MMO spotlight-Elsword Online
Hello again, internet! Welcome to another blog from this guy! Today, We won't be doing the usual Tips N' Tricks posts. We'll, in fact, be going into something that has grown over time, and brought much more popularity with the passing time. We're going to be looking into different MMO's. MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) refers to a game that is played online, all the time. Players band together to complete quests, battle in PVP (Player Vs. Player) arenas, duels, and several other online features, however, the player can still play on their own, it's just not as encouraged as getting murdered by an over-equipped stranger.
If you immediately assumed that I'm talking about World of Warcraft, but went on because you wanted confirmation, It's a good thing you read on. WOW (World of Warcraft) may be the biggest example of an MMO. More specifically, an MMORPG (RPG = Role-Playing Game. Get used to acronyms if you want to get into the MMO world.) But, as far as MMO games go, It hardly sets the standard for all of them, only because there is so much variety which comes with the term. We have first person shooters, real-time strategy, arcade beat em' ups, and tons more. WOW covers the standard for what a good MMORPG is like, but it hardly does so for the many other varieties of online video games.
Elsword, a gamed developed by Kill3r Combo (it's spelled that way, I promise) inspired by the manga series of the same name, Is a wonderful example of what MMO's can do. You choose one of six characters, each with different strengths and weaknesses. There's Elsword, who is focused on close combat, Aisha, who focuses on spells for the bulk of her damage output. Rena, who uses powerful kicks and a bow to dish out tough ranged attacks, and Raven, whose mechanical arm can create powerful explosions (he's also got a faster, but smaller sword than Elsword) also add to the bunch. Then there's Eve, who uses her two deceptively cute drones to tear enemies apart, and Chung, who features a powerful Berserker mode, and pummels and blasts enemies with a cannon that's even bigger than he is (essentially, it's an oversized bazooka.)
At first, the character customization seems limited, but as you get into the game, you find opportunities and quests to find tons of different outfits, clothes, hairstyles, hats, and other things. Not only that, you can pay real money for different appearance based items, as well as other things that manage to make you want to buy them, but don't make it so you have to. There are even events where you can earn cool items just by finding a certain item, or completing a quest. You really feel like you can customize your character as you please, which is good considering one (as of yet) unmentioned detail. This game isn't really an RPG. This is important, because it's a prime example of a quality MMO with little relation to something as cliché as World of Warcraft.
This MMO is, in its most basic form, a side scrolling beat em' up. It's done so well, however, that you don't notice many different elements of it until you thoroughly analyze it, which many do. It has several RPG elements, and they can have an adverse effect on the core gameplay, but you find yourself having the most fun when you get into the dungeons. Don't worry, everyone, you can play dungeons alone.
One thing you immediately notice in this game is that It's different from other side scrolling beat em' ups. The characters are 3d rendered on a 2d plane, similarly to Kirby64. I'm not sure if this is a major factor, but the game can run on some pretty old pc's. I have an old dell dimension desktop with an equally old Nvidia Geforce graphics card. I can still run the game rather smoothly on my old dinosaur.It also has controller compatibility. You can plug any usb controller into your computer, or get one of those windows wireless receivers, and use your xbox360 controller. You can even find adapters to turn your N64, Sony Playstation, or even Gamecube controllers into a usb controller, and Elsword works with them.
There are some lesser qualities about this game. It's not the most advanced thing ever in the graphics department. Also, you don't really feel challenged until much later on in the game. And then there is this blue meter below your experience bar, called your "Stamina." if it gets too low, you can't enter any dungeons. It just seems unnecessary in this game, considering the main focus of the gameplay is dungeon running. It's unfair how the biggest customizations are seen in the “K-ching” market. Most of your hair and more fun accessories need to be purchased with real money. This seems gimmicky when you observe the game from within.
The game does, however, has an interesting feel to it, like it's not an online game at all. This is especially true if you have a USB controller in your hands. Even console gamers can get into this one, just by the feel of it. In fact, it'd be a wonderful Idea if Kill3r Combo were to make a console version for an MMO like this, especially with what consoles today can do. Granted, Pc's do still have the power on them, but let's look at this from their perspective. Let's look at the PS4, which features a touchpad on the controller, and a share button for facebook and other social networks. Imagine having access to your best items and abilities with nothing more than a swipe or tap of the touchpad? Even more so, imagine how easily you could show off to your friends how awesome you did in a particularly hard dungeon. Again, you can still do all of these things on the PC. My question is this: Why not bring it to consoles? Companies could make even more money from their PC exclusives. I know, many games not designed for a console have lackluster reception, but look at Elsword specifically. If it can run on the old dinosaur that types these blogs, why couldn't it run on a more advanced console such as the PS3, PS4, or any other console of the current two gens? Except for (maybe) the original Wii, they could look great, and feel great.
I'll admit, though. Not every MMO would be comfortable on a console. Going back a bit, World of Warcraft is a prime example. Many of the functions are within menus, and menus, and more menus. This would undoubtedly feel out of place with a console, and many other games would have something similar. Or I could even be wrong about that. Maybe a touchscreen is exactly what we need to bring MMO's to consoles. It's there with it's pros and cons, is what I should be saying. On the one hand, it's be a fresh idea coming into the video game realm, which was starting to get stale, in my opinion. On the other hand, it probably wouldn't be easy, and might not be fitting for a console. But I will say this. In the case of Elsword, it feels as much like a console game as it does a PC game, or an MMO for that matter.
Well, I think that's enough for now. Wednesday I'll be going back to the usual reviews, and if people like this enough, I'll do it again sometime! But, for now, let's focus on what is certain. In this case, Crash of the Titans for the Wii. Crash deserves much more attention than he actually gets, but we'll save that for Wednesday. In the meantime, see you guys soon!