War of Angels Just Launched. It Doesn’t even Work

So apparently this new MMORPG from Neowiz just launched called War of Angels. The game entered into open beta, which in today’s MMO world basically means full release, in late November. I forgot exactly when, but I wanted to give the game a try so I first downloaded the Gamigo version, but realized it was EU only. The Neowiz version is the global one. Unfortunately after downloading War of Angels and patching it, the game just wouldn’t launch. I tried like seven times and it still wouldn’t work. I read the game’s official forums and other Windows 7 users are having the same issue. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m using Windows 7 64 bit, but I’m not entirely sure right now. I decided not to play War of Angels because if the game’s developers were too lazy to make sure their game actually worked before releasing it, it probably isn’t worth playing. MMO Publishers like Neowiz, Aeria Games, OGPlanet and Ntreev should complain to the developers if their game doesn’t work properly on some platforms. The stupid thing is that the Gamigo version actually launched perfectly fine for me, so the problem is clearly with this new Neowiz version. Neowiz is a big Korean company who apparently developed S4 League, which Alaplaya publishes. They themselves publish Alliance of Valiant Arms and various other games in South Korea. This War of Angels game is the first game they’re publishing in North America though. It might be their first English game too, not sure though.

I really don’t understand why game developers can’t test their games before releasing them. I remember Trickster Online wouldn’t work on Windows 7 for YEARS after it first launched. Ntreev EVENTUALLY got around to fixing that little issue recently though. Ntreev’s other games – Pangya, Grand Chase and Project Blackout work perfectly fine on Windows 7 though. I think the problem with these games not launching has to do with their anti-hacking shields. I remember the anti-hack program in GunZ from ijji and Gunbound from Softnyx – which conflicted with my anti-virus program AVG. The thing is though, both of these games are 4+ years old. War of Angels on the other hand launchd in late November. There’s no reason a game launching in late November, 2010 shouldn’t work out of the box. I mean there’s no excuse for it. I think the reasons why MapleStory, Combat Arms and RuneScape are so popular is because they just work right out of the box. They also have fairly low system requirements. I think it’s CRITICAL for new MMORPGs to “work” right out of the box, otherwise they’ll lose a lot of players who get frustrated with the game.

War of Angels will likely be “fixed” in the coming weeks, but there’s no reason that it shouldn’t have worked day 1. That’s day 1 of open beta too. The closed beta phase for Forsaken World is likely as long as it is, because the company actually wants to iron out the bugs. Iris Online launched from gPotato sometime in late Nov too, but unlike War of Angels it launched nearly bug free. Little bugs aren’t the problem – the big ones where the game doesn’t even work are the terrible ones. So yeah. Game developers. Make sure your games actually work before launching them.

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Pirates of the Burning Sea F2P Begins

Pirates of the Burning Sea from Sony Online Entertainment is going free to play tomorrow on November 29, 2010. From what I’ve read and seen, the free to play version of the game won’t be nearly as “restricted” as the free to play version of other pay to play MMORPGs that converted to free to play games. Like EverQuest 2, Champions Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, Pirates of the Burning Sea will have to a monthly subscription component which is priced at $14.99. Luckily, free to play users aren’t being penalized for “not paying” so much as paying players are receiving bonuses. The only real restrictions on free users is their limited access to “premium missions”. They also have limited economy and character slots, but that’s not really a big deal. EverQuest 2 on the other hand literally limits you on how much gold you can have and which skills you can and cannot learn. So relatively speaking, Pirates of the Burning Sea is quite free. Much more so than other games.

I think launching as free to play with as few restrictions as possible will definitely give the game some love by F2P gamers. Most F2P gamers reject games like Allods Online from gPotato and Ministry of War from Snail Games, which are incredibly cash shop heavy. Game publishers need to realize that making cash shop items absurdly over powered is not the way to go. In my opinion, the ideal cash shop is the kind that MapleStory has. The only items available in the MapleStory cash shop are aesthetic ones (clothing / hair / etc) and things like EXP scrolls. Basically everything in the cash shop is designed for convenience, and does little to break the actual gameplay. Games like Shaiya and Last Chaos and to a degree even Runes of Magic, have some ridiculous game breaking items in their cash shops. Runes of Magic isn’t that bad with it, but upgrading gear in the game can be quite expensive without shelling out money in the store. Though F2P users can still technically get anything in the game without paying.

I think one of the reasons that EverQuest 2 didn’t really take off when it launched as a free to play game is its restrictions. Games like Dungeons and Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings online both launched with much looser free to play restrictions, and have thus enjoyed a lot of success. Compared to other naval themed / pirate MMORPGs, Pirates of the Burning Sea is definitely the best of its kind. Current F2P naval games like Uncharted Waters Online from Netmarble and Voyage Century from IGG both pale in comparison. I played both of those titles, Uncharted Waters Online is certainly the better one, but Pirates of the Burning Sea should wipe the floor with both. But time will tell whether people actually play Pirates of the Burning Sea or not. I suspect the game will attract a larger playerbase, but I don’t know if it’ll be large enough to keep the game afloat.

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What’s with GameNGame?

TalesWeaver is a 2D MMORPG that recently launched on GameNGame into global open beta. Now, the game isn’t particularly good, but what I want to point out is that the game is published on a service called GameNGame. After some research I learned that GameNGame isn’t the same as say Aeria Games, OutSpark, Perfect World Entertainment or any other MMO publisher. GameNGame is apparently a branch of the South Korean government that’s sole purpose is to promote free to play MMORPGs internationally. TalesWeaver isn’t the only F2P MMO on the service. GameNGame is some sort of incubation website where MMOs launch before being officially serviced by an actual publisher or company. For example, Atlantica Online from Ndoors was at one point available on GamenGame – it no longer is though. The MMOFPS Tactical Intervention, which didn’t actually launch yet, was available on GamenGame as well.

Not every game that was available on GamenGame was a success though. Final Quest for example was playable on GameNGame for a while, as was Aeronauts, but both games have since shut down. No game publisher wanted to pick up either games, so they seem to have joined the dead MMORPG Graveyard. Esteria Mythos was on there too for a while and it eventually launched on a seperate website of its own. Too bad that game mega-flopped and shut down without 8 months of officially launching. No surprise with this one, as the game totally sucked. It tried to capture the whole Diablo 2 experience, but failed miserably at it. A lot of games have been trying to capture the Diablo 2 fun – Battle of the Immortals and Mytheon both tried too, they haven’t failed, but they haven’t really succeeded either. GhostX is a 3D action MMORPG Published by GameKiss today, but the game was on the GamenGame platform back in 2009.

It’s actually really neat how it’s all supposed to work out. The Korean government provides funding for these games to “test” themselves on their platform and essentially get a lot of free beta testers, as the GamenGame website is visited by lots of people. 4Story and Valkyrie Sky for example were both available on GamenGame for some time and received a lot of free feedback on their game. Afterwards, both titles launched on other websites. GamenGame itself doesn’t make any money from what it does, it’s a site owned by the Korean government. Why exactly is the Korean government trying to export their free to play MMOs abroad? Don’t ask me. As a gamer in North America, I guess I can appreciate the support from them. Two more games that were available on GamenGame at one point are Neo Steam (which is by Atlus Online now) and Lunia (which is now by ijji). Too bad a ton of the games on the GameNGame website never made it to full release. There were a ton of obscure games on there. As a gamer, I recommend never playing titles on the GameNGame website, because there’s no guarantee that the game will even exist a month or two down the road.

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KRU Interactive has some Awful MMOs

Ever heard of KRU Interactive? They’re the Korean MMO developer / publisher behind various awful games. Ever heard of Shattered Galaxy? It was developed by KRU Interactive. The game launched in 2001 as a pay to play MMORPG and still remains a pay to play MMO today – except it does have an unlimited MMO free trial with some restrictions. Anyway, the first complaint I have with the game is that it’s incredibly old. If I remember correctly Sony Online Entertainment released EverQuest around 2001 and Electronic Arts released Ultima Online 3 years before that date. The sad thing is, both of those old games have MUCH better graphics than Shattered Galaxy. The gameplay mechanics themselves aren’t bad, as the game is a unique persistent world strategy MMO with sci-fi elements. The visuals and presentation though, are simply awful. I’m clearly not the only one who thinks so – as the game’s Taiwanese, Japanese and European servers have already closed their doors – YEARS ago. The only version of the game that still exists is the global English version – and the company has the nerve to charge a monthly fee!

Shattered Galaxy isn’t the only game KRU Interactive publishes. In fact, it’s one of their NEWER games. The first game they made, which also remains pay to play with a free trial, is Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds – a neat little 2D MMORPG with a high level cap and some simple gameplay mechanics. The game released in 1996 and like Shattered Galaxy has some pretty terrible visuals – but to be fair, the game is one of the oldest MMORPGs out there, so the poor visuals don’t really surprise me. It’s not the first MMORPG, but it’s still quite ancient. Even though Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds is infinitely better than Shattered Galaxy, the game still leaves a lot to be desired. It’s one of those games that NO new gamer would ever play. Only those who played the game back when it came out and are nostalgic will be the only people still playing it. What also sucks is that the game is pay to play. If games like The Lord of the Rings Online and Champions Online can find ways to drop their subscription fee, there’s no reason a 14 year old game can’t do the same. Needless to say, the game’s playerbase is very low.

Aside from these two bad MMORPGs, KRU Interactive also publishes Robo Smasher which is a 3D cartoony MMO Shooter which looks a bit like MicroVolts – except MUCH, MUCH more cartoony. Oh, and with worse graphics of course. Robo Smasher is actually the newest game developed and published by this company, as it released in 2009. Not surprisingly, the game not only feels clumsy and poorly designed, the playerbase is also near non-existent. Like Dungeon Party and Alganon the game is basically a dead MMO. The game’s concept is whacky and revolves around shooting lasers at blocks in an arena which then fly towards other players. The concept isn’t terrible, but the execution is, as the game just isn’t fun.

The fourth and final game that this company has is Dark Ages – which is a roleplay heavy 2D fantasy MMORPG that originally released back in 1999. Yep, it’s another old MMORPG. Gameplay wise, Dark Ages has little to offer, but players can find some fun in roleplaying, as the game has managed to attract some roleplayers. I found the game quite bland, as I find roleplaying in MMORPGs to be quite boring, and gameplay wise Dark Ages has little to offer. Heck, browser based MMORPGs like Sacred Seasons 2 and Puzzle Pirates have a lot more to do than Dark Ages or any game from KRU Interactive.

The sad part of this story is that KRU Interactive was formed after Nexon split into two companies. Nexon as we know it today publishes numerous mega successful MMORPGs including Dungeon Fighter Online, Vindictus and Nexon. What does KRU Interactive have? Trash.

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New MMORPGs With Bleh Graphics

We all know that most MMORPGs are moving in the right direction when it comes to visuals. New MMORPG games like Vindictus and Runes of Magic have done a great job in terms of raising the bar in terms of quality. Not every new MMORPG has moved in the direction, as there are quite a bit of newer games being released with less than stellar graphics. Games such as Soul Order Online and Talisman Online from Miracle Castle have been a step backward for 3D games. I won’t single out any 2D MMORPG, as 2D games in general aren’t designed to be visually impressive. 3D games though should at least look modern. I don’t think every 3D MMORPG should look so great visually, that only 10% of PCs can play them though. I think game developers need to find a balance between graphics and system requirements. Final Fantasy 14 – the pay to play MMORPG from Square Enix has such high end graphics that the average PC simply can’t play it. On a side note, I hope Final Fantasy 14 becomes free to play – then I’ll probably play it. As is there are so many great free to play games, that I can’t see myself paying monthly for any game.

Aside from Soul Order Online and Talisman Online, there are quite a bit of “newer” games with terrible visuals. When I say visuals, I’m not only referring to the total polygons on the screen. A game can have decent graphics, but a horrible if the interface is garbage. Even a game with great graphics can be ruined if it has a poor interface. I think the reason why Iris Online was so well received is that even though the visuals were okay to good at best, the interface was top notch and easy to use. I actually really liked Cloud Nine from Netgame because of its sleek modern visuals. Another new MMORPG which launched earlier this year is Fists of Fu from OutSpark. The game has some fun action oriented gameplay, but the visuals just never looked right to me. They’re cartoony, but they look almost western cartoony – sort of like Hero:108 Online. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get into the game because the graphics just felt off. The gameplay itself was fine. It actually played a lot like Dragon Saga – as it was a side scrolling MMORPG with fast paced combat. I’m pretty sure the game was developed in Korea too.

On the positive side, I think Forsaken World and Heroes of Three Kingdoms from Perfect World Entertainment are steps in the right direction. Even Neo Online and Pet Forest have pushes in the right direction – as all of these games have top notch visuals along with very easy to use functional user interfaces. I’ve actually been playing Heroes of Three Kingdoms since the game began its open beta phase earlier this year. Even before the game was released in North America, it was available in Malaysia through Cubizone as Red Cliff. The North American version is a lot better, as the pings are much more reasonable and the English translations actually make sense. I played the Cubizone version for a while, but quit after a month. I’ve been playing the North American version for much longer.

Most games are heading in the right direction – but I’m still surprised that games like Soul Order Online are still being launched. Even that new Cardmon Hero Game from T3Fun has pretty lousy graphics. But Cardmon Hero isn’t a new game. It’s been out in Korea for years, so It makes sense that the visuals are a bit older.

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Talesweaver – Another Old MMORPG

Talesweaver just entered into global open beta testing in early November. Odds are you haven’t heard of Talesweaver – it’s a relatively unknown 2D MMORPG that looks like a mix between Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu from Ndoors and Ragnarok Online from Gravity Interactive. The global launch of Talesweaver, in English, is yet another example of an older Korean MMORPG launching in English years later. In this case, it’s 7+ years later, as the game originally launched in South Korea back in 2003. The game later launched in Japan and China, but the game was never a huge success as the official Chinese servers shut down. I’m usually excited about new MMORPGs, but upcoming MMORPGs like Talesweaver are never that exciting – especially since they’re incredibly old. Talesweaver isn’t the first older Korean game to finally get around to launching in English. Darkeden from Joymax and Digimon Battle from WeMade Entertainment are both good examples of older games launching in North America.

talesweaver-skillsTalesWeaver Screenshot

Luckily, the trend of older games launching in English is slowly starting to change. Forsaken World, which Perfect World Entertainment launched into closed beta earlier in November, 2010 just launched into open beta in China. This means that the game will launch in North America within a few months of originally launching in China. Perfect World, Jade Dynasty and Battle of the Immortals were three other games that the company launched within a year or so of the game launching in Asia. Too bad Perfect World Entertainment never got around to launching Hot Dance Party (Steps Online) in North America. The dancing game is currently available through the Malaysian publisher Cubizone, but hasn’t been announced in North America yet. Vindictus from Nexon also launched here in the States within a few months of being available in South Korea (Where it’s known as Mabinogi Heroes).

I personally don’t care too much that Talesweaver is launching in English, but I sort of wish the game launched 7 years ago back when it was still new. Today, no one is going to stop playing games like Runes of Magic, Legend of Edda or even Asda Story to play Talesweaver. Why? Because the game is 7 years old for crying out loud. Just about every MMORPG today offers more in terms of features and visuals. With other new MMORPGs on the horizon like Iris Online and Luvinia Online, I can’t imagine Talesweaver being much of a success. I mean, honestly.. Why play a 7+ year old game when you could be playing Fists of Fu, Fiesta Online or the newly free to play The Lord of the Rings Online. There are so many BETTER and NEWER games to play.

darkeden-camp.jpg DarkEden from JoyMax – Another old MMORPG

I actually tried Talesweaver the other day too. I didn’t want to bash on it without first playing the game. Needless to say, the game was as I expected. The game tried having a story, as there were a few story driven scenes, but the game was so poorly translated, that the plot just went out the window. MMORPG Lore is hard to get right even in Western games. I can’t imagine Asian games doing a good job with them, especially since many of these games have low budget translations, except for the big budget triple-A titles.

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Cosmic Break and GetAmped 2 Never Going to Release

Cyberstep is an awful MMO publisher. I say so because they are incredibly slow at getting their games from beta to release. I think they’re one of the only companies who performs character wipes after open beta, and runs through multiple open beta phases. Do they not realize that open beta is supposed to be the last step of beta testing? I remember when CosmicBreak – the 3D MMO Shooter with anime inspired graphics from CyberStep went into open beta like 4 months ago. I foolishly thought the game wasn’t going to wipe (After all, 99% of the time there aren’t any character wipes after open beta). So I committed to the game and leveled my character quite a bit. I sort of liked CosmicBreak because even though it was really cartoony, it reminded me of Exteel from NCSoft and GunZ from ijji. Exteel had joined the MMO Graveyard and shut down, so the only way I could remind myself of it was to play CosmicBreak. Since I first played CosmicBreak in its “Open beta” phase, it’s been 5 months and the game still isn’t released. A notice on the official site says that the game is scheduled to begin its FINAL open beta phase (yet another one) sometime in December 2010. I have a feeling that CosmicBreak is going to die well before it’s even released. Anyone who remotely enjoyed the game isn’t going to wait another 3 months just to play the dang game. Especially when there are so many other free to play MMO shooters. Why wait for CosmicBreak when you can play Mission Against Terror, League of Legends, or Battlefield Heroes instead. There are so many other free to play games, why wait so long to play just one?

CosmicBreak isn’t the only game that’s taking forever to release from CyberStep. Their other game – GetAmped 2 has been on hiatus since its first beta test nearly 6 months ago. Unlike CosmicBreak which has a final release date, GetAmped 2 has no such thing. No one is going to wait 6+ months to play a sub par fighting MMO when they could be playing games like Lost Saga or Zone 4: Fight District from OGPlanet. There are so many other fighting games, there’s no reason to wait for GetAmped 2. Especially since it’s likely never going to release. It’ll be joining the likes of Priston Tale 2 and Huxley: The Dystopia on the delayed MMORPGs list.

So what have I been playing instead of these games? I downloaded Rappelz from gPotato the other day and played it for a while. I actually sort of like it. I know it’s an older game, but I’ve never played it until now. I bet anyone who was even remotely interested in these two games (CosmicBreak and GetAmped 2) found another MMO or MMORPG to play by now. Especially with The Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine and EverQuest 2 from Sony Online Entertainment going free to play. Plus other awesome free to play MMOs like Fists of Fu, Vindictus, Iris Online and Dynasty Warriors Online have released since CosmicBreak and GetAmped 2 first began their beta tests. I’m sort of hoping War of Angels from GameWiz doesn’t suffer the same fate as CosmicBreak, as it’s a game I actually want to try.

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