourself constantly being attacked by a respawning foe if you stay in the wrong place.

Overall, the game mechanics will feel familiar to Western players, but there are some differences that show its Eastern origins.

First, there is a huge emphasis on pets in the game. Starting out, a player can have two pets and this number can be expanded later on. Before you can use a pet, you have to incubate it for at least 10 minutes. The longer you leave it in incubation, the stronger it will be when you bring it out. Incubation only occurs while you’re logged into the game. Once you have your trusty pet by your side, it will fight and defend you. You can even have your pet learn skills to enhance its ability. I had to fight off the urge to yell out, “I summon you, Pikachu!” as I summoned my pet ram for the first time.

There is also a great deal of running around to do the quests. Some quests required me to run back and forth between a few NPCs a dozen times, which I found extremely tedious. There are daily events and quests that open up, but those are timed for specific days and specific times. If you prefer to play late at night (like me), you’re out of luck for events like the Nightmare Carnival.

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My dwarf marksman fighting some undead!

Another interesting bit is that the zodiac is used in the game. Your character can pray during the day with an hour between each prayer. The first four times you pray, you are rewarded with experience, a buff, and items. After the fourth time, you gain only a buff. If your character’s sign (chosen at character creation) is currently active when you pray, you have a greater chance of receiving items.

I must make note of one big negative that I hope will be addressed in the future and that is the Encylopedia in the game. While some lore and quest entries are put into the book for you to read over later, the remainder of the entries is in Chinese. There’s a nice table of contents and a search function, but everything you click on goes to a page filled with Chinese script. I can’t read Chinese and neither can most of the gamers in the West. I found this surprising as that the quest text and other written parts were clear and in proper English.

Finally, while the game plays like most other Western MMOGs, there is one area that it does differ remarkably: money. There are two types of currency in the game, which I will go into detail in the Value section.

The gameplay is extremely solid overall, even with the gripes I’ve listed above. There are some issues that need to be addressed, but the game is very polished from a design standpoint and offers players all the bells and whistles that they’ve come to expect in today’s MMOGs.

Graphics

90GreatThe graphics in Forsaken World are above the norm for a free-to-play game and are on par with your typical subscription MMOG. The colors are lush and vibrant and the lands and creatures very detailed. The look of the game is similar to World of Warcraft and is Western in nature, but the Eastern influence of the game does pop out from time to time. The heroes are all anime-tall with the Elves and Kindred almost androgynous in their looks. The dwarf female looks nothing like a dwarf, but rather an anime style gothic lolita. Zones have different looks from one another: Freedom Harbor boasts a Renaissance style theme to the people and architecture while the Sea of Oblivion has an Egyptian motif due to its desert location. My one quibble is that some of the attack animations for some of the creatures (most notably the vampires) need to be improved a bit as that they’re a bit too static.

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Anime-inspired architecture? Check!

Sound

65AverageSound in Forsaken World is standard for MMOGs. You’ll find the sounds of combat, the soothing lapping of water, and background music, but it does not really draw you into the world of Eyrda. The sound isn’t terrible, but it’s more of a background filter that you listen to while questing. Like most MMOGs, you’ll probably be listening to your own soundtrack after a while.

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