Posted Wed, Apr 04, 2012 by Stow
If you’re a fan of the grid-based strategy rpg, rejoice. While the genre might be dying in general, games like Wakfu will be giving it life for years to come. It might not be the grand strategic experience that you’re looking for to take you back to your Final Fantasy Tactics or Shining Force days, but it is a relatively successful implementation of a social formula into, well, an anti-social genre!
When it comes down to fighting though, it’s about your class. Most of the time you’ll likely be alone, and some classes are more self-sufficient than others. Once you’ve engaged a monster, you’ll have the option of initial placement before an initiative-based turn system is engaged. From there you can move around and exchange blows until you or the other(s) fall.
Even the ends of the earth have some extra detail and polish on them.
Basic systems are in place from other games of the genre, such as heightened damage/lower evasion by attacking from the sides or rear, and information on your opponents is readily available. When you come across a bad guy that is insurmountable alone, this is where making a party of adventurers and cooperating on the battle map comes into play. Solo, you only will ever control one unit at a time, and that never works in these games against most hardened foes.
Combat is smooth and quick, with most characters being capable of 1-3 actions per turn. You have 30 seconds to take your turn whether you’re in a party or not, and there is a bonus gauge that rewards you for speed in selecting your actions. So rest assured that you’ll never be waiting long to punch enemies or fling magic when you play with others.
There’s a strong emphasis on tradeskilling as is the case in most MMOs, but I have to give special mention to the ability to re-grow your destroyed nodes. There is a light/dark side type meter that is earned over time via your actions to the world, and I don’t just mean static answers to NPCs. For instance, you have the option to cut down a tree outright, or harvest trimmings several times. The trimmings can be planted nearby to grow a tree over time, and just cutting the trimmings leaves part of the tree that can grow back. So you can create little groves of trees, some to be chopped, and some to be harvested, in this bizarre equilibrium.
Many tradeskills use this system, and even those that don’t have other systems in place that make the process more interesting than a mere right click. Unfortunately, there are some navigation issues that can only be solved with experience—you know the level range of a zone, you know it contains a trade skill machine/refinery or two, but you have no idea where in the zone it actually is. This is a factor when it comes down to leveling as well, since the game does have a plethora of quests with a similar lacking of direction.
Well this place isn't ominous at all...
Leveling makes you realize quickly that there'll be a lot of grinding in your future, and you had better love Wakfu's combat or you’ll be uninstalling within a week. Every attack also has a level and, should you go down a path you’re not pleased with, guess who has to throw 3000 earth punches or whatever to get that elemental attack class up to speed? Yeah.
That said, there are a lot of cool classes and abilities that manipulate you and enemies, and a lot of diversity in builds—if you have the time to grind and develop them.