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Graphics - What Can You Expect From A Free MMORPG?
Usually I don't base a game's graphics score on.......well the graphics. The reason is that I believe the world and atmosphere that you play in is defined by the enjoyability of the game. Simply put, if the game is fun the graphics play no role in whether it's a good game or not.
However, with the staggering amount of Free MMORPG's that are hitting the net all producing and basing their game from what appears to be the same graphics and game engine, one has to start to wonder if these one-shot wonder companies are just in it for the in game mall shop and ad money.
Instead of telling you the graphics are exactly the same as the last 3d MMORPG you played and give it a score of 4/5, instead we can just continually score them at a 2 for the amount of effort that it doesn't take to make them. Now that doesn't mean the graphics stink, it just means that we've seen them before. There is little point in making a clone of the most popular MMORPG on the market and adding your own features when the similarities with everything else make them to hard to notice. I truly wish I could say something unique about the graphics but sadly, me talking about it and giving it a 2 barely does it justice. I almost feel cheated for downloading and playing this World of Warcraft (or Atlantica Online, or Runes of Magic or Chronicles of Spellborn) graphics clone and even mentioning it in this review. If you're looking for a fresh new look, stay far away from this title.
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Gameplay - This MMORPG Makes No Attempt To Stand Out
What is there say that hasn't been said? This game is a complete copy and paste job from the average run of the mill Free MMORPG . You pick a character, a class and a faction then begin your journey. You complete quests and kill things to level up and you pick up loot along the way. You can join in a group to quest do a dungeon or engage in a server wide pvp event. That's MMORPG's in a nutshell at their core.
Maybe, the most unique gamplay feature in this free MMORPG is one (out of six) of their playable classes, the Evocator. For the first time that I am aware of (in an MMORPG), the player is allowed to charm and control any enemy they come across and turn them into their pet. The Evocator can only have one pet, but it can be any atttackable npc in the game. This is quite absurd when you think about it and very interesting. See that rabbit over there? Make him your pet. Or how about that Orc shaman!
This one class is unique enough to at least give the game a shot if your bored with your current free time projects. Sadly though, it's not enough to make anyone want to download and start playing today.
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Content - The Bulk Of Why Gates of Andaron is Worth Your Time
For anyone who plays free MMORPGs, they know that content is where the juicy bits are and this part is what is the deciding factor for most on whether or not to download the game and start wasting their time.
There are two features to this game in which the 'fun' factor starts to show, sadly, they both refer to PvP. The first is that the game is split into 2 factions, Valorians and Derions. As you can imagine there are certain Valorian areas and certain Derion areas. If an opposing faction is in an enemy territory then an enemy player is free to attack them.
A unique twist is that players of a faction can actually change the territory their factions own. By concquering a specific area players gain access to the npc's in said area which unlocks merchants and quests. Conquering an area can be done by guilds but the benfits spread to all players of the faction.
Other than that, I find it extremely annoying that a mount will set you back about $15/month. So if you hate walking on foot, country mile to country mile and back again and don't expect to pay, then you might want to avoid this game like the plague.
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Overall - It's An MMORPG And It's Free
I really enjoyed what little time I did spend playing this game. If there wasn't a whole lot of other really great free MMORPGs out there, who knows, I might still be playing this game. I enjoyed the fact that it kept the core concept of being an MMO. I created a character, logged in and began playing with no problems. At a certain level I joined a guild and started getting involved in the community (chat). All the tools are there to make this a really fleshed out MMORPG. If I had to complain about anything in this game, it would have to be the lack of quests...new quests that is. The quest system in Gates of Andaron will have you doing the same quest several times before you level up. The community has come to call them reps. I admit, its a lot better than just simply killing monsters and grinding, but still...this is an MMO! Where is the variety in this massive world?
The game has all of the features you would expect and you can effectively enjoy the game without the need to buy into the itemshop. That being said, the game is extremely generic and you will not see a whole lot of new features. If your looking for a change, look somewhwere else as you've already played this game. But if you're just a fun seeking MMORPG junkie like myself, then it's worth a few hours of your time or until you get tired of walking everywhere.