Welcome to the Wakfu Review! On February 29th, 2012 Dofus fans from around the globe rejoiced as the long awaited successor, Wakfu from Ankama Games, was officially launched in Europe with a simultaneous release from SqaureEnix in North America. A Fantasy MMORPG at its core with a traditional RPG style, Wakfu has turned heads in recent months with the announcement of a number of new and innovative features that promise to shake up the MMORPG mix in some interesting ways.
Set 1000 years after the ‘Age of Dofus’, the world of Wakfu is in ruins. A sea of shattered islands and ideals with a art direction seemingly borrowed straight from the recent single-player release Bastion, your journey begins in a refreshing character creation offering 12 genuinely unique class options which, while bearing resemblance to the typical MMORPG class templates, offer a tangible sense of something new.
Sacrier Blood is the Beserker archetype, Iop Heart fills the role of the Warrior, Cra Rage the Archer, Eniripsa Hands the Healer, Pandawa Pint the Drunken Monk, Feca Shield the Tank, Sram Shadow the Assassin, Ecaflip Coin the Gambler Warrior, Xelor Sandglass the Time Mage and lastly, Osamoda Whip the Animal Summoner. For fans on Anime and old-school RPGs alike, this should be enough to know that you’re going to enjoy Wakfu more than your typical MMORPG adventure, but don’t leave just yet, there plenty more.
Entering the game for the first time, you’re immediately introduced to the ‘click-to-move’ navigation and UI interactions, and too, the ‘tactics’ style combat mechanics. This is the first true turning point in Wakfu – and if you’ve played any of the Final Fantasy Tactics series’ in the past, you’ll already know how this system works – as while not a new system, this is the first time it ever been seen online. In essence, engaging in combat will transform the playing field into a grid-layout battle field, wherein you and your opponent will take turns, repositioning yourself around the grid to establish the best vantage point for your attack.
From there, a number of factors will determine your success, such as the elemental damage of your attacks vs the resistance of your opponents defence, the location of your opponent on the battlefield, the direction you’re facing and even how long it it takes you to make a decision. Again, those familiar with older single-player RPGs will be more than familiar with these mechanics, and those not will be in for a pleasant surprise.
After arriving in the ‘tutorial zone’, you’ll be directed to a combat arena to practice what I’ve mentioned above, but you’ll also be introduced to another key element in Wakfu – the Ecosystem. I’ll be honest with you here: I haven’t spent enough time in Wakfu just yet to properly experience all that this Ecosystem… system has to offer, but I understand the basic principle. In certain zones throughout the world, the enemy and resource population is, for the most part, determined entirely by the players.
Some players will inevitably choose to side with ‘Wakfu’ , and in doing so, will be responsible for growing life by planting trees and spreading seeds and all manner of hippie conventions you can imagine. Others will side with ‘Stasis’, and will basically perform the opposite, killing and cutting and maiming the ecosystem to ensure that it isn’t overpopulated. Balance is key here, and a menu system specifically designed to help manage this balance will appear in all effected areas. But it best seen for yourself. That, and I still don’t really get it.
This seems to tie in pretty well with the professions in Wafku, too, which while fairly standard at first glance (farming, mining, etc) have a surprising level of depth and imagination. There nothing too out of the ordinary in the beginning stages of the game, but I get the feeling that it quite expansive.
Elsewise, there some interesting PvP that can arise out of the tactical combat system, and there a fully developed political system too, in which players can earn citizenship points by following the laws on a particular nation, offering new rights and duties to those that excel, eventually allowing those players to via for control as a Gouvernor. There a good sense of progression, too, with the ability to allocate points with each level into a variety of different areas, effectively allowing you to tailor a character to your exact style preference, and too, almost guaranteeing that your character is unique among others that have chosen the same class.
And there a story, too. And better yet, characters, that have their own genuine sense of humour and personality that ties in well with the ‘balance’ between Wafku and Stasis, which is always a nice surprise. There a lot more, too, and some of them (such as clans) have me really excited. But, as much of the game is reserved for paying players, I’d like to keep that for another day. Stay tuned for the full review soon.
-Cody HargreavesRelated: F2P, Fantasy, Review, Wakfu