Wakfu Strategery

I’m a little disappointed with the strategic choices presented to me in Wakfu at the moment, at least as a level 15 Huppermage’s Rune. Despite having many different spell types, I’m only ever using either my single target or frontal cone fire attack. I have several debuffs in my toolkit but I never use them because the number one need I have during an engagement is to reduce the number of enemies I’m facing quickly. Rather than waste a round reducing the critical hit chance of one of six targets, the most important thing I can do for my own survivability is reduce the number of mobs I’m facing. This means using the one, high damage single target ability that I have.

Because skills are leveled as you use them, this problem perpetuates itself. The ability I have leveled the most is the single target fireball which only increases the gap between that skill’s damage and everything else in my spell book. I’d love to use more of my skills but there’s never a point to do so, that is unless I was going through these fights and dungeons in a group. That’s what I’m starting to suspect anyway, that the turn based combat was intended to be done primarily with a group with one or two characters spending a round to debuff the heavy hitters while the others focus down the weaker mobs.

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It could also be my class choice though, which is why I went ahead and started a second character. I haven’t spent much time with him yet, but it’s a melee class called Sacrier’s Blood. It’s a berserker style class that gets stronger the more damage it takes. Other abilities are used to create a shield against enemy attacks, push and pull friends and foes around the combat board, or sacrifices health for greater damage output. My hope is that this kit will allow for greater diversity in gameplay instead of pigeon holing my choices to a single, high damaging attack.

The game has a lot of potential and I do like the idea of an MMO with turn based combat, but if after trying a few more classes I end up in the same position, I may start looking for other turn based games, likely of the single player variety. Hopefully it’s just the class I chose, and with so many unique options I’ll probably try a few before moving on completely. However if anyone has any suggestions for other games with turn based combat that requires positional strategy, I’d love to hear them.

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Four Quick First Impressions

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been wandering through new MMO landscapes I’ve never seen before and revisiting old ones that I set aside for one reason or another. That started about a week ago and since then I’ve played about four new titles for at least an hour each. One of them I’ve already written about and the others I’m either not ready to write a full  “first impressions” on or I’m not likely to because I didn’t play long enough and I’m unlikely to continue. Instead, I thought I’d write very briefly about each one in a quick, “gut reaction” style.

Path of Exile

I played Path of Exile for about an hour or two, trying three of the six classes, and ultimately decided it wasn’t for me; not at this time anyway. It looks like a well made game, very similar to Diablo and therein lies the problem. I’ve played Diablo before and PoE felt like more of the same. That said, if I’m ever in the mood for a gritty dungeon crawler I’m more likely to play this game than Diablo III. The vast skill tree, the way abilities are gained by slotting gems, and even the story were all worth exploring more. Inventory management was my only complaint; there aren’t nearly enough slots for all the gear that drops.

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Wakfu

I’ve written an entire post on this one already, so I’ll be brief. Wakfu is a game I will continue to play because of the turn based combat system and the unique classes available. The community (from what I’ve seen so far) was a bit juvenile but so long as I can continue to play solo I will. Previously I had written about the additional content for purchase on Steam assuming it was actual DLC or expansions but I was wrong, it’s all packaged items like cash shop currency, boosts, and cosmetics so most of the game’s content is truly free. The world is colorful, the NPCs are whimsical and often ridiculous (in the best way) and the focus on turn based strategy is a welcome change of pace. It’s the kind of game I could log in to for quick, 30 minute sessions and that too is a plus.

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TERA

I’ve put off playing TERA for a long time because of the overly sexualized character models, especially the women. I know this is common to a degree in many MMOs but TERA has always appeared to me as one of the worst. Nevertheless, I’ve been curious about the combat and the game world has always looked beautiful in screenshots so I finally downloaded the client and gave it a try. My first impressions are almost entirely positive. I was disappointed in the gender locked gunner and brawler classes as these were the two I was most interested in trying but I could not see myself playing as one of the available races. Instead I chose to play as a cat faced Popori Warrior which has probably provided me with more laughs than any other playable race.

The combat in TERA is solid but not any better than other action MMO titles I’ve experienced. All this talk about “real” action combat is nothing more than PR smoke. And as a Warrior at least I found that combat can feel choppy, in part because I cannot tell if Evasive Roll only works after a combat animation has completed or if it can be used to interrupt an offensive ability in order to avoid damage. This may be simply a learning curve issue though and not a criticism of the combat. And speaking of animations, the Popori are top notch. I spent a good five minutes trying to capture screenshots of my character riding a horse and leaping off a hill, his portly body and short legs flying off the saddle.

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Every time my steed jumps the little Popori can barely hang on.

 

Obviously I’ve spent more time writing on this game than any of the others because of everything I’ve played so far this is one I’m likely to continue playing. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed TERA and even the story peaked my interest. I’d like to try more of the classes to get a better feel for the combat and what’s available in terms of class roles and style. As with Wakfu, the additional content for purchase on Steam is mostly starter packs and cosmetics and not expansions or what I would consider DLC (zones classes, instanced group content, etc.) so I’m assuming all of the game is genuinely free.

Skyforge

I spent the shortest amount of time on Skyforge as I was quickly turned off by the horrible NPC characters that were introduced during the tutorial phase and the lifeless feeling even my own character’s model had. For a beautiful world with a unique mix of high tech landscapes and a Roman mythos I was expecting so much more with regard to story, and maybe it’s there but the characters designed to tell that story  are like overcooked chicken, rubbery and tasteless. Maybe that changes over time but I won’t be sticking around long enough to find out. I can get better combat and access to more classes earlier if I go elsewhere. Perhaps the biggest thing working against Skyforge is that I played it immediately after trying TERA which is vastly superior on all accounts. At least I can check it off my list of MMOs to try.

Wakfu Like an Egyptian

Okay, that’s a lame title name and Wakfu has nothing to do with Egypt (that I know of). However I have been playing it again recently and I have to say, it’s a much better game than I remember. The first time I didn’t make it further than level 6 or 7, barely out of the tutorial area. I’m not sure what I disliked about it anymore though. It may have been the class I chose or perhaps it was simply that I was still defining MMOs in WoW terms and Wakfu didn’t fit the bill. Whatever the case, this time around it has been a refreshing change in my MMO diet, much like Tree of Savior.

For those who have never played, Wakfu is most notably different from other MMOs in its turn based combat. The world is divided into a grid and when you chose to engage an enemy in combat you will be separated from the rest of the open world and will only have a small playing field in which to maneuver and attack. Each turn both your character and the enemy will have a set number of moves they can make on the grid and a limited number of action points they can spend on spells and other abilities.

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Whenever you enter into combat, boundaries are established and the area becomes a grid for strategic, turn based gameplay.

 

After about an hour or two of playing Wakfu I was already level 12. During that time I went through the tutorial again so that I could remember how to play, chose a new class— Huppermage’s Rune, an elemental caster, and ultimately worked my way through the first set of storyline quests which took me into the sewers underneath the city of Astrub. There I met “Donatellangelo,” who trained me further in the ways of Wakfu. I’ve also completed a couple of solo dungeons as well as a temple.

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The squid-faced, Donatellangelo, my sewer dwelling combat trainer.

 

The temple was perhaps the most interesting content I’ve experienced in Wakfu so far. It’s similar to a dungeon in that it requires defeating a group of mobs to gain access to the next room of mobs and ultimately the final boss. The difference was that in the temple there were also secondary objectives that would net additional rewards as well as simple environmental puzzles that were required to progress through the instance. So as an example of the secondary objectives, during one fight I needed to end a round with an even number of MP (movement points) and AP (action points). A second fight required I kill mobs in a specific order. A few were much more challenging and I was unable to complete them but I liked the idea; it was perfect for the turn based style of play.

So far I’ve felt no pressure to spend any money in the cash shop either, however from browsing Steam it seems like there is a lot of DLC available that I may need to eventually purchase it if I want to continue. One of the only cash shop roadblocks that I have run into involves the new heroes and sidekicks system which allows you to “group up” with either an alt in your stable or one of the many sidekicks you can either earn or purchase in game. Having your alts function as party members like in other turn based RPGs I thought was quite clever, however you have to purchase an unlock to be able to use this feature and it only lasts for a set period of time depending on how much you pay before you have to pony up the cash again.

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They have a serious cat infestation problem in Astrub.

 

That said, while it’s a little disappointing to miss out on the new feature, it’s a fairly recent addition so I’m assuming you can play through most if not all of the game without needing a sidekick and there is of course always the option to group up with actual people, although from what I saw of the community yesterday, I’m not so sure that would be a desirable experience. However if I continue to play and enjoy the game, I’ll probably find some way to invest, most likely by purchasing some of the DLC. If you haven’t ever played Wakfu and are looking for something different, I would highly recommend giving it a try.

And if you’d like a sampling of what it’s like, here are two of the videos that introduced me to the game awhile ago in the first place.

Wakfu- The HiveLeader

MMO Grinder: Wakfu Review