So, I was hanging out at my local Wal-Mart the other day, killing time before heading off to pick up my wife from work. In the magazine section, I found a Beckett MMO magazine with STO on the cover. Inside was a code for the original series uniforms which caused me to buy it (I needed skirts for my bridge bunnies). But I digress; also inside was an advertisement and article about Atlantica Online. I believe this was the first I’d heard of this game because, like most, I tend to shun F2P games. However, the ad piqued my interest so I read the article and couldn’t believe it: OGRE BATTLE ONLINE! Ahem, sorry about that.
Anyway, I immediately downloaded the game to try it out and, I must say, I was floored by it. This game is truly awesome. As a huge fan of the Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre series, I am impressed. This is probably the closest any Ogre Battle fan will ever come to getting a new game in the series. Sorry, sidetracked again.
The battles system is solid and well paced. The world feels huge, but is fairly easily navigable. There are plenty of quests that keep you moving along (so far anyway, I’m only 31). Hell, even grinding is fun if you like this kind of battle system (I was at 27 when I hit the quest that I had to reach lvl20 to complete). PvP seems to be highly skill dependant with a lot of thought involved and less-so on equipment (at my level anyway). There are a large amount of customization options for equipment and merc types.
My only real complaints about the system stem from the hundreds of hours I’ve put into the Ogre Battle games (no apologies anymore, I’ll likely keep bringing it up). I would prefer that some of the D-class mercenaries be upgradeable to higher classes: Shaman to Oracle, Spearman to Spartan and Artilleryman to Canonneer come to mind. The upgrade paths are ok, but it feels natural to me that instead of replacing my spearman that I’ve had since lvl1, I should be able to “train-up” to Spartan or some such by means of a rare world-drop item. Granted, there is nothing wrong with being able to hire a Spartan, but I would like the upgrade option as well. Having a few unique “named” mercs with altered stats available for hiring would be pretty cool too, but could easily imbalance PvP to the point of wreckage. I would also prefer new merc classes came along a little bit earlier, but I can live with the current format. One other thing that would be cool is having different abilities based on where the merc is in the formation.
I also have some reservations about the way the item store boxes work. I’ve spent some money in the store to support the devs who’ve made this incredible game, but I’d rather spend 10 dollars on a costume piece than on 10 (or more) chances to get it. I realize this keeps people coming back, but it feels rather….I don’t know, shady maybe? Some of the other items make sense as they almost require you to spend some money to fully enjoy the game (bag license and merc room license). Personally, I’d like to see everyone who plays spend a small amount of money in the store just to make sure the devs are funded and productive. I’ll likely spend a little every month or two just to help out.
So there you have it: my (rather large) nutshell about my experience in AO. I do have a question for those of you who play regularly. The upcoming TBS appears to be moving the game from the Ogre Battle setup to the Tactics Ogre style. Is this the case? Because though my favorite genre are the Tactics style games (FFT will always be the benchmark), I have a softspot for the original fixed-position battle system. Also, is there anybody out there blogging for this game? I’m not sure if the community is big enough for that, but it’d be nice as there seems to be a dearth of information about the game (even the wikis are out-of-date and incomplete).
I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil