Welcome to Free-to-Play Finder, your bi-weekly source for thoughts on free to play MMOs and MMORPGs. What I’m hoping to achieve in this series of articles is to help players make informed decisions when looking for a free to play game.
These columns won’t necessarily provide a review of the game, but some thoughts on the title and how it plays as a free-to-player based on different criteria that I’ll explain below. Of course, trying a free-to-play game is as simple as installing the client but sometimes you want to get an opinion or two first!
Since this first edition falls on Halloween, I figured we’d kick off with Free-to-Play Finder – Forsaken World. Why Forsaken World? Well, it terms itself as a “dark fantasy” and has a Reaper class. Dark fantasy, giant scythes, and Reapers sound pretty Halloween-y to me!
Forsaken World is your classic tab-target Asian F2P MMORPG. If you’ve ever played any of the earlier titles from Perfect World, you pretty much understand what you’re getting yourself into. It’s not precisely an explosive MMO gaming experience, but it remains pretty solid overall and well-built.
The Reaper class, in general, is suitably creepy-spooky with an enormous scythe weapon and attacks that tear apart single targets or multiple foes. In addition, you can use a portion of your own health to improve your damage output significantly. It all combines into a perfect class for those who love Halloween or just enjoy the moodier, darker style of carving into enemies.
One thing that stands out in Forsaken World is a very pretty graphical style despite its age. The game isn’t pushing the sort of power that modern MMORPGs are, but it still has some lovely locations and really creative character and monster designs. Overall, Forsaken World is a perfectly serviceable MMORPG for those who want to game on the cheap.
How does the game feel as a F2Per? Let’s elaborate, shall we?
I’m grading each game I play for this article by four different criteria: Account Limitations, Store Interruption, Store Offerings and Store Reliance. Each criteria will be rated on three different scales: Minimal, Acceptable and Oppressive. I’ll also further explain why I came to each rating for each criteria and finally offer my overall feelings. This wrap-up isn’t an aggregate score, just an overall assessment of the game.
How does Forsaken World fall within these four criteria? In a more positive space than I imagined, actually. I had entered this game expecting to be waylaid by restrictions and billboards for the store, but came away surprisingly unscathed, though admittedly I also ended up a bit confused.
Account Limitations: Minimal
What are Account Limitations? Anything that locks content away from you, from character or class choices to hotbars to access to dungeons or endgame. These are things that flag you as one of the “freeloaders” and restricts your play
Forsaken World didn’t appear to have any lockdowns on anything I was doing: the entire game’s world was open, all of the classes and races were available and every system appeared to be intact. To be fair, the game was not doing an outstanding job of communicating any possible limitations to me due to a rather sloppy UI, but nothing I sniffed around at appeared to be restricted.
As a matter of fact, playing through the game itself felt incredibly generous overall. Every 10 levels I got a gift box that had little trinkets, potions and equipment simply handed over to me. One of these boxes even had an XP potion that granted me two levels after chugging them all. I was even literally handed a free mount. Color me absolutely surprised.
Store Interruption: Minimal
Store Interruption is based on how frequently you’re reminded of the in-game store during play. This either occurs through pop-up reminders that dominate your screen or buttons that redirect you to items offered in the store.
I actually had to really look for the in-game store, I was left to my own devices so much. Perhaps this changes in the later levels, but the entire ride through the first 30+ levels held no redirects to the game’s store whatsoever.
What was most interesting here is that I felt rewarded for merely playing the game. I earned access to rewards that I could collect in something called Shylia’s Market. Here, I was given either daily or weekly access to boosts and other items. I even began to collect something called Shylia’s Favor that apparently could also be used in the Market, though I had no idea where or how. The game does have a bit of a problem with piling stuff on top of you, but it’s an overall positive problem to have in my opinion.
Store Offerings: Acceptable
The Store Offerings section is a quick look at what the store has to offer. From selection to variety of items, this is your at-a-glance idea of whether the store is interesting and if prices seem to be fair.
Nothing in the game’s store seemed to really blow me away, though the selection of mounts was definitely unique (especially that Princess llama mount). While the fashion section had a puzzling collection of items to offer, none of it ultimately felt like anything more than silly novelties. Even the boosts meant little to nothing to me as a player.
Pricing itself didn’t seem to be too restrictive either, with mounts, clothes and boosts sitting about where I would expect them to sit. The store as a whole was perfectly average and didn’t really make me want to spend any money, but that was more a result of disinterest than disgust.
It should be noted that the currency used for the in-game store was only available through purchase and not by any in-game means.
Store Reliance: Minimal
This is an overall score of whether a game enters the “pay-to-win” realm with its offerings. Does the in-game store have an abundance of boosts? Does the leveling curve feel like you need to buy pots in order to progress? That’s what Store Reliance measures.
While Forsaken World’s store does offer quite a few boosts, my experience leveling up in-game didn’t seem to be incredibly dependent on them. Going from quest hub to quest hub felt suitably rewarding in both equipment and XP, so the pressure to buy a booster was pretty low.
I would suspect that these potions would come in handy during the later levels in the game, or if you were rolling an alt and wanted to get past the questing ride. In my experience, you could reach the game’s maximum level without needing to pick up a single XP booster.
To be completely honest, I went into Forsaken World anticipating the worst in free-to-play MMO annoyance and came away pleasantly surprised. While the game itself is not going to blow any minds, it is still one of the more solid offerings in the free-to-play spectrum. It looks nice, plays well and doesn’t try to get in your way.
If you love Asian aesthetic and don’t mind ostentatious clothing and mount options, consider giving Forsaken World a shot. You’ll lose nothing but some time and might gain a fun free game in the process!
Do you have an MMO or MMORPG you’d like to see get the Free-to-Play Finder once-over? Be sure to give me your thoughts below in the comments. After all, this article is meant for you and I want to help you find your next favorite game. Until next time, remember: you’re not cheap, you’re thrifty.Related: Column, F2P, Forsaken World, Free to play, Free-to-Play Finder, MMORPG