I've been playing Forsaken World since September very casually after bouncing to and from numerous MMO's both free-to-play and pay-to-play. Due to my casual lifestyle and my taste in games I've really begun to settle into playing Forsaken World.
Let me preface this by saying that yes, the game has a cash shop. Does this mean you cant purchase items in the cash shop without spending real life currency? No, there are ways to trade in-game currency for cash-shop currency and vice-versa. Does this mean you'll be able to completely gem out your character to the equivelant of someone who is willing to spend $4000 on cash shop gear? Probably not, but then again the percentage of people spending that type of cash are very uncommon. In fact, you probably wont ever run across someone who spends that type of money. Its feasible to keep up with your typical cash shopper if you're a competitive gamer, however you wont obtain the items instantly like a cash shopper can. Its going to take some work. If you have a problem with either case then maybe you're not as competitive as youd like to think you are?
Aside from that, the game remains very competitive and non-cash shoppers can and do rank very high.
Now, did I spend money in the cash shop? Absolutely. I bought a mount, some bank expansions and a couple of outfits. Mounts, btw are pretty much given to you in the game both temporary and permant. If you dont have a permanent mount by level 20, you must have missed something. I purchased one because I didnt like the ram, it was too common. Bank expansions are obtainable in-game but I didnt find this out until after I purchased them. One suggestion I'd like to make: About once a month they offer bonus currency when you purchase. Try to wait until these sales happen instead of purchasing the currency for standard prices. Its a stinger when you spend money on cash shop currency to then find out it is going on sale the very next day.
However, I digress. This isnt a review about the competitive nature of the game or cash shop spending . This is a review from a casual players perspective. Ive bulleted the pros and cons of the game below, but first I would like to give a little more insight on what you might expect when you first play the game.
Combat and Classes: Its your typical MMO fare with skill rotations and the popular 3 talent tree per class. The trinity exists and like most MMO's you're expected to perform certain roles when in groups.
Graphics and Animations: The graphics are pretty nice, on par with say World of Warcraft but with better Art. Dont confuse graphics with Art. When I speak of graphics Im talking about actual graphics technology. The art in this game is much better in my opinion, and they seem to have a very busy art department based on the variety of models and terrain in this game. The animations are also very nice and I'd put it up there at the same level as WoW with the edge given slightly to Forsaken World.
Quests: So far I've stuck to the main questline and doing dailies. Levelling in this game is very fast, especially when you use training grounds regularly which I'll get to later. There is quite a bit of dialogue in these quests, but just like the classes and combat its just like every other MMO you've played.
Now that I hit on the bones of the game, I'll cover what I feel are its pros and cons:
Guilds: Forsaken World is very focused on guilds. Here a guild is more than a chat room, its a society. A guild can build a base that is shaped by the guild leader and its members. You can build structures that are functional with guild shops, fishing grounds and its own economy. Guilds can also war against each other in a type of battle ground.
Pets: This isnt a feature limited to a class, and pets in this game are more than fluff. Anyone can tame a pet, but theres a taming profession that allows you to tame more rare and deadly beasts. The mechanics for maintaining and growing pets is pretty involved and the amount of pets you can aquire is pretty big.
Casual Levelling: Getting from 1-20 is extremely quick on its own just following the primary quest chain. Beyond that there are ways of gaining experience that dont even involve questing. There are "training grounds" where you just need to be in the vacinity of the area to accumulate exp. You can earn items to increase the experience gain at these training grounds and the purpose of this is to remain there while you are afk. This is usually done at night when you're not playing or at work. This works out really good for casuals, especially if you dont like quest grinding. I've found that if I just do a couple dailies and park my toon in the training grounds the only quests I end up doing are the main storyline quest. Your guild can also build camp fires that will give you experience based on their level for a certain period of time. These are held at the guild base and becomes a very social event for trading and just meeting guildies. There are also a few items that increase your experience while you are out questing, some of which can be crafted.
Jobs (crafting): Unlike most MMO's, in forsaken world you have the opportunity to take part in any of the available crafting jobs you want without losing the progress. Excluding "socialite, merchant and adventurer" there are 12 job professions.
Cash Shop that isnt a Cash Shop: when you earn achievements in this game, you earn points. Those points can be spent on items in-game and are not limited to Forsaken World but can be spent on any of the Perfect World Entertainment games. In Forsaken World you are also rewarded for days logged in and earn currency to spend in cash shop. You can buy a vast amount of items in this shop without spending a buck. Both of these are seperate shops from the real currency cash shop.
The cons of the game:
Bugs: Unfortunately game has quite a few bugs that effect stability. You'll experience frequent crashes in the Freedom Harbor zone which is the main hub of the game. You'll also become stuck in the terrain occassionally and since there really is no GM support in the game, you'll end up having to recall back to your bound location. In worst cases, it can cause you to lose progress on trade run quests and in very rare cases you'll end up having to get someone to kill you in order to become unstuck.
RNG: There are several random number generator mechanics in the game. Cash Shop Lottery boxes for starters, however that only effects the person willing to spend money on the cash shop lottery box. When you find gear it comes with some base stats as well as some unidentified stats. The unidentified stats are randomly generated after you ID it. Fortunately there are items in the game that allow you to re-identify the item but again, the outcome is random and will cost you money.
anyway, thats my little review from a casual gamers perspective. This is one of the few games that I have played where trying to play catch-up doesnt have me beating my head up against a pez dispenser disquised as a quest giving NPC. Sorry I didnt cover any of the PvP aspect, I havnt really gotten there yet. Maybe I will do a seperate review at a later date on that.