When Diablo first came out it became a hit. The style and dark atomosphere attracted a lot of players. But that isn't all, it also attracted game developers as well. In droves from both when Diablo first got popular, to today, clones of the game trying to attatch to its popularity are boundless. Now, you may ask, why am I mentioning this in a article about a browser mmo? Well, that is quite simple, Fortune Online feels like one of the games that is heavily based off of Diablo. It shares the dark atomosphere, the boundless dungeon exploration in randomly generated dungeons, and more. But on the other hand it also brings some new features to the table that may or may not attract new gamers. As it is now, Fortune Online is in "closed beta". Why the quotes? Well, in this case closed beta is more like open beta, players are free to register and join in the game without the need of a beta key or invite.
Character Creation and classes
Being that you first need to create a character in the game to actually take part, I guess it makes sense to address this first, unless you prefer things to be done in reverse. (but that is just silly) The creation process in the game is fairly simple. You choose your base character, in closed beta only consists of the guardian and warrior classes.(Both gender bound) You then are able to do minor/semi important changes to your character. You can choose the color of their outfit(minor) and then choose a focus for your abilities(major) and a weapon.(minor) Now I know what you may be thinking. Two classes? Pass! But actually the class roster is suppose to be growing in number. So while now you may be limited to two classes, in the future there should be a handful more. From the site the first one to join is a mage character, and the "hidden" one looks like it may be a rogue/archer type class. But beyond that the character creation does feel a bit lacking in the creativity department, but it does get the job done.
Stats and Skills(no witty comment)
The stats and skill distribution is something that is usually talked about often in games that have them. What stats do you put in, why should you do it, are you royally screwed if you do it wrong? Same thing with skills, did you pick the wrong one and are now just screwed over? Actually I didn't feel any pressure for that in this game. The stat distribution is rather simple and explained, you only put points into four different stats, which you are told what they affect, and you get six points to distribute each level. Using my Guardian as an example, I mostly put my points into the hp/def stat and what was left over in attack. (Going with the whole tank/healer idea). I didn't put any in the magical stats, mostly because I seemed to get more of that per level and it was rivaling my hp/def stat. Skills are kind of the same. You get an idea of what they do, and the layout is rather straightforward. On this I do think it is slightly easier to mess up, but on a game like this, there does seem to be room for screwing up, even a bit. On the other hand if you don't feel confident in your choices or would like to change them, it does look like in the future that both stat and skill resets should be possible via the cash shop.
Monsters everywhere, and not a KSer in sight
Okay, so maybe the wording there makes it sound like when you get in the game nobody is playing. In a sense it may feel like that somtimes. Not because of the population, but how the game works. From playing it with a friend, we quickily found out the game works on almost a randomized channel basis. This is because as we went to town to meet eachother, we would more often than not meet others and not eachother. Sometimes re-entereing the area a few times fixed it, other times we needed to use the party fuction and join the other which took some energy.(More on this later). You can still contact people using the chat functions, but this can be annoying at times. Especially when players get dispersed so much you wonder if others play. Luckily thought there does seem to be a somewhat active community. We found this out by using local chat(thinking that it meant for the immediate area) and finding other people responding. (oops)
When you go into a combat area you are either A. alone or B. with a team. The games fighting areas are instances, where you and your group are the only ones able to access this. This is fairly nice since it prevents you from having to fight over monsters you need and ones you just grind on to level. Another nice feature to this is that in the instances even non dungeon ones, the monsters will scale to your level. So as you revisit areas in your travels you will notice that even in the early areas the monsters grow to be the same level as you. This makes the challenge constant but not too taxing. Since you don't need to really worry about running into a baddie that is 10x your level and destroys you in one hit, but if that is your thing, hey, I am not one to judge.(Freak.) All kidding aside, for those of you that do want a bit of a challenge, the dungeons do have a difficulty level. The level is defaulted at normal, goes down to easy, and even up to nightmare. Tried nightmare once, I got killed a few times, and when I did heal fast enough, even with my friend it took us forever to kill one monster. So if you do challege the higher difficulties of the game, I do reccomend taking some buddies to use as meatshield as you run out of the dungeon screaming.
Where's my mana bar?
On to the topic of combat, the actual battle system is somewhat similar to Diablo but is different in a distinct way. Each character seems to have their own way for casting spells and skills. For Guardians for instance, they use a rune system. The runes have a cooldown rate just like the skills, this allows you to keep casting forever as long as your runes are up. Another neat feature of this is the boon system. While casting the runes take shape, when the shapes match you can cast special skills related what symbols matched. For Guardians I experienced boons that allowed me to have a higher rate of healing aoe, strong shields for my team and I, and even a aoe light damage spell which helped me take out several enemies around me. But this rune system isn't for of the characters, the Warrior for example uses a fury system. The more he combos his skills, the more fury points he builds up. these can be used to unleash even more powerful attacks. Overall I find it to be a rather neat system, and unique in that you don't see many games that take the time to create different casting systems for each character classes.
Burnin my Energy
Before diving too much into what is good or bad about the energy system in the game, let me show some of the statistics:
The following actions will deduct a specific amount of
Entering a new dungeon: 50 energy
Accepting a quest: 110 energy
Forging a gem: 25 energy
Breaking a gem: 25 energy
The following actions will return a specific amount of energy:
Gaining a new level: 25 energy
Abandoning a quest: 110 energy
Logged out of character: 42 energy (per hour)
Drinking an energy potion: 500 energy
Now from what you see, energy is used pretty heavily in the game. I have reasons I both love and hate this type of system. The system itself does heavily remind me of Dungeon and Fighters Energy system (Except theirs is just for rooms in dungeons). I love that they have it, because it does have you plan things a bit more, and makes the game more suited for casual gamers. The bad thing however is I think they're a bit too reliant on it. Taking from personal experience again, while playing with my friend, we burned through energy each time way too quickly, most of it being taken just to get quests. Several times we played, we ran out of energy in less than a few hours. Which makes this less of a hardcore game and more of a casual. On a similar note is the mention of an energy potion, I actually haven't seen them in game. I assume that they will be a cash shop item. So those of you that do like the game, want to play it more than casually, do have an option to keep playing past the casual players.
The graphics of the game are actually quite nice. It has a dark atmosphere with clean graphics. The world is well done and does remind me of the days when I did play Diablo, but it does hold its own charm as well. From the backgrounds, to the enemies, and even to the NPCs, it is evident that the developers of the game put a lot of time and effort to make the game look the way it does, and yes that is in a good way. For a browser game it does a great job.
The game does feature its own music and sound effects. This is to be expected, especially being that the game is flash based as oppose to being text based. So this is nothing new. The sound effects do get the job done, but do not sound perfect. (Okay, maybe I am a bit picky) You will hear you character bashing through enemies as you turn them from flesh (or bone) to du----er gold piles. The one thing that is kind of funny is the sounds the warrior makes when attacking. As you attack he will continue to grunt every time he swings his weapon making for both and odd, yet funny experience. I am sure the developers didn't intent for that to happen, but it did.
Can a free player survive?
Now for those of you who don't spend any money on mmos.(Shame on you, even though I do the same thing) With the mentions of item shops you may be wondering how easy it would be for you to survive. It is actually quite easy, but you will be limited. Being that the game isn't out yet, I cannot see what all will be in the cash shop, but through glimpses of the game you can get a general idea. For instance, people are limited to one character slot unless you buy extras. Not a big deal, especially if you have extra email accounts laying around. The inventory is limited unless you pay for extra baggage. This actually isn't too bad either. If you manage your inventory and watch how much you hold in the dungeon, you could still come out with a fair share of loot. Finally the most difficult of the group, the energy system, this one will make it so if you are a free player, you should be a casual player. The energy system saps quickly and will leave you dry before you know it. If you like to casually play, this is no problem, for those who wanted to adventure just a bit more, this will be an issue. Overall, can a free player survive? Yes, and quite easy at that. You just need to manage how much you play and what you do.
Overall the game seems fairly solid and is being executed fairly well, but it could be improved in some aspects. While I love a lot of things about this game, I feel the energy system can be severly crippling. They already offered several ways for real money to be spent, and to take it out on energy as well is a bit much in my opinion. Though this will work, as I mentioned several times before, for the more casual gamer who wants to play a bit every day or week, then put it away for next time. So if you are looking for a casual browser game with a Diablo like feel, give this game a shot.
+ Fun gamplay with a diablo type feel
+Different systems used for each class in terms of how skills and spells are used
+Dungeons offer difficulty making it easy for those who prefer, or offering a challenge for those who seek it.
+Stats distribution isn't overwhelming and should be a good introduction to those who played games that had just a static constant build.
-Channel system in towns and other socialble areas makes the game feel rather empty
-Energy system can be crippling and prevents you from playing for extended periods without paying.
-Character customization is lacking, making you look like most everyone else with the only difference being the coloration you chose for you cloths.
Self Introduction From Author:
|Well I'm a college student who is taking classes to start my own business. What business? Well I am taking the classes to work things out to make a realistic one. As for my gaming "expertise" if you would call it that, I have been gaming longer than I can remember. My parents got me into gaming when I was really small, and I have been with it since. I am more accustomed to essay writing instead of review writing, so if you feel I lack in any of these aspects or see an error I made, feel free to correct me, I always welcome constructive criticism.|
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