[VIN] Vindictus in the News 2
If after reading all this you still think that any other F2P MMO is better than Vindictus then I suggest that you pick up your computer and push it somewhere else.
It’s a special time in the life of the MMOG genre. We’re seeing games getting bigger. They’re growing hair in areas where there used to be no hair. They’re paying more attention to how they look. They’re constantly thinking about other games and how to impress or one-up them. That’s right; our MMOGs have hit puberty and Vindictus by Nexon is one of the first games of the season to start showing signs of the magical journey to MMO adulthood. It’s exciting, inspired, and unique. But, as one might expect during this stage in life, the Celtic inspired game also suffers from a dose of awkwardness.
When I first loaded the game during its current beta phase and played through the brief introduction sequence I was excited. First and foremost, the combat is a welcome gift. The action-based battles are sophisticated in their simplicity and it was impossible not to be impressed. I’ve never truly been a fan of the click-target whack-a-mole interface that we have seen over and over again since 2004, so breaking away from the tired norm was undoubtedly the highlight of the Vindictus experience. Since the combat is all about action, the interface remains clean and you can actually watch what happens on the entire screen instead of the small section of the UI that, in other games, houses the ability and spell hotkeys.
Not only is the combat a joy to watch, it’s also great fun to play. A left click will perform a regular attack and a right click will perform a smash, or more powerful attack. “E” will grab enemies, “F” will throw a secondary weapon, and “R” will kick. That’s it, that’s all. The controls are so simple and intuitive that any gamer will feel right at home within seconds. With these five attacks plus a block/dodge with the space bar you are able to perform amazing combos that will have your blood pumping. In no time you’ll be painting your face blue and yelling “FREEDOM!” Grab your foe by the throat, flip them backwards, and toss them into other oncoming enemies. Slash them thrice, jab once, and spin kick them into a wall. Or, keep it simple, and kick them through a railing and send them plummeting to their deaths. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it looks and feels great.
Kick your enemies into walls in Vindictus
The introductory sequence has more up its sleeve too. The story is immediately captivating and well executed. It’s a fairly simple story but it is brought to life with spot-on voice acting and an incredible soundtrack. Even more impressive is Nexon’s ability to strike an emotional chord during the brief intro. Without spoiling the story, I will say that despite a minor screen jitter during some of the cutscenes, the experience was one of the very rare occasions in an MMOG that I’ve felt an emotional connection to the characters and story in such a brief period of time.
The introduction to the game is an incredible one. Simply put, it’s unforgettable. And that is why it feels so tragic when you finish the introduction and begin the actual game. The fun and excitement is abruptly put on hold as you enter into the city for the first time. You’re suddenly faced with a lot of foreign elements which may have you considering a reroll just to go back to the fun you had during the intro. The combat is fluid and intuitive, but the experience outside battles is anything but.
Perhaps Nexon reached a little too far outside the box when developing the game. Running around town, trying to find and make sense of the quests, learning the difference between AP and BP as well as the difference between battles and regular dungeon runs, trying to understand the role of titles, figuring out how to learn skills, not to mention how to craft and where to get materials to craft–it’s all a very steep learning curve. As soon as I was in town and talking to my first few NPCs my thoughts were simply: “What the hell is going on?” There were new elements popping up in my UI and I had no idea what any of it meant. So I simply followed the green arrow in hopes that it would lead me in the right direction. Thankfully, it did… somewhat. The arrow brought me to the docks, where I could start my first instance. Unfortunately though, even that interface was a little confusing. I found myself madly clicking buttons in various windows trying to just get the whole thing started.
Fair is fair, and there can be no denying that the player experience hits a definite wall upon first entry into the city. That being said, with a little patience and persistence to read absolutely everything that pops up onto your screen, including hovering over menu buttons and window elements, eventually it will all start to make sense and once you can make sense of everything the fun comes back into the game. This interruption really destroys the flow of the game. Everything starts off intuitive, simple and fun, and then having to spend a good hour or two to attempt to make sense of the rest of the mechanics greatly disrupts the flow of what could otherwise be an incredible gaming experience from start to finish.
Overcoming that sizable hurdle will allow you to enjoy the game. From there you’ll enter into instances to complete quests and attain goals. As you run through these rather fun instances you’ll acquire items that can either be used for quests or crafting. You’ll be able to unlock titles which will give you more stats (no, you don’t have to use the title to gain the stat benefits). Completing instances will give you experience, coin and Action Points. Action Points can be used to level up your skills which range from more powerful defensive abilities to wicked cool combos.
The instances are the real meat of the game. All of the fun combat is experienced during the instances. There is no other MMO game currently that offers the kind of adrenaline-infused action Vindictus dungeons offer. Hurl your enemies into stone pillars, smashing them to bits. Pick up the pieces of stone debris and throw them at more enemies. Throw a bomb at a wooden tower, and watch it all come crumbling down on top of other baddies. Stumble over a tripwire and try to dodge the giant spiked log trap that you triggered. That’s just good gaming.
Similar to Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited or Guild Wars, Vindictus uses a hub system. Inside the city you’ll be able to meet and group with other players and bring them with you into the instances. So while the game doesn’t focus on massive world exploration, it does offer social tools to enjoy a community.
The final blows to end combat
The graphics in Vindictus are nicely rendered. During my play sessions I did not run across anything visually that made my jaw drop, but nor did I cringe at poor models or animations. The graphics are solid and the animations are fluid. The design is successful in setting an appropriate mood for both the town areas and the instances. It’s also commendable that Nexon has been able to provide so many options in the combat arena without it ever feeling too cluttered or busy. You can perform great combat arts, and more importantly, you can tell exactly what it is you’re doing. There was a possibility that things could become too hectic to be able to make out what’s happening on screen, but that never happens, and you’re able to enjoy every slash and jab.
The game’s performance was a non-issue for me. Nor did any of the friends I played with have any issues. Occasionally, though, there are some performance related complaints in the game or on the forums but it seems that for the most part the game is playable on a wide array of specs.
Overall, Vindictus has a lot of fun in store for gamers but it’s hard to ignore its awkwardness in several areas. Call them growing pangs, but the potential tragedy here is that many may not be able to push through the overwhelming learning curve so early in the game. Those who can though, are sure to find a rewarding unique experience. Killing is fun. Doing it with style is epic. Those moments during the game when you stop abruptly and ask your group mate: “Did you just do what I think you did?” are what makes this game truly memorable.
Vindictus is currently in beta and set to launch later this year.
Please note that these are in no particular order and I’ve played all of these and Allods and Aika don’t compare to Vindictus.
On a budget? Still want to experience the popular social gaming that is MMORPGs? Well thanks in part to the rise of popular free games such as Farmville on Facebook, gamers are now able to do this. Companies are putting much more time into producing free to play games nowadays, and us gamers are benefiting greatly.
Within the last couple years there have been many high quality free MMORPGs that not only look great but also play just as well. Here are 3 of the best looking MMOs for 2010:
Allods Online is a unique MMO which twists Sci-Fi elements into a fantasy world. Storyline is one of this games main focuses, unlike many other games of this genre which makes it quite interesting. The graphical style used is similar to that of World of Warcraft but gameplay aspects fall more toward the likes of Warhammer Online. The game features 8 playable classes, to go along with its 6 character races.
Vindictus is a fast paced action MMO that was developed using Valves Source engine. The game has realistic graphics and very high production values complete with cinematics and a user friendly user interface. Currently the game is only in its beta stage but quite a few invite keys have been given out recently.
Aika is described by many to be the absolute best free MMO there is. It is a Fantasy MMORPG with breathtaking visuals and very strong player versus player (PvP) content. Players can engage in Realm vs. Realm battles that involve up to 2000 people! Combine this with gameplay that is addictive and fun and you could possibly have your new favourite online game.
About The Author
Carmine Grossi has been an avid gamer for years and has recently decided to put his gaming expertise to use by writing articles giving tips, information, and ideas on many of the most talked about topics in industry.
Preface: The marketplace is where players put their items up for sale (set price, set time). The said item is taken from their inventory and placed in the Item Server for the duration of the sale; either the buyer takes ownership or the seller takes it back (at any time before someone buys it); in either situation, the item is mailed to them.
I was cooking earlier today and I heard Rho and Pearz in the other room.
Rho: “My sword looks cooler than yours!”
Pearz: “No wai~ My sword is so much cooler!”
R: “Mine is blacker! That’s win!”
P: “You’re blind! My sword’s a better black!”
(That’s how I assume the conversation went. I wasn’t paying that much attention.)
The marketplace allows the buyer to see swatches of the main 3 colours in the gear for sale; this is a feature that can’t be found anywhere else in the game (other than, you know, looking at the item on someone else). This information allows Rho’s next suggestion to make some kind of sense.
R: “Yeah, okay, fine! Let’s put it up on the marketplace for like 10mil [so no one else buys it] and then we can see!”
P: “Yeah! Let’s do that!”
(Some time passes in between. I’m done cooking.)
R: “Oh, okay. My sword is a dark kind of purple. Yours is a grey or something.”
P: “Told you~”
R: “Yeah, yeah.”
Aaro: “Did you really put those swords in the marketplace?”
R: “Yeah, for 10mil.”
A: “…you guys know that there’s a 2% fee on it?”
R: “…liar. You lie.”
P: “…we’re never getting our swords back.”
For reference, I’m carrying about 250k on me; I see that Rho has about 130k. I’m too lazy to check how much Pearz has; at the least, not 200k to drop on rebuying her own sword. These things cost about 8k+mats to craft, and are selling on the marketplace for 49k. (Yes, some people have a few million and more, but that’s another story.)
By Jason Van Horn
Most of the time MMOs find me more than I find them. Someone will drop me an email to see if I’d be interested in checking a game out, which I always seem to agree to because A) it’s a new game to try and people might be interested in reading about it, and B) there’s always the chance I’ll stumble upon a gem that I don’t instantly delete from my computer as soon as I’m done covering it for the time being. In the case of Vindictus, however, it ended up being a game I actively sought out, as a trailer floating around for the game really struck me as something new and exciting. After getting to spend some quality time with the game, it’s so far ended up being everything I hoped and more.
Currently players can choose to play as one of two characters: Lann or Fiona (with more scheduled to come). Lann is more for those players who like flashy, quick kills using a weapon in each hand, while Fiona is a sword and shield user who chooses to block incoming hits instead of quickly dashing and dodging to the side like Lann. Unlike some games where players choose a pre-made character instead of choosing a class, Vindictus actually lets you customize the character to a degree. You’re still stuck with the sex of a character, but you can change things like their face, hairstyle, hair color, skin color, etc.
Players start by participating in the game’s opening prologue, which sees their character as a new recruit, who has been tasked with helping a beautiful, young oracle who is trying to quell the anger of the local guardian who is rampaging a bell tower. Oh yeah, the guardian in question is a giant white spider! As you climb up the tower, you’ll learn how to fight enemies, gather items, and survive the upcoming adventure. The prologue is a great tutorial, but beyond that it’s also very cinematic, feels epic in its scope, and sets the stage for what’s to come.
Though the core fighting mechanics are shared between the two characters, there’s definitely a big difference when it comes to how they handle and fight. Lann is great at taking on multiple enemies at once, but doing so can leave him vulnerable to attacks. Fiona can handle multiple enemies, but she does better at smaller battles, choosing to pickoff one or two enemies at a time, but excelling in one-on-one fights. I chose to go with Fiona, as I’ve always been a fan of using shields, but I made sure to use Lann some for the purposes of this article. Switching from Fiona to Lann is initially jarring, as you have to relearn combos and when to properly use which one; making a jump such as this goes a long way towards showing how different these characters really are.
Players can choose to use the mouse or keyboard method of controls, but personally I preferred the mouse and keyboard mode, as it leans more towards a traditional first-person shooter type control scheme. Using mouse mode, players control the direction of their character by using the standard WASD keys, while the mouse is used to position your character and face them in the direction you wish to attack. The only downfall to this method is that you have to use the Alt-key in certain situations in order to interact with some menus and buttons. Players will also use the E-key to interact with and collect some items, while the F-key is used for secondary weapons. An example of a secondary weapon would be a spear, which you can automatically or manually throw depending on whether you hold the key down or not, and a successful hit can temporarily stun and immobilize an enemy.
Attacks are primarily confined to clicks of the left and right mouse buttons, with left-clicks being light, chainable attacks, while the right-clicks are for strong attacks to end a left-click combo. For example, a left, left, right combo will be different than a left, right combo. Furthermore, as you advance in levels and learn new skills, you learn new ways in which you can attack opponents. Left, left, left, right after learning a specific skill will suddenly allow you to chain an extra right-click strong attack to the end of the first one. It may seem like a minor change, but it actually really affects how effective you are in combat. Players can also perform grapple holds by getting close to an enemy and pressing the E-key, which, depending on where you and the enemy are in relation to structures and other characters, can result in different takedowns. Grappling near a wall will cause you to slam them against it for a strike, while grappling and attacking with other enemies nearby often leads to the character kicking them into the ones behind them so that they all suffer damage.
Quests are handled within the hub city of the game, which is a little village featuring all the various shops you could want. It’s a relatively small hub city, which to me is actually a good idea, as it allows the player to quickly run around, grab what they need, update quests, and then head back out for adventure. The basic idea is that players will go into a shop where a quest is being handled, talk to the NPC attached to the quest, and then choose the right dialogue or menu option in order to get the quest. Quests range from things such as bringing a character a specific hide, finding them a ring, or outright beating a dungeon (or beating a dungeon by meeting certain requirements). By completing quests, you can earn money, equipment, items, and even get titles (equip them in order to get their stat bonuses like extra strength attributes).
Grouping is handled in a different way as well, as dungeons are all instances that you have to take a boat to in order to participate in them. Basically, you either go to the docks and find someone who has a ship ready that’s heading for the same place you are, or either you start a ship, say how many players you want, and then leave once it’s full. You can even choose to do the dungeons by yourself, and if you so choose that way, you can tweak them in order to maximize risk and reward, such as increasing the difficulty level of a mission. You can also choose to take on one of several challenges, which rewards you with more points to spend towards the training of your abilities; these challenges range from not get incapacitated more than so many times to completing a dungeon with less than two or three players to finishing the dungeon within a certain amount of time.
Early dungeons have similarities between them, but there are differences to be seen. For instance, some dungeons have traps like rolling pillars of doom, while others have swinging poles of death that drop down once you trip the wire attached to it. The thing most impressive about the dungeons is the amount of things that can be destroyed, which really gives you the feeling that this is a living, breathing world. When going against a nasty boss, he was constantly swinging for the fences with his giant mace. Whenever the creature got too close to a pillar, his attacks would crash into it, causing it to fall apart and litter the ground with debris. Of course there’s a ton of pots and barrels you can smash for the hell of it, but the accidental destruction like the boss destroying the pillar with one of his own moves is the most engrossing little detail.
In fact, whether it’s a detail such as a pillar being able to be destroyed, the environments themselves, or the character and enemy models, the most impressive thing about the game is how stunningly beautiful it is. While playing the game, I was even able to fool someone into thinking it was a PS3 title that’s how good the game looks when running at the best settings. The guardian spider has tiny fuzzy fibers. The hyena looking creatures actually look like furry half human/half hyena monstrosities. The player characters, weapons, and armor are also equally great. Besides looking amazing, the action is fluid and nary a drop in the framerate was anywhere to be seen. When I’m attacking three enemies at once with a whirling dervish of moves and columns and pots are shattering and realistically clattering around me, I’m constantly impressed when the game can manage to stay running smoothly and not see a drop in the overall quality not one single bit.
I think one of the best praises I can give the game at this moment is that while I should be trying to raise my rank in Halo: Reach multiplayer or level-up my paladin in World of Warcraft to the level cap before the new expansion is released, I find myself all too often putting those games on the backburner so that I can jump aboard one more ship within Vindictus just to see what else this game has to offer. The game is beautiful, the combat is a blast and highly responsive, and to put it bluntly I just can’t get enough.
Vindictus is currently in its early access beta portion of the game, so if you can’t get in right away, be patient, because it shouldn’t be long until it’s open for everyone to try. And trust me when I say you should be queuing this game up for download as soon as possible. I’ve been blown away so far and can’t wait to see what else is to come.