Over the fourth of July weekend a friend of mine convinced me to try Forsaken World with them. Forsaken World is the newest (at least I think it's the newest) offering from Perfect World Entertainment, the folks behind, well, Perfect World. The game is clearly an Asian free-to-play, and as far as I can tell, Forsaken World is sort of like Perfect World 2.0, with vampires. Where vampires are cross wielding energy blasters that shapeshift and wear silly clothes. At least they don't sparkle. I think.
So, my friend convinced me to try the game with them. Knowing they'd likely play a support class I rolled up a warrior. As expected the warrior focused on melee strikes in a variety of flavors, from basic strikes to debuffs. Somewhat unusually though, the warrior gets to mix in some elemental based attacks, and I have to admit being a standard boring warrior seems less standard and boring when you get to sheathe your sword in electricity before stabbing something with it. Combat itself is very basic, but at least there was some graphical flair to it.
Each race starts in their own starting area until progressing to a central town at level 10. By the time my human warrior hit level 10 my friend's elf bard was level 16 (they had a head start, I'm not THAT slow) and I had some catching up to do. They took a break and I got to work. One of the odd things about Forsaken World is that it has piles of daily quests even at low levels. There are story quests, and even a core questline that takes you through the whole game, but there are lots of daily quests too. One of them, called "Life in the Harbor" is probably the strangest approach to quest gaming I've ever seen. It's a daily quest that you can do 30 times a day. Each time you do it in a day, the xp reward increases. The NPC that gives the quest randomly assigns a task from a pool of tasks. Most of the tasks involve getting him an item, all of which (in my experience) can be bought from vendors. I happened to have 20 of an item he wanted 3 of, and got that draw 4 times in a row, so was able to complete the quest 4 times without even moving. I did the quest 10 times, only leaving the city twice (to kill some mobs right outside) and at the end of that I was . . . level 16. It's quite apparent you could level to the level cap without ever leaving the city. The quest essentially throws xp at you just for showing up. I guess if you don't really want to play, you could just do that and level while skipping the whole "game" thing.
Which seems to be a theme to the game -- get as much progress on your character as possible with as little player effort as possible. If you do choose to quest in a more traditional fashion, you don't really need to read the quests. Just accept the quest, click some green text, and your character will be autopiloted to the quest location. Kill the mobs there, or click the objects, etc. If the object is to talk to an NPC, you'll even automatically open a dialog with the NPC. In leveling to 20 I think I actually read the quest text twice. It's all pretty standard "kill x" or "collect y" sort of stuff, so there's not much to really read most of the time anyway, unless you really want to know why Farmer Bill needs you to kill 10 wolves for him.
|I'm a vampire! Rawr, scary!|
For a free-to-play the cash shop was very subdued. In fact, I don't think the game directed me to the shop even once. I only found it through trial and error, and it seemed to be largely populated with cosmetic items, mounts, and wedding packs. Considering you get a mount for free at level 20, the mounts are also essentially cosmetic. It's a very low key cash shop, and not intrusive at all. My only complaint about the shop would be that the currency is different from Perfect World's base currency, the Zen. It makes it harder to figure out what something is worth, since you have to convert Forsaken World currency to Zen, then Zen to dollars to figure out the real world cost of an item. Why they're not just using Zen is beyond me, unless they're trying to hide the actual cost of the items.
Overall it's not really a bad game, but I didn't find it very engaging either. Zooming from place to place with the auto-route feature stops the game world from becoming a "place". If I were to jump back in today, I wouldn't know where anything was and couldn't navigate there manually. The combat is pretty simplistic and there aren't a whole lot of skills/abilities. However, sometimes that could be exactly what you need. My friend and I spent most of our level 16-20 grouped playtime talking, with the game serving more as a background than the center of attention. For a low-impact social gaming platform, Forsaken World is not a bad choice.