F2P Kingdom: Is Revelation Online Free to Play Really Pay-to-Win?

Welcome back to F2P Kingdom as we take a closer look at the Revelation Online free to play experience. This game has already made a few headlines for its cash shop, so it is high time that I try to dive in and take a look to see if the accusations of this game being a pay-to-win title hold any merit or if this was just another case of someone misusing the idea of “winning” in MMOs.

Now while this title is stating itself as being in an “open beta”, behavior leading up to this point has me more than ready to put this one under the same microscope as any other fully-released title. Some things may change in the game, but in my opinion, you don’t open up a fully-functional cash shop and get to call yourself a beta at the same time.

revelation online free to play

The Game

Revelation Online is an Asian F2P MMO that relies heavily on sharp-looking graphics and a flashy combat model. If this sounds a lot like something you’ve experienced before in other titles, then you probably already know what to expect from this one. That said, even if the overall concept isn’t exactly unique, the way Revelation Online delivers the “usual Asian MMO” formula is engaging enough.

Easily the finest part of this game is its combat. I was able to take my Gunslinger into a dungeon instance that was meant for a group and make my way through mobs that were five levels higher using my combat skills alone. It was only when I ran into the final boss that I needed to party up. That speaks to a battle system that rewards skill over pure gear. While it certainly wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve had, I was pleased that it was something I was even capable of doing to begin with.

revelation online free to play

Another strong point, of course, is the game’s graphics. Revelation Online is a visually stunning piece of gaming, with gorgeous vistas, imaginative monsters, and all of the outlandish combat animations and skill effects that you could possibly want. From the point of character creation, this game dazzles with its sense of style.

Scrape those surfaces, however, and you find an MMO that has all of the tropes of every other Asian title on the market: obscure currencies, a rather confounding story that maybe has subtleties that would benefit from better localization, and progression systems layered on top of each other like a torte made of stat sheets. Even so, this game looks – and especially plays – like a game of greater depth than a Forsaken World.

revelation online free to play

It’s been a while since we’ve met in the F2P Kingdom, so let me run over how I’ve scored Revelation Online free to play. My experience is broken up into four different categories: Account Limitations, Store Interruption, Store Offerings, and Store Reliance. Each category is graded as either Minimal, Acceptable, and Oppressive, and a brief summary of how I came to those decisions will be offered. Finally, I’ll provide a round-up of my overall feelings about what Revelation Online offers the free arrival.

Account Limitations: Minimal

What are Account Limitations? Anything that locks content away from you, from character or class choices to hotbars, access to dungeons or endgame. These are things that flag you as one of the “freeloaders” and restricts your play.

From the interim to around level 35 when I began this write-up, I experienced nothing that was halting me from entering dungeons or otherwise doing content in the game itself. Classes are completely wide open and available and inventory slots were merely locked behind the ability to pull together certain materials and enough currency to unlock.

revelation online free to play

About the only thing that made me feel a bit limited was the variety of progression trees and other unlocks that come over the course of the game. Most of these systems weren’t exactly well explained, but they also didn’t appear to be locked from me due to my free to play status.

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.

There’s one specific pop-up window that arrives whenever you log in out of the two or three that show up that references the game’s store: the Path to Greatness window, which is basically another way of saying “Dailies”. This window continually reminds you of the benefits of buying subscription time. It’s annoying, but not what I’d call oppressive.

revelation online free to play

The thing that greatly helped me reach this particular grade is the fact that the store icon is so incredibly small. The game’s UI is a mess of small buttons and icons and I had to pass over each and every single one to notice where the cash shop was located. It’s another perfect example of keeping the game’s monetization out of your face.

Store Offerings: Acceptable

The Store Offerings section is a quick look at what the store has to offer. From the selection to the variety of items, this is your at-a-glance idea of whether the store is interesting and if prices seem to be fair.

The cash shop of Revelation Online didn’t really blow me away, but that’s perhaps due to the game still being fairly newly-released. There’s your expected variety of items on offer: a few outfits, a large selection of boosts, and a couple of random chance boxes to unlock either wings or mounts. Hardly what I’d call revelatory, but also not exactly completely unexpected either. It’s a storefront that just is.

revelation online free to play

Store Reliance: Oppressive

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.

Here’s where things get a bit dicey. Revelation Online has a few annoying bits like wings and mounts that can’t be individually purchased, or cosmetic outfits that come in temporary or more expensive permanent flavors. But what kind of makes me feel a bit icky is the plethora of advancement items on offer.

For example, there’s a tab in the shop called “Priceless” which houses a few items that are specifically needed for some later-level advancement, such as Dao items. Granted, you do get a couple of these items as daily login bonuses and many of these items, like the Special Skill – Broken Seal Pages, can be purchased from an in-game vendor. Still, the fact that these things can be bought to circumvent game tasks doesn’t make me feel particularly great.

revelation online free to play

Does that make Revelation Online pay-to-win? Not in my opinion. It does, however, make the game “pay to avoid grinding”, which certainly doesn’t help perception. Combine that with the number of boosts and other items that are intended to circumvent regular play and you’ve got a cash shop that really feels like it requires you to burn some money if you don’t have a lot of time.

The Wrap-Up

Even with the huge pile of boosts and other trinkets that make later progress easier, playing Revelation Online as a free player didn’t seem incredibly restrictive. There’s just too many question marks waiting at the late game for me to really commit to calling this game a perfect choice for those who can’t or won’t spend money. Ultimately, the combat is enjoyable and the setting is pretty, but there’s not quite enough meat and a few too many boosters for my liking to say this one’s a great regular game.

Still, if you’re not worried about whatever grinds may wait at the top end of leveling then you’re likely going to find a fun enough MMO here. Revelation Online may not have a huge amount of substance, but it certainly has great levels of style and is a general blast to play as a video game.

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About Chris Hughes

Chris is a literal wolf who has managed to learn how to use a computer. He enjoys cooking, roleplaying, writing, and reading those who do the same. You can find him staring at Twitter or read more of his attempt at humor at his blog, or in-game primarily on WildStar, Blade and Soul or Final Fantasy XIV.