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 has a unique take on pets with several features I wouldn’t mind seeing in other MMOs and one I hope IMC Games will change. If you’re just getting started, they can be purchased from in game vendors marked by a paw print on the map in Klaipeda and Orsha with the cheapest being 110,000 silver. A few classes like the Hunter and Falconer are given vouchers once that class advancement has been chosen allowing them to purchase the appropriate pet for free but all pets come from these vendors. Pets gain levels much like player characters do and once owned can be used by all characters on the account. Certain classes will be able to use pets as mounts while others will have unique abilities for their pets however all classes can benefit from the basic damage provided by the pet. An advantage here is that you can purchase a pet on your first character, level it up, and then have a low level character utilize that pet for quicker XP grinding.
NPC ferrets get way cooler mounts than player characters do.
There’s one important caveat though, pets require a character slot to be acquired. I’ve made one character of each base class using up the four slots I started off with so when I went to claim the pet I received for free from the tier one Founder’s pack I had to purchase a character slot to obtain it. Given that I had well over a thousand TP and nothing pressing to spend it on it wasn’t a big deal, the cost was only 33 TP. Nevertheless it was still a shock all the same and I imagine many players are going to be surprised and angered by this. Given that pets are a boost to leveling, are shared across your whole account, and the 33TP works out to be around $3, you could argue that it’s a cheaper way of buying the same cash shop pets and XP boosts found in other MMOs, however the fact that several classes require a pet means certain players are going to lose one of their free slots or have to purchase an extra one just to play a specific class. And since the pet classes are chosen as later advancement tiers, players won’t even realize the character slot requirement until well after character creation.
Overall I’m happy with the cash shop options in Tree of Savior. I don’t think anything comes across as over priced (with the exception of premium hairstyles) and everything is optional; you can play the game without spending a dime and enjoy everything Tree of Savior offers. And the price of a character slot in and of itself is incredibly reasonable. I think I paid at least $10 for an additional slot in Guild Wars 2 compared to the $3 here. However for most MMO players, having to use a character slot for an in game pet is a foreign concept and won’t go over well. Were they not also tied to specific classes I myself would be okay with it, but they are and penalizing only those classes in this way is just poor design.
I think my pet was racing that Penguin in a wheel chair.
With the feature built into the game, it would be a lot of work to remove it entirely so at the very least I think IMC Games should provide players who do chose the Hunter, Cataphract, or Schwarzer Reiter (yes, those last two are classes) with a free additional character slot, just as they are given a voucher to purchase their pet for free. As long as there isn’t a way to delete that pet and then use the slot for a regular character, this shouldn’t cause any problems as anyone can chose to level one of those classes and get the free pet-only slot. While I don’t think having to buy a character slot for pets will drive anyway away who wasn’t already dissatisfied with the game, it’s an unnecessary mechanic that only serves to widen the gap of trust between developers and players in Tree of Savior. Hopefully IMC Games will change this, but I sincerely doubt they will.