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Not everyone will like this game, but for a casual player like me it is great. I define a casual player as someone who plays 5-10 hours a week. People who will not like this game are those who hate anime, PvP focused players, and those who think the fun does not start till end game. As tp pay to win, if you want to be competative in PvP or define winning as have the best gear with bonuses all maxed out then you will need to open your wallet. If you just want access to all the game has to offer and be able to do all the quests then yu will not have to pay a dime. I do not consider spending money on a free game a rip off. If I have played a game for more than a month I like to thank the developers by giving them some of my money. And thank you whales for making Free to play possible.
As to the game itself it has possible the best graphics of any Anime inspired MMO out today and tends to the side of realism. But it is still quite accessible, I got it to run on an old laptop with an AMD Alton M300 with the settings turned down. While you can only play human there are currently 10 classes available and none of them are gender locked. Character customization is about average although all characters are depicted as teenagers, no beards. You also start out with a choice of 4 eldolons, pets that will fight with you. Each one has its own ste of abilities and can be leveled up. You will also be ablee to collect more as you go through the game. Quest are fairly standard and combat is mostly tab targeting with a chance to dodge major attacks and combos thrown in. The additions add inttrest without making you learn a whole new system. You also have some choice on where to put stat points and an envoy path system so you can choose how your character develops. For those who like story, there are achievements you can earn by listening in on certian conversations. There are also side quest you can do.
The first 20 levels go rather quickly and are mainly a tutorial. At level 20 the game opens up allowing you to do party runs, arena PvP, and guilds. All the main quests and dungeons can be run solo. However the game has a great party finder app that allows you to start or join a party and still do open world quests until the party is filled. Then the party leader can push the teleport button and bring everyone to the dungeon entrance. You can join a party on any channel on the server. Most dungeon runs take only about 10 to 15 minutes, so even if you only have an hour to play you can still get in at least one party run. You get an expierence bonus for being in a party and for being in a guild. Another bonus of being in a guild is once it reaches level 4 you can access the guild hall from anywhere in the game except for instances such as dungeons. The guild hall has all the major vendors as well as the bank and action hall. So no need to run back to town. There is also a hard mode for the dungeons and fame quest to help build up your guild. There is also Skytower that provides hardcore challenge for large groups, up to 40 players. Gear can be enhanced with fortification scrolls and with secret stones. There is also a crafting system.
While not perfect the game has a lot to offer particularly if you have limited time. So if you are looking for a casual game for yourself or something to pay with your wife/girlfriend, kids, or younger siiblings, then give Aura Kingdom a try.