This skilling system was the first potential MMO co-opportunity that stood out to me. Of the two characters I played during the tests (Engineer and Arcanist), I saw many different options for both damage and support/healing skills. This supports extremely flexible play, either between solo and co-op play or between different party compositions of characters. Because the skills can be swapped around, players don’t have to fully commit to having all their skills be healing or damage; they can cherry pick from their unlocked skills depending on the situation. One interesting aspect of this system is that the skills unlocked down a skill line aren’t necessarily better than the previous one, they just seem to offer different options.Further skill synergy options will likely unlock at level 15 when characters select a second class; however, since I wasn’t able to experience this during the technical test, I can’t comment specifically on this.
This variety of options is also reflected in GoE’s attribute system. There are 4 attributes in the game and they’re quite different from the standard attributes found in most ARPGs or MMOs. In GoE, the attributes are Prestige, Bravery, Blood, and Focus. Instead of attributes simply increasing spell damage or weapon damage, each attribute can potentially help all of the classes. One attribute affects attack speed for all weapons and classes, another contains boosts to about half of elemental damage types as well as healing power and shield strength.
This is an interesting system because it asks the players to think about the skills they like using, not just what their class is or what weapon they use. In fact, all armor and weapon types that I ran into are wearable by all classes, they just offer different bonuses. For example, heavy armor offers more defensive stats, but is weak on healing power and spell damage. Bows have great attack damage, but aren’t so great for spell damage. For players who enjoy playing together and dividing up the gear they find, they don’t have to necessarily worry if they both want to play the same class; if the roles they want to play are different, they could be going for entirely different gear.
Before wrapping this up, I wanted to go back and touch upon some aspects of GoE that seem more attributive of MMOs than ARPGs. The game will offer a full housing system, daily quests, and PvP arenas. While I’ve certainly seen these features in games that are not MMOs, they’re certainly the most common in MMOs, which is why I’m satisfied in calling GoE a hybrid ARPG/MMO. I wasn’t able to mess around with these systems in the technical testing session, however, so again I can’t say anything more about them.
GoE was originally planning an Early Access Launch in October, but has pushed that back to deal with pre-launch polishing. I certainly think this is a good idea, because I’ve run into some bugs that will need to be addressed for a full launch. For example, one bug basically made it impossible to group with other players because the party kept dissolving every 10-30 seconds. I’ve also experienced some frame-rate issues in the game. Runewaker is aware of the bugs, though, and is doing everything to address them, which is very encouraging. I’m looking forward to playing the game more post-launch and possibly dedicating a full MMO Co-Opportunities to it, because the game has promise. As a lover of MMOs and ARPGs, a hybrid sounds excellent, but I’ll need to experience more content and sink more time into GoE before I can see how it fully plays out.