As you might expect, most maps in Tree of Savior have NPCs that offer quests, and while some of these characters are off the beaten path or aren’t immediately recognizable as initiating a quest chain, it’s still a pretty standard affair. However a few maps are different, ones I like to refer to as puzzle maps. What is a puzzle map? They are maps with objects you can interact with, some of which will initiate a quest while others if manipulated correctly will unlock an additional boss or area of the map. I’ve passed through a handful of these puzzle maps without trying to sort out what secrets they concealed but recently I found one that I was able to work my way through. Well, I was almost able to work my way through in its entirety; there were a few mysteries I had to leave unsolved.
The region was called Galeed Plateau and it was a map covered in pillars, some of which would begin a quest while others gave me an object to collect. Still more of these pillars provided cryptically assigned numbers to the goddesses, humans, and demons. The latter turned out to be a part of another quest I ran into later in my exploration of the map, in which I had to type in chat the number sequence provided by those three pillars while standing in front of another pillar on the opposite side of the zone. However since I could change the number assignment (so that the first was 3 instead of 2 or the second 2 instead of 1) even a second play through would require that I pay attention to what the pillars actually say.
Toward the very end of Galeed Plateau I found another pillar that I was certain had not been there before. It initiated a quest that had me collect glowing moss but when I came back, the pillar was gone. I’m not sure if this is a bug or intended but given the nature of these types of maps, it’s very possible it is the latter and the quest is on some kind of timer. Regardless, this map and all the quests that can be discovered if you simply spend some time walking around and interacting with things illustrate how important exploration is in Tree of Savior. No, it’s not a big open world like Black Desert, but it does have mysteries to solve and hidden treasures to discover and I like the incentive that provides to simply roam around and check out every nook and cranny.
Tree of Savior doesn’t offer a lot in the way of blogging topics, even less the more I check off my “here’s a feature people might be interested in” list. In fact, sometimes I wonder what draws me to the game at all, as it’s fairly straight forward in gameplay along the lines of a Diablo 3 dungeon crawler but without the loot. Even the customization happens at such a slow pace that it’s hard to point to it as a defining feature, compared to something like Path of Exile where customization is happening regularly. When I stop to think about it, I really don’t know what I find so compelling about this game.
One thing I can say is that the visuals are spot on. If nothing else, I enjoy exploring the maps and looking at the unique monsters, demons, and bosses that IMC Games has dreamed up for Tree of Savior. If anything this may be the defining feature for ToS, and at least one of the reasons I’ve logged over 80 hours in the game already. The color palette, illustrative style, and the diversity of biomes has been well worth the exploration time. As someone who use to draw and paint a lot once upon a time (and has a degree in Fine Arts), I think I actually appreciate the two dimensional nature of this game more than the three dimensional world building of Black Desert.
At level 117 I’ve barely scratched the surface of the game world, with supposedly 600 levels in total before reaching the level cap. You can see from the screenshots above just how littered the world map is with individual instanced zones, each of which are unique in design in some way. I’ve only reached three major cities and unveiled maybe a third of the map overall. Even within the portion of the world map I have uncovered there are level one hundred and two hundred plus zones I’ve yet to explore. Screenshots alone really don’t do these worlds justice, but that’s all I have to share so they’ll have to do. Below you’ll find a selection from the many environments I have been able to explore and enjoy and I hope it provides at least a glimpse of just how beautiful this world can be. With Tree of Savior going free to play on May 10th, you may want to check it out for yourself.
Thanks to the wonderful lad and lasses over at Battle Bards, I have a much more deliberate appreciation for MMO soundtroacks. As a result, I try to either purchase or listen through a YouTube playlist of the music for whichever game I’m currently playing to get a better feel for what the soundtrack offers. When I first started playing Tree of Savior I really enjoyed the game’s soundtrack however it quickly became repetitive and I assumed it would be a bore to listen to independently. While it’s true, many tracks follow a similar enough beat to be indistinguishable, there are some noteworthy tracks in Tree of Savior. It’s a distinct style of music with much shallower variation than what you’d expect from a fantasy MMO but it’s fitting for the style of gameplay and I’ve enjoyed exploring the tracks I haven’t heard in game. If you would like a little taste, here are five of my favorite selected from this playlist, in no particular order.