System: Internet (Flash) (www.aq.com)
Developer: Artix entertainment
Publisher: Artix entertainment
Genre: Role-Playing Game (RPG)
Age Rating: E-10 (ESRB), Requires Age of 13 to Register
Date Released: 2nd June 2008 (Alpha), 18th August 2008 (Beta), 10 October 2008 (Live)
Review score: 7.0/10
AQWorlds is a decent MMO experience that requires you to ignore most of its problems in order to appreciate it.
The Indie video game company Artix entertainment has had some initial success with plenty of decent minigames that are free to play but however had some flawed attempts to bringing the RPG genre to web browsers. After moments of Alpha and Beta testing with guardian players, Artix's ready to release their MMO RPG title as a free to play browser game called AdventureQuest Worlds. It's a sequel to the 2002's AdventureQuest which was a dull and mediocre game that succeeded by its high sales and player count. AQWorlds does a fantastic job of simulating MMO experience onto the web browser but this one of those kinds of games where you'll go through some serious problems before you take time to enjoy that game.
The storyline of AdventureQuest Worlds spawns through a series of sub-plots on top of the game's main plot. Taking place in the same world as AdventureQuest and Dragonfable, You begin as a nameless adventurer who gets involved in a war between the kingdom of SwordHeaven and the Forces of ShadowFall. A villain from DragonFable called Drakath interrupts a dual between King Alteon and his master from the same game Sepulchure. He kills his own master and unleashes 13 of his minions called Chaos Lords onto the word of Lore. Both good and evil sides lead by King Alteon and Sepulchure's Daughter Gravelyn come to a truce to defeat the 13 Lords and stop Drakath.
AdventureQuest Worlds has an excellent story based plot that expends quite well and makes use of the Good and Evil system where the storyline goes depending on your decisions during many of the game's amazing cutscenes. If you played previous Artix games then you'll easily recognise the signature of parodied heroes such as Artix himself, Robina the Hood, Waric the Bluemage, Zorbak the Ebil Blue Mooglin and a few others all have their reason to support you while other times sit back and have you do most of the work. The game also has cameos of famous actors who make guest appearances of American rock stars like Voltaire, Kimberly Freeman alongside renowned voice actor George Lowe and Michael Sinterniklaas. Thankfully the game uses the licenses of the music stars and their music and voicework effort and in this game it's all well done.
Before you can begin playing you'll need to make yourself an account. This is easily done by Creating your character through choices of Class you want to start out with and make changes to your characters appearance. You can also change these settings anytime inside Yulgar's Inn but changing your gender comes at a big cost. When you're done you're done you can play the game by accessing 17 different servers that are expending the server limit which the limit is up to 2500 players
AQWorlds gameplay can be summed up in comparison to World of Warcraft in plenty of ways. Veterans who played World of Warcraft will be able to jump right in while it also provides some Tutorials for Newcomers to get a handle of the action. You start off inside the woods before you get access to a world map and the Book of Lore which keeps track of the events that you played through. It includes all the games achievements which can be uploaded onto Facebook and also the events that you need to play next. You can also check up on current events that are happening inside the town of Battleon or by looking through the Newsletter that you'll receive through your email every week or on the News Tab in Settings.
In the world map you can select what continent and then pick from a location that you wish to go to and then the game will automatically take you there. You can access every area you visit by wondering through but using the map saves a lot of time in moving across from one area to the next. Each town you visit will have NPC's to interact with and they will offer quests for you to complete before you can unlock the next area. Most quests in the game require you to track down target enemies and defeat them in battle so that they can drop temporally items which need to be traded to the character you're doing the quest for. Some other quests ask you to target either a different enemy in the same area or by going into another to attack a different enemy. There are also some materials to grab by clicking on spots where it's by shining arrows which are simple to complete but you'll sometimes need to leave the main screen and then come to back to that screen again for the last piece of the quest to be picked up. It's a minor glitch which becomes a little bit annoying.
These quests are fun to do as each of the quests reward you with EXP, Gold and also some random item drops upon completion. You can take on different Daily missions which give out a ton of EXP, Gold and also Reputation which I'll come back to in a moment. There are tons of quests to accomplish in the game including all the side quests and different sub events. There are also Reputation quests where you can accomplish quests for the current faction that you fighting in. These quests give out a certain number of points that you'll eventually rank up and gain access to more impressive gear. Some of the equipment requires a rank level before you can buy that item and later on doing these quests to level does become repetitive.
Back to the subject of Daily stuff you'll also find a woman named Ballyhoo who gives out free spending Gold and accusingly Adventure Coins which are used to spend on rare items but however these coins can only be bought through the Battleon Games page and also through Ballyhoo's adverts as already mentioned. There's also little reason for buying wearable equipment with ACoins since they are extremely expensive. They can also be spent on extending your item bag spaces or also your house spaces.
The cool feature is that also you can build your own house in the game. There's plenty of different furniture from tables, chairs, statues, beds, piles of gold and other pieces that you can use to decorate your house. You can drag the pieces around and can place each piece either outside your house or inside the house. There are also different types of houses that you chose from but most of these houses are made for members. It becomes annoying that some furniture costs a lot of ACoins including some good items.
AQWorlds has loads of different items that you can customize your character with presentable items that change your character appearance. There are different sets of warrior armours, helmets, mages clothing and rouge outfits. There are different accessories like tails, capes and other different back items which look really cool. There are some items that can have their colour changed if they are compatible which adds more customizable options. Each of the equipment that you have can be customized with enhance-able items where after much toil can enhance your stats to balance out your performance in battle. Be sure that you use the right enhancements for the right job for example warriors are best with fighter enhancements, mages are better with wizard enhancements, rouges work with thief enhancements and so on. These enhancements become important for customizing your play style so there is plenty of ways that you can balance out. The only things that you cannot use enhancements on are armours, necklaces and pets.
AdventureQuest Worlds is a Free to play game that updates every week on a Saturday at midnight or Friday depending on where you live. Updates include new quests events to play through and also new weapons and equipment to use. There are also seasonal based events which will happen throughout the year such as Hero Heart's Day on Valentine's Day, Moogleween on October and Frostvale on December. Anyone who's played other Artix games shall be accustomed to the time schedule that these games have.
While the game exists as a Free to play Flash game there are limits to be seen. Free players will have access to most of the Story content and reasonable equipment including some optional areas but however can't access to members only areas or use members exclusive weapons and also can't use pets which for the pets it's an odd design choice. Members help support the game by purchasing different upgrades with their Battleon Games Account with Battleon points. These are earned by doing some offers on selected websites or using certain credit cards or point cards that are available in some countries. Member accounts last for about a certain amount of time from 1 month at minimum, 3 months or a full year or get it with extra ACoins. This helps for the game to be supported but however even if you didn't spend any money on the game at all you still get dozens of days of content to be done on the game and the games additive battle system makes it all worthwhile.
As an MMO you'll find friendly players around which you chat too and also you'll see some of your friends playing the game online. You can also invite them to join you in battle and you're going to need some friends to stay alive during many of the tough battles you'll be doing later on. You can also add them as friends so that you can keep in touch with them and you can add up to 40 friends at maximum. You can check up on them through the Friends List option in settings. One warning that you should heed at costs is never ever give out your Login to anyone otherwise you'll get hacked and lose everything that you have worked so hard on. If one ever does ask for your account or if you find one who is annoying you to much then you can report the player to the company so that they can deal with the player or you can put him on your Ignore list so that he can't annoy you any further. You can also refer a friend using a link on the game page so that whenever one friend upgrades their account then you'll receive a boost of 250 ACoins which is a nice feature when you need a little extra boost of ACoins.
You control your character around the field using the point and click navigation with the mouse and you can click on objects in the background. When you move your character to the brown directional arrows then you'll move to another screen. Anyone who has played through DragonFable and Mechquest will be familiar with the control scheme.
In Dungeons you'll find monsters around which you can trigger fights as you wish. These fights can be started by clicking on any target enemy and then clicking on the attack icon. You can also do this by simply double clicking on any enemy target if that makes it any easier for you. Instead of focusing on turn based combat the battles take place in real time. While your character will automatically attack the enemy when close you can use up to 4 different skills to deliver punishing combos. You can unleash a set of attacks which deal great damage or deal status effects which can either stun your enemies, increase your defence temporally or to use a magic spell to heal or support your allies. Each skill you use has a cool down timer so you'll need to use each skill wisely to be more effective in battle. You can also use the number keys 1 through 5 as shortcuts to attack which is very helpful then simply clicking on the attack icons.
The last icon is used for useable support items. Inside some shops later on the game you'll be able to purchase different items which you use to boost your attributes for a set time or you can use items to heal yourself. Just like with using skills in battle using items has a cool down for each use so you'll need to use each item wisely and also you can only hold nearly up to 3 or 5 items for recovery.
There are ton of different classes that you can unlock as you progress in the game. The first few are available as you start off while acquiring later ones are bought through class shops and special reward pages which unlock upgrade classes from other Artix games and promotional products. There are many different classes for your character to use and they level up in class ranks. The different classes range from different Warrior classes like Warlord, Dragonslayer and Beserker or magic classes like Healers and Sorcerers. Each class has their own individual skills such as Healers heal their party members, Mages cast offensive magic and warriors can deal extreme melee damage on the frontlines.
At the moment as of this review the Levelling cap is up to 45 but after very couple of months the cap increases. With each level your character builds up you can buy upgrades inside class trainer areas to make your equipment stronger. These enhancements can be bought and placed to the weapon you're using or you can store them for later. You can use these enhancements to upgrade different stats such as Strength, Intellect, Dexterity, Endurance, Wisdom or Luck. While you can upgrade these stats as you see fit but it's better to only use the right enhancements for the right class, for example warriors are better with Strength, Endurance with minimal Dexterity, Mages are best with Intellect and Wisdom, Rouges are better with Dexterity and the Leprechaun class which is best for luck enhancements. The impressive is that all weapons don't have a target element and all have the same damage based effects beside the damage balance which makes players chose their favourite weapons and upgrade them to their max if possible.
During your fights you also have some allies who will jump in to help you with your battles. If you've spent a truck load of hours grinding then you'll survive against most enemies but when you fight much stronger enemies then you'll have to work together with other players so that you'll have better chances of survival. Team work becomes the key to survive for most the fights later on including many of the boss battles which some attacks they unleash can nearly deal either 1/10s or nearly half or a under levelled character which healers become important to stay alive. The battles difficulty isn't to punishing by any means but the main fact that unless you're in the same room with trained players then you're going to have a hard time with many boss encounters that you'll encounter unless your well prepared. Members can do a great of getting the job done easier if you relay on them to help you, however the only annoyance is that their pets don't do anything at all to help you which make them useless.
While the co-operative side of the game is the most exciting moment you'll have with the game the PvP competitive multiplayer is where the game will fall flat on. You can take on either one player at random through simple 1 Versus 1 Battles, invite your friend from your list to a duel or play Team Battle. The Buldrut Brawl Team arena has 2 teams having to take down the opposing teams sentries in order to weaken the leader. You fight against the tough leader with a certain amount of players trying to stop your team becomes a challenge but if you do beat the leader then you win the game. The team who get their score up to 1000 also wins the game.
While the Bludrut Brawl matches are chaotic with many players battling it out the problem is that many of your matches in PvP are unbalanced. These battles become an exercise of frustration when some players are simply using running all over the map just mashing the keyboard commands really quickly leaving you unable to lock on to an enemy player. Another thing is that the other players characters will have members equipment that are probably overpowered with classes that you probably can't get your hands on leaving you with little to no chance of victory. If you ever come up against a member then you're better off leaving the match because they can get access to more powerful stuff.
AQWorlds gameplay has outstanding co-operative quests that you'll enjoy doing with friends but however there's little effort made with the PvP matches in comparison to DragonFable. As an MMO that is free to play there is plenty of value to be had with the huge amount of gameplay doing quests boosting reputations, and helping your friends out.
AdventureQuest Worlds offers some of best looking details for a flash game. The sprite characters are well designed and each costume has different personality and accessories share different styles to create different dress up possibilities for your character. There are impressive spell effects to look at including plenty of well detailed explosions effects. The animations do feel quite stiff when you're walking away from the enemy before the enemy chases you before leaving the screen. The Cut scenes are amazingly well rendered with amazing detail of the chaos going on. The writing is brilliant with the correct use of the borrowed licenses that you'll remember. While the overall dialogue is well written there is some voice work of the already mentioned guest stars making their appearances but it's a shame that the rest of the game doesn't carry as much of it and the same can be said for the music. The sound effects are still weak with simple clashing, spell casting, menu selecting and critical effects used and for a flash game this is to be expected.
While the game looks amazing there are some technical problems. There are some glitches ike your character just standing still during a battle while your enemy just pummels you to its advantage, some bugs that can be annoying, frame rate drops when there's too much stuff happening on the screen and finally prepare or some lag which sometimes will kick you off the server when the server gets too much going on. If you ever made it very far into the quest and the game kicks you off the server due to its lag then you'll start back at Battleon with you having to backtrack to the quest again to retry it which becomes annoying whenever that happens.
Dispute the problems with PvP and of course the technical problems which weaken the experience, AQWorlds is a decent MMO experience that requires you to ignore most of its problems in order to appreciate it. If you're looking for a satisfying MMO experience besides World of Warcraft or looking for an additive flash game to play on web browser then AQWorlds a brilliant co-operative based game that you'll enjoy with friends that you can play for free. If you can purchase for an upgraded account for the game then you'll get yourself an Adventure for your browse that you wouldn't want to miss nether less.
1. Dozens of quest to play through and adds more content every week
2. Plenty of different items to customize your character and house
3. Enjoyable Team Based co-operative gameplay that is really additive
1. Bugs, glitches and framerate drops hamper the experience
2. PVP matches are unbalanced at best and the controls don't help
3. Pets don't help you in battle and can only be used by members
Reviewed by Anthony Hayball (BlaZer91)