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Gaming Review: Wakfu

2 Feb

Those of you who keep up-to-date with Square-Enix may have already heard about one of the new projects for the MMORPG Gaming World: Wakfu.

Wakfu is a tactical online turn based MMORPG that is cross branded with Square-Enix and French gaming company Ankama Games. With the date of the official release recently announced, I decided that I would review this game based on my own experiences as a player during Wakfu’s Closed Beta Stages.

NOTE: I will be reviewing the setup of the game based on my game play experiences during closed beta. I will not take into account any of the bugs and other comment mishaps that occur during the beta process, as these issues are usually worked out before official release.

Wakfu is more or less a continuation of Ankama’s very successful Dofus game. The store goes that the World Of Twelve was devastated by a large catastrophe, and 1000 years later, the races once again come together to try and rebuild what is left. As such, all of the characters from Dofus return, most of them with a completely new design. Many familiar locations also return but are changed by the great floods and earthquakes that shook the world.

As far as graphics go, Wakfu is very pleasing to the eye. The scenery and locations are beautifully designed and the inclusion of weather patterns and day/night cycles is also a wonderful addition. The battle system has also been upgraded and holds an interesting feature that a player is granted all of their spells early in the game, and the strength of such spells grow as they are used. The profession system has also evolved greatly from it’s Dofu’ predecessor. Players are now allowed to hold as many professions as they want with out the need of being limited by a previous professions level before you can obtain a new one.

The New World of Twelve in Wakfu is primarily user run. All three city states in the game are controlled by a Governor which is a player elected by other users. This Governor then has control over taxes, certain resources, weather patterns and can decide whether or not to go to war with other nations. This is an interesting concept, but I have found it to be rather tiresome as it can often lead to two rival guild who are feuding with to bring in the entire nation and other players into the battle unwillingly. More often then not will a player get elected as Governor of a nation and randomly decide to go to war with everyone else just for the hell of it. If you are a member of another nation trapped in said nation when this happens, you immediately are branded as an Outlaw and Enemy of the State are free for people to attack you.  Also, with each nation having resources that are unique to that area, it can be a rather pain when you need items from a nation that is constantly at war.

Also, another thing to be noted is that one can only travel between nations with the help of the Gunpowder item which can only be created by professionals of a high level in Woodcutting, Alchemy and Farming. Gunpowder is always in high demand and can create a problem with resource depletion in a given area. Which brings me to another interesting little feature…

The Ecosystem.

As I said before, the World of Twelve in Wakfu is mostly user run. This also includes the ecosystem. If you hunt an animal, it is gone and will not come back. If you cut a tree, a new one will not grow in its place automatically. Unless a particular resource is renewed by the player, it will be depleted to the point of extinction. While this is an interesting and fascination concept for an MMORPG, it is not with out it’s problems. With the political problems that can arise from nations at war, (or even people and guilds who feel like being assholes), it is not uncommon for enemies of nation to come over, harvest all your items and then leave with out replanting them. Now that leaves you with limited supply, high demand and someone else with leverage and monopoly. Other people simply don’t care about replanting and take what they want, leaving nothing for the person who comes after. This can be very aggravating when all you wanted to do was cut a few trees and now have to spend hours replanting them just enough to get the levels back up so you can cut them safely. Gods forbid if more people come and cut more while you are trying to plant, leaving all your hard work for naught.

A third interesting factor is that enemies do not drop gold (known in Wakfu as Kamas) as in Dofus and other games. If you want currency, you have to make it yourself. That’s right, you have to go mine the ore and then mint it. 10 iron for 1 kama. This can be a very very VERY time consuming process. While this does keep prices low in the user run marketplace, prices are so low because people have to work so hard to get so little money. Half of your time playing Wakfu will be used crafting items to sell or making money to buy items you want to wear.

Last but not least, comes the last little point I would like to make. Wakfu would be a great and wonderful game that I would highly recommend if it was just not for one little flaw…

..There is no central storyline or quests.

That’s right. You read that correctly. Wakfu is just one great big giant sandbox game. While tend to highly enjoy sandbox games, Wakfu takes it to an all new level. You have no NPC quests or objectives; your objective is to simply exists. Fighting monsters, growing plants, mining ore and crafting items…that is your objective. Nothing else. After a while, you eventually get to the point were you say to yourself “What the hell am I playing this for? I’m doing the same thing over and over. I have nothing better to do.”
If Wakfu had some kind of central storyline or something that you can work towards, it would truly be a great game! Unfortunately, I don’t care to spend what little free time I have, mining ore for 1 measly kama.

Pros:

  • Beautiful Graphics and Music Score.
  • Easy Interface.
  • Evolving Battle System.
  • Opportunity to have a Citizenship Rank.
  • Improved PVP Combat.

Cons:

  • Drama between nations can be unsettling.
  • Currently no way to trade between characters on same account.
  • No central storyline or NPC Quests.
  • Limited Character Customizing options unlike Dofus.
  • Taking care of the ecosystem can be tiring.

Closing Remarks: The world of Wakfu is a beautiful one. If you want to immerse yourself in it, I would suggest skipping the game and watching Wakfu: The Animated Series.  You have the same stunning graphics, memorable characters; everything Wakfu the game has but also with a good storyline. Wakfu: The Animated Series is currently only available in French but plans to dub it in English are in the works. With a little hunting, you may also be able to find it on the internet with English subtitles.

EDIT: For those of you who are interested, Wakfu will be officially released on February 29th, 2012. Wakfu will be a Pay-to-Play game with VERY VERY limited access for free players. Unlike Dofus which at least gave you an opportunity to experience most of the benefits that are provided to P2P Players, Wakfu limits free players even more by hardly letting them do anything except fighting in starting areas. Currency is even unavailable.
See the benefits (or the fails) for yourself.  As far as the cost of a subscription; it is minimal so it doesn’t hurt to try out at least a month of full playing if you are interested in the game. However, I would not recommend going that long unless you are a serious fan of sandbox games or enjoy the time you have spent playing already.

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