Legends of Aria – The World Is Your Marketplace

Legends of Aria is an easy game to hate. It’s not your average MMORPG where you are the chosen one, destined to a fate of daring adventures and greatness. There is no clear goal to achieve, no classic experience levels to grind; you are a nobody with the entire world in front of you. You can decide your fate and accept the missions that other villagers offer you or focus on a set of masteries.

Legends of Aria is a sandbox MMORPG that requires players with the right mindset. You need to know exactly what you are getting into or you will find yourself lost, dazed and confused, looking for a helping hand that doesn’t exist. This is an old-school MMORPG hoping for a large and thriving player community, where you are what you set out to do and you get better at something by performing the respective actions.

This is a spiritual successor to Ultima Online created by former lead developers of the classic MMORPG, but one that shouldn’t rely on nostalgia to cover up for some glaring faults. Old-school should never serve as an excuse for unpolished mechanics and questionable design decisions, with the Early Access stage boasting as much potential as it shows clumsiness.

Legends of Aria Early Access Preview Crowded Inn

Kill Ten Rats

Before we delve into the matter of things, let’s put Legends of Aria into context. This game ran a successful Kickstarter campaign when it was called Shards Online, way back in 2014. Fearing that the Shards name could negatively impact the game, Citadel Studios decided to change the title to Legends of Aria. However, the concept of community-driven shards remains, and this is one of its most appealing features. Player-run servers have their own set of rules, so if you prefer unrestricted PvP and ganking, you are free to create or join such a server. The Legends of Aria Early Access is now available, but how is the game shaping up?

In the Legends of Aria MMORPG, you have over 30 skills at your grasp. You don’t have to restrict yourself to a couple of them, but you can’t be a master of all trades since there is a skill level cap that requires you to keep a watchful eye over your specialties. Some trainers will teach you the basics but evolving requires a lot of experience and grinding. Legends of Aria doesn’t ask you to grind through experience levels as you usually do in theme-park MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, but there is a significant grind to each skill, turning Legends of Aria into a colossal and somewhat tedious time sink.

Selecting your starting character is a biting decision. The choice between Warrior, Mage, Archer, Bard, and Blacksmith isn’t entirely straightforward, because it will greatly impact your overall path. My first option was the Archer, but as soon as I discovered that the arrows come in limited numbers, I was in serious trouble. Would I purchase them with my hard-earned coins, or should I set out to craft them myself? For that, you need to chop down some trees and make the arrows with the Carpentry skill, something that can take quite some time.

I decided to take a step back and go for the Warrior class, but every weapon and piece of gear has a durability factor, so soon I found myself hitting rats with my bare fists. Luckily, I was able to afford a pointy warfork and some protective armor to speed up my progress. Or you can learn blacksmithing and craft your own gear and weapons, it’s up to you.

Legends of Aria Early Access Preview Wyvern Pets

Before starting your journey, a quick trip to the settings page is strongly recommend in order to change movement control to WASD. The default control system feels obtuse and harmful to the experience, with this simple change making a world of difference.

You’ll spend a long time down in the sewers killing spiders, rats and bats, which conveniently drop bags of coins and other items. Bandit camps and graveyards are other relevant grind locations, with non-negligible loot drops from each fallen enemy. Each action that you make rewards you with a minuscule amount of skill experience, so it’s inevitable that you’ll repeat it to exhaustion.

Taming is a crucial skill as it will bring strength in numbers. You start by taming a chicken, but as soon as you can tame giant rats, you are on your way to having your own private army. Five rats will serve as a great aid, damage sponges that divert your enemy as you relentlessly attack without interruptions. However, I’m not a fan of the text commands that you must input in the chat (“all attack”, “all follow”, “all guard” and so on) because it’s not 1997 anymore.

Slashing, Lancing and Archery are skills that improve as you use the respective weapons, while Healing almost comes as second nature. Bandages are your best friend in Legends of Aria, so make sure that you carry a few hundred with you. You read that right, hundreds!

Legends of Aria Early Access Preview Sewer Lord of the Rats

Our House in the Middle of Celador

The sandbox mechanics in Legends of Aria offer you the means to forge your own path. For most players, that path involves the endless grind of the most profitable areas for gold coins and to become a master at a given profession. The logical next step is purchasing or building a house, with the player housing system coming into play.

If you have the necessary currency, you can purchase a land deed and a house blueprint. Welcome to a world of cozy comfort and taxes. To build your house you need to gather the resources as well, so it won’t be a simple task, but when you decide where to settle down, you open a world of possibilities, if by possibilities you mean a marketplace, that is.

You can hire a merchant NPC to sell your crafted goods right next to your house, in the hopes that many adventures happen to go by and fall for your wares. You’ll find countless merchants in the world of Celador trying to make a buck from other players, small cogs in a gigantic machine of player-driven economy. While your initial gear can be purchased from town merchants, the best gear is player-crafted, so you must browse through the merchandise from the hired merchants if you want to make any progress.

Nonetheless, the world feels somewhat empty, without much going on. Apart from the overblown number of merchants and many players assembling at the inn to eat, rest, and bind to the location, there isn’t much going on in terms of excitement. You must create your own stories and that involves using gatekeepers to fast travel to distant regions, grinding and fighting for most of the time.

Legends of Aria Early Access Preview Marketplace

Combat in Legends of Aria is dull and without any sort of in-depth tactical prerequisites. It feels like a means to an end that should be made much more exciting; you sit through it, bandages and healing potions ready to be used, watching as your hero misses half of the swings because that’s how it is meant to be. While you may go for other, more peaceful jobs, everyone will have to fight sooner or later, so this is an area that should be improved.

The enemies don’t show any signs of intelligence, such as bandits failing to notice you as you rub shoulders with them, or haplessly backtracking to their spawn point as soon as you move a few inches away from it. All humans and wild creatures also tend to resort to the same behavior; attack until their health bar is low, then suddenly try a silly escape that never amounts to anything.

Die in protected areas and you’ll lose all your valuable possessions unless they are blessed. You will return in underpants, stripped from your belongings but reinvigorated by the skills that you won’t forget. A few places such as the Barren Lands should be avoided until you feel confident in your skills, as this unguarded area is the place where open PvP unfolds. This is a change from the initial plan of making Legends of Aria a full open PvP sandbox, but it’s a comprehensible decision considering that the frustration of losing your loot can be devastating, especially for new players who won’t have the time to settle in.

Legends of Aria Early Access Preview Bandit Camp

Out of Time

The UI in Legends of Aria is, to put it bluntly, a thing of the past and could do with a major revamp. The character creation system gives you a glimpse of what’s to come, with bland and bad looking buttons straight out of the early noughties. The in-game experience isn’t any better, with a clunky UI that can’t be excused by the simple “it’s old-school” reasoning. While the core mechanics of any game may deliberately feel old-school, the interface should never feel clunky and a chore in some respects.

The backpack is a good example of this. The jumbled mess of superimposed objects that you must rummage through is a weird design decision that in no way improves the standard inventory experience. The object list right below helps slightly, but with dozens of objects to scroll through you’ll soon find yourself longing for a proper, large grid-based inventory. The mini-map and world map are pretty much useless as well (and you have to buy a map for each region), and once again the old-school excuse doesn’t stick in this situation. What kind of joy arises from being unable to zoom in the world map and seeing the previously discovered locations in some detail?

There are other issues showing that Legends of Aria still has a long way to go before an official release. Despite being in development for five years, Legends of Aria lacks polish in many areas, including severe lag issues that make it unplayable. There are also other problems such as floating objects, clipping issues, actions that fail to register such as picking up an item, using a bed at the inn, and more.

Legends of Aria Early Access Preview Graveyard Brawl

Legends of Aria feels like a bittersweet return to the roots of the MMORPG genre. It offers an incredible depth that can be rewarding, but cuts corners in many other parts. The graphics don’t look bad when zoomed out, but character models are utterly outdated, while combat is just present, without any excitement or depth. However, it’s the rare kind of experience that does without the sort of hand-holding that plagues most similar MMOs. You have a world in the palm of your hands that isn’t pushing you to go here or there; you make your own tale, albeit one with many hindrances along the way.

The goal of becoming a spiritual successor to Ultima Online isn’t entirely farfetched, but it feels like Legends of Aria could use a couple of years of additional polish to become a true old-school sandbox MMORPG for the new generation. The big question that remains is if players are going to wait that long for it to happen.

The post Legends of Aria – The World Is Your Marketplace appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Shroud of the Avatar is Now Free to Play

If your instinct regarding Shroud of the Avatar’s free-play features were the game dipping its toes into the monetization water, then you were bang on. Shroud of the Avatar free to play is now a thing with the MMO’s latest release.

shroud of the avatar free to play

Last week’s R59 update officially kicked off the game’s switch to the free-to-play model, which has removed a number of restrictions to trading, land ownership and story progression. “We have removed almost all gameplay restrictions from our free players,” remarks creative director Richard Garriott. “We are thrilled to open up Shroud to a larger audience of gamers.”

The update has also introduced a revamped new user experience meant to teach fresh players the basics in a specific tutorial area called the Isle of Storms, which walls off each section of the zone until players learn and use the specified skills.

Since the tutorial is now its own dedicated region, this lets players choose their own story path independent of their starting deck. This also has led to starting areas that are reportedly more tightly focused in terms of both narrative and gameplay direction.

There’s a whole lot more with the new release as well, so make sure to take some time to look over the patch notes. As is often the case, however, they’re pretty much a small novel’s worth of things to read, so get comfy.

Our Thoughts

Perhaps this will bolster Shroud’s population? It will certainly be interesting to see if this F2P shift means more people take the plunge and check out what this game has to offer.

Source: press release

The post Shroud of the Avatar is Now Free to Play appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Release Date and Details Announced for EverQuest: The Burning Lands

EverQuest: The Burning Lands, the 25th expansion pack for the classic MMORPG, has gotten a bunch of new details since its initial announcement. Namely, a launch date and word of features coming with the expansion.

everquest: the burning lands

The presser touts a number of new features arriving with The Burning Lands, which focuses on a war that has broken out between the djinns of the Plane of Air and the efreeti of the Plane of Fire. Chief among these new updates is a Luck stat that governs a variety of things that happen to your character, from the amount of critical damage you deal to the chance of succeeding a trade skill combine.

The Burning Lands will also introduce six expansion zones for players to discover, which promise to provide “fantastic environments and architecture” as players traverse the plains of Air, Fire and Smoke. There will also be new spells, combat abilities and AAs; new raids and missions; and new Collections to…uh…collect.

The entire thing goes officially live on Tuesday, December 11th. Those who are moved to pre-order can get a variety of in-game items and beta access to the expansion.

Our Thoughts

This new Luck stat certainly will be an interesting one to consider. We’re curious whether this will actually have an appreciable effect on things or will just end up being a throwaway stat. Considering it’s mostly focused on RNG things, we’re willing to bet on the latter.

Source: press release

The post Release Date and Details Announced for EverQuest: The Burning Lands appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Black Desert Online Celebrates 10M Users and Nabs an Award

It appears to be a pretty banner close to 2018 for Black Desert Online. BDO registered users have hit a new milestone while the sandbox MMO’s SEA version has won itself an award for Best MMORPG during an awards show in Thailand.

bdo registered users

The 10 million user milestone will be celebrated in-game with three events that will run for the next three weeks. “The Choice of 10 Million” will start things off, granting players a reward of the newly added Cliff’s Weapons which can be exchanged into Gold Bars.

A login event will also run from Nov 1-14 that will give out goodies like a Shakatu’s Luxury Box, five Artisan’s Memory items, and 50 Advice of Valks items. As for future special events, information on that front should arrive in the coming weeks.

The user count coincides with a win of Best MMORPG of the Year during this year’s Thailand Game Show for the SEA version of BDO — an award that’s come to the title after 10 months of live service in the region.

“On behalf of the Pearl Abyss team, I would like to thank the SEA Adventurers,” said Pearl Abyss head of business Youngchul Ham. “We’ve come to learn and appreciate so much about Southeast Asia during our 10 months of service in the region. We look forward to continually adding more exciting game contents and growing with our Adventurers.”

Our Thoughts

Congratulations certainly are in order for Black Desert Online’s teams. Clearly, the game has snared itself a pretty dedicated group of players and we hope to see that fanbase continue to enjoy itself and the game continue to grow.

Sources: press releases

The post Black Desert Online Celebrates 10M Users and Nabs an Award appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Shroud of the Avatar Officially Launches

It’s been a pretty significant length of time between Kickstarter and now – 52 updates to the game, to be exact – but the wait is finally over for sandbox MMORPG fans. Today marks the official Shroud of the Avatar launch, bringing the game a whole bunch of new stuff as one would expect.

shroud of the avatar launch

R52 of SotA brings the final phases of iteration to the game’s top 10 launch priorities, with specific focus on performance, player direction, enemy behavior, and polish to story and UI. Players can also look forward to some new scenes and scene rebuilds, along with further refinements and balance to combat.

Beyond today’s launch update, players should expect to see monthly updates full of new content, new features and bug squishing. The devs also plan on releasing a Q2 update schedule detailing what each of these releases will bring.

As often is the case with updates to Shroud of the Avatar, the patch notes are extremely detailed, so be sure to grab a very comfy chair and maybe an entire lunch platter and give them a look. There’s also a new launch trailer below.

Our Thoughts

Our sincerest congratulations to the team at Shroud of the Avatar for making it to full release product. We suspect that many of the developers and the players have been eager for this moment to arrive, so we hope the fans enjoy the full launch update and the devs get perhaps a moment to catch their collective breath.

Source: official site

Articles Related to Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Game Page
Shroud of the Avatar Schedules a Final Wipe
Shroud of the Avatar Early Access Trailer

The post Shroud of the Avatar Officially Launches appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Latest Albion Online Dev Video is All About Fishing

With the incoming Lancelot update to Albion Online, players will get to throw out a line and see if they can’t reel in a tasty (or lucrative) catch. In the latest video with game director Robin Henkys, Albion Online fishing is the chief subject, detailing how it works and what layers await those who are ready to start.

albion online fishing

According to Henkys, the idea behind adding fishing is to introduce a fun activity that lets players wind down after their labors in-game while also being deep enough for players to get wrapped up in and integrate neatly into the economy of Albion Online. Examples of such depth for fishing includes a fishing journal for player houses, a fishing Destiny Board, and even a fish boss monster that players can defeat and then craft into a trophy.

From the minigame involved in hooking a fish, to crafting elements, to how much players can fish in a given area, it’s all covered in a nearly 10 minute-long video full of fishy goodness that can be watched below.

Our Thoughts

This definitely isn’t just some tacked on tertiary activity, by the sounds of it. Fishing in Albion Online appears to be a significantly deep system with its own form of progression and benefits. Here’s hoping that the fisher-minded players of this sandbox don’t find themselves locked in battle with a catch and then pounced on by others.

Source: press release

Articles Related to Albion Online

Albion Online’s Lancelot Update Reels In a Release Date
Second Albion Online Expansion Since Launch Announced
Albion Online Review

The post Latest Albion Online Dev Video is All About Fishing appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Old School RuneScape Celebrates its Fifth Birthday

In February of 2013, what started as simply a vanilla server for the nostalgic MMORPG player has grown into its own unique thing. With today marking the Old School RuneScape fifth birthday, fans of the classic-styled sandbox MMO can enjoy another new quest and look forward to new developments from the devs.

old school runescape fifth anniversary

Today’s anniversary update introduces a new adventure for players to enjoy which will see them help Da Vinci with a new painting commission. The reward on offer for completing this adventure is easily one of the more unique ones; the sword that emblazons the game’s logo as an in-game item.

In addition to the new adventure, fans of OSRS can look forward to an all-new Old School RuneScape Twitch channel which will host a five year anniversary show today at 7pm GMT/2pm EST. Fans can also tune in to this channel to watch the Deadman 2018 Spring Final, a 2,000-player PvP brawl for survival with a $20k cash prize on Saturday, March 17th.

Meanwhile, testing for OSRS on mobile appears to be going swimmingly, with senior product manager Mathew Kemp reporting that feedback has been both exciting and helpful. “The feedback so far has more than validated our decision to make the full game available on mobile platforms for new, returning and current players later in the year,” said Kemp.

If you’d like to read more about the anniversary of the game, be sure to check out the official site.

Our Thoughts

Congratulations to Jagex and the devs behind OSRS for five years of growth! Who says an old dog can’t learn some new tricks? We hope that fans of this MMO enjoy the new anniversary adventure and we’re looking forward to further developments from both the PC version and the mobile version soon.

Source: press release

Articles Related to Old School RuneScape

RuneScape and Old School RuneScape Are Coming to MobileRuneScape Mobile Interview with Producer John Colgrave
Old School RuneScape Mod Absolved of Corruption Allegations

The post Old School RuneScape Celebrates its Fifth Birthday appeared first on MMOGames.com.

RuneScape and Old School RuneScape Bring Halloween Events

Happy Halloween, citizens of Gielinor! RuneScape Halloween events are coming to both new and old school flavors of the sandbox MMORPG, with unique and properly spooky events for players of either title.

runescape halloween

For players of RuneScape’s more modern version, you get the Ghost Stories of Gielinor event, a series of tales written both by RuneScape’s devs and players. Players can kick off their ghost story adventure by speaking with the mysterious NPC known simply as Closure. Each completed tale brings a new page collected to a tome, along with a new headless rider cosmetic outfit.

Old School RuneScape players will have to survive the onslaught of the hockey mask-wearing Jonas as he hunts for fresh victims. Participants in OSRS’s Halloween event will get to unlock Jonas’ mask along with a cosmetic item that turns your avatar’s skin into a Zombie Blue color.

Both Halloween events are live right now in either MMORPG.

Our Thoughts

We love a good ghost story, and the fact that RuneScape has some written by players is a nice piece of icing on the spooky Halloween cake. Meanwhile, who doesn’t love to face down a Jason-themed murderer? In either case, it sounds like a good time for RuneScape fans.

Source: press release

Articles Related to RuneScape

RuneFest 2017 Offers Myriad RuneScape Reveals
RuneScape Mobile Interview with Producer John Colgrave
RuneScape Shifts Away from Expansion-Sized Updates

The post RuneScape and Old School RuneScape Bring Halloween Events appeared first on MMOGames.com.