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No names mentioned (as I'm not that type of guy), but I think some people reading this forum will be severely misguided when thinking about choosing Neocron as their next MMORPG. Therefore I will give you the game, with everything a buyer will need to know. This is a review and guide combined into one.
Numero 1, the community is pretty awesome. I have around 50 solid friends on Neocron, and many more aqcuaintances who I converse with often. Even my enemies and I can hold conversations without resorting to insults, which makes the game enjoyable for me.
Numero 2, yes, there is a percentage of assholes. But its like that on any MMORPG. Perhaps the hatred inspired by the way the game works is taken to a personal level, but I try never to take it that far. I, like many of the playerbase, believe that "hatred" should be kept purely at a game level.
Numero 3, noobs are welcomed into the community. A few people might shout "ah! n00b!" and run off, but most will offer money, items, or any other support they can provide to help the new players get on my feet. I myself spent several hundred thousand credits helping a runner, and devoted several hours to showing him the game.
Numero 4, The population, as has been said many times, is low, especially on my server, Pluto. However, it is slowly climbing, and with the return of the infamous NDA, Pluto promises to be the center of action for the upcoming Neocronian months.
ReaKKtor are great guys. I myself know one or two, and they are as friendly a company as you could wish for.
However, when it comes to keeping deadlines, they truly do SUCK.
BUT, each of the delays, whether for patches or for B:DoY has been backed up with a valid reason, and I myself disbelieve that KK would even give out these deadlines if they didn't try their hardest to keep them. DoY was promised in April 2003, but take a look when that claim was made. Neocron was only just into retail. They had no idea the playerbase would keep them in constant demand. So it was put back. Development started, slowly, but surely, but they hit another snag.
They had no publisher. Plans for DoY were put on hold, at least as the community knew, and instead kept us happy with the steady trickle of new items and attempts at balance.
But now, with the trailer released ON its deadline, we at the Neocron playerbase truly believe. DoY is coming in September. The preorder is out. We have sneak peeks, screenshots, everything. Its no hoax. DoY is around the corner.
Some other points about KK. Firstly, please try to remember they are a small company. Don't expect the granduer of Sony, but they get the job done in the end. I can probably list all the employees of ReaKKtor. And all of them work their socks off to give us the best game ever.
Secondly, they can come down hard on cheaters and/or exploiters hard when they want to. Only a few weeks ago a multitude of accounts were banned due to this offence. Any wind of an exploit/hack/cheat is immediately followed up.
Thirdly, their support isn't half bad. The longest I have had to wait for a reply is two or three days, over an exploitable matter, and the incident was looked into straight away. Only yesterday I mailed one of the GMs with a request about a self organised event, (pretty low on their priority list, you might think). View these times:
08 July 2004 11:43:36
On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 11:33:53 +0000, Sammy Burdock wrote:
Taken directly from the e-mail sent to my hotmail account. 10 minutes was how long it took, and it wasn't an auto responder either.
My friend has also requested a name change for his character, which took only a day or two to process.
No doubt about it, Neocron is a buggy place. But to be honest, can you blame KK for that? If they fixed the bugs, people would complain about DoY being put off, if they work hard to get DoY out to us, the bugs remain unfixed. Among the bugs are such fun items as, turning into another character (which is actually quite funny), items in trade being replaced into the inventory, weird graphical lines appearing, and the infamous "green guys" (but that makes you famous, so who can complain ).
But there are the two daddies. The dreaded fatal and synch. As Neocron is made up of many sectors, you cant expect seamless interaction between them. Every 1 in 50 or so (for me at least) zone crossings can either crash the game (fatal, but these can happen at any time) or it will stick you in an endless loading process (synch). People severely overexaggerate the problems with these bugs. Starting up Neocron again takes 10 seconds if you have NeoLauncher Pro (an excellent 3rd party program made by a few of the playerbase of Neocron). However, the trouble sets in if it happens during battles, which is very uncommon. But when it happens it will stick out in your mind above all the other fatals/synchs like a bloody spot.
However, there is one point when synching is common and annoying. The zoneline between PP1/P3. PP1 the entrance to the red light district, guarded by the powerful Tsunami Syndicate. On the other side lies the Plaza, the haven of Neocron's supporters. So clashes are inevitable. With P3 under the watchful eyes of the copbots, fighting takes place right on the zone line of PP1. So you can imagine the game becomes pretty unstable - and who can blame it? With 10 players constantly crossing over this point the server is likely to go bonkers.
The only other issue is lag, but there isnt much to say except it occurs mainly on the populace heavy Saturn, but a decent computer sorts it out in 90% of cases. I never drop below 40 FPS.
Ah, finally. The big mother of them all. Well, to be blunt, gameplay on Neocron is a wonderful experience.
There are four classes, each severely different. The standard average runner, the Private Eye. There is the GenTank, a creation designed for all out war. There is the Spy, the weakest of all classes but also very diverse and masters of technology and tradeskilling. And finally the PSI Monks, who have powerful spells.
There are five main skills. Each class can attain different levels in the skills. The maximum level is 100. With every skill level, 5 free points are given to be distributed in to that skills subskills. Still with me?
These subskills are possibly the most important part of the game. They decide your setup. One point could make it or break it for your character. People devote months to finding the best setup for them, and most are still tweaking with the changes that come with the patches.
Weapons are a little complex in Neocron, so I'll break it down. You have the following weapons: Pistols; Rifles; Cannons; Melee; APU spells; PPU spells; Droners. The first four of these are further separated into two types, tech and non-tech. Tech guns fire energy or plasma, while non-tech are standard bullets, shells are rockets. All of the types of weapons are again split into many different sub categories, like Ray, Plasma, Laser for the first three. These determine the type of gun, its rate of fire, its damage and so on and so forth. Finally each of these types is split into levels, usually these 4: Level 1; Level 2; Level 3; Rare.
For example, their is a pistol called the Ryker Napalm PP_v42. This is the level 3 plasma pistol. Also in the plasma pistol line are the level 1 gun (A&W PP183k Plasma Pistol), the level 2 gun (Plasma Pistol), and the Rare (Judge).
The Rare weapons cannot be bought from any store, and must be sought after through parts obtained from the high level creatures of Neocron.
The classes/weapons are not balanced. Thats an important fact to note. But KK are closer to this goal than they ever have been. Private Eyes can diversify greatly to achieve whatever their player wishes. The rifle spies own the immensly powerful sniper rifles, while pistol spies can use speed to outwit their opponents. Droning spies have also come a long way, now with the ability to aid the fight against PPUs and the fact they do not have to commit their runners body to the battle makes them a handy asset. Tanks have camoflauged armour suits and powerful accurate cannons, while Melee tanks have amazing accuracy and very good damage up close. Aggressive (APU) Monks have spells which cast an area of effect damage, which can be put to great tactical use while their Passive (PPU) counterparts, are very hard to kill, and have the ability to ressurect dead runners.
APUs are also the nemesis of PPUs, as they have the ability to remove all of the latters protective spells, reducing them to little more than a frail man in a cloak. However PPUs can cast the dreaded Paralysis, which freezes the receiver of the spell so he can move only at a very slow pace. This is the hot topic of balance at the moment, and has been for some time. PPUs and APUs can also intermix, to become Hybrid, meaning they have some defence and some power, but cannot be amazing in either.
PvP in Neocron consists of aiming your chosen weapon, and firing until your opponent is dead. Sound familiar? It should, its the basis of the FPS, the most popular type of computer game ever. Neocron is the first MMORPG to use FPS style combat (although 3rd person is also available if you find that option better.)