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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.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Tournament

6 Jan

When people think of Tabletop Gaming, they automatically get visions of nerds dressed in cloaks and pointy hats while gathered around a session of Dungeons and Dragons. However, Tabletop gaming is a classic and under appreciated art form that has been tossed aside to give way to more dominate game forms such as sports and video games. There are many different types of tabletop gaming aside from Dungeons and Dragons including Trading Card Games (such as Magic the Gathering) and classic tile games such as Mahjong.

To help support and encourage fans of Table Top gaming, OkamiCon will have a special area in the hall dedicated to specially hosted Trading Card Tournaments and free play for any table top gaming fan young or old.

Online Registration for all Tournaments will open January 15th, 2012.
All Tournaments are free to enter and Prizes will be awarded.

———————————————————————————-

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Tournament
Dust off your decks Duelist! You finally now have a place to come and desk your skills once again, against fellow and likeminded people like yourself! OkamiCon will be holding its Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Tournament in the tabletop gaming area on the day of the event. Prizes will be awarded to the top three reigning champions!

Tournament Details:
The Tournament will be held using Traditional Deck Format.
– The Tournament rules will follow the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Official Rulebook Version 8.0 English Edition.
– You can only have 1 copy maximum of a “Limited” card in your Main Deck, Extra Deck, and Side Deck combined.
– You can only have 2 copies maximum of a “Semi-limited” card in your Main Deck, Extra Deck, and Side Deck combined.

*A minimum of six (6) registered players are required for the tournament to start. If the minimum is not met before tournament start, the tournament will be canceled and replaced with “Free Play.”

Player Resources:
Limited and Forbidden Card ListUpdated 8/18/11
Official Rulebook Version 8.0 English Edition

Leave Your Legacy: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

14 Nov

Greetings Fellow Assassins! Here is part two of my personal reviews of the Assassin’s Creed Series! For all you new readers just joining us, I will be posting a new article everyday on the AC series in honor of the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations release coming out on Tuesday, November 15th.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood picks up exactly where ACII left off. Exactly! As in you take control of our previous hero Ezio Auditory right where you left him. Finally, you get the chance to start a game with a totally bad ass character with all of his abilities and functions all intact…

…until you loose them all and have to start over from the beginning…yeah…we all knew it was too good to be true… It is also recommended that you have experience with the controls from the previous titles otherwise you are going to be lumbering your way through the very first mission. Even though the first mission is extremely easy, it only gives a quick rash course for new players which can make things just a little frustrating.

ACB is not nearly as refined and elegant as it’s predecessor, ACII. It feels as if the developers focused more on the new muliplayer aspect of them game than the single player side. In all reality, single player is actually a short experience if you play through only the main memory missions. The rest of the hours you use to waste your life away will be on side missions, hidden locations, guild challenges, treasure hunting, and a bunch of other useless filler stuff to distract you from the fact there are really only 9 memory sequences (versus the 13 sequences in ACII). The missions themselves (including the main missions) are mundane and have a tendency to all run together.  There is nothing much in the way of story line or character development as in the entire goal is to defeat the Borgia and liberate Rome. That is it…oh and to rebuild Rome…and saving courtesan, helping thieves, destroying warm machines, killing dog men and a bunch of other useless crap.

The graphics are the same as ACII on all accounts. Because the game is entirely set in Rome (with the exception of a few side quest) there is little variety in the landscaping and things have a tenancy to blur together more than they did before. Background music also ends up being sub par. The same musical score they use in Brotherhood, they also use in the Facebook Game, AC: Project Legacy. It is GREAT music for Project Legacy, however, for a console game, they could have done much more and it seems recycled for those who have played both. I also morn the definite lack of Leonardo Da Vinci even if he does get his own DLC add on.

Despite all of these flaws, there are a few things that I do enjoy about ACB. Ezio is given a mess load of new gadgets, including the CrossBow (kill your enemies silently from a distance!), poison darts (watch guards do the dying dance, from a distance!), and Assassins Recruits (let your lackeys do your dirty work while you watch…from a distance!). Because Rome is so vast, you now have the option to cover more ground by the use of horses. This also brings quite a bit of fun in charging through crowds while on horse back and playing your own version of Grand Thief Equestrian. However, after hours of doing such tasks you suddenly remember that you actually have a main memory to complete even after you have done what seems like a million other side memories, quests, hidden locations, treasure chest hunting, reopening stores, stealing treasures, beating up people and a bunch of useless other crap.

At least multiplayer is interesting and wonderfully entertaining. I promise you, you will probably send more of your  gaming hours playing through multiplayer than you will actually playing the single player game. It’s much more exciting then saving courtesan, helping thieves, destroying warm machines, killing dog men…etc.

Leave Your Legacy: Assassin’s Creed II

13 Nov

Greetings Fellow Assassins! Here is part two of my personal reviews of the Assassin’s Creed Series! For all you new readers just joining us, I will be posting a new article everyday on the AC series in honor of the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations release coming out on Tuesday, November 15th.

Assassin’s Creed II begins roughly were ACI left off. Desmond Miles escapes from his Absergo captors and finds some solace with his fellow assassins and their own hacked version of the Animus which is nicknamed ‘Baby’. However, instead of running around in the slums of 12th Century Middle East, we now get to explore the beautiful landscape and rich historic culture of Renaissance Italy. Our new Assassin Hero is young noble man Ezio Auditore who is thrust unwillingly into his new occupation when his father and brothers are slaughter at the hands of the Templars. Now he is moved forward by his thirst for revenge against those who have done his family wrong.


The graphics are not nearly as painstakingly detailed as they were in the original AC. However, the characters infused with emotional expressions and better movement rigging then they were before. Environmental interaction and crowd animations have been vastly improved. You now have bars to swing from, free-run markers and the ability to swim. People on the streets sneeze, cough, work on building maintenance and continue to comment on how silly you look climbing up walls. You can now interact with the general populous by pickpocketing everyone and blending with crowds. There is now also the addition of a monetary system, allowing you to purchase weapon and armor upgrades, change the color of your clothes and see a doctor. Because money is now an important necessity, developers have finally given us the ability to loot the dead bodies of guards for items and wealth!

Above all, the most impressive addition to the game is the arsenal of new weapons and gadgets, provided courtesy of Leonardo Da Vinci. A Humming Bird (Hidden) Pistol, Poison Blade, Smoke Bombs and most of all…the Double Hidden Blade. You will never know how you killed your targets before, once you get the taste for the Double Hidden Blade. Two guards for the price of one has never been so much fun. Also killing people from a safe distance with the Hidden Pistol or making them do the ‘dying dance’ with Poison Blade just makes things all in good fun. 
The musical score for ACII fits the beautiful landscape and time of Renaissance Italy.  Like the music in ACI, you will want to continue being chanced, just so you may use the chase music, or just mosey around Florence, enjoying the sights and music while looting treasure chests.  Each location you visit during your journey is more different and unique then the last. The missions are engaging and entertaining and well plotted out with the story line and character development.

I have to say that ACII has to be my favorite game out of the three I have played so far. While I would like more guards chasing me, at times it does have the benefits of an easy get away. The story was magnificent as well as the locations and relations between the characters.  It has great replay value no matter how you look at it.

Leave Your Legacy: Assassin’s Creed

12 Nov


Greeting fellow readers! In honor of the release of Assassin’s Creed Revelations which is coming out on the Nov 15th I will be posting a review on all three games of the AC Series, up to the point of Revelations. I will be posting three reviews on each day we have left until AC:R’s release. This is also going to be a fun little thing for Ubisoft’s Leave Your Legacy promotions. 😉

I picked up the first Assassin’s Creed title out of the software discount bin at my local Target. I previously heard about the serious through various networks and have always had a desire to play it. However, lacking any decent game system at the time I did not have much opportunity to play anything that was not cross platformed to a PC. It is simple to say that I was extremely happy that I found AC on PC platform. I paid ten bucks for it. Best ten bucks I ever spent.

The story starts off with two main characters in two different time lines: Desmond Miles, a kidnapped barkeeper in the modern age, and Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, a Syrian Assassin in the time of the Third Crusade. The plot goes that Desmond is captured by a devious company known as Abstergo Industries and is forced into a machine called the Animus which can help him relive the the memories of his ancestors. That is where Altaïr comes in.

Altaïr is special in his own right. When we first meet him, we quickly find out that he is less of a hero and more of a self-centered, egotistical douche bag. He does what he wants, when he wants and doesn’t think about the consequences. As a result, he is stripped of his ass kicking assassin rank, back down to that of a novice and must work his way back to the top. During his journeys and missions throughout the game, we see Altaïr grow into someone who is less of an asshole who can see the truth in the Templar’s plan for control.

Game play for AC is wonderful and unique. The controls are a little difficult to get use to at first, but once you do it is like ridding a bicycle; you never forget them. While the characters have little expression animation, the rest of the game graphics are fabulous and focus on great detail. There are rocks and dirt on the streets, detailed bricks on the buildings and grain detail on wood. Musical score is  fantastic and more then a few times have I kept up running around and forcing guards to chase me just to listen to the  wonderful chase music.

The game also has a few interesting quarks; the kind that just make you scratch your head and laugh. One of my favorites can be outlined in the following conversation I had with my father while he was watching me play:

Dad: What is he doing?
Me: He’s blending. When he blends, the guards think he is a monk.
Dad: He has swords, knifes and daggers hanging all over him…and they think he’s a monk? Some monk.
Me: Yes, a monk who is going to kick your ass.

It still makes me laugh to this day…whenever I blend.

What I Like Most About AC.
-Musical Score. The music for AC was well written and beautiful and fitting for the scenery. Again, you run around just to hear the chase music.
-Detail of Scenery. Truly stunning in all aspects.
-Story line. The story kept you going until the very end and it presented a wonderful ending that was not easy to guess at all.
-Character development. Watching the characters and their relationships grow was very well done and rewarding.

What I Did Not Like About AC.
-Traveling. Traveling between cites was like walking through a shooting gallery. There was more running and hiding and dying then anything else.
-Pick pocking for knifes. You have how many dead guards laying around and you need to pick pocket from a thug for your knives? What a waste.
-Arial Attacks. Arial kills are non-existent unless you know how to time your jump properly. Otherwise they are not directly created in the game and require a deal of skill.
-Cannot Swim. With all his bad assness, Altaïr cannot swim. A mission that also requires killing a target in a sea port also leaves you with many ways to die because of this flaw.
-Templar Knights. They scare the shit out of me!

Thankfully, everything that I disliked about AC or would have liked to see improved upon, Ubisoft did in ACII. Please come back tomorrow for the review on Assassin’s Creed II!

Date and Venue in the Works

3 Sep

So I drove up to Cedar City today (with my mother and sister’s in tow) to check out the area and decide on a venue for OkamiCon Utah. After poking around for a bit and talking to about five different places, we finally found a place that is big enough to hold our convention. After much deliberation over burgers and diet coke, we also finally landed on a date other then the one we had originally planned but will most likely work out better in the long run.

Unfortunately, with this weekend being a three day holiday, I will not be able to get the contract for the venue until at least next Tuesday. Because of that, I will not be able to make any official announcements about date and venue until after everything is in writing and ready to go.

You all may be happy to know though, that I have already started taking a look around for possible guests for OkamiCon Utah. While I already have some in mind, it seems quite a few comic book artists live in the Utah area. We will just have to wait and see what happens. 😉