5 Hours in SkyForge
Recently released to the public via open beta, Skyforge is a free-to-play action MMORPG created by Russian developer Allods Team (known for Allods Online). The long awaited title has been in development since 2010. The game places heavy emphasis on visceral and responsive combat, attempting to combine the theatrics of AAA action games with the systems and mechanics of free-to-play MMOs.
The game allows its player to "Become a God". Thrust into the shoes of an Immortal, the player is tasked with the protection of their world from the hostilities of some of the more reprobate Gods. Eventually the player discovers the ability to become a God themselves. Reminiscent of other modern action games, Skyforge attempts to break the mold with a unique leveling and class system.
The question is though, does it work?
Skyforge offers its players a myriad of classes -- thirteen to be exact. Each one of them unique in their abilities, however Team Allods has decided to do away with antiquated relics of MMOs past, like alts and re-rolling. Instead Skyforge allows you to create only one character. However the creation tool is robust and you may change your face and gender at anytime in game (first one is free.)
The game utilizes a system dubbed "Prestige". A cumulative sum of your gear, skills, and experience that measures your character's overall strength. Each class -- which you may freely switch between after unlocking -- makes use of a Path of Exile-esque skill "forest" known as the Ascension Atlas
While many may find this sort of system innovative, some may be turned off by the lack of character diversity, and get bored by playing the same character during their entire SkyForge experience. The games class system though is fresh, and climbing the prestige ladder provides enough incentive to continue your godly journey.
The game begins by tossing the player into the role of a solider, defaulting them to the Paladin, a melee sword and shield bearing tank class. A few cutscenes with sketchy animation and sub-par voice acting play before allowing you to take control of your Neo-Roman badass. You guide your toon through a canned instance ending in a confrontation with Death himself.
You are again met with mediocre cutscenes before being prompted to create your character. You'll have your choice between three starting classes. A ranged dps ice flinging mage of awesomeness called the Cryomancer(aka the one I chose), a support class called the Lightbinder, and the class you got a taste of in the intro, the Paladin.
You are then released into the hub world, henceforth from which all your activities will begin. From my playing in the first five hours your activities in Skyforge seem to be separated into two main categories. Open quest areas where you complete 10-20 quests in order to gain gear in turn increasing prestige, and instanced dungeons. Completion of both seems to be required to advance in the game's story quests.
The quest areas seem a bit tedious, as you may be spending upwards of an hour wading through a rather thick assortment of enemies. Most of these quests are conventional and any MMO player, neophyte to expert, will be familiar with them systemically.
In my opinion the dungeons of Skyforge are infinitely more interesting. The fast paced flashy combat lends itself perfectly to the instanced environments. Teaming up with friends to defeat powerful bosses and earn epic new goodies is as satisfying as it is challenging. The game isn't as forgiving at early levels as other similar experiences, almost certainly due to the adjustment period required to adapt to the game's combat.
Have you Played Skyforge Yet?
What about PVP?
Though I never partook, PvP in Sky forge is separated into 2 types. Smaller scale battlegrounds and large scale Pantheon Wars -- or guild battles. You are rewarded for PvP in a similar manner as you are to quests, this gives you an alternative for of advancement in case traditional leveling isn't your forte. And of course the game has ranked play.
The system for monetization in the game seems pretty standard. A premium currency is available to purchase with real money; along with starter packs and collector editions of the game. This currency can be used to buy a little bit of everything, including items required to "level up" your character. The game also has a monthly subscription service that increases your quest rewards, in turn increasing your leveling speed.
Overall the model doesn't seem overly unfair or restrictive, and is one of the better free-to-play systems I've experienced.
+ Fast paced engaging combat
- Tedious Quest planets
+ Excellent graphics
- Too few starting classes
+Innovative leveling system
- Only a single character
+ Stellar Dungeons
The game held my attention. The graphics, animation, and sound design are all satisfying. The classes are unique enough, however I dislike only having three options in the beginning. Returning to the hubworld and seeing the same sights gets a bit tiresome, and the tedium of the quest planets can be a bit of a turn off. However if you are an MMO fan who is sick of conventional tab targeting grind fests, I recommend giving Skyforge a try. It could easily dig it's divine hooks into you.