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Saturday | September 22, 2018
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Chronicles Of Spellborn (PC)

Chronicles Of Spellborn (PC)


MMO’s are for a specific type of gamer. Those guys (and gals) who sit for many months and dedicate a huge portion of their life to exploring game worlds, improving their characters and joining guilds. When a new one is released there is normally a rush to see what is on offer and if there will be enough to maintain interest to build up a rich and diverse community of players. Many people are looking for a game to replace World Of Warcraft, the insanely successful game from Blizzard. The Chronicles Of Spellborn is a free digital download with a subscription system they class as “Freemium”.

Freemium is a new concept by developer Spellborn International and it means you can download the game whenever you want (fileplanet) (filefront) for nothing and play to your heart’s content … well until you want to go past Level 7 that is. Cleverly we can assume that the developers have faith in their game to get players addicted and by the time they reach Level 7 they will not want to deinstall. This is when the premium subscription comes into play and after paying a standard monthly fee, you then gain access to all of the content and features on offer.

When the game was released initially in April of this year publisher Acclaim offered all players a two week premium subscription as a teaser. This is surely a good sign that the content is high quality as this can be a risky move in the long term and many other companies have waited for a few refreshes and updates before offering the same deal to potential customers. The launch was quite a success and the general vibe in the forums is that the game is already shaping up to be a strong online experience. Obviously as is with all the MMO’s I have played (and I have lost track of how many now), there are bugs and issues on the initial release, however I can safely say that this is probably the most polished MMO on release that I have played to date.

So what is this game all about? Well the world has been shattered into four sections that have been encased in mountainous rock. If you can picture living in a Truman Show style dome but instead of a TV studio, above the dome is only rock and stone. It is quite a stunning visual idea and it worked for me when I read the script in detail.

Initially the game play mechanic seemed rather simple but after spending several weeks playing (its a hard job I have!) I have found a real taste of depth to the mechanic. There are a plethora of triggered events which happen from time to time such as being able to get the ability to use bodyslots. So while initially it is easy to dismiss the title as a surface deep MMO, it takes some time to get under the surface to the core of the goodness. What is very dramatic about the game is that every decision you make has ramifications over the whole duration of the game so you can’t really backtrack to change your choice. This will challenge your brain, especially when you realise that if you make a bad decision you have to stick with it, till the end – much like real life.

At the very start you get to select a race for your character which is runfortunately limited to two races, the Daevi and the Humans. You are then given the chance to tailor your character with a wealth of options. As well as the usual muscular density and stature you can select your equipment and clothes which can be enhanced with a full palette of colours. This is a good decision because in the early days I didn’t notice anyone playing who looked exactly like me and it will certainly appeal to those gamers who like to play dress up to extreme levels. After getting involved in the world setting you will find markets and shops which offer more customisation, so if you find later you really didn’t want pink armor, then you can change it. By using sigils and bodyslots can you increase your statistics which is a massive facet of the game.

When you are dropped into the game after selecting your character you are taken on a crash course tutorial which will prove useful to only the most inexperienced MMO player. There is however no way to avoid this so sitting through it and gritting your teeth is the only course of action.

The part of the game however that everyone is talking about is the Spellborn combat system. While you are equipped with the usual abilities and magic powers there is a very intuitive shooter style targeting system in operation. Your combat skills are situated on a bar which is called the Skill Deck and in combat your enemies are not just merely targeted, you enter into a first person style combat system with crosshair on screen. You have to keep your opponent under the crosshair or your melee hits and spells wont hit the target. This is pretty simple to use but offers a much better combat system than the usual run of the mill MMO we are all used to playing. I actually used to wonder why no developer ever thought of a FPS mode in an MMO and my dreams have been answered ! Granted it will take a bit of time to adapt to the methodology but once mastered it offers a whole new level of interaction during combat.

Graphically I find the game stunning, especially for the generally limited nature of this genre. The engine is a tweaked Unreal 2 modification, commonly referred to as “Unreal 2.5” and although the engine is showing its age a little, there is certainly no cause for complaint when compared to other MMO engines already in place. The only possible negative i could mention would be that there is a certain murkiness to the environment which is due to the developers going for a specific art style. I am not saying this particular art style is bad, but it could do with a little more diversity from section to section.

The PvP system is still under development so it is a little difficult right now to detail how things are going to look, because in the next few months we have been assured of a much more sophisticated platform.

Another key point of the developers goals were to make the title much less of a grinding experience and more focused on quests. People who love going on deep and rich quests should find this game right up their alley because there is already an abundance on offer. Playing devils advocate however some of the quests are pretty much standard fodder, such as travelling to X place on the map and dealing with a few wild creatures.

There are two systems of XP in the game, Personal (PEP) and Fame experience points. Fame is standard leveling experience which you get from completing quests and killing enemy creatures while PEP is in place for increasing specific attributes (up to a maximum of Level 5). If you end up toasted then you lose a level of PEP and the character perks that are tied into it. Reaching Level 5 in your PEP rating is an achievement in itself but keeping it there is even more of a challenge, it is certainly a great idea to keep your virtual life more important, rather than not fearing losses for getting butchered in an upcoming fight.

When you look at the big picture The Chronicles Of Spellborn has taken many aspects of MMO’s and tried to bring something new to the table. The focus on questing, rather than grinding is a great choice and one I can praise them for implementing, even if some of the quests are mundane. The gameplay is great fun because the combat system has been turned into something much more interactive and exciting with the FPS style interface. Character customisation is another strong point, however I would have liked to see at least four available races rather than just two. Right now there is a Level 50 cap in place and the game offers enough to keep many gamers busy for months to come but whether this is the WOW beater many people hoped it would be is open for debate as it seems less focused on multiplayer team work. We will only know in a few months time when more material is available for the community, so far it is shaping up to be a great title.


The game is intuitive and there is a lot of content to experience.
The engine runs well however there is not a lot of creativity in the environments.
Ambient effects are professionally handled and the combat effects are good.
It is hard to make a call on this so early but it is shaping up to be excellent. The next few months will be important.

An impressive title which shows signs of becoming a large community.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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