A few weeks ago I got so bored of my 4-year playing WoW and its latest bomb being patch 3 which has resulted in level 80 noobs in epic gear lagging out the endgame zones that I started trying out some other MMORPGs to see if I could find anything that had the same look 'n' feel and gaming appeal as WoW. At first I thought I got lucky first time, a game by Aeria Games called Grand Fantasia. It had nice graphics that were almost similar to WoW if not a bit more anime, a decent combat system, and lots of quests and achievements to keep one happy. There was also dungeons similar to WoW which rather than earning xp in them you farmed them for loot. The levelling system was really nice too, very quick and easy to solo grind and at higher levels you could even do repeatable group quests either by yourself or with others to speed things up. Although there was a tonne of gold spamming, you could only choose a human character, everyone ended up dressing the same, and no matter what zone you started in you'd get the exact same rewards for the quests, I could've coped with it along with its slightly clumsy collision detection which meant even a pebble could block your path and you couldn't jump over obstacles or off ledges. But what made this game even more interesting was the sprite system. This has to be one of the unique aspects of this game, instead of going out and mining and gathering materials yourself to craft items you'd have pet sprites that would go and do it for you so you could continue levelling and questing without having to take breaks to skill up your crafts. Unfortunately the sprite system and anything to do with crafting such as alchemy and fortifications has one major downfall to it - the excessively high failure rate. Even buying items through the Aeria item mail that are supposed to help with things like success rates have proven to have very little effect if any and can lead to much frustration and wasted time, effort, and money. It also costs you gold to send your sprites out gathering materials aswell as crafting the items for you, and there's high chances they can come back empty handed with a sulk on their face or that they will not only fail crafting an item for you but lose every material it took to try and make it. The repair system is also a bit of a confusing one, especially if you're used to constantly repairing items like you do in WoW. Armor and Weapons in Grand Fantasia have 3 numbers - the current durability, the max durability, and the absolute max durability. All items will start out with the same number as the absolute max durability, and over time of use, dying, or when trying to fortify items and failing the current durability will drop until it hits 0 and the item is unusable. The player must then get it repaired and this may lower the max durability. Eventually after several repairs you could end up with an item where both current and max durability are 0 and the only way to fully restore it is by either buying a blacksmith hammer from the item mail with real money or by spending tonnes of gold at the auctions to buy one from someone else and this will restore the items' current and max durability to the absolute max durability. Another niggly issue is the penalty for dying. In the dungeons you don't lose durability if you are resurrected, but elsewhere you lose 10% of your durability on all worn items plus 10% of your experience points, aswell as being thrown back to your save point. If you have special items bought from the item mail your durability and experience points can be part refunded to you, but you can only use them once and you can end up spending a fortune on them if you are a bad player. One other aspect of this game that can be both good and bad is the respawn rate of mobs. Ordinary mobs seem to have a respawn time of less than a minute, and if your character is exhausted and needing to rest you don't have a great deal of time before a mob spawns up behind you and knocks you to your feet or flat on the ground dead. However the respawn rate is great for level grinding and farming. Now I don't mind a fact that a gaming company that is giving away a free game needs a means to pay off their employees and use of bandwidth, but I think it would benefit a gaming company more if the items they sold actually made a real impact that players would buy them more often. However workers for Aeria stated that they wanted certain items to be rare and not have everyone wearing the best armor and weapons they can get their hands on like in WoW which is why they need a high failure rate on crafts and why item mail items that are supposed to boost the chances of success only offer an "up to" % of success rather than an actual % of success. Because of this a lot of players have given up, stating that the game is not fun and is full of too much grind and frustration and little accomplishment after watching a sprite come back hours later after only gathering a handful of raw materials cry that he failed at making a common item and lost all the materials and then throws a tantrum that he was left unhappy for too long that he runs away for half an hour.