The Chinese company Perfect World Entertainment, famous for the MMO with the same name, Perfect World International, and other less known online games, gives another shot on the market with Battle of the Immortals, a classic 3D free MMORPG that promises many original or interesting features. If it keeps its promise or is just another failed grindfest, we are about to find out.
Navigating the site and downloading was quite easy (especially using bit-torrent to get the client). After the installation, a strange option appeared called “optimize”, said to reduce disk space occupied by the game. Obviously nothing really happened. The story behind the game is as full of clichés as it can possibly be. An evil king is about to rise again along with his army and only you can save the world from total destruction. Nothing special here. Once in the game, I first had to chose a class from the typical five: the berserk (warrior), champion (paladin), heretic (healer), magus (mage, of course) and slayer (thief/assassin). The great absent was the archer/hunter, a typical class in many other games. The customization options were very few, just some faces and hair. I made up a cool slayer and was ready for action!
In the beginning, you are placed in a sort of temple where glowing stuff explains you why you were brought and what your purpose will be in the future. Then you get into the real world. The game is supposed to be 2.5D but hadn’t I known that before I could have sworn it was full 3D. Everything is colorful and well designed and you can really see the details on your character up close. Also, you don’t have to own a NASA computer to be able to play. Almost full video settings and 1440×900 resolution worked just fine on my pretty old Pentium 4. The music is entertaining at first but after a while tends to get repetitive, good ol’ Winamp saved the day. The movement system is top-down point and click, without WASD alternative. Even though some may find this outdated, it reminded me of Diablo, so from my point of view, it’s a good thing.
While playing I couldn’t help myself noticing that from the very beginning there were so many mobs around that I had to carefully place my cursor so I won’t attack one instead of moving. Together with the 150 level cap, this can only mean grind. Fortunately there are enough quests and a bit of second-hand story to keep you busy even if it only means killing a random number of enemies or going from place to place. The moving part can easily be solved using the auto-routing function, a neat facility that can get you out of the trouble of finding the place or NPC related to the quest. I for one am very careless. I rush into things and later realize I’ve done a major mistake. Battle of the Immortals had exactly people like me in mind when the buy-back system was implemented. What it means is that you can buy back from the NPC the last five items you sold, without any penalty. So next time you sell your epic sword by mistake, there’s no need to throw your PC out the window.
PvP was one part of gameplay that the developers said would be a main part of the game. While it is implemented, it doesn’t seem to have anything special. There are areas where PvP is allowed, some where it is limited and others called arenas where it is free for all. There is also an infamy system, where you of course get infamy points for killing innocent characters. The higher your infamy the higher the chances to lose your items when killed. Furthermore, you are not revived as usual, but placed in a prison where you must stay until infamy drops under a certain value.
At first sight, the interface and everything on the screen seemed rather crowed, and how I discovered a bit later, quite complicated. There are so many buttons to touch and explanations to read that at some point I got lost in everything. And no wonder. There are so many things to do in-game apart from actually playing. First of all, there’s a cute (or ugly) little pet that you can own from the very beginning and if trained right can become even more powerful than yourself. Then there’s the crafting, one of the most complex system I have ever seen, especially in a free to play MMO. On the other hand, the inventory, both personal and the one in the storage are atrocious. At first there are only 10 or so slots available. Later, more are unlocked, but the situation doesn’t get any better. With the help of the item mall, things get better, even acceptable.
Overall, the game is very good, especially for a free-to-play MMORPG, with many premium functions implemented. The item mall is not too bothersome, most of the items there being found in-game too, although the drop rate is lower than usual. But that’s it. There’s nothing to make it stand out from the crowd, to make it special. It is what it is, just a good, quality F2P MMO, that you definitely should try. The developers try to attract new players by offering special items every five or so levels and also a salary system that rewards you for playing more than two hours a day.
by Sicaru Adrian