Tree of Savior Adventure Journaling

After working through a couple of zones and several quest chains last night I was looking for something different to do in Tree of Savior. There’s a UI menu called the Adventure Journal (default, F4) that is a list of achievements for the game however this list includes a ranking system. Players are ranked based off of the number of points they’ve accumulated in the journal and you can see what the average rank is, your current rank, and the top ranking player in the game. In the same tab you can also see everything that is factored in to your Adventure Journal score—monsters killed, map completion, crafting—it’s a little bit of everything and it all adds up.


On the left is a list of my rank and progress in each of the categories. The yellow to blue meter shows where I fall compared to the average.


I’ve not tried crafting yet (finding the recipes and materials are difficult from what I can tell) and I try to kill at least one of every monster type while I’m questing so I decided to try and work on my map completion to improve my rank, working my way through earlier zones to get 100% in each one. It’s not as easy as it sounds because unfortunately it can be difficult to see which areas you have left to discover. Big areas are obvious; they’re either completely black or a smoky grey. However it’s not all that uncommon to have 95-98% completion and see no visibly missed areas on the map. The only solution is to run around the outside edges until you figure out what area you missed.

Doing this allowed me to pick up a few quests along the way that I missed which also adds to my achievement points and gave me a little extra XP from the cards I earned as a reward. However it proved to be tedious scouring the map for those hidden spots so while I plan on continuing this endeavor from time to time, last night after six or seven I grew tired of the activity and went back to questing. One useful discovery I made though while exploring was a statue of a goddess that gave me an additional stat point. I only came across the one but it makes me wonder how many of these there are peppered across the world map.


The goddess Saule was captured and had to be rescued though by whom and from what from I do not know. I need to write things down as I play.


Once more working my way through the main story, I learned a little more about what’s going on in the game. To be honest it’s a little confusing and while some of that may have to with translation most of it has to do with my faulty memory. This is true for me in all MMOs, but I just can’t remember things very well from one quest to the next and it makes it difficult for me to keep up with the story. From what I have gathered though, there is a growing presence of monsters in the land and this is related to the absence of several goddesses. The only one left present is a demon goddess so that’s a bit of a downer. Recently I rescued one of the missing goddesses and it turns out that they’ve lost their powers, but either the game hasn’t explained why, I don’t remember, or I wasn’t paying attention. Reader’s choice.

There’s also a lot of talk about my character as the revelator and revelations which seem to be stone tablets that one of the goddesses infused with her own being or some such; again, not really sure what’s going on exactly but I think I’ve collected two of them. Or the same one twice. Arrgh. Despite my shortcomings the pacing of the story is still good and I’ve liked the quest design and boss fights that are just all over the place as you play through the story and pick up side quests. I’ll never be a lore expert on this or any other game but I get the general idea and I do take the time to read all the dialogue and quest text, even if I never will remember it.


The models for each of the bosses are really whimsical. I could probably do an entire post on mob and boss character design. It’s a big part of why I enjoy Tree of Savior.



And here’s another one. There were at least three in this zone, not an uncommon amount for each and every map.


I’m level 72 now and things are really starting to slow down again with gaining new levels. From what I hear it will be 85 or 86 before I hit the next XP curve. It’s not a big deal though as I have lots of zones to work through now and plenty of story and quests. Once I do hit that second XP curve though, one hundred shouldn’t be too far behind. In the meantime I have a few things I want to check out in addition to questing. First off, I want to take a look at the crafting and see if there’s anything I can make with what all the materials collected. Then secondly, I keep collecting these empty boxes from treasure chests in several of the zones but I’ve never figured out what they were for. So I think I’m going to do a little google search so I can see what that’s all about. There’s still lots to do and discover in Tree of Savior.


I love the bridges in this game, they’re all so beautifully illustrated. Time to go and explore what’s on the other side!

Tree of Savior: First Impressions

Tree of Savior is not the MMO I was looking for when perusing the list of titles launching in the west this spring, and yet out of everything new that I’ve played this year, it’s my favorite. The game is not going to appeal to everyone; the art style is cartoonish and reminiscent of older titles like Final Fantasy Tactics, the gameplay has more in common with a dungeon crawler than a traditional western MMO, and as near as I can tell it lacks the extensive feature list of its competitors. However what the game attempts to do, it does very well. The visuals are beautiful, the combat-centric gameplay is satisfying, and the class and character building systems are deep and interesting. I’ve only put a couple of hours into the game thus far, but I can already tell this is a game I’m going to stick with for a while. The following are a mix of tips for getting started and first impressions from my time in game.

Choosing a server

There are three servers available right now—Klaipeda, Orsha, and the new Fediman which will be transferred to the EU at an unknown future date. Orsha has been selected as an unofficial Brazilian server (I didn’t realize there was such a large market in South America) leaving Klaipeda as the NA server of choice for the founders access period. ImcGames has stated that more servers will be added albeit slowly if needed during the F2P transition and those who start on one of the founders servers during the head start will have a chance to relocate for free, three weeks after the F2P launch. Unaware of most of this myself before starting out, I grabbed all my character names on the Orsha server at 6am yesterday right after the servers opened and plan on staying there as the official, self-proclaimed North American ambassador to our Brazilian neighbors.


You won’t be able to go into the settings and change the controls until after character creation but I’m going to mention it first because it’s important you make a few changes right off the bat. First of all, you’re going to want to select which type of controls you will use—keyboard, mouse, or controller. If you want something similar to say, Diablo 3, then you’ll want to choose the mouse control settings. I found these to be the most familiar to use but the default is set to keyboard which expects you to play using nothing but the keyboard with little or no mouse involvement.

Once you’ve selected your controls, go to “Key Settings” and under your specific control settings, go into the system menu and change the default keybinding for “Record Video.” Tree of Savior has a built in video recorder however the default keybind is the same as Steam’s screenshot key, F12, which means if you don’t make this change right away you will inadvertently be recording video every time you take a screenshot. I amassed several gigabytes of video before I realized this was happening. If you do make the same mistake you can find the recorded video in your Program files under steam>steamapps>common>TreeofSavior>release>avicapture and delete them or save them for your future (or present) grandchildren to enjoy.


I’m the one with the brown hair. No, the other one. Nope, not that one either. RIGHT there. Ugh, never mind.


Character Creation

Unfortunately there’s not much to write home about here. You’ll be playing the exact same character as everyone else with one of maybe ten hairstyles to choose from for variation. That’s it. There a no body types to choose from, no other options for faces or facial features, no variety of character whatsoever. If you’re thinking you can at least sport pink pigtails or a cerulean blue coif think again. Hair color is tied to style and the options are quite bland—brown, blonde, black—that’s it. As if anyone uses those hair colors anymore.

One more important point to mention with regard to character creation has to do with your account’s family name. You will get to choose this before you make your first character but be aware that this will be displayed as a last name for each of your characters alongside whatever you chose for the individual first names.


Once you’ve made your character Tree of Savior doesn’t take much time getting you in the action, and this is where the title really begins to shine. While you will not start off with a lot of abilities to begin with leveling happens quickly and you’ll be able to select additional skills as well as upgrade existing ones. Depending on the control settings you choose, your main attack will use either the left mouse button or the “Z” key with additional abilities being automatically slotted on your hotbar (with different default keybinds depending on your base controls settings).

Many abilities are ground targeting and all of them that I’ve come across so far are useable while on the move. The animations have a comic book flair, the timing between pressing the key and seeing the action is spot on, and the cute little plant creatures exploding upon death is very satisfying. With most of your XP coming from grinding mobs in a concentrated area as they respawn, it’s a good thing that combat feels really tight, responsive, and is a lot of fun. Much like your typical ARPG dungeon crawler, this is a perfect game for a relaxing evening of mindlessly killing wave after wave of enemies.


“Can we just skip to the part where you tell me what you want me to kill?”




I’m not far enough along to comment about the overall quality of Tree of Savior’s story, but I’m far enough along to say that there is one, it’s fairly generic, and the English translation isn’t doing it any favors although it does provide for some comedic lines every now and again. From what I can tell, there was a great big tree that destroyed a major city and the only goddess around was an evil one; all the others had gone on vacation or something. And it just so happens that my character is the only one able to save the people from this devastating tree and the evil demon goddess which is going to make things rather boring for the rest of you seeing as how my character alone was chosen to save the world. My character is also having some kind of regular nightmares which other people are always reminding him about because he’s apparently forgotten.


With 18 character levels under my belt there’s only so much I can say here as well but what I have experienced is rather good. Each character starts with a base class, one of four archetypes of Wizard, Swordman, Archer, and Cleric but at level 15 can chose to either further invest in that base archetype class (referred to in game as “circle 2”) or branch off into one of two tangential classes unique to the base archetype. At a second interval you will be presented with another choice—continue to advance a class you’ve already selected or choose one of the new options available. These branching class choices will occur seven times as you level.

There are 20 classes total to choose from for each base archetype and while each can potentially be advanced up to three times (“circle 3”) the choices you make at each interval will require eliminating other classes from the pool of future candidates or losing the opportunity to further advance a class you’ve already chosen. Thus your character becomes an amalgamation of class choices you’ve made along the way. This provides an uncanny amount of options (and opportunities to screw it up royally, I’m sure) such that even if I and another player end up as a Monk, depending on the path we took to get there our Monks may be completely different from one another.


I am the Archer.


Each class has its own set of skills, some of which only become available if you’ve invested in that class for a second or third “circle,” and each skill can be leveled up with skill points. There are also attributes that can be purchased and learned which I believe are passives that affect how different abilities work allowing for even more customization but I haven’t had a chance to look into them much yet. I’m also unsure how easily all of this can be reset and started anew, something that could make or break such an elaborate system for class customization and development.

The system sounds complicated but it’s actually pretty straight forward and the UI is approachable and user friendly so really as long as altering your choices is relatively simple or downright hospitable a la Diablo 3, then this will be a lot of fun to play around with. If I have to reroll after 110,375 hours of leveling because I made one wrong decision when I was level 15, I’m going to throw my laptop out the window and cry like a baby emu.

Item enhancement

This is another quick tip for something that is otherwise a little confusing. Once you reach level 15 and choose your first advanced class (or invest a second time in your base class) you will receive a quest from a class trainer that will ask you to enhance your new weapon. To do this you will have to purchase an anvil from the Item merchant. Right clicking the anvil after you purchase it will place it on the ground in front of your character. You will then need to attack the anvil with your basic attack a few times until the enhancement is complete. Then you will be able to complete the quest. This type of weapon and gear upgrading will continue throughout your leveling experience so it’s important to understand how it works early on.


Mmm… monster saliva.



Overall Impressions

If you’re looking for an MMO sandbox with the depth of Black Desert or you’re wanting another theme park with as many rides and attractions as World of Warcraft, then Tree of Savior is probably not going to keep your attention even after it goes free to play. But if you find the art style appealing, enjoy the occasional mindless mob grind and loot grab in games like Diablo 3 or Marvel Heroes, and you like the idea of exploring a staggering amount of class customization options, then Tree of Savior is worth the ten dollar entry fee to check it out now.

Really, the best compliment I can give the game is that while it doesn’t set out to do much, what it does set out to do it does very well. Personally, I’m loving the gameplay and art style and I think it’s admirable when a development team sets obtainable goals for their game. I plan to continue my adventures in Tree of Savior for quite some time.

Black Desert Online: Closed Beta 2 First Impressions

Last night I managed about three hours in Black Desert for the first time and I have to say my feelings are mixed. In that time the game went from being highly anticipated on my part and possibly becoming my primary MMO to causing me to wonder if I’ll play it much at all after a month or two. Of course this is really early in my experience with the game and I haven’t gotten to the meat of the sandbox elements which is what drew me to the title in the first place. I will say while my impressions of the game drastically dipped within the first hour, they did steadily rise back up as the night went on. Hopefully that trend will continue. And I am glad I decided to play during the closed beta if for no other reason than to do all my stumbling through these complex and not very intuitive systems now so that when the game finally launches I’ll have a better sense of what I’m doing.


This was the number one reason I had concerns about the game right off the bat. The graphics in this game remind me of Final Fantasy XIV in that they feel grainy, even at higher settings. That said, I was not able to run the game at the highest setting or anywhere near it. I spent most of my time on “low” or the settings beneath that just to get a marginally reasonable frame rate of 20-30 fps. I’m not sure what the issue was and I’m hoping it’s an optimization thing that will be improved by launch but I spent a lot of my time tweaking the graphics settings to see if I could find anything to improve my performance. I am playing on a laptop that is a couple of years old but it was a higher end gaming laptop when I bought it and runs The Elder Scrolls Online smoothly which I think is much more demanding (and far prettier) than Black Desert.

There were a few other things about the visuals that bothered me as well though, not just the fact that my settings were so low. Lighting was an odd animal for one thing. I would be out in a field at night and jarringly lights would come on and go off, as if my seven year old found the light switch to a camp fire. This happened in a couple of different areas on the map, including a cave the main questline took me through. In fact, I noticed with one of the earliest NPCs I met that his hair appeared to change color sporadically as he spoke to me and I think it might have been because of this same shift in lighting. There’s also an absurd amount of blur effects. Maybe I’m getting old, but the grainy graphics, camera shakes, and blur field around certain combat moves was giving me a headache. I did notice that by the end of the night I wasn’t aware of these things as much but for the first hour it was problematic.


What story? No really, what story? I have no idea what any of the NPCs or the black spirit were talking about half the time. And it’s not a matter of localizing what they’re saying, it’s that none of it seems to have any context whatsoever. Each quest seemed to assume I knew something about the story that I did not and none of them seemed to be related to one another either. My advice is the same as I would give to a sane person living in an Asylum, just roll with it. Embrace the absurd fantasy and don’t try to make sense of it. Otherwise you are going to be really disappointed with what you are being presented, at least in the first few hours.

Combat and World Exploration

At about the first hour mark, after fiddling with the graphics off and on and being sorely disappointed with the schizophrenic storyline I just wandered off and that’s when my impressions of the game started to improve. The combat in Black Desert is actually really good, and wandering around tackling mobs much higher in level than what you are presented with during the questing experience is a lot of fun. I’m not going to even try to describe the combat style other than if you’ve played Blade & Soul it is a variation on that idea. It’s very visceral and dynamic with combos using your mouse and movement keys along with a few others near the classic “WASD.” And while the graphics weren’t as good as I was expecting, at least not on my PC, it was still an attractive world to explore. Eventually I did go back to the main storyline and was in much better spirits. It wasn’t that the questline improved but rather because I had found what I think is going to be the most enjoyable part of the game—experiencing life in an open virtual world by making your own content goals.

Knowledge System

I’ve barely scratched the surface on this aspect of gameplay but it is another example of where going off rails is the better choice. You’re introduced to a few NPCs in town during the main questline but there are so many more to meet and interact with as a part of gaining knowledge about the area. Eventually in my exploration and return to the main questline my bags become full and so I returned to town to find a vendor (I love auto-pathing so much more than I ever thought I would). I couldn’t remember where the one I was introduced to was located so I wandered around and noticed several NPCs with an icon over their heads that looked like two mouths talking. Interacting with these NPCs introduces you to people in the town, opens up new quests, and helps you figure out where things are at, like where to hire workers for example or where to buy your first donkey. I enjoyed this organic “social” exploration of the game world a lot and knowing that I have yet to try the conversation mini game and further unlock quests and so on through socializing with NPCs has me excited to figure out what I need to do to improve my influence with them.


This was one of the last things I looked into for the night and probably should have waited until another time. I was able to figure out how to buy a house and I ended up purchasing two; one for my warehouse and another to house workers. Each house in a city can only serve a few functions however and I could not find one for gathering and processing wood (I want to build ships). The other thing I couldn’t figure out was how to use my warehouse. There was no obvious connection between my warehouse and my inventory; I could see what was in my warehouse (nothing) by pulling up the map and clicking on the town I was in and I could see my inventory once I closed the map but I could not move things from one to the other. Trying to enter the house where it was located did not work either, that only pulls up a list of players using the space as an actual residence. I did a quick google search and it looks like there may be an NPC I have to interact with in each town to store my goods but it was getting late and I didn’t’ have time to run around looking for him or her.

There’s still more beta to explore

As stated above, my feelings are mixed about the game right now but they did improve as my time in the game went on. My goal with the beta is to continue exploring the different systems and have as much of the game “figured out” as I can so that when it finally launches I don’t feel so lost. I have yet to start unlocking nodes ore figuring out the trade and crafting systems which are two areas I have been most excited about with the game. Hopefully as the sandbox elements unfold and I figure out those systems my overall opinion of the game will improve. My advice to anyone else playing the beta who is a little disappointed with their experience thus far is get off the rails if you haven’t already. Go explore and find challenging mobs and interesting areas. Look around for NPCs you haven’t talked with yet and expand your knowledge of the region to further your progress in the knowledge system. Push your way into the world as an explorer, not as someone on a guided tour. Because while I was disappointed with my first impressions of the game due to my problems with the graphics and the terrible story, the rest of the game still looks promising and I look forward to exploring and understanding even more of what Black Desert offers.