Tag Archives: MapleStory

MMOs with the Best Class Options

Sometimes I hear people in the MMO community ask questions like, “How many classes is too many in an MMO?” And every time I hear it, it baffles me. How can there be too many options on how to play?

No, the more the merrier, I say. I crave games that offer many and varied class choices. The more and the weirder the better. There are few things quite so exciting as encountering an MMO class that’s not like anything you’ve played before.

Much as we recently saluted the MMORPGs with the most interesting racial choices, let’s now take a look at the games which gift us the most compelling class choices.

World of Warcraft

A demon hunter character in World of Warcraft

WoW’s most unique class is probably the recently added demon hunter, which combines agile melee combat with chaotic demon magic. Oh, and they can turn into demons themselves.

But the rest of the roster is pretty diverse, as well. There might not be a lot of wildly original options, but it’s a healthier selection than many games offer these days, with almost every playstyle you can imagine included somehow or another.

WoW is helped by the fact it’s always had very strong class design, with each option having a very distinct playstyle due to unique resource mechanics and other class-specific quirks. WoW’s system of specializations also adds a lot of variety within classes. A priest, for example, can be a standard healer… or a maddened cultist wielding twisted shadow magic to vanquish their foes.

Guild Wars 2

A mesmer character in Guild Wars 2

A lot of Guild Wars 2’s classes conform pretty closely to the standard fantasy archetypes, but they do deserve credit for having a few options that are bit more off the beaten path. The engineer, for instance, is a fairly uncommon archetype and a very refreshing change of pace.

More interesting still are the mesmer and the revenant. The former is an illusionist class that warps reality and the minds of their foes alike with a flurry of phantasms, tricks, and arcane magic. If you’ve never played it, you should at least try it, as there’s nothing else quite like it.

The revenant, meanwhile, bears some resemblance to “dark knight” style classes, but with a twist. Rather than more conventional death magic, the revenant channels the identities and powers of famous historical figures from Guild Wars lore, making for a truly unique class.

Rift

A tempest character in Rift

Rift has a fairly unusual take on character builds. The actual number of classes, or “callings” as the game dubs them, is quite small — just five, even with the addition of the primalist post-launch — but each calling includes many “souls” which are almost complete classes unto themselves. These souls provide incredible variety, and the ability to mix and match them grants more freedom still.

Each calling has at least a few interesting souls, but for my money the most unique are found under the rogue calling. These include the ephemeral riftstalker, which warps between realities to tank damage, the saboteur, who wields explosives to devastating effect, and the tactician, which uses advanced magitech weaponry to support allies.

MapleStory

A promotional image for the import MMORPG MapleStory

With more than thirty classes, MapleStory offers a dizzying variety of choices ranging from the standard to the outright bizarre. Want to dual wield magic blowguns and ride a unicorn? MapleStory has a class for you!

Or maybe you’d rather have an arm-mounted soul cannon, or pilot a mech, or be a jaguar-riding archer… MapleStory’s class selection lacks for nothing, least of all originality. When the rest of the world asks why, MapleStory asks, “Why not?”

The EverQuests

A promotional image for EverQuest II

Both EverQuest games jointly took the top prize in our list of MMOs with the most interesting races, and they also rank very highly when it comes to class selection.

The original EverQuest boasts an impressive sixteen classes covering almost any archetype you could want. Its sequel, though, goes even further, with a whopping twenty-five classes.

Within that list you’ll find common concepts like paladins and rangers, but there are also plenty of more exotic choices. EQ2 offers not one but two bard classes, including a darker take on the archetype called a dirge. Consider also the coercer, a caster class focused on mental domination of its enemies. And while I am not the biggest EverQuest fan myself, I will always admire EQ2 for offering a true swashbuckler class.

I do love a little swash in my buckle.

Between the wealth of class choices and the staggering racial variety, the EverQuest games offer some of the most creative options and most diverse potential for role-play in the MMORPG field.

Tree of Savior

The City of Orsha in Tree of Savior

Tree of Savior is a game that has made its wealth of classes a major selling point, with over eighty to choose from. Players begin by choosing one of four basic classes — swordsman, wizard, archer, or cleric — and then at regular intervals over the leveling process have the choice to upgrade to more advanced classes or continue developing their current one.

With over eighty to choose from, pretty much every archetype you can imagine is represented, plus several you probably can’t. Looking over the list, my eye was caught by the “schwarzer reiter,” a pistol wielding class that rides what appears to be a beaver-lizard-chicken.

I don’t think any game is likely to top that level of variety any time soon.


Guide to Couples MMO Games for Valentine’s Day

What better gift is there for that special someone than spending some quality time together in a virtual world? Maybe you just started dating and want to get to know each other better. Maybe you’ve been a couple for a decade. No matter the length of a relationship, MMO games offer opportunities that simple cooperative games can only fawn over in jealousy. After all, the only thing better than hanging out together is doing it in front of other people. This Valentine’s Day, don’t just show off how great of a couple you and your partner are. Do it in one of these MMOs that lets you flaunt it to thousands of other players.

Elder Scrolls Online

valentines day mmos elder scrolls online

Rings of Mara aren’t explicitly for romantic couples, but it sure is appealing for them. This cash shop item only needs to be purchased by one partner, presumably whoever’s turn it is to pay for the next date. Afterward, head to a Shrine of Mara in one of the major city hubs. Then pray to Mara and boom! Your two characters now earn +10% EXP when playing together. If you really want to go the extra mile, a tuxedo and a wedding dress are also available in the cash shop. And since Valentine’s Day is all about showing off to everyone else in the world, you better buy them.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 5/10

Sound good? Read our Elder Scrolls Online review here.

Revelation Online

This system is pretty cool. It actually lets you court your significant other by simply playing together. Activities such as questing, clearing dungeons, grinding on mobs (and/or each other), or mentoring will generate love points. Love points can be spent on costumes, buffs, and emotes. After reaching a certain love point threshold, you and your partner will qualify for a wedding (which can be between same or opposite gender characters). Marriage will bring even more benefits including your partner’s name in your title, buffs, and new “married person” abilities. Hilariously, it costs 10,000 gold divorce mutually and 300,000 gold to “force” a divorce. Commitment is no joke in Revelation Online so the flaunt level is pretty damn high here. Valentine’s Day itself brings costumes and emotes each year.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 10/10

Sound good? Read our Revelation Online review here.

Lucent Heart

valentines day mmos lucent heart

Lucent Heart has a standard list of MMORPG features until you get to the “Cupid System” bullet point. Then you realize this game is the perfect cheap date compromise. Once Cupid matches two players as Soul Mates, they gain some unique gameplay opportunities. Grouping with a Soul Mate adds extra EXP for both partners. That’s pretty standard. But then they get special Soul Mate Dungeons, the responsibility of growing a “flower” together, and access to lovers emotes that provide temporary buffs. That’s right – Lucent Heart actually rewards you for obnoxious PDA. It’s amazing! Of course, official marriages are also included. The tricky part to all of this is you can’t manually select someone as your Soul Mate. You must use this matchmaking system which randomly partners you with someone. There are guides out there for “rigging cupid” though so don’t be too worried.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 10/10

Eden Eternal

Beginning a relationship with someone in Eden Eternal is as simple as right clicking their name and inviting them on a date. Assuming your partner accepts (you are actually dating each other, right?) you will each earn a 10% EXP buff and a specialized ‘Couple’ tab on your social screen. This will keep track of Luv Coins (to buy skills), a couple’s only message board, and Lover skills. If the couple wants to take the next step, they can get married. There are some steep requirements before marriage though. The couple must have been dating for longer than 30 days, have both reached level 50, and must pay a hefty bit of coin for the wedding. In return, they’ll be granted a firework show for all to see and a ring that grants +2% to all attributes.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 8/10

Final Fantasy XIV

valentines day mmos final fantasy xiv

If you’re feeling particularly optimistic about your lovely Valentine then you can go with Final Fantasy XIV’s eternal bond. It might just marriage by another name, but it sure does sound a lot more…permanent. There’s some good and bad to say about Final Fantasy’s progressive system that allows characters to marry regardless of gender, race, region, or allegiance. The wedding attire in FFXIV is pretty sweet (see above). The ceremony can be pretty extravagant too if the couple ponies up a collective $40 USD.

You will undoubtedly impress onlookers with the spectacle, but the long term result is disappointing by comparison. The couple is awarded a 2-seat chocobo, the ability to teleport to one another, and an embrace emote in addition to their wedding clothes. Rubbing your love into people’s faces like a scene from Twilight for a full day is commendable, but ultimately it’s just one day. Like Revelation Online, Final Fantasy gifts emotes and costumes for its V-Day content.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 7/10

Sound good? Read our Final Fantasy XIV review here.

La Tale

Similar to Eden Eternal, La Tale lets you court another player. It’s nice to have some options before tying the knot in an MMO. Valentine’s Day is for gaming couples new and old alike so jumping into marriage might not be the best course of action. Luckily, in La Tale couples receive stat increases for playing together, a healing skill, and an EXP buff. Married players get a sweet ring that builds affection points through slaughtering innocent monsters while partied together. These will give the happy couples buffs that they can show off to other party members. Excellent.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 8/10

Dragon Blood

Once you hit a certain level you gain the ability to propose. A wedding date must be set after the proposal is accepted. It cannot be canceled unless express permission is given from the Dragon Temple Priest. Assuming nobody gets cold feet, the wedding will commence on the chosen date with wedding gifts for guests and rings for the newlyweds. These rings are not just for show as they will boost tons of stats. They also open up new skills as the rings absorbs the couples’ love from playing together. Unfortunately, the level requirement isn’t super easy so both partners will need to show their dragon dedication before their romantic dedication. The main plus of Dragon Blood is that its a browser game so you can both get some Valentining in during work hours.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 5/10

Sound good? Read our Dragon Blood review here.

Age of Wushu

valentines day mmos age of wushu

Age of Wushu is one of those few MMOs with an intimacy system. After adding someone to your friends list (in this case, your Valentine’s Day sweetie), players will earn Intimacy Points for playing together. Intimacy Points basically give you and your friend/partner mega stalker abilities on each another.

If you want to take things to the next level and get married in Age of Wushu, you’ll need to commit real world financial resources to the game’s developers. Both players must pay for VIP status before taking their vows. Additionally, one of four level weddings must be paid for with in game money. And Age of Wushu is about as traditional at it comes here, with the male needing to front the entire bill. On the bright side, the weddings are pretty fancy. At the highest tier, a 28-man palanquin will carry the bride to the altar and ten heralds will loudly proclaim the ceremony. After the delightfully unnecessary wedding display, guests can cheer on the couple. If they cheer loud enough, they all get gifts! Finally, marriage comes with tax-exempt trading, married couple titles, a unique skill, and unique items.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 9/10

Fiesta Online

With Fiesta Online, you go big or you go home. This MMO is great for a Valentine’s Day couple that is serious business. Wedding is the only romantic option, but it is a blast. First, an announcement is made to the entire server that you two are the best couple of the day. Then you get to invite guests to a special wedding chapel to participate in the ceremony. Wedding attire is highly recommended but not required. Afterward, the priest will grant you a stat bonus for partying together, a permanent wedding pet, and the ability to summon your partner. Of course, if you’re like me and my wife, you will troll summon each other for the rest of time. Ain’t love grand?

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 7/10

Sound good? Read our Fiesta Online review here.

Ragnarok Online

OK, truth time: a lot of these MMOs don’t have anything to offer but marriage. Like Fiesta and Eden Eternal, players will need to level and pony up some cash before reaping any romantic rewards. Like a lot of older MMOs, Ragnarok Online unfortunately only allows opposite gender marriages. If this affects you, plan your characters accordingly! The wedding ceremony will grant the couple a few unique skills and amusingly disable attacking for a while. Ultimately, getting far enough in Ragnarok Online to get married really shows more commitment to the game than to one’s partner.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 5/10

MapleStory

valentines day mmo maplestory

MapleStory’s marriage system is pretty simple. Buy a ticket and get married. The ticket costs about $5 cash, which is actually pretty cheap for couples compared to some other MMOs. The wedding isn’t all that amazing outside of the Vegas style chapel sign. The only saving grace is that your wedding photos will be published on the MapleStory website for all to see.

Of course there’s also a near-mandatory $5 price tag for a ‘Commitment of Love’ ticket. This ticket is necessary to get any actual benefit out of being married. Every 100 days of marriage will grant the (hopefully) happy couple special quests and an upgraded wedding ring. This can go on for up to 1,000 days so there’s potentially four Valentine’s Day worth of content in MapleStory. It may not be the highest quality or the flashiest, but quantity counts for something! Unfortunately, Valentine’s events in MapleStory feel more like Candy Crush than anything lovey dovey with its solo-centric consumable rewards.

V-Day MMO Flaunt Score: 6/10

If I missed any other MMOs with some romantic element or frequent Valentine’s Day events for couples, let me know. I found it pretty odd that Valentine’s Day quests are fairly solo driven both in terms of content and rewards. Having events is certainly a plus, but most of these aren’t going to drive couples to play the game together. The games that scored the best offered unique advantages for playing with a partner, extravagant emotes or weddings, and/or a numeric relationship score.

Playing games online as a couple is something that should really happen more often. These MMO games should help couples spend some quality time together this Valentine’s Day. While they’re at, show as much digital PDA as possible to sicken everyone else. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?


More Instanced Channels, Less Servers

Stargrace from MMOQuests posted last week about the issue that multiple servers creates in MMOs. It’s something that really resonated with me because it’s indeed a very frustrating experience. If I know or meet somebody outside of a game who happens to play that same game, I do have a general expectation I that should be able to play with that person. However, the way most MMORPGs works is that players must choose a server when they create their character. That character is then tied to that server for remainder of their artificially born life. Since a big part of MMOs is spending time building up your character, taking hours/days/weeks, it’s unlikely that players will want to start a new character on a new server.

maplestory channels

So if Joe and I independently start playing Final Fantasy 14 and, after heavily investing in our characters, discover we each play, our first thought is going to be “cool we can play together”. However, our hearts will sink when we learn we’re actually on different servers. So even though we want to play together, and we both have characters with compatible power levels, we aren’t able to do so.

The above example is one of those stupid issues in MMOs. We already have level restrictions separating friends from players, so why in 2016 should servers further that divide? No other genre of game separates its player base due to some arbitrary decision at character creation. Personally, I feel it also detracts from the ‘massively multiplayer’ aspect. When World of Warcraft had 15 million people playing, it didn’t really mean much to me. The people on my server, the people I could actually interact with, numbered in the tens of thousands. Not the millions.

Now of course, we can’t just have one server, where everyone in the same area can see each other and interact. Especially for popular MMORPGs, overcrowded mob farming would ruin enjoyment and tank server performance. Luckily, a good solution already exists: instanced channels. Instanced channels have been used by Guild Wars and a number of Korean MMOs. These instanced channels replicate the game world and allow players to generally move freely between these replicas. The game servers will choose which instanced channel to place players automatically. Players can also manually choose certain channels, in case they want to play with particular people.

The main detractors of instanced channels are typically against any instancing at all. They say that it breaks immersion, or splits the community, or makes the player interaction less natural. It can be off-putting to be hunting in the Fairy Forest, and maybe a thousand other players are also hunting in the Fairy Forest, but you can only see 20 of them. Players who like open PVP especially seem to dislike it because it can be hard to retaliate against other players. It can make conquering territory (officially or unofficially) less meaningful.

black desert online channels

I used to think that way. Switching channels really would break my immersion and made the game feel more like…well…just a game. I’ve become much more realistic in my approach to MMORPGs since then though. Instanced channels actually provide a lot of benefits besides the obvious. It gets rid of ever needing those nasty server merges. The number of players can be perfectly optimized for the content in each area. And of course if you happened to realize that a friend is playing the same game as you, you can actually play with them. These all deal with player interaction, but there’s so much more to it.

I think one of the best benefits is something that doesn’t get talked about much. Instanced channels create more potential gameplay opportunities for players. Maybe each channel is a little bit different based on player actions. Guilds could be strong in one channel but not the other. Maybe the completed public quests led to a different landscape. Instead of just one world to explore the player’s character actually gets access to dozens. This creates more ways in which the character can affect the world and more ways to find their happy place.

Instanced channels would ideally be integrated into the overall story of the MMO world. Take the multiple shard premise from Ultima Online. But instead of shards representing different servers, they would embody multiple channels that players could travel between. To enhance the role-playing aspect, players could need to physically enter a portal to travel between channels. Perhaps different channels even come with unique rule sets. Open PvP could be confined to one or few channels for when the mood strikes. Players who want to avoid it entirely can easily do so.

There’s a lot of unexplored potential for instanced channels in MMORPGs. So far they’ve just been used to replicate servers to reduce congestion. In fact, most MMORPGs with channels still have unique servers, which is incredibly frustrating. The ability to create multiple dynamic worlds that are spun off of one original world is something that even sandbox developers have largely ignored. I’m just imagining an MMO right now where the price of admission for one world actually grants my character access to dozens. Imagine exploring such alternate realities built by the players simply by entering a portal. The world that you’ve grown accustomed suddenly morphs into a refreshing landscape. Healthy player populations and the ability to interact with anyone who plays the same game as you is just icing on the cake.

It’s time to do away with individual servers. Instanced channels have been underutilized by MMORPG developers for too long. In the real world, everybody is just an internet connection away from interacting with one another. In the virtual world that MMOs attempt to create, we should be no less apart.


The 10 Best MMO Music Tracks

At some point you will get fed up with repeating the same track of your favorite video game from time to time. It’s why a lot of us switch to outside music sources when playing games. Everyone has a unique taste and preferences when playing MMOs and games after all. But the best MMO music tracks offer a wide range of appeal. And they offer memories of positive experiences from playing said MMO.

Long after cancelling your account and even wiping the game from your computer, several memories of the old MMORPG will remain. One way to relive these memories is through the games’ soundtracks. Compositions and scores cooperate with the visuals in the games to craft the overall atmosphere of the game. Within the scores, individual tunes and tracks which will bring back waves of nostalgia. The following are our top 10 most most memorable MMO music tracks.

10. Runes of Magic – Main Theme

Runes of Magic was released in the year 2009 and since then it has been a strong free alternative to the World of Warcraft. For some people the game was impressive and listening was also not a problem. It is a great game with a stronger score largely due to its theme tune.

9. Cabal Online – Abomination

This is the song which plays in the Forgotten Temple in the Cabal Online and it’s recognized for two main reasons. This is the only best MMO music that plays in a higher level area. If your desire is to listen to Abomination while playing a game you will have to be past level 100. However, you can hear this song after loading up Cabal Online’s Website. The soundtrack is also notable simply because it is a MMORPG song with words. You can play the song easily in your car and no one will suspect that it is a song from a game you dedicated most of your time playing.

8. MapleStory – Lith Harbor

MapleStory was a unique MMORPG immediately after its launch. It offered the players a wonderful game with stunning graphics, action oriented combats, 2D platforming capabilities and lower system specs. The game managed to claim over 90 million players in two years. The first town, Lith Harbor, in the Maplestory has an inviting and a very friendly tune which earns its memorable honors.

7. DAoC (Dark Age of Camelot) – Combat Music 1

The combat music qualifies to be one of the best MMO music. DAoC established nation war combat, pitting three historic and mythical realms against each other in the struggle for relics. The game is about thrilling PvP combat and holds a large space in many hearts of MMO gamers particularly as most feel PvP in DAoC is yet to be topped.

6. Lineage 2- Dion Theme

If you played Lineage 2, possibly you made it to Dion before you got sick of the awful grind. If this is so, the Dion theme will definitely bring back some of the best memories. It completely and perfectly sets a fantasy world’s stage.

5. Anarchy Online – Main Theme

The Anarchy online is one of my favorite games. I like everything that the game offers but during its release it was not the best – but today it is much improved. Its promotional video highly helped in its popularity growth particularly due to the epic primary theme behind it.

4. Eve Online – Below The Asteroids

This is another MMO soundtrack which is among the most popular and there are people who also use it in other games. Just like Dion’s theme captures the fantasy world feel, Below the Asteroids also captures the free roaming space feel. Moreover, Eve Online offers freedom for gamers to play exactly how they want and the songs allows them to achieve exactly that.

3. Ragnarok Online – Prontera Theme

This is another town’s theme song which forms part of this list. Similar to the MapleStory’s Lith Harbor, you will have to visit Prontera for some time. Ragnarok online has established a big player base that allows job advancement, reminiscent of earlier sprite based RPGs, colorful 2D gameplay and killer music which include the happy go lucky music track.

2. World of Warcraft – Vanilla Login

This game reached over 10 million downloads and such a large number of players cannot be wrong. For the hardcore and the casual gamers, the World of Warcraft was a differentiated game that even made MMORPG one of the household terms. Belief it or not, most games fail to craft a masterpiece by forgetting the fundamental components like the musical tune which everyone has to hear even before logging in. World of Warcraft had a special tune that people will remember for a very long time.

1. Ultima Online – Stones

One of the features that made Ultima Online a popular game is the login music whose name was Stones. The game involved many features from nine previous games. The game was an impressive score that it actually allowed the creator of the game Mr. Richard Garriott – character to be killed. When this game was launched almost everything was possible regardless of whether the producer intended to achieve it or not. Stones helped in setting up the stage for this freedom.

Bottom Line

Video games may be described as audiovisual performances. This means that the sound and the visuals come together to make a cohesive, interactive experience. But when the producer ignores one over the other, the experience will be rather jarring. And unlike graphics which are dated within the MMORPG’s release year, the best of music tracks from MMOs can live on eternally. The tunes are an important component in the grand memories of the MMO you’ve been playing. Nostalgia can play a big factor in the enjoyment of any music, video gaming related or otherwise.

In a game, music is necessary in establishing the mood and the tone. When playing the game, the soundtrack plays into your senses and creeps into your mind. Wonderful music in a game will not become boring or irritating after repeated listens. Instead, positive emotions will be associated with these music tracks, which in turn motivate players to play more frequently or after a long hiatus. Even decades later, I’ll be glad to have been a part of these games. In for nothing elese, just because I got to experience the most memorable MMO music tracks the industry has offered thus far.